Tuesday, September 27, 2022

BWorld 561, Power demonopolization, privatization, and smuggling

* My article in BusinessWorld last September 19.

Last week, on Sept. 12, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) made a big announcement of red and yellow alerts in the Luzon grid. It was a bad situation for three reasons.

One, it came just five days after a successful business roadshow by the Marcos Jr. administration in Jakarta and Singapore where some $14.4 billion of pledged investments to the Philippines were announced. When those big foreign investments come, they will need a huge power supply and yet the Philippines still experiences yellow-red alerts of thin power reserves and potential blackouts until now.

Two, the main reason was not power generation deficiency but the tripping of transmission lines of the NGCP — two 500 kilovolt (kv) lines connecting Kaampat (Bolo) to San Manuel (Nagsaag) tripped on the morning of Sept. 11, but the NGCP and some sectors blamed the affected power plants. Two big coal plants, Sual (1,294 megawatts or MW) and Masinloc units 2 and 3 (679 MW) tripped because there was no transmission line or “highway” to deliver the power they generated. In addition, three plants — Masinloc 1, GMEC 2, SLTEC 2 — experienced derating or below-capacity generation of 226 MW.

There were three other plants that were already out prior to the grid tripping incident — Calaca 2, Dinginin, and Quezon Power — with a combined 1,428 MW.

And, three, it highlighted once again NGCP’s non-compliance with Department of Energy (DoE) Circulars on contracting ancillary services (AS) to help ensure grid stability when there are unforeseen generation or transmission problems.

See these reports in BusinessWorld: “DoE to investigate forced outages that raised red alert over Luzon” (Sept. 12), and “NGCP ‘in discussions’ with DoE to ensure adequate power supply” (Sept. 14).

The NGCP is the only remaining national private monopoly in the country. It is a very privileged and pampered company. From 2017-2021, its average net income was P21 billion/year from gross revenues of P48 billion/year (see this column’s piece, “Electrifying profit and penalties, the case of NGCP, DUs, and ERC,” Feb. 7, 2022). The other national monopolies are government-owned corporations like SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG.

Transmission should be demonopolized but this will require legislation. Meantime the monopoly should be strictly monitored by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), penalized for acts or inaction that lead to frequent yellow-red alerts due to transmission line defects, and/or expensive transmission charges. The previous ERC leadership failed to do this job.

Also last week, the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) held a media briefing on power supply demand and pricing in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM). There are three things I want to highlight from the IEMOP data.

One, there were many instances or periods from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10 when the secondary price cap of P6.25/kwh was imposed. Price control is said to protect the consumers but the opposite really happens. At forced low prices, someday the power supply will not be there when people need it most — blackout. Damaged appliances, darkness and heat, use of candles or gensets are more expensive than temporary price hikes if there is no price control.

Two, there was huge uptick in peak demand — the average increase in July-September 2022 over July-September 2021 was 6.6%. This shows consumer demand is high, investment optimism is high — this is good news. And since growth in power demand is a good proxy for GDP growth, my estimate of third quarter 2022 GDP growth would be about 8%, +/- 0.5%. In the second quarter of 2022, peak demand growth was 5.7% while GDP growth in Q2 was 7.4%.

And, three, intermittent, unstable and unreliable wind, solar, and biomass continue to generate very low power until today, only about 3% of total power generation in June-August 2022, 13 years after the Renewable Energy (RE) law of 2008 (RA 9513) was enacted. (see Table 1)

But we frequently hear and read about the strong lobby by intermittent RE. See these recent reports in BusinessWorld:

• “IFC mobilizes financing for PHL firms’ green projects” (Sept. 8),

• “PHL urged to decentralize power generation with more solar plants” (Sept. 11),

• “RE firms want reform of competitive selection” (Sept. 11).

In many countries in Europe, the inconvenient fact is that as more wind and solar are added to the grid, overall power generation declines, and GDP growth is low and anemic. This is because many non-intermittent and reliable fossil fuel and nuclear plants exit the market as they are not a priority in the grid and are being demonized regularly.

The opposite occurs in East Asia. In the ASEAN-5 especially, wind-solar share remains low in the total generation mix and countries grow fast (see Table 2). We should keep business as usual, have more fossil fuel plants and limit the share of intermittent sources in the grid.

And then there are these two related reports in BusinessWorld: “DoE’s Lotilla says gov’t involvement in power will not bring rates down” (Sept. 8), and “Consistent application sought for key ERC ruling” (Sept. 15). I express my support for the positions taken by Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, and by ACEN Corp. that any ERC ruling on the SMC power companies’ petition for a rate hike must apply to all other players that will seek similar petitions.

On the budget, taxes, and borrowings for 2023, there is one important revenue source to pay the P2+ trillion/year of net borrowings from 2020 to around 2024: privatize many government corporations and other assets. I propose three state enterprises that must be prioritized for privatization, and nearly 20 others over the long-term (see Table 3). Government-owned power plants and gambling companies should be at the top of the list. There is zero market failure being addressed by these state enterprises, they remain simply due to politics.

Finally, related to a recent piece in this column, “Motorcycle taxis, illicit tobacco, and electric cooperatives” (Aug. 8) where I noted that the estimated value of foregone tobacco taxes due to smuggling is P24-49 billion/year, House Bill (HB) 3917 was filed amending the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016 to classify cigarette smuggling as “economic sabotage” and imposing higher fines and penalties, and imprisonment.

This is a good bill authored by Ilocos Norte Representative Ferdinand “Sandro” Marcos and Party-list Representative Margarita “Migs” Nograles. The anti-smoking NGOs and activists should support moves to fight illicit tobacco because smuggled cigarettes are so cheap — the retail prices are lower than the tax alone of P55/pack this year — that they encourage more smoking, not less.

When tax avoidance and smuggling are controlled, there will be less need to raise taxes elsewhere.

See also:
BWorld 558, ABS-TV5 Partnership, SMC rate hike petition, and Budget 2023, September 06, 2022
BWorld 559, Build-build-build, extended welfare, vaccine discrimination, and liberty forum, September 08, 2022
BWorld 560, PEB Singapore, the PPP Center, transport liberalization, and IPRI 2022, September 20, 2022.

Conservatives and rightists fighting back in Europe

Some good things happening in Europe this month.

1. Italy, Brothers of Italy party won. "Yes to the natural family. No to the LGBT lobbies. No to the violence of Islam, yes to safer borders, no to mass immigration, yes to work for our people, and no to major international finance.”

2. Autocrat, non-elected EU bureaucrat Ursula von der Leyen tried to blackmail Italians not to support Meloni's party, and she failed. https://rmx.news/article/shock-eu-commission-president-threatens-italy-on-eve-of-election-says-brussels-has-tools-if-wrong-parties-win/

3. Sweden, Sweden Democrats party won. Anti-illegal immigrants, anti-mass migration, "deport all foreign criminals, no discussion." 

Sweden's Conservative Right Opposition Bloc Takes Lead In General Election

4. Hungary, some MPs pushing back against EU lefties who are angry that a conservative party, anti leftism party won in elections early this year. 

‘Nothing to do with Reality’: Hungarian MEP Slams Leftists After EU Declares His Country is ‘No Longer a Democracy’
PETER CADDLE. 20 Sep 2022

And here's a good victory speech by Georgia Meloni, Italy's newly elected "right wing" prime minister: https://twitter.com/zenarchyandtea/status/1574425503749967872

"I can't define myself as Italian, Christian, woman, mother. No.
I must be citizen x, gender x, parent 1, parent 2. I must be a number.
Because when I am only a number, when I no longer have an identity or roots, then I will be a perfect slave at the mercy of financial speculators."

Boom! haha. Viva Meloni. Viva "right wing". The lefties are angry.
Gender is male or female, period. A man might be effeminate but he's still male.

On migration, the really "rightist" position is -- zero restriction on migration, zero visa needed. But zero welfare to migrants, no free or subsidized healthcare, housing, education, none. When immigrants who speak or understand nothing about their country destination, very little skills, when they cannot find a job, they starve, they die. If they steal, they go to jail.
This "rightist" policy on migration, I fully support.

The lefties want free migration, open borders, but they want more govt welfare, more subsidies, more freebies to those migrants. Ewww.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Agri Econ 38, Fermin Adriano article on "Full blown food crisis"

An article the other week that I find alarmist. 

Food crisis
Fermin Adriano  September 16, 2022

“MY bold prediction is that by the end of this year or early next year, the country will be facing a full-blown food crisis if corresponding corrective measures are not undertaken by the government.”

Very limited numbers presented by the author to conclude "full blown food crisis." Like how many metric tons (MT) of rice, corn, vegetables, sugar, etc will be the projected gap relative to demand to conclude such. If such numbers cannot be properly shown, then alarmist projections cannot be justified. Silence is golden. No harm in  making non alarmist conclusions. Which might prod some people and traders to start food hoarding. Unnecessary damage can result from unsubstantiated projections.

For now we shd ignore his  alarmist ""full blown food crisis " projections by end 2022 or Q1 2023, and there should be no unnecessary hoarding of rice, corn, sugar etc.

The real, non fictional, most recent food crisis happened in Sri Lanka. Thousands of hungry people marching on the streets demanding more food supply at low price. For one, Sri Lanka has very idiotic climate drama policy of zero chemical fertilizer, plus their forex reserves went down to 1 month, 1 week value of imports, PH has about 10 months import cover. (This photo of food queuing in Sri Lanka from Foreign Policy)

Good thing that he proposes Agri trade liberalization. Now since that's not likely to happen, he warns "full blown food crisis" just 1-2 quarters from now. Some or many scaredy folks might start hoarding food, sacks of rice, corn, animal feeds, fertilizers etc. 

A "full blown food crisis" in the PH would look something like this:

1. Our average annual rice deficit of about 0.8 million MT, by December 2022 or Q1 2023 to reach 3 million MT or so.

2. Our forex reserves by October only about 2-3 months of import cover, so we cannot pay enough the huge food imports we need by Nov-Dec.. And rice exporters won't sell to us. But as of Sept our reserves were about 10 months of import cover.

3. similar estimates on supply deficit for rice, vegetables, sugar, etc.

All these are not quantified in the Adriano article. He just quickly concluded a "full blown food crisis", which to me is just sensationism.

Even if govt does not take corrective action like Agri import liberalization, it's still far out that we'll have full blown food crisis by Dec 2022 or early 2023. If you don't import food  now, then you can still import by Nov or Dec to rest of 2023. Why? Bec of our big reserves level. Sri Lanka didn't have that leeway. Only about 1 month, one week of import cover for food, oil, medicines etc. The exporters abroad didn't sell to Sri Lanka on those months fearing they won't be paid. Hence a "full blown food crisis" there, but far out to happen in the PH.

On farm productivity, consider this in tilling one hectare of ricefield:

By carabao, about 2 weeks.
By hand tractor, about 4-5 days.
By old model rotor tractor, about one day.
By modern rotor tractors, Yanmar or Kubota, 2 hours.

More machines and fossil fuel use means faster work, higher productivity. These things been evolving fast in PH farms -- lots of machines now in use. Rotor tractors not hand tractors. Harvester-thresher combiner machines, not manual harvest then threshers. Trucks transport, not carabao transport of crops. These alone immediately raise productivity and reduce crop losses. Those machines use lots of fossil fuels, good that most farmers don't believe those climate drama, anti fossil fuel drama.


See also:
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
Agri Econ 37, Sri Lanka food catastrophe, July 15, 2022.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

BWorld 560, PEB Singapore, the PPP Center, transport liberalization, and IPRI 2022

* My column in BusinessWorld last Sept. 12.

Four important economic and business developments occurred last week that I want to comment on.

1. Philippine Economic Briefing, Singapore

Last Wednesday, Sept. 7, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. and his economic and infrastructure teams held the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) in Singapore, which was attended by many investors.

In Panel 1, the speakers were Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Socio-Economic Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Central Bank Governor Felipe Medalla, and SM Investment Corp. (SMIC) Vice-Chair Teresita Sy-Coson. The four officials spoke clearly about the macroeconomic and fiscal stability of the country. And it was a brilliant idea to have another speaker from Philippine business. Singapore businessmen know the Sy and SM conglomerate, and Ms. Coson spoke positively about the economic team and economic outlook of the Philippines. When the panel ended, there was loud applause in the conference room.

Panel 2 had Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Public Works Secretary Manuel Bonoan, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, Tourism Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina Garcia Frasco, and Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy. I would say it was another slam dunk — with “come and invest in the Philippines” messaging that was clearly and convincingly delivered. And since Singapore is the Regional Headquarters of many multinationals from the west, the message must have been echoed well.

A report in BusinessWorld about the Singapore event noted that, “Electric tricycle, floating solar projects top Singapore investment deals from Marcos visit” (Sept. 8).

Investment pledges after the PEB Singapore came to $6.5 billion. Of this, $5 billion would be for the manufacturing of electric tricycles and $1.2 billion for floating solar. This does not seem right. More e-tricycles mean more power demand and our power generation is low — only 108 terawatt-hours (TWH) in 2021, less than half of Vietnam’s 245 TWH. Solar or wind are not baseload power sources, their output and storage are intermittent and very unstable.

The Philippines should aim for an increase of at least 7 TWH/year in power generation from 2023-2025 versus an increase of only 3.5 TWH/year in 2016-2021, then at least 10 TWH/year more from 2026-2028, to avoid the frequent yellow-red alerts that we experienced until this year. Vietnam has increased its power generation over the last 10 years by 14-15 TWH/year. Big commercial and industrial projects will not come in if they see that they will face occasional blackouts and that they must buy and regularly run huge expensive gensets.

Big industrial countries like Germany, the UK, France and Japan have entered a deindustrialization and low growth phase as they shut down many of their fossil fuel and nuclear plants and rely more on intermittent wind-solar. In contrast, South East Asian countries keep humming with their conventional energy sources and experience fast growth (see Table 1).

2. The BOT law and new PPP Center head

Last week, the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Center announced a “Public Consultation on the Amendments to the 2022 Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law (RA 7718).” People can submit their comments in writing or they can also attend the face-to-face consultation tomorrow, Sept. 13.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has appointed a new PPP Center Executive Director, Cynthia Hernandez. The lady is very cerebral: she graduated from the Philippine Science High School, took the UP College Admissions Test (UPCAT) and landed in the top 50 out of about 80,000+ examinees nationwide, graduated BS Metallurgical Engineering from UP as an Oblation scholar, finished a Masters in Development Economics (MDE) from the UP School of Economics (UPSE), ongoing MSc Business Management at Berlin Professional School. She has worked in some big energy, infrastructure, and consulting companies in the country: Meralco, the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), AES, Aboitiz Power, SGV/EY, and KPMG.

Meanwhile, Marilou “Louie” Mendoza was re-appointed as Chairperson of the Tariff Commission (TC). Louie is another cerebral official: she graduated AB Economics (cum laude) then MDE (university scholar) from UPSE, and with a Master in Development Management (with honors), and the National Government Career Executive Service Development Program.

Cynthia, Louie, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Pangandaman, and DBM Undersecretary for Budget Policy and Strategy Joselito Basilio were classmates in MDE at the Program in Development Economics (PDE) batch 33 of UPSE. Mr. Basilio has another MS in Applied Economics from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, then a PhD Economics from University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.

The PDE Program Director back then and a teacher for two semesters was Prof. Ruperto “Ruping” Alonzo. Prof. Ruping (RIP) molded these four bright minds plus their other batchmates.

3. Transport inflation and Grab-MOVE IT partnership

Last week, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said that August inflation was 6.3%, flat from July’s inflation rate of 6.4%. Among the commodity groups, Transport inflation was 14.6% in August, of which “Operation of personal transport equipment” was 34.7%. Inflation in the first eight months of 2022 is now 4.9% and transport inflation is 12.9% (see Table 2).

With continued high prices for gasoline and diesel, driving personal cars remains costly and people would wish to find alternative cheaper but safe transportation. Motorcycle taxis (MCT) should fall in this category — fast, cheap, no need for parking. But MCT remains a virtual duopoly by Angkas and Joyride. So, when Grab partnered with the smallest and weakest third player, MOVE IT, the duopoly was unhinged. See this report in BusinessWorld: “Grab Philippines’ acquisition of MOVE IT challenged by 4 groups” (Sept. 9).

Commuters and the public have one “vested” interest — more choices, more options. Transport companies, especially if they are a duopoly or oligopoly, have the opposite vested interest — reduce the options for commuters, get more money and power for themselves. This is exactly what the four transport groups and the duopoly are lobbying for.

Real commuter and consumer groups call for more options and competition. Fake commuter groups call for more bureaucratization and less competition. Last month this column’s piece, “Motorcycle taxis, illicit tobacco, and electric cooperatives” (Aug. 8), said “Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista and LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) Chair Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil should consider removing two caps — remove the maximum number of MCT players from only three, and remove the maximum 15,000 drivers per player. At a maximum of 45,000 legal drivers, it is very likely that the number of unregistered “habal habal” drivers may be twice or more than that number nationwide. Since they are already existing, they should be onboarded via legal MCT companies, for better regulatory transparency and better passenger safety.”

At the PEB Singapore, Secretary Bautista discussed the planned big railway projects that will transport people and goods much faster. These should proceed. But many people do not live near train stations, they reside many kilometers away. More MCTs will transport people from their houses to train stations then to their destinations, and back.

Grab-MOVE IT as third player is a good move. A better move is to have four, five or more players. And no maximum number of riders per player. More competition, more options, and more protection for the riding public. The LTFRB should junk the lobby of the four groups and think of the needs of the riding public.

4. IPRI 2022

Finally, the International Property Rights Index (IPRI) 2022 was launched on Sept. 7 by the Property Rights Alliance (PRA, Washington DC).

The IPRI index is a composite for three sub-indices: legal and political environment, physical property, and intellectual property protection. The Philippines showed deterioration in the global ranking, from 70th in 2018 to 83rd in 2022, pulled down by low scores in legal and political sections due to poor performance in rule of law and control of corruption (see Table 3).

The Marcos Jr. administration must do more to strengthen the rule of law and control corruption in the country.

See also:
BWorld 557, 10 things to watch in energy, the budget, and taxes, September 5, 2022
BWorld 558, ABS-TV5 Partnership, SMC rate hike petition, and Budget 2023, September 06, 2022
BWorld 559, Build-build-build, extended welfare, vaccine discrimination, and liberty forum, September 08, 2022.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Deindustrialization 4, Other Europe

See more stories of other European countries deindustrializing, from ample supply and cheap energy to blackout preparations and expensive energy. More governments and UN climate and energy alarmism and interventions for decades led to this.

1. Europe is heading into a depression
Into the darkness, again.
Tuomas Malinen Aug 20 2022

2. Azoty Drops as Polish Fertilizer Output Halts on Gas Prices
* Shares of country’s leading chemical maker drop as much as 10%
* Government says fertilizer stocks sufficient for sowing season
Konrad Krasuski August 23, 2022

3. EU Energy Crisis Forces Major Fertilizer Producer To Halt Production
Irina Slav - Aug 23, 2022

4. Why the Energy Transition Will Fail
New report highlights the staggering cost of green ‘delusions.’
James Freeman Aug. 26, 2022

Even if you’re never hit by a 7-ton blade falling from the night sky, alternative energy will fail you. Regardless of facts or feelings about the climate, there are reasons why wind and solar power are not replacing fossil fuels. Wind and solar are also no substitute for nuclear power.

5. Europe's widening fertilizer crisis threatens food supplies
Bloomberg - 26 Aug 2022

6. The Crucial Cause Behind Energy Crisis is ‘Green Fanaticism,’ Says Czech President
Prague Morning  AUGUST 26, 2022

7. Two more fertilizer plants in Europe shut down due to high gas prices – no energy means no food
Ethan Huff, August 26, 2022

8. How West’s “Green Agenda” Incentivized and Empowered Putin’s Attack on Ukraine
Jaroslaw Martyniuk. Aug. 28, 2022

9. Czechs have most expensive electricity in Europe despite exporting huge amounts of power abroad
Czechs are paying massive energy bills even as the country remains one of the largest energy exporters in the world
LUKÁŠ KOVANDA August 29, 2022

10. One of the world’s largest fertilizer producers, Yara (in Norway), slashes production due to skyrocketing natural gas prices
Ethan Huff August 29, 2022

11. ‘I never thought I’d see this again’ – People in Poland sleeping in cars while waiting in line to buy coal for winter
A long line formed outside the Bogdanka Coal Mine to buy bargain price coal, with some people waiting up to a week to make their purchase
WPROST.PL August 29, 2022

12. Europe’s Alarming New Trend: Rapid De-Industrialization
Michael Bastasch / September 01, 2022

13. We are all living in Greta's world now
This winter's energy crisis will give us a foretaste of what a world without cheap energy looks like
ROSS CLARK  2 September 2022

14. Darker and Colder: Europeans Warned of ‘Unprecedented’ Power Failures This Winter
“Production of electricity cannot keep up with demand.”
Paul Joseph Watson  2 September, 2022 

15. "Worst Has Yet To Come": Civil Unrest Set To Surge Worldwide As Socioeconomic Pressure Builds, Report Warns

16. Tens of thousands protest in Prague against Czech government, EU and NATO
September 3, 2022

17. "Europe On The Brink:" 70,000 Czech Protesters Flood Prague Over Energy Crisis

18. Europe Looks Set for Energy Rationing After Russian Gas Cut
* Germany has built up storage, but it may not be enough
* Europe’s ability to get through winter depends on the weather
* European Gas Prices to Stay High Without Policy Intervention: Energy Aspects
Vanessa Dezem, Rachel Morison, and Ewa Krukowska. September 4, 2022

19. Why Europe’s Dependence On U.S. LNG Is Risky
Alex Kimani - Sep 05, 2022

20. DARK TIMES: Industry and infrastructure collapsing by the day across Europe and the USA
Mike Adams September 05, 2022

21. Energy crisis: 30 public pools in France suddenly close after energy bills jump from €15 million to €100 million
The company’s energy bill is a sign of what may come for business and public services across Europe
JOHN CODY September 06, 2022

22. “Lehman Event” Looms For Europe As Energy Companies Face $1.5T In Margin Calls
Josh Owens - Sep 06, 2022

23. Europe's Nightmare Scenario Comes True: Energy Bills To Rise By €2 Trillion, Will Reach 20% Of Disposable Income

24. Europe Is Buying All The Russian Oil It Can Before Banning It
By Irina Slav - Sep 07, 2022

25. Swiss citizens who overheat their homes this winter could face hefty fines and 3 years in jail
Radical new legislative proposals in the country could see citizens reporting their neighbors for overheating their homes
THOMAS BROOKE September 07, 2022

26. This Winter, Europe Plunges Into “The New Dark Ages”
by Michael September 7, 2022

27. FORCE MAJEURE: Massive global shutdowns are now under way for METALS SMELTING operations covering iron, copper, nickel, aluminum, zinc and STEEL
Mike Adams September 07, 2022

28. Putin warns the West will 'keep freezing' if energy price caps are imposed – and Russia will stop all gas and oil supplies
* Putin said Western attempts to cap prices for Russian oil and gas were 'stupid'
* The Russian leader, 69, warned EU leaders that Russia would walk away from supply contract if EU imposed price caps on the country's exports of gas and oil
* If gas and energy supplies stopped, there would be devastating consequences
RACHAEL BUNYAN  7 September 2022

29. Putin Responds to Truss / EU Energy Price Cap: “Keep Freezing”
Eric Worrall September 7, 2022

30. Energy Transition a ‘Dangerous Delusion’: Report
By Nathan Worcester September 8, 2022

A Sin law by the government

Recently, there were reports of salt ("asin" in Filipino) shortages in the country. See these reports for instance, 

DA exec admits salt shortage
Bella Cariaso August 23, 2022

Philippines to import salt amid supply problems —DA exec
JOVILAND RITA,September 7, 2022

It seems the bad guys here are DOH and WHO. They pushed the mandatory iodized salt, bawal bawal penalize prohibit non-iodized salt like seasalt. See this story,

Supporting Philippine sea salt production helps salt farmers and preserves culture
Yvette Tan  March 12, 2020

DOH-WHO also pushed mandatory vaccination, bawal bawal unvaxxed in many offices and schools. There could be big money for the iodized salt sector the same way there is big money in vax vax vax.

Here is the law, enacted Nov. 15, 1995.

RA 8172,  An Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide (ASIN)

SECTION 3. Purposes.

b) require all producers/manufacturers of food-grade salt to iodize the salt that they produce, manufacture, import, trade or distribute...

SECTION 5. Applicability.

a) This act shall apply to the entire salt industry, including salt producers/manufacturers, importers, traders and distributors, as well as government and non-government agencies involved in salt iodization activities...

c) All food outlets, restaurants, and stores are hereby required to make available to customers only iodized salt in their establishment upon effectively of this Act....

SECTION 9. Sanctions. 

... Provided, That any person, whether natural or judicial, who violates any of the provisions of this Act or any of the rules and regulations promulgated for its effective implementation shall be punished by a fine of not less than One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) not more than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00)...

So technically the non-branded, non-iodized sea salt that I buy in the public market or "palengke" for my grilled bangus at tilapia, are illegal, smuggled products.  Necessary food ingredients are prohibited. And there are even some scientific studies and medical practitioners who do not support iodized salt for other health reasons.

Only Gobment can think and enact bawal-bawal leading to salt shortages.

As consumers, give us choice. Iodized or non-iodized, give us choice. Do not prohibit non-iodized salt.

Friday, September 09, 2022

Free Trade 71, Anti-Illicit Trade Conf in Manila, invstment liberalization in agri

There will be a big international conference on Anti-Illicit Trade (AIT) in Manila this coming October 13 organized by The Economist with the following speakers. Should be interesting.

I was invited and I already registered, here,

And I just saw this, an AIT Institute (AITI) at George Mason University (GMU) in the US, https://traccc.gmu.edu/projects/current/anti-illicit-trade-institute/. I've visited GMU Fairfax, Virginia, US campus in 2004.

Meanwhile, a good call by the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) to have investment liberalization in rice and corn.

‘Government should allow full foreign ownership in rice, corn sectors’
Louella Desiderio September 8, 2022

When there is investment liberalization, quickly following usually is trade liberalization. The foreign investors would want to bring in modern technology and machines and raise productivity, and bring the surplus products or harvests abroad as merchandise exports. 

We should liberalize all. Agriculture, mining, energy, education, healthcare, housing, alcohol, tobacco, vapes, pharma, etc. The only thing we should unliberalize and further bureaucratize are stealing, killing, abduction, corruption, etc.

Thursday, September 08, 2022

BWorld 559, Build-build-build, extended welfare, vaccine discrimination, and liberty forum

* My article in BusinessWorld last September 5. 

There are as usual four topics in this column and we go straight to them.


Dr. Epictetus E. Patalinghug, Professor Emeritus of UP Diliman (and my former undergrad Economics teacher in the 1980s), wrote a good paper: “An Assessment of the Infrastructure Program of the Duterte Administration” (funded by the UP Professor Emeritus Research Program, published August 2022).

The paper assesses the end-of-term performance (2016-2022) of the previous Administration’s Build, Build, Build (BBB) Program. It observed that the scope of BBB changed from 75 big-ticket projects to 112 less ambitious and more doable projects. The huge gap between the actual and targeted infrastructure expenditures in the early years of the program was a manifestation of the weak absorptive capacity of the implementing agencies.

Among the 15 railway projects examined by the study, only two were completed, and among the 10 unsolicited airport public-private partnership (PPP) projects, none was completed. While Duterte’s BBB saw an all-time high in infrastructure spending vis-à-vis previous administrations, still its performance was low compared to its targets.

The Marcos Jr. administration should go back to the conventional PPP scheme in building huge infrastructure. The private sector bears most, if not all, of the financial and technical aspects while government arranges right of way and other property rights related issues.


The heavy government-imposed lockdowns of 2020-2021 resulted in the large-scale displacement of labor and businesses. Government borrowed heavily, averaging P2 trillion a year, to fund new welfare programs on top of existing ones. We look at health welfare and social protection. Health insurance (via PhilHealth) continues to rise while public health services jumped big time in 2020-2021, and there is a new health program not elsewhere classified (n.e.c.) of P180 billion next year.

Social protection spending more than doubled in 2020 over the 2019 level, led by spending on survivors, street families, and protection n.e.c. The problem is that lockdowns have ended this year and yet the huge social spending continues in 2022-2023 (see Table 2).

“We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added… No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear.” — Ronald Reagan, former US President

May President Marcos Jr. and the economic team heed this advice from Mr. Reagan.


An unvaccinated Grade 11 student in one private school in Metro Manila was prohibited from attending classes for two weeks because one member of her choir group, who was vaccinated, tested positive. The school’s protocol for “Quarantine of asymptomatic close contacts of individuals with symptoms, suspect, probable, or confirmed cases: (a) Fully vaccinated asymptomatic shall quarantine for at least five days, (b) Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated asymptomatic shall quarantine for at least 14 days, from the date of the last exposure.”

This continuing vaccine discrimination by schools and offices is instigated by old, alarmist, scare-mongering, and heavy vax-pushing policies of the Department of Health (DoH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF). A vaxxed student tested positive and the unvaxxed one who is not sick is penalized. This is typical of a riddle with an obvious answer, “What product on earth blames its failure to protect on those who do not use it?”

The parents are hesitant to have their child vaccinated for at least two reasons. One, a trend of declining births and fertility in many countries especially in 2022 after the mass vaccination rollout in 2021. In the Philippines for instance, the average births per month were: 139,494 in 2019, 127,390 in 2020, 113,728 in 2021, and 93,430 in January-February 2022.

Birth rates in Q1 2022 vs. Q1 2021 were as follows: Taiwan -27%, Germany -12%, Netherlands, Estonia, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic -11%, Finland and Greece -10% (see https://petersweden.substack.com/p/birthrates-down).

Two, rising cases of heart- and thrombotic-related diseases post vaccination. There is one compilation that is regularly updated of about 1,000 studies and reports. For 1.) Myocarditis 226 studies, 2.) Thrombosis 150 studies, 3.) Thrombocytopenia 115 studies, and so on (see https://www.informedchoiceaustralia.com/post/1000-peer-reviewed-studies-questioning-covid-19-vaccine-safety).

These plus continuing reports of unexplained child deaths post vaccination should shake the DoH, the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., and Vice-President Sara Duterte, to stop the continuing vaccine discrimination, explicit and implicit.

Back to the school and the student. The school officials explained that they have to follow existing DoH and IATF protocols. They bent backwards and will provide one-on-one make up classes for the unvaxxed student who has been prevented from going to school even if she has zero symptoms, and was not sick the entire year. Good move by the school but continuing bad policies by the government.


There are three international fora in Manila that I will attend: the Asia Liberty Forum (ALF) on Sept. 29-30 at Shangri-La BGC, sponsored by the Atlas Network and its local partner Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF); the Asian Taxpayers Regional Forum on Sept. 27-28, also at Shangri-La BGC, sponsored by the World Taxpayers Association (WTA); and, the Global Anti-Illicit Trade Summit, South-East Asia on Oct. 13, organized by The Economist.

The ALF is an annual event sponsored by Atlas that started around 2013 in Delhi. I attended only the ALF 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal; ALF 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; ALF 2017 in Mumbai, India; ALF 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia; and ALF 2019 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) sponsored all my participation in those events except in 2015, when Media 9 and Business 360 magazine (Kathmandu) sponsored me. Thanks again, FNF and Media 9. The last time that Atlas sponsored me was for the Atlas Liberty Forum 2008 in Atlanta, and 2009 in Los Angeles, USA, when Jo Kwong was still the Atlas Vice-President and she would look for funding so I could fly and attend the events. After Jo left Atlas in 2010, there was no sponsorship for me from their organization.

WTA’s main advocacies are low flat tax and limited government. I have been an observer-ally of WTA since 2006 when it co-organized with the Korea Taxpayers Association (KTA) the regional meeting in Seoul, South Korea and they sponsored my trip. I attended other WTA regional meetings after that and my last participation were the meetings in Bangkok in 2017 and in Sydney in 2019.

This will be my first time attending the Anti-Illicit Trade conference. More illicit trade means a country is becoming more corrupt because the smugglers, criminal groups, and their protectors in government are having their way. Weak rule of law, high taxes, and weakening brand protection are among the major contributors to more illicit trade. In October 2019, I wrote a chapter in the International Property Rights Index (IPRI) 2019 entitled “Banning brand: Consumer and economic impact of plain packaging.” I presented it at the IPRI 2019 global launch in Manila, then in IPRI presentations in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Jakarta, all in one week.

The global lockdowns of 2020-2021 were a triumph of Big Governments and a retreat for individual freedom. The irony is that many free-market groups have supported the global narratives that: 1.) Government-imposed lockdowns and government-mandated vaccinations are necessary; 2.) Only the virus evolves and humans do not evolve to deal with it; and, 3.) natural immunity from natural infection should be distrusted and only vax immunity should be trusted.

May the liberty forum and taxpayers’ forum awaken many people from a long slumber to realize that individual freedom should not be sacrificed on the altar of global advances of Big Government.

See also:
BWorld 556, Growth recovery, declining births, and rising power demand, September 04, 2022
BWorld 557, 10 things to watch in energy, the budget, and taxes, September 5, 2022
BWorld 558, ABS-TV5 Partnership, SMC rate hike petition, and Budget 2023, September 06, 2022.

Covid 76, Covid vax effects on fertility

 Some news reports and data on this subject, read on.

1. Presentation By Dr Luke McLindon On Miscarriages & Vaccination. Micarriage Rate Doubled to 48%!
Tim Truth  August 27, 2022 

2. 16 August 2022: UK Changes Their Guidelines On Vaccination Of Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women To Withdraw Vaccination Recommendations, And To Recommend Pregnancy Screening Prior To Vaccination!
Philippine Obstetrical And Gynecological Society (POGS) maintain their 22nd January 2022 Practice Bulletin for full Covid-19 vaccination and booster doses for pregnant and breastfeeding women!

3. Infertility Pandemic: Number Of Births In Germany For January-April 2022 Period Plummets 12%

By P Gosselin on 10. August 2022

“Compared to the previous year, the number of births has fallen by 12 percent – that’s about 25,000 fewer births in the first four months of 2022,” reports Sternfried Müller of transitionnews.de.

The next transitionnews.de chart shows the monthly number of births and just how dismally 2022 lags so far compared to the previous years:

4. Denmark bans COVID vaccines for children
By Jonathan Bradley Aug 10, 2022 

The Danish government barred children under 18 years old from taking COVID-19 vaccines because of the low risk they face from the virus. 

“Therefore, it will no longer be possible for children and young people under the age of 18 to get the 1st jab, and from 1 September 2022 it will no longer be possible to get the 2nd jab,” said the Danish government in a June statement. 

5. Growth recovery, declining births, and rising power demand
Bienvenido S. Oplas Jr.  August 15, 2022

...Three, the effect of vaccination that may have affected some people’s fertility. Mass vaccination in the Philippines started in March 2021. The various COVID-19 vaccines were developed in just months, with no long-term study on reproductive health of people done, they were rushed as emergency use authorization (EUA).


6. The effect of BNT162b2 SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine on menstrual cycle symptoms in healthy women
Naama Lessans,Amihai Rottenstreich,Shira Stern,Adi Gilan,Tal D. Saar,Shay Porat,Uri P. Dior
First published: 20 July 2022

Our study shows relatively high rates of irregular bleeding and menstrual changes after receiving the SARS-CoV-2 mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine. Further research is needed to confirm our findings and to better characterize the magnitude of change and any possible long-term implications.

7. Something weird is happening with the birth rates.
Peter Imanuelsen. Jul 15, 2022

For example, in the Swedish capitol of Stockholm, there has been a 14% reduction in births the first quarter of 2022 compared with 2021. And it is not only in Stockholm, the fertility has dropped all across Sweden.

We are seeing unprecedented collapses around the world. What is going on?
The birthrates have fallen in an unprecedented way in Q1 2022 compared with Q1 2021.

Germany🇩🇪: Down 12%
Taiwan🇹🇼: Down 27%
Netherlands🇳🇱: Down 11%

The same trend worldwide. 

8. Covid Vaccines and Fertility
Published: June 2022 (upd.)

Why is there a substantial decrease in births in Germany, Switzerland, and other countries – nine months after the beginning of covid mass vaccinations?

Do covid vaccines impact male or female fertility?

International birth rates 2022 vs. 2021

9. Covid-19 vaccination BNT162b2 temporarily impairs semen concentration and total motile count among semen donors
Itai Gat,Alon Kedem,Michal Dviri,Ana Umanski,Matan Levi,Ariel Hourvitz,Micha Baum
First published: 17 June 2022

Repetitive measurements revealed −15.4% sperm concentration decrease on T2 (CI −25.5%–3.9%, p = 0.01) leading to total motile count 22.1% reduction (CI −35% – −6.6%, p = 0.007) compared to T0. 


10. Menstrual changes after Covid vaccines may be far more common than previously known
A study found that 42% of people with regular menstrual cycles said they bled more heavily than usual after their Covid vaccination.
By Sarah Sloat  July 16, 2022, 2:00 AM PST

An analysis published Friday in the journal Science Advances found that 42% of people with regular menstrual cycles said they bled more heavily than usual after vaccination. Meanwhile, 44% reported no change and around 14% reported a lighter period. Among nonmenstruating people — those post-menopause or who use certain long-term contraceptives, for example — the study suggests many experienced breakthrough or unexpected bleeding after their Covid shots.

The survey included over 39,000 people 18 to 80 years old who were fully vaccinated and had not contracted Covid. The study authors cautioned, though, that the percentages do not necessarily represent the rate of menstrual changes in the general population, since people who observed a difference were more likely to participate.

11. Major Study Confirms COVID Vaccines Alter Women's Periods
Tyler Durden SUNDAY, JUL 17, 2022 - 05:00 AM

12. Casket manufacturer reports unprecedented orders of child-size coffins
By Amanda Brown Jul 12, 2022

Children's caskets typically accommodate the bodies of children aged between 18 months to around 10 years of age.

"There's no denying it, I would say the sales versus the pre-pandemic period were probably up 30%, maybe 40%. And in this industry, for a 30% or 40% increase in sales, something dramatic has to have happened. And it's not just local to specific towns," Mick said. 

13. Europe officially records a shocking 691% increase in Excess Deaths among Children since EMA first approved COVID Vaccine for Children

14. Why won’t the US medical establishment “believe women”? Covid-19 vaccines do not warn about menstrual disruption

I have five female friends who, after receiving Covid-19 vaccines, experienced disruption to their menstrual cycles. Their symptoms have included hemorrhagic bleeding lasting more than a month; heavy intermittent bleeding for four months; passing golf-ball size clots of blood; and extreme cramping, serious enough to land one friend in the ER.

Most of these women are in their 20s and 30s, and at least one of them thinks she might want to have children. She now worries that her symptoms might be the harbinger of long-term fertility problems. At least two of my friends have symptoms that have not resolved. All are feminists and have throughout the years been consistent Democratic Party voters.

Effect of lockdowns on birth rates in the UK
Published: April 21, 2022

Total number of births by month, 2018-21


See also:
Covid 73, More deaths, more marriages, but less babies in 2021, why? April 12, 2022
Covid 74, Vax spending in the Philippines, September 03, 2022
Covid 75, Vax effects -- myocarditis, thrombosis, pericarditis... September 05, 2022.

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Deindustrialization 3, United Kingdom, August 2022 reports

This is the trend in UK electricity prices, January 2021 to yesterday, from about GBP50/MWH to GBP465. Chart from Trading Economics.

The pace of UK deindustrialization and degrowth economics seems to be pacing fast. See these reports last month alone.

1. Britain at breaking point: One in eight say they have nothing left to cut back on to help pay for energy when prices jump further
Jessica Warren 01 Aug 202

2. British household energy bills to be at ‘devastating’ levels until ‘at least 2024’
2 August 2022

3. Energy bills forecast to hit £3,615 amid worsening cost-of-living crisis
Jody Harrison 2nd August 2022

4. Half of Britons cutting back on food as they struggle to afford energy bills
August Graham 22 July 2022

5. Almost half of UK adults fear falling into fuel poverty before the year ends
3 AUG 2022

6. Energy bills could double to £4,200 a year under new cap
Emily Gosden August 05 2022,

7. "Revolution Has Begun": 75,000 Brits To Stop Paying Power Bills Amid Inflation Storm
Tyler Durden, AUG 08, 2022


8. A third of Brits face poverty with energy bills set to hit $5,000
Anna Cooban August 9, 2022

Energy bills to top £5,000 next year in new shock to households
Louis Ashworth  11 August 2022 

9. Tories can no longer avoid telling hard truths about the route out of this mess
DAVID FROST 11 August 2022

10. Britain’s Net Zero Lesson for the U.S.
Soaring energy prices may send a third of the U.K. into poverty.
By The Editorial Board  Aug. 12, 2022

11. Schools consider three-day week amid rising energy bills and teacher pay
Louisa Clarence-Smith  13 August 2022

12. Pubs and restaurants warn of winter closures as energy bills soar 300pc
Hannah Boland  15 August 2022

13. Why Britain is on the brink of blackouts
JAMES WOUDHUYSEN  16th August 2022

14. Exclusive: Industry faces £50bn ‘ticking time bomb’ of record energy bills

15. One-in-four Britons predicted to be unable to afford energy bills in October
Dimitris Mavrokefalidis  18 August 2022

16. Britain’s Dumbest Energy Policy
By The Editorial Board  Aug. 18, 2022

17. Britain may go hungry thanks to faulty eco dogma
JAMIE BLACKETT  18 August 2022

18. Britain faces 'humanitarian crisis' as energy costs soar, says health lobby
August 19, 2022

19. Record-breaking gloom grips Britain ahead of 'nightmare' winter
Louis Ashworth and Tim Wallace  19 August 2022 

20. Energy Inflation Threatens Thousands Of UK Businesses
Irina Slav - Aug 19, 2022

21. UK inflation projected to hit 18.6% as gas prices surge
Chris Giles, David Sheppard and Jim Pickard in London, August 23, 2022

22. Latest forecast warns energy bills could hit £6,500 from April as gas prices spike again
Tuesday 23 August 2022

23. UK industry faces energy SHUTDOWN – leaked memo exposes horror scenario for next PM

24. Energy bills: Half of UK households face fuel poverty, EDF warns
Simon Jack, August 23, 2022

25. Half Of UK Households Will Be In Fuel Poverty By January
Irina Slav - Aug 24, 2022

26. UK Government Warned of “Civil Unrest” Over People Being Unable to Pay Energy Bills
Yet Boris Johnson insists support for Ukraine should be prolonged.
Paul Joseph Watson 25 August, 2022

27. Energy bills to wipe out almost three quarters of state pension
The energy price cap is expected to soar to £6,600 next April
Jessica Beard  27 August 2022

28. The British Energy Horror Story
By Paul Homewood AUGUST 28, 2022

29. Green Energy Fail: British Union Boss Predicts Riots, 1990s Style Uprising
Allen Santos August 28, 2022

30. Jobs armageddon as business prepares to shut up shop while energy bills soar
Business leaders fear hundreds of thousands are at risk
Sabah Meddings, Jamie Nimmo, Sam Chambers and Harry Yorke August 28 2022

Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of lobby group UKHospitality, said 10,000 businesses could shut permanently in the next 18 months, which would result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. Of these workers, between 300,000 and 350,000 are employed in hospitality, with a further 200,000 in the supply chain dependent on 

31. How climate policy fuelled our energy crisis
From the Climate Change Act to Net Zero, green policies have throttled our energy supplies.
ANDY MAYER  29th August 2022

32. The Fantasy World of Renewable Energy

33. UK inflation could top 22% as energy prices soar, Goldman Sachs warns
Karen Gilchrist AUG 30 2022

34. Energy prices forcing pubs and brewers to the brink of closure
Tuesday 30 August 2022

See also:
Deindustrialization 1, Europe's sagging energy supply, July 26, 2022
Deindustrialization 2, Germany, June-July 2022 reports, September 4, 2022.