Thursday, November 30, 2023

BWorld 660, On Meralco PSA bidding and nuclear power development

Nov. 28, 2023

We have four related energy topics here, and we go straight to them.

1. Proposed delay in Meralco 1,800 MW PSA bidding, “overcharging” allegation

About two weeks ago, Sta. Rosa Rep. Dan S. Fernandez hurled an allegation about Meralco’s “overcharging” and attacked its recent bidding for a power supply agreement (PSA). There was also a House of Representatives committee on legislative franchise hearing on these issues on Nov. 22. As background, see these recent reports in BusinessWorld by Sheldeen Joy Talavera:

“Meralco seeking speedy resolution of issues over ‘very crucial’ 1,800-megawatt capacity” (Oct. 17); “Meralco seeks bidders for 1,800-MW power supply” (Nov. 3); “Meralco forecasts 4.7% growth in energy sales volume by year-end” (Nov. 14); “Meralco baseload bid attracts interest from power providers with 3,000 MW in capacity” (Nov. 21); and “Meralco says rate setting is regulated, stringent” (Nov. 27).

I support Congressman Fernandez’s position on investigating Philippine deaths by the tens of thousands in 2021 that coincided with mass vaccination, and his position on reforming the military and uniformed personnel pension. But his ideas and understanding of electricity issues are warped and twisted. Here are his warped arguments based on a Nov. 24 press release from his office:

• The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) should pause, stop Meralco PSA for 1,800 MW of power supply because the conditions and terms of reference were “tailor-fitted” to certain companies and are “anti-competitive and discriminatory.” It is also a monopsony.

• The requirement that a power plant should be in commercial operation not earlier than January 2020 to May 2025 to participate in the bidding, excluding other old power plants from participating, calling it “trademarking, branding, tailor-fitting.”

Meralco answered these two points in a press release on Nov. 26:

On the first, the terms of reference is approved by the Department of Energy (DoE) before Meralco conducts the competitive selection process to ensure these are aligned with DoE requirements and standards and not “tailor-fitted” to favor select generation companies. That the ongoing selection process of Meralco is just a rebidding of a valid selection held in 2020, and the new process simply reiterated most of the provisions in the previous terms that were approved by DoE.

On the second, it is a DoE requirement to limit the long-term contract bidding to greenfield (five years before start of contract) power plants to encourage new capacities. There are six potential bidders for the upcoming competitive selection process.

From the two statements, I say that Congressman Fernandez is wrong and Meralco is correct in following the DoE guidance. There are six participants now because only six generation companies expressed interest. If 12 gencos submitted EOIs and they fit the TOR, then there would have been 12 bidders.

My suspicion is that the congressman is pushing some old power plants to participate even if they do not qualify for the terms set by the DoE. If those old plants win the competitive selection process and later conk out and cause regular blackouts, and many big investments fail to come for fear of more blackouts, will Congressman Fernandez and his favored old power plants accept responsibility? I doubt it.

Rep. Fernandez also alleged “P200 billion overcharging of customers since 2012” and that this amount should be given back to consumers.

Meralco in its Nov. 26 statement said its rates “undergo a review and confirmation process to ensure that they are fair and reasonable, just like other distributors, that it has no power to unilaterally set its own rates. All rates reflected in the electricity bills of customers are approved by the regulator following a very stringent and transparent process of public hearings.”

I encountered that “P100+ billion Meralco overcharging” earlier. See this column’s two pieces this year: “Low power supply and Meralco distribution cost” (April 3); and “More on Meralco distribution charges and energy transition” (April 17).

I will show again the disaggregation of total Meralco charges from 2012 to July 2018. The numbers show the following: One, there was no big increase in overall price, from P11/kWh in 2012 to P11.52 in 2018; two, there was no big increase in Meralco distribution, supply and metering (DSM) charges, from P2.18/kWh in 2012 to P2.28/kWh in 2018. And three, generally flat generation and transmission charges.

What can be charged as real “overcharging” is the universal charge in missionary electrification and the subsidy to customers of off-grid islands and provinces in the country — from only 12 centavos/kWh in 2012 to 44 centavos/kWh in 2018. The feed-in tariff allowance (FIT-All) or subsidies for intermittent power like wind and solar also increased during the period.

So there was no room for “overcharging” in the overall rates in the Meralco DSM. The “overcharging” by P100+ billion allegation is simply a warped, garbled and fictional narrative that is driven by politics and not by economics and actual numbers.

The Meralco competitive selection process should proceed.

2. DoE-USAID forum on “Advancing Energy Security through Championing Local Actions”

This was held on Nov. 17 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in BGC, Taguig City. It is good that USAID is helping local government units innovate more on local energy efficiency and conservation plan and energy management. But there is one problem here — LGUs are encouraged to focus more on energy conservation and even consumption cuts, instead of expanding more power generation from more sources.

Big LGUs like the cities of Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu and Davao should attract more big investments from both FDIs and local businesses. But if they see blackouts just around the corner due to insufficient power supply, or they must buy big generator sets and automatically raise their capex and opex and hence, the cost of business, very likely many potential investors will not come. LGUs will lose, not benefit, from this situation.

3. DoE-US cooperation on harnessing civilian nuclear power for sustainable development or “Agreement 123”

On Oct. 16, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla signed that bilateral agreement with the US during President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s attendance at the APEC summit. The agreement covers not just nuclear power development but also nuclear technology application in plant breeding, livestock production, insect pest control, soil and crop management, food safety, health and medicine, and many more. Beautiful move, Secretary Lotilla.

4. Pandesal Forum on nuclear energy

On Nov. 24, I attended the Pandesal Forum on nuclear energy. The main speakers were Congressman Mark O. Cojuangco, chairman of the House special committee on nuclear energy, and Gayle Certeza, lead convenor of Alpas Pinas, a nuclear energy education and advocacy NGO. Wilson Flores was the moderator.

As background, see these recent reports in BusinessWorld: “Nuclear deal seen addressing PHL need for baseload power” (Nov. 19), “House approves bill creating nuclear regulator” (Nov. 22).

The proposed “Philippine National Nuclear Energy Safety Act” (House Bill 9293, passed on third reading) seeks to establish the Philippine Atomic Regulatory Authority, which will have “sole and exclusive jurisdiction to exercise regulatory control for the peaceful, safe and secure uses of nuclear energy and radiation sources.”

This is a beautiful bill and must become a law. It will complement DoE-US Agreement 123. I support the pivot to nuclear power development, whether large nuclear plants of 1,000 MW, or small modular reactors (SMR) of 20-40 MW, or micro modular reactors of 5 MW or less. Stable, reliable, running 24/7 at competitive prices. We need them, especially on off-grid islands. They should have SMRs so we can abolish the UC-ME someday, now at 22 centavos/kWh when it should be zero.

See also:
BWorld 657, Energizing growth via grid ‘demonopolization’ and ‘declimatism’ policies, November 26, 2023
BWorld 658, Economic forecast 2024, November 27, 2023 
BWorld 659, Economic forecast 2024 (Part 2), November 29, 2023.

Climate 105, On COP 28, $1 trillion loss-damage fund, ESG

The UNFCCC COP 28 meeting is starting today in Dubai. As usual, it will be a prolonged meeting about money, how many $ billion yearly from countries X to countries Y. Enjoy these reports.

Woke capitalism's comeuppance: investments in trendy 'ESG' assets collapsed by $5 trillion in just two years, as Republican backlash and tumbling wind and solar stocks upend the sector

Global ESG assets fell from $35.3 trillion to $30.3 trillion between 2020 and 2022

They are now declining in market share by 5 percent each year, report says  

By JAMES REINL 29 November 2023


Volkswagen to reduce headcount at 'no longer competitive' VW brand
Reuters November 28, 2023

Loss & Damage Fund will be key test for COP28 success on climate finance

Finance is set to be at the heart of COP28, the UN climate summit starting on Thursday in Dubai, with economists saying that around $1 trillion per year is needed to support developing countries in their fight against climate change.
By Isabel da Silva 27/11/2023

Germany’s Lindner signals government to suspend debt brake for 2023
As Germany grapples with a budget crisis, the finance minister said the government will declare an ‘extraordinary emergency.’


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

BWorld 659, Economic forecast 2024 (Part 2)

Economic forecast 2024
November 24, 2023 | 12:02 am

My Cup Of Liberty
By Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.

(Part 2)

On Nov. 22, I attended part of the BusinessWorld Economic Forum (BWEF) 2023 which had the theme “Forecast 2024” at Grand Hyatt in BGC Taguig City, and Stratbase’s “Pilipinas Conference 2023” at The Peninsula Manila in Makati City. Since they occurred on the same day, I chose certain sessions from each to attend.

In the morning, the Stratbase conference featured the government economic and infrastructure teams while the BWEF featured the regional heads of multilaterals Asian Development Bank (ADB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank (WB).

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno reiterated that the Philippines is one of the fastest-growing countries in the fastest-growing region in the world. Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said that their priorities are Procurement law amendments, government rightsizing, cash budgeting, and open government partnership (OGP). She said that these will complement fiscal consolidation and help keep the fast growth trajectory and sustain it, create more jobs and reduce poverty.

In the afternoon at the BWEF, I watched the panel on “Equipping energy for greater demand” and the speakers were Anthony Oundjian of Boston Consulting, Emmanuel Rubio of Aboitiz Power Corp., and John Eric Francia of ACEN.

I was surprised by Mr. Oundjian’s opening slide about a “current energy crisis” because I do not believe there is an energy crisis (or an oil crisis, a transport crisis, a food crisis, a health crisis, a climate crisis…). These are hiccups where cheap energy like oil and gas from Russia were shunned due to politics and the war.

Mr. Francia said that for 2024, the normalized growth is between 5-6% and there is adequate supply to address higher electricity demand, and that his company will have 1,000 MW of new renewable energy (RE).

Mr. Rubio has a more down-to-earth explanation of meeting power demand and supply. He said that the variability of renewable energy must be considered in planning an energy transition, that in other countries variable energy generation has a cap. That the Philippines still needs reliable, stable, and affordable energy and in comparing thermal vs RE, the full cost including ancillary services and batteries should be included.

Jerome Cainglet of the Energy Dev’t Corp. (EDC) was also supposed to be one of the speakers, but he did not show. EDC is focused on wind power and geothermal energy.

I still believe that the Energy department’s disallowance, since the previous administration, of new or “greenfield” coal projects is wrong. If our focus is on more growth and more electricity for our businesses and households, coal has provided that to many countries for many decades.

In the accompanying table I compiled data on four rich European “decarbonizing” economies that significantly reduced their coal use, and big population Asian countries with rising coal consumption, plus Turkey.

Decarbonizing Europeans with declining coal use have had anemic growth of only 1% to 1.6% from 2012-2022 while developing Asians with rising coal use have fast average growth of 4% to 6.5% yearly. Again, there are many factors for why a country has fast or slow growth, but the fossil fuel input is among the important factors.

The Philippines’ 6% to 7% annual GDP growth target for 2023 and beyond will require similar growth in power generation, meaning a 6-7 terawatt-hours (TWH) yearly incremental increase over some 100 TWH in 2022.

If we expand by only 4-6 TWH yearly, growth will be affected and compromised to roughly 5% or less. We do not want that. We have the momentum already, with 5.6% growth in Q1-Q3 this year, and this is projected to grow at 6.2% to 6.5% in 2024 (according to ADB and AMRO projections). We should not douse this momentum.

See also:
BWorld 656, Stabilizing growth of the fastest growing major economy in the world, November 19, 2023
BWorld 657, Energizing growth via grid ‘demonopolization’ and ‘declimatism’ policies, November 26, 2023
BWorld 658, Economic forecast 2024, November 27, 2023.

Dr. Romy Quijano on vaccines, Part 3

Graphene and the Covid-19 Vaccines

Romeo F. Quijano, M.D. Professor (Ret.)
College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila
Oct. 13, 2023

One of the most controversial issues surrounding the Covid-19 vaccines is the alleged presence of graphene, mainly in the form of graphene oxide, in these vaccines. After the roll-out of the vaccines, a group in Spain, La Quinta Columna, headed by Dr. Ricardo Delgado, claimed that graphene oxide was found in some vials of the covid vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca and Janssen). Their claim was based mainly on the scientific study done by Dr. Pablo Campra Madrid, Associate Professor in Chemistry at the University of Almeria, Spain (1). In this study, Dr. Campra concludes:

“A random sampling of COVID19 vaccine vials has been performed using a coupled micro- RAMAN technique to characterize graphene-like microscopic objects using spectroscopic fingerprints characteristic of the molecular structure. The micro-RAMAN technique allows to reinforce the level of confidence in the identification of the material by coupling imaging and spectral analysis as observational evidence to be considered together. Objects have been detected whose RAMAN signals by similarity with the standard UNEQUIVOCABLY correspond to GRAPHENE OXIDE.”

More studies finding graphene in covid vaccines

Shortly after Dr. Campra’s study, an analysis of vaccine vials (Pfizer and Moderna) was also carried out in Chile (2). According to this study (translated from Spanish): The images of the vaccine samples obtained by Confocal Laser Microscopy were analyzed directly, finding microstructures that is characteristic of the presence of organic matter. Nanosheets, usually called graphene microsheets or graphene nanosheets were found. When magnified, amorphous structures forming meshes were observed, a particular feature that graphene has. STEM (Short Time-series Expression Miner software) visualization shows amorphous agglomerates of nanostructures. An elemental distribution mapping performed on SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy)-Cu mounted samples found that the amorphous structures correspond to oxygen and carbon clusters characteristic of graphene.

Similarly in Argentina, Dr. Martín Monteverde and his colleagues carried out analyses of vials from Cansino, Pfizer, Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, and Sputnik using optical microscopy up to 400X magnification and found the same kinds of nano and micro-electronic graphene structures as found earlier by other researchers in Spain and Chile (3,4). They also found rectangular, bubble-like, and long worm shapes as possible field-effect transistors (FETs), microbubbles, and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SCWNT), as well as self-assembling properties in these nanoelectronics and microelectronics comprising tiny routers, circuits, and dots, including the seeming formation of fractalled plasmonic antennas.

In New Zealand, a team of scientists conducted microscopic observations into the vials of Comirnaty vaccine liquid and the results showed undisclosed ingredients within the vaccine similar to those found by Campra and Monteverde. Dr. Matt Shelton, head of New Zealand Doctors Speaking Out with Science, did his own experiments and confirmed that the findings were indeed true and replicable. There was close similarity between the two photographs of chip-like nanoparticles found in New Zeland and the one discovered in a vial in Germany. (5)

Dr. Robert Young from the USA analyzed 4 covid vaccines (Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna,Astrazeneca and Janssen) to verify their morphologies and contents using different instrumentation and protocols of preparation according to new nanoparticulate technological approaches.(6) All the controls were put in place and reference measurements adopted in order to obtain validated results. Images of the aqueous

fractions of the vaccines were subsequently obtained to visually assess the possible presence of carbon particulates or graphene. The observations under optical microscopy revealed an abundance of transparent 2D laminar objects that show great similarity with images from the literature (7) and with images obtained from rGO or Graphene Hydroxide standard (SIGMA). Images of big transparent sheets of variable size and shapes were obtained, showing corrugated and flat, irregular objects. Smaller sheets of polygonal shapes, also similar to flakes described in literature were revealed using Phase Contrast and Dark-Field microscopy. All these laminar objects were widespread in the aqueous fraction of the blood or vaccine samples and no component described by the registered patent(s) can be associated with these sheets.

Scientists in the United Kingdom recently conducted a forensic examination into the contents of covid vaccines. The objective of the study (“Qualitative Evaluation of Inclusions in Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines”) was to examine the vaccine vials and document any undeclared ingredients in the composition of the vaccines, with special focus on graphene and related products as well as any biological forms. The study was to verify the findings of graphene related compounds as reported by Campra and report any other biological inclusions that may be interpreted as toxic to human body. The vials went through evaluation of contents at four different laboratory sites.

Prepped slides of the samples were examined under a reflection and transmission light microscope for organic content and petrological microscope for mineral contents. Subsamples from original vials were obtained for Raman spectroscopy. The investigators discovered that the vaccines were loaded with graphene oxide. None of the covid injection manufacturers list graphene or carbon-related nanostructures in the form of carbon or graphene composites in their ingredients lists. They also fail to mention the presence of graphene in association with polyethylene glycol, graphene oxide, iron oxide compounds and calcite.

And yet all of these ingredients and more were identified in the vials: 1. Graphene nano ribbons coated with polyethylene glycol

2. Graphene composite Form 1

3. Graphene composite Form 2

4. Microcrystalline calcite with carbonaceous inclusions 5. Graphene nano form with and without fluorescence 6. Graphene nano objects

7. Graphene nano scrolls

In conclusion, the investigators stated that the four samples of vaccines (Moderna 1, Modern 2, AstraZeneca, Pfizer) all contain significant amounts of carbon composites, graphene compounds and iron oxide. These ingredients were undeclared by the manufacturers and are absent from the list of ingredients for the vaccines. (8)

Contamination or covert inclusion?

The aforementioned studies provide compelling evidence that leaves little doubt on the presence of graphene nanomaterials (GFNs) in covid-19 vaccines.

The presence of graphene oxide in the vaccine cannot be explained by contamination (a quality control problem identified by a number of studies in the process of manufacturing the vaccines) because graphene oxide, unlike contaminants, is not involved in the normal process of manufacturing the vaccine. DNA fragments, SV40 promoter gene, heavy metal residues, endotoxin and other possible contaminants are usual elements from adjuvants, cell culturing, purification and other steps in the manufacturing process which need to be filtered away from the final vaccine product that contains the vaccine ingredients (mRNA, LNPs, preservatives, etc) as declared by the manufacturer.

The presence of graphene oxide in the vaccine can only be explained by intentional addition into the vaccine, which was however publicly undisclosed. Corroborating evidence that graphene oxide was intentionally put into the vaccine is the fact that the patent description on graphene oxide, owned by Fosun pharmaceuticals which has a commercial partnership with Pfizer related to Covid vaccine, clearly indicates that the graphene oxide/GFN was specifically for use in the production of coronavirus vaccine. (17)

Monday, November 27, 2023

BWorld 658, Economic forecast 2024

Economic forecast 2024
November 21, 2023 | 12:02 am

My Cup Of Liberty
By Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.

Only six weeks to go and the year 2024 will be with us. Many people, especially entrepreneurs, are curious about two issues: 1.) What is the economic outlook, the business environment, for the new year? And, b.), what sectors should they invest in more, and where to pull back?


I checked the latest forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), its World Economic Outlook (WEO) October 2023, the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) September 2023 of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Trading Economics as of November 2023.

For Table 1, I put countries together into four groups: Group A is the ASEAN-6, Group B contains the large Asian economies, Group C has the largest economies of North and South America, and Group D is made up of the largest economies in Europe. The economic performances of most countries, especially in Europe and the ASEAN-6, have been worse this year than last year.

For 2024, the IMF foresees mild growth recovery in the ASEAN-6, South Korea, France, and Germany. And it sees modest inflation rates of only 1.7% to 4.6%.

The ADB has similar forecast numbers as the IMF, except in the US where it sees only 0.8% growth in 2024 vs the IMF’s 1.5%. And Trading Economics has a low growth forecast for the ASEAN-6, except for the Philippines where it sees high growth of 6.4% next year (see Table 1).

Of the three sources, I believe that Trading Economics has a more realistic forecast than the IMF and ADB — it sees growth of 6.4% for the Philippines. We should keep the growth target of 6.5% to 8%.

Singapore is currently crawling with growth of just 0.5% this year. Recently it pivoted to degrowth economics via high carbon tax — it will raise the current $5/ton to $25/ton in 2024-2025, and up to $45/ton in 2026-2027, and $50-80/ton by 2030. This is a degrowth and deindustrialization policy.

I also checked two other sources, the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF) 2024 submitted by the economic team to Congress in August 2023, and the forecast by the Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI) in November 2023.

The BESF targets GDP growth of 6.5% to 8% in 2024, BPI sees growth at 6.2%. The BESF targets inflation to be 2% to 4%, while BPI sees it at 3.6%. The BESF targets a US dollar/Philippine peso exchange rate of P53 to P57 per dollar while BPI sees a P53.80 rate.

Tomorrow, Nov. 22, I will go to three big fora. One is the BusinessWorld Economic Forum (BWEF) 2023 with the theme, “Forecast 2024” at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in BGC, Taguig City. There is also the Stratbase’s “Pilipinas Conference 2023” at The Peninsula Hotel in Makati. Then the quarterly membership meeting of the Out-of-Home Advertising Association of the Philippines (OHAAP) in Valle Verde Country Club in Pasig City, where I will give a talk: “Economic Forecast 2024.”

The BWEF will have the regional or country heads of the three multilaterals — the ADB, the IMF, and the World Bank — as its keynote speakers in the morning. Stratbase will have the government’s economic team, the Secretaries of Finance, Budget, Economics/NEDA plus the Secretaries of Trade and Transportation as its morning speakers.


Last week, on Nov. 15, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., and the government’s economic and infrastructure teams held another Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) in the US, this time at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco, California. The President told business leaders, investors, and bankers there that “A wealth of opportunity awaits you in the Philippines and we are ready to explore new horizons with your investments in the coming years.”

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno who leads the economic team said: “We have opened up the economy. We didn’t wait for the virus to subside, we opened up many sectors of the economy and the economy really is doing very well. It is one of the fastest-growing countries in the fastest-growing region in the world. So this is our moment.” Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman discussed the priority expenditures in line with the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, and key budget reforms like the government’s rightsizing program.

The economic team has targeted a reduction in the country’s budget deficit to only 3% of GDP by 2028 and public debt of 51% or lower by 2028, while sustaining high infrastructure spending of 5% to 6% of GDP yearly.

These are hard to achieve targets considering the economic damage done by the lockdown dictatorship where public debt jumped from 37% of GDP in 2019 to 57% to 58% in 2020-2021. But we must pursue these targets with the goals of reducing the deficit, the public debt, and inflation rate while sustaining fast growth.


Table 2 is a breakdown of the industrial origins of the Philippines’ GDP in 2021-2023. The biggest sub-sectors are the wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (WRTRMVM), and manufacturing. They both constitute 18-19% of GDP each.

The good business prospects in terms of double-digit growth for at least two years are: Accommodation and food service activities, meaning the hotels, resorts, restaurants, and bars. Next are transportation (air, land, sea) and storage, although these two have a small percentage share of total GDP. Third would be construction. The Electricity, steam, water and waste management (ESWWM) sector has a modest growth of 5-6%.

Also a good business prospect — but which comes with high political risk — is mining, both metallic and non-metallic. Gold, copper, nickel, etc. will never fade in importance but the problem is politics, there are too many political actors opposing corporate and open-pit mining. We should prioritize more prosperity via responsible resource extraction, than more poverty with “undisturbed” lands.

See also:
BWorld 655, Stabilizing growth: Declining inflation and unemployment rates, November 18, 2023
BWorld 656, Stabilizing growth of the fastest growing major economy in the world, November 19, 2023
BWorld 657, Energizing growth via grid ‘demonopolization’ and ‘declimatism’ policies, November 26, 2023.

New, non-woke politics by AfD in Germany

If I were a German citizen, I would have supported and voted for Alternative for Germany (AfD) party especially in the last few years. Why, well it is non-woke, non-socialist, non-climate alarmist, non-welfarist, non-tax hungry and so on. It is anti-mass migration too. Migration is good, legal migration. But illegal migration is not. There are rules, procedures and vetting process before one can migrate to another country to live and work or study, such procedures should be implemented.

Enjoy these reports.

With Germany facing €60 billion budget crisis after top court ruling, the AfD party offers 5 budget cut proposals
Germany is facing a budget crisis after a top court ruling, with the AfD party, sensing weakness from the ruling left-liberal government, now proposing massive budget cuts
JOHN CODY November 27, 2023

1. Deport migrants

The AfD notes that the federal government is spending €27.8 billion on accommodation and care for migrants this year alone, and the party notes that most of them “are no longer allowed to be in Germany.” By deporting migrants en masse, the government could save billions. Other reports have put total spending on migrants in 2023 to be as high as €36 billion.

2. Stop the energy transition

The AfD writes that the “€60 billion declared inadmissible by the Federal Constitutional Court were unlawfully added to the climate budget. Therefore: Stop climate madness immediately, stop the energy transition, and increase nuclear power.”

The AfD notes that the energy transition is costing €30 billion per year. If Germany were to drop sanctions on Russian energy, it would also create an immediate boon for the country’s industrial sector through cheap energy.

3. End weapon deliveries to Ukraine

The federal government has spent €15 billion on Ukraine, including in the form of aid and weapons, and those costs are expected to further balloon. The AfD calls for an immediate halt of arms deliveries and a focus on rebuilding Germany’s armed forces.

4. End frivolous foreign aid handouts

The AfD is also calling for an end to irresponsible spending on foreign countries, noting that the Nigerian government recently boasted about SUVs and yachts for the ruling government after Germany sent it €40 million. In addition, the €4 billion Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised through the “EU-Africa Initiative” may have to be reconsidered in light of the recent German Constitutional Court ruling.

5. Stop paying for beauty services

The last point seems to be more of a political jab at Germany’s ruling class, with the AfD noting that the government is spending a total of €1.5 million for manicures, hairstyles, makeup, and photographers for officials. Although it would ultimately be a drop in the bucket of the overall German budget, cutting these expenditures would be a symbolic victory against wasteful government spending.

Major Setback For German Green Transformation As Top Court Rules Funding Unconstitutional!
By P Gosselin on 21. November 2023
Appropriation of 60 billion euros ruled unconstitutional by Germany High Court

Banning the AfD would be dangerous for democracy, says hard-left firebrand Wagenknecht
The hard-left German politician emerged as an unlikely defender of the Alternative for Germany amid calls for the party to be banned, and reserved some praise for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
THOMAS BROOKE November 14, 2023

Germany: AfD reaches new record high, gains unprecedented 8-point lead over ruling SPD
AfD soars at the same time that Germans rate mass immigration as their most pressing issue
JOHN CODY October 16, 2023

Voters’ top concern is immigration, while climate change becomes a non-issue

Voters also say their top concern is mass immigration, with 44 percent of voters naming this as the most important political problem that politicians should address. This issue towers over the other problems facing the country, with armed conflicts/peace/foreign policy only coming in at 18 percent, while the economy comes in at 11 percent and inflation and taxes at 10 percent.

Regarding the environment and climate change, only 1 percent of Germans list this as the most pressing issue.

Bitter Defeat For Germany’s Ruling Socialist/Green Government In State Elections
By P Gosselin on 8. October 2023
German voters send loud and clear message to the socialist/green government in Berlin

In summary, voters are deeply dissatisfied with the policies of the ruling socialist-green government in Berlin and clearly reject their green schemes and wide open borders.

Renewable-Energy-Critical AfD Party Powers Into Saxony Parliament…”Shocking” Pollsters, Establishment (Again)
By P Gosselin on 1. September 2014

Sunday, November 26, 2023

BWorld 657, Energizing growth via grid ‘demonopolization’ and ‘declimatism’ policies

Energizing growth via grid ‘demonopolization’ and ‘declimatism’ policies
November 16, 2023 | 12:02 am

My Cup Of Liberty
By Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.

(Part 5 of a series)

As discussed in this column last Tuesday, the Philippines was the fastest-growing among the top 40 largest economies in the world in Q1-Q3 of 2023. We need to sustain this growth as economies that heavily pivoted to decarbonization and “climatism” (the belief that human use of fossil fuels destroys the Earth’s climate) are either crawling (below 1% growth) or contracting, especially the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, and Sweden.

This piece will cover two energy topics: pricing and revenues of the only remaining private monopoly nationwide, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), and the endless push for more intermittent wind and solar power due to the “climatism” lobby.


Last week, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) released the preliminary results of its ongoing review of the performance of the NGCP for the Fourth Regulatory Period (4th RP) 2016-2022. The ERC ruled that the total allowable revenues for Phase 1 of 4th RP is P183.49 billion, or an average of P36.7 billion/year. This is way below the NGCP’s claims of P387.80 billion for Phase 1, or an average of P77.56 billion/year, which is larger than the interim Maximum Annual Revenue (iMAR) of P51.47 billion for 2020 initially granted by ERC to the NGCP in a March 2022 issuance.

In simple terms, with the huge difference between the ERC-approved annual revenues and the NGCP claims of annual revenues, the NGCP is possibly over-charging its customers — say, instead of collecting only P0.50/kwh in transmission charges, it is collecting something like P0.80/kwh or higher. So the consumers are worse off, while the NGCP and friends are better off.

The ERC has disallowed many expenses that the NGCP has passed on to consumers such as, for 2016-2020, P1.46 billion for public relations and corporate social responsibility (CSR); P943 million for COVID prevention donations, P800 million for representation and entertainment, etc.

See these reports in BusinessWorld: “ERC caps NGCP allowable revenue at P36.7B annually, well below amount sought by grid” (Nov. 8), and “NGCP says expenses disallowed by ERC are ‘legitimate business costs’” (Nov. 9).

The NGCP’s mandate is to provide Filipinos “safe, efficient, and affordable electricity,” meaning a secure and stable grid so that households and enterprises can avoid blackouts and high electricity prices. A beautiful and direct mandate that it should stick to it. If the NGCP wants to donate to COVID prevention, or do CSR on, say, “climate catastrophe” prevention, these are outside its mandate and should not be billed to customers. It can dig from its huge annual profit (see the Table on this page) to finance these non-mandated functions and expenses.

I again checked the BusinessWorld Top 1000 Corporations, which uses financial statements submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission yearly. I computed the net income/gross revenue ratio, then compared the ERC-approved vs. NGCP-claimed revenues.

These are huge differences, P26 billion to P41 billion/year. That implies that the transmission charge that we pay is perhaps double what it should be. If proven to be correct, that is a stronger reason to demonopolize grid transmission. Monopoly very often leads to abuse of power. At the very least, the NGCP should cut its transmission charge by removing all expenses unrelated to its mandate which are billed to the consumers nationwide.


I have to present some updated data (among other existing scientific data) that show that there are no such things as “sea ice melting fast and drowning islands,” or “storms are getting stronger, more frequent,” or the classic “unprecedented global warming.”

The four charts on this page, clockwise from top left, show the amount of Arctic sea ice from 1978 to November 2023, the Antarctica ice levels in the same period, global paleoclimate data over the last 4,000 years, and the monthly count of global tropical storms from 1971 to August 2023.

The Arctic and Antarctica in natural sea ice melt-grow cycle. Global storms high-low storms cycle. And there is a global warming-cooling cycle over every few decades or even centuries, like the “Little ice age” cooling between the Medieval warm period and Modern warm period.

Global warming has many precedents since planet Earth was born some 4.5 billion years ago and thus, the term “unprecedented” warming is false and dishonest. And all these are natural cycles: a warming-cooling climate cycle, an ice melt-grow cycle, high-low storms cycle, water evaporation-condensation cycle, the El Niño-La Niña cycle, wet-dry season cycle, and so on.

All are nature-made cycles, not “man-made catastrophes” that will require more government/UN “solutions” like reducing or killing fossil fuel plants and pivoting to intermittent, unreliable wind-solar power, new reliance on batteries, and additional energy costs. There is no climate crisis, no climate emergency, to justify these deindustrialization, degrowth policies.


On a side note, I want to congratulate my sister’s office — the Alas Oplas & Co. CPAs (AOC) — on their 33rd anniversary this week. Marycris Oplas is the CEO and founding partner of AOC, an independent member of BKR International. She is the first woman, and the first person from the Asia-Pacific region to be the Chairperson of BKR International, a top 10 global accounting association with over 145 member firms in 585 cities across 81 countries. Before that, she was the Chairperson of BKR in the Asia-Pacific region, then Vice-Chair of BKR worldwide.

We are five siblings in the family, she is the third and I am the fourth, and she is the only one among us five who did not work in government (I worked at the House of Representatives from 1991-1999), and she has been the single longest supporter of Minimal Government Thinkers for nearly two decades now. By the way, my think tank advocates less or limited government, not zero government. Congratulations, AOC. Congratulations, ‘tol.

See also:
BWorld 654, Energizing growth via less intermittent wind, solar, November 13, 2023 
BWorld 655, Stabilizing growth: Declining inflation and unemployment rates, November 18, 2023
BWorld 656, Stabilizing growth of the fastest growing major economy in the world, November 19, 2023.

New, non-woke politics in Argentina and Netherlands

Good development in Argentina with the election of a non-woke, non-socialist, non-climate alarmist new President. Congratulations, Argentina.

Argentine libertarian Milei pledges new political era after election win
By Nicolás Misculin, Lucinda Elliott and Walter Bianchi
November 20, 2023

Argentina presidential election: far-right libertarian Javier Milei wins after rival concedes
Tom Phillips and Josefina Salomón and Facundo Iglesia  19 Nov 2023

"Javier Milei, a volatile far-right libertarian who has vowed to “exterminate” inflation and take a chainsaw to the state, has been elected president of Argentina, catapulting South America’s second largest economy into an unpredictable and potentially turbulent future.

The former US president Donald Trump wrote: “The whole world was watching! I am very proud of you. You will turn your country around and truly Make Argentina Great Again.”

His victory was also celebrated by X’s owner Elon Musk, who posted: “Prosperity is ahead for Argentina”.

Brazil’s leftwing president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – who Milei has repeatedly insulted as a corrupt “communist” – recognised Milei’s victory in a tepid social media post. “Democracy is the voice of the people and must always be respected,” Lula wrote, without mentioning Milei by name. “I wish the next government good luck and success. Argentina is a great country and deserves our complete respect,” Lula added."

The Free-Market Fundamentalism of Argentina’s Javier Milei
The President-elect, a right-wing populist with authoritarian instincts, has been compared to Donald Trump, but his radical views on the economy set him apart.
By John Cassidy  November 21, 2023

"...If he was elected, he told voters, he would slash government spending, cut taxes, make a bonfire of government regulations, replace the Argentine peso with the U.S. dollar, and abolish most government agencies, including the Central Bank. “Today marks the end of decadence in Argentina,” he declared at his victory party.

... In a revealing interview with The Economist in September, Milei recalled how it was reading an article by Rothbard, who died in 1995, that turned him into an “anarcho-capitalist”—someone who believes that the economy should be organized purely based on private contracts, and that the welfare state is “the enemy.” Milei said that he was still an anarcho-capitalist, intellectually speaking, but that he also recognized some of the difficulties associated with putting this philosophy into action. So, in practical terms, he was a “minarchist”—a believer in making the state as small as possible by confining its functions to defense and law enforcement."

Argentina to focus on infrastructure to ramp up oil, gas output: incoming minister
Charles Newbery 21 November 2023

Can President-Elect Javier Milei Turbocharge Argentina’s Energy Industry?
Gaurav Sharma 21 November 2023

Argentina election: Javier Milei's radical proposals face test of reality
By Pascal Fletcher 26 November 2023

"I do not deny climate change. What I am saying is that there is a temperature cycle in the history of the Earth... Therefore, all those policies that blame humans for climate change are false," Mr Milei said during a presidential debate last month, causing much commentary and criticism.

In his proposed government programme, one of the numerous ministries he had said he planned to axe would be the existing environment ministry."

And another non-woke, non-socialist, non-climate alarmist leader in the Netherlands. Congratulations, Dutch people.

Why the Dutch election result spells trouble for Europe’s climate efforts
Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party wants to undo the green transition.

"The far-right party that surged to victory in Wednesday’s Dutch election wants to ditch all efforts to stop climate change.

About a quarter of Dutch voters backed Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV), whose platform includes exiting the Paris climate accord, dismantling domestic green legislation, and scrapping measures to reduce planet-warming emissions.

While right-wing politicians from Scandinavia to Italy have won big over the past year, this is the first time a party openly calling for an end to the green transition has won a national election in the European Union....

“The climate is always changing,” the PVV asserts in its election manifesto, disregarding the current rapid warming trend driven by humanity’s fossil fuel consumption. “When conditions change we adapt … by raising dikes when necessary.” 

In general, the party wants to “stop the hysterical reduction of CO2,” which it considers unnecessary and a waste of money. 

What does that mean in practice? 

The PVV wants to rip up the Dutch Climate Act, which enshrines the country’s climate targets in law. It also wants to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. 

“The Climate Act, the [global] climate accord and all other climate measures go straight into the shredder,” the party manifesto says. 

The PVV wants to build more nuclear power plants, but opposes wind energy and large-scale solar parks. Its demands include keeping coal and gas power plants open and stepping up oil and gas extraction in the North Sea. A new €35 billion climate fund should be scrapped, the party says."

The humiliation of the Dutch establishment
The victory of Geert Wilders shows voters are desperate to hit back against the elites.
Fraser Myers  23rd November 2023

"... The Dutch government, under pressure from Brussels, introduced tight limits on the nitrogen emissions caused by fertilisers and cattle excrement. According to the government’s own estimates, these limits could lead to the closure of as many as 3,000 farms. This has led to years of agitation from farmers.

And it’s not just agriculture that could be flattened by climate policy. As a Politico profile of Timmermans this week notes, the much-vaunted European Green Deal could be about to set off a wave of deindustrialisation – on a scale not seen for 50 years. Politicians who think they can get away with impoverishing their citizens, while hiding behind waffle about Net Zero, are in for a very rude awakening."

Geert Wilders is just the beginning
The politics the PVV represents is not going away, and Germany could be next
STEPHEN DAVIES 23 November 2023

The Dutch revolt against Net Zero
Voters have sent Frans Timmermans, the EU’s ‘climate pope’, packing.
JAMES WOUDHUYSEN 24th November 2023

Sunday, November 19, 2023

BWorld 656, Stabilizing growth of the fastest growing major economy in the world

Nov. 14, 2023.

(Part 2 of a series)

Last week the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released the country’s GDP performance in the third quarter (Q3) of 2023. It was high at 5.9%, and, when compared with most large economies in the world, it was outstanding and excellent.*


In Table 1, I summarized the GDP growth in the first three quarters (Q1-Q3) of each year (2020 to 2023) of the Top 40 largest economies in the world by GDP size in 2022 at purchasing power parity (PPP) values. Four countries were not included — Pakistan and Bangladesh (no quarterly data), the United Arab Emirates (no data for 2023 yet), and Egypt (only Q1 data is available). So, 36 economies are included in the table.

The Philippines, with 5.6% growth in Q1-Q3, is now the fastest growing in the top 40 largest economies in the world. The economies that are contracting are those of Germany, Sweden, and Ireland. India and Iran may possibly overtake the Philippines if they retain their fast growth in Q1-Q2, but we will have to wait for their Q3 data to be released (see Table 1).

Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman correctly observed that in Q3 with “improved budget utilization… Government Final Consumption Expenditure (GFCE) grew at 6.7%… public infrastructure spending also made significant contributions to overall construction of 12.4%, and public construction grew by an impressive 26.9% as the Build, Better, More program accelerated its performance in the third quarter.”

The efforts of the Philippines economic team, plus the infrastructure team, are bearing fruit. In fact, we should not be satisfied with 6% growth — we should aim for 7%-8% growth, sustained for many years. Many companies in Europe and in the rich Asian countries are slowly moving out; the Philippines as a major investment destination will be on their radar soon.


We now check the origin of this growth.

GDP is measured in two ways, from the demand or expenditure side, and from the supply or industrial origin side. And GDP by demand is equal to GDP by supply.

In GDP by demand, household consumption constitutes about 73% of GDP and it grew 5.7% in Q1-Q3. It pulled up overall GDP when other sectors like investment were not doing well.

In GDP by supply, services constitute about 63% of GDP and the fastest growing sub-sectors were accommodation and food service, and transportation and storage. The industry sector constitutes about 29% of GDP and the construction sub-sector was the fastest growing, at 14%, in Q3 this year — fast growth on a high base and high growth in Q3 of last year (see Table 2).

Two months ago, in this column, I discussed the potential economic contribution of the Philippines hosting of the Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) World Cup last September (“Global Philippines: The successful FIBA hosting in Manila and the OGP Summit,” Sept. 12). Dozens of foreign teams from around the world, thousands of FIBA and team officials, players, supporters and media swooped into the Philippines for two weeks. I estimated that hosting would make a 0.1% contribution to the Q3 GDP, that is, about P5.08 billion in additional value to our GDP in Q3.

From the above numbers, one could say that the accommodation/hotels and food services/restaurants subsectors increased from P77 billion in Q3 2022 to P93 billion in Q3 2023. Then, with the increase in the transportation (including higher prices of domestic and international flights) and storage subsectors, from P170 billion in Q3 2022 to P190 billion in Q3 2023, my earlier estimate of a 0.1% contribution — or P5 billion — to the GDP in by hosting FIBA in Q3 looks realistic.

So again, thanks to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and government sports agencies for successfully hosting the FIBA World Cup. In particular, we thank SBP Chairman Emeritus and member of FIBA Central Board, Manuel V. Pangilinan or Mr. MVP, and SBP President Al Panlilio. Good job, Sirs.


Last Thursday, I was invited by the Peru Honorary Consulate in the Philippines to a reception on the beginning of duties as Ambassador of Peru to the Philippines, with residence in Thailand, of Her Excellency Ambassador Cecilia Zunilda Galarreta Bazán. It was held at Shangri-La The Fort, BGC in Taguig City. Among the people I met there were former Finance Secretary Titoy Pardo, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Director General Jess Varela, and Peru Consul General Francis Chua.

Ambassador Bazan’s diplomatic work will cover the Philippines, Myanmar, and Thailand — a big challenge because these three countries have big populations. Estimates for 2023 are: the Philippines 112.9 million, Thailand 70.2 million, and Myanmar 54.2 million. Peru has a population of 34.5 million.

In terms of GDP size at PPP values in 2022, the Philippines had a GDP of $1.17 trillion, Thailand $1.48 trillion, and Myanmar $261 billion. Peru had a GDP of $523 billion.

Welcome to the Philippines and the ASEAN, Ma’am. We focus on trade, investment, tourism, and job creation, and not siding with superpowers and war making abroad.

* See also these reports in BusinessWorld: “PHL economy up by 5.9% in Q3” (Nov. 10), “Sept. manufacturing output grows by 9.1%” (Nov. 10), “Fitch affirms PHL rating at ‘BBB’” (Nov. 13).

See also:
BWorld 653, Financing growth via more PPP funding, November 11, 2023
BWorld 654, Energizing growth via less intermittent wind, solar, November 13, 2023 
BWorld 655, Stabilizing growth: Declining inflation and unemployment rates, November 18, 2023.

Doc Iggy Agbayani legal case, Part 2

I am reposting some opinion pieces, news reports about the legal case of the late Doc Iggy Agbayani. Special commentary by former Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, who was one of many patients of doc Iggy.

Malilong: Of doctors and lawyers
Frank Malilong 9th Nov, 2023

"It is regrettable that the decision convicting Agbayani was not accorded the privilege of a thorough review by the Regional Trial Court and subsequently, the Court of Appeals because his lawyer failed to do what he was supposed to do in both instances. The existence of reckless imprudence while a factual issue that is, as a rule, left to the determination of the trial court, may still be reviewed on appeal if there are glaring errors in the findings of facts.

It is, of course, in the realm of conjecture to claim that the judgment of conviction would have been overturned had Agbayani’s appeal been reviewed by the RTC and later, by the CA instead of being dismissed on a technicality and/or procedural error. But in Cebu, there have been at least two cases, one involving a school owner and another, a doctor of medicine, of infections in knee surgeries. The patients did not cry reckless imprudence. The surgeons were not sued."

COMMENTARY: Dr. Iggy, judicial reform
Reni M. Valenzuela November 12, 2023

"The court seemed to have ruled purely based on the failure of the defendant’s counsel to file the Memorandum of Appeal within a given/required time. Thus, Dr. Benigno “Iggy” Agbayani Jr. was sentenced and put in prison at the Manila City Jail like he was guilty or declared guilty of the crime of reckless imprudence that stemmed from the case filed by his erstwhile patient, Atty. Saul Hofilena Jr.

But the big question is, why would a client suffer because of technicality failure on the part of the lawyer? Should it not be the lawyer who must suffer and be jailed, though not necessarily suffer a massive heart attack and die inside a city jail exactly as what happened to Dr. Iggy last 5 October while serving his sentence?

... In the case of Agbayani and Hofilena, the latter happens to be more famous and influential than the former, who was just an outstanding, humble, politically powerless, good-hearted, compassionate, unassuming doctor of medicine.

Are our courts of law merely arenas for lawyers to play their games, and for the crooks and thugs in the halls of power to frolic their tricks?"

The sad saga of Dr. Iggy Agbayani
By: Artemio V. Panganiban November 13, 2023

"I am not surprised that the Court based its UER on a strict reading of the laws and rules. As I observed in my column on Nov. 6, the Court’s majority uses “the strict or verba legis method of interpretation.” Since I belong to the liberal school of jurisprudence, I would have voted, if still an incumbent, to remand the case to the trial courts to determine whether there was indeed “reckless imprudence” on the non-sterilization issue; and if so, whether it should be factually attributed to him, or the operating room nurse, or the hospital itself, or all of them."

Family, friends of dedicated surgeon who died in prison take on his case
Statement of the family of Dr. Benigno 'Iggy' Agbayani Jr. on his death and the case that led to his imprisonment.
November 15, 2023

"He hoped for the courts to revisit his case and focus on its merits, rather than on technicalities. To set jurisprudence in the interest of doing the right thing rather than following the strict or verba legis interpretation of the law.

His legal counsel had strong grounds for filing a miscarriage-of-justice claim, and he was determined to clear his name and protect the medical profession he dedicated his life to.

But tragically, he passed away before he could do so. However, we, his family and closest friends, have stood up to see this through.We implore to not only his colleagues in the medical profession but also the legal community and every Filipino citizen who values the impartiality of a fair trial, regardless of his rank or connections, to stand with us in signing a petition for a review of his case."

Tell it to SunStar: De Lima: Justice, vindication and forgiveness
By Reni M. Valenzuela 15th Nov, 2023

"All these are in contrast to Atty. Saul Hofilena Jr.’s “legal victory” over the late, noted, beloved doctor of medicine, Dr. Iggy Agbayani Jr., who was jailed unfairly and died recently of a heart attack inside the Manila City Jail while serving his sentence -- as a detained, stressed, baffled, “cheerful,” lonely, good man. Bring him back to life."

Tragic loss of Doc Iggy
Doc Iggy’s heart-wrenching story shines a light on some dark corners of our justice system.
By Gigie Arcilla November 17, 2023

"The loss of a skilled medical professional not only affects his family and loved ones but also deprives society of a valuable asset. He passed away fighting for justice in the medical community and improving the health conditions of the rest of the unfortunate persons deprived of liberty.

Doc Iggy’s heart-wrenching story shines a light on some dark corners of our justice system — a haunting reminder of the devastating aftermath when innocence is forsaken."

Statement of Saul Hofileña, Jr.
November 17, 2023 | Letter to the Editor

"Almost 18 years ago or on Jan. 5, 2006, the Doctor conducted an arthroscopy operation on my left knee which led to an infection. The infection was exactly in the same site where the arthroscope which was used in the operation was inserted. Twenty-eight days later or on Feb. 2, 2006, the infection was surgically removed by another doctor. Surgical removal was necessary because the infection was already widespread. I then had another operation on June 7, 2006, because of a locked wrist which I suffered because I was using a cane when I am not on my wheelchair."

FB post by Isa-Miguel Buencamino
November 18, 2023

...When my brother woke up that morning of the January 5, 2006 operation, he had every intention of doing the best job he could.

Like he always did.

On operation days, I remember he wakes up at 5 am, gets mentally and physically ready - then off he goes to work.

No one, no doctor, in their right mind, wakes up with a plan to hurt others or do their very worst.

Since my brother died, I cannot tell you how many people have suggested that we should "go after" our brother's lawyers.

They must pay for their mistakes, they said.

In our despair and rage – the unbelievable helplessness we felt after Iggy died – he is gone - No matter what we do, we can never get him back - Maybe we would be forgiven for acting on our blind rage and go after everyone who played a part in his misfortune.

Should we go on a path bent on destroying other people's lives?


Enough pain and suffering have been spent, and we do not want the legacy of our brother to be that.

Instead, we are taking a step back from our pain and asking questions - what really went wrong?

As former SCJ Panganiban said in an opinion piece he wrote in the Philippine Daily Inquirer - when he suggested this case should have gone back to trial -  we want to seek justice. Not revenge.

If Hofilena truly feels that he was justified in his actions towards Iggy these last 17 years, then he should support us - let us all put this case under the bright light of justice.

He should also sign the petition to review the case.


The legal case of the late Doc Iggy
October 31, 2023
My Cup Of Liberty
By Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.

Ex-SC spokesman clarifies role in surgeon’s conviction
Daphne Galvez November 9, 2023

"Former Supreme Court (SC) spokesman Theodore Te yesterday clarified that while he initially worked on the case of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Benigno Agbayani Jr., he was not the one who saw it through to the end.

“I worked on (Agbayani’s) case at the start but had to refer it to my former law partners when I left for master’s and later when I joined the SC,” he said.

“Many of my friends asked me because that was precisely how they read it. So that needs to be addressed by an apology at the very least for the implication. There’s a big difference between initially being the lawyer and being the lawyer who handled the case when it ended,” he said."

Jailed doc firm on his innocence in negligence case till the very end

Kathleen de Villa November 12, 2023

"Agbayani did not seek parole or pardon, saying in a journal that it would mean admitting guilt that could be used as a precedent in future cases against doctors.

In his open letter to fellow physicians publicly shared by his “brods” on Facebook, Doc Iggy vowed to fight the “grave injustice foisted upon me because I am not guilty of any crime.” His detention stemmed from a criminal case lodged in 2006 by one of his patients, lawyer, and newspaper columnist Saul Hofileña Jr., at the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) Branch 26."


See also:
CDC PH statement on the passing of Doc Iggy Agbayani, October 08, 2023
Doc Iggy Agbayani letter to his fellow doctors, October 15, 2023
BWorld 646, Revisiting the lockdown, the role of CDC PH and Doc Iggy Agbayani, October 27, 2023
Doc Iggy Agbayani legal case, Part 1, November 03, 2023.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

BWorld 655, Stabilizing growth: Declining inflation and unemployment rates

Stabilizing growth: Declining inflation and unemployment rates
November 9, 2023 | 12:02 am

My Cup Of Liberty
By Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.

(Part 1 of a series)

This column will produce another series, “Stabilizing growth” and focus on inflation and employment data of the Philippines compared to other major countries in Asia and the world. This is on top of the “Financing growth” and “Energizing growth” series.

The global economic environment continues to remain volatile and even worsening for many industrial countries. But two key economic indicators point to some improvement for the Philippines and Asia — declining inflation rates and unemployment rates.

This week the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released the inflation rate for October 2023 — it is 4.9%, down from 6.1% in September 2023 and 7.7% in October 2022. And the unemployment rate for September 2023 is 4.5%, down from 4.8% in July 2023 and 5% in September 2022.

The top three contributors to the Philippines’ high inflation rate this year are Alcoholic beverages and tobacco (ABT), Food and non-alcoholic beverages, and Restaurants and accommodation services. So, one can say that high inflation is due to people going out more — eating out, partying, drinking, vacationing. Which could be indicators of high consumer confidence.

In the table below, I group the countries into three: in Group A are the G7 industrial countries, in Group B are the big South Asian economies, and in Group C are the big East Asian economies. The Philippines has the highest inflation rate this year among its neighbors in East Asia, and comparable to those in Italy and Germany. But our unemployment rate has declined by half from two years ago, from 8.9% in September 2021 to 4.9% this September. This is a good development.

High GDP growth with declining unemployment is a good trend. Kudos to the hardworking economic team of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, and Economics Secretary Arsenio Balisacan. Next we can aim for an unemployment rate of below 4% in the coming months.

The PSA will release the 3rd quarter 2023 GDP data today; we will discuss it Tuesday next week. But things are worsening in the west and even in several Asian economies. For instance, when it comes to the average GDP growth for Q1-Q3 2022 to Q1-Q3 2023, the figures are: South Korea, 3.1% to 1.1%; Taiwan, 3.5% to 0.1%; Singapore, 4.2% to 0.5%; Malaysia, 9.2% to 3.9%; and Vietnam, 8.9% to 4.3%.

It is much worse in Europe. Over the same period, Germany went from 2.3% to -0.2%, Italy went from 4.7% to 0.8%, and France went from 3.2% to 0.9%.

If the Philippines grows by 4.9% in Q3 based on BusinessWorld’s poll of local economists, then the average Q1-Q3 growth will be 5.2%, much higher than all the countries mentioned above.

I like the optimism of Emilio “Jun” Neri and Michael Ricafort, chief economists of BPI and RCBC respectively, for their projection of 6% for Q3. I share their optimism and projection. See these reports in BusinessWorld: “GDP likely grew 4.9% in Q3 — poll” (Nov. 6), and “PHL on track to hit medium-term targets — Diokno” (Nov. 6).

We should focus on fast and sustained growth. More jobs and businesses for our people, less business pessimism and political waste.

See also:
BWorld 652, The legal case of the late Doc Iggy, November 10, 2023
BWorld 653, Financing growth via more PPP funding, November 11, 2023
BWorld 654, Energizing growth via less intermittent wind, solar, November 13, 2023.

Fiscal Irresponsibility 33, More about the US deficit and debt

Additional papers here, enjoy.

Democrats Should Start Worrying About The Deficit.
Lance Roberts | November 17, 2023

For sixth year, Pentagon fails to account for over $3T
As the White House requests over $100 billion for wars in Israel and Ukraine, the Defense Department continues to operate with little to no oversight of its spending practices
News Desk. NOV 16, 2023

You're Paying for the Israel War. You'll Also Pay for the Refugees.
Ryan McMaken 11/14/2023

The Debt Reaper
By Robert Burrows 14 NOVEMBER 2023

Moody's Cuts USA's Aaa Rating Outlook To 'Negative'; Treasury Dept "Disagrees"
Tyler Durden NOV 11, 2023

2020 vs 2023: Are Economists Making The Same Mistake?
Michael Lebowitz | November 8, 2023

There's No Easy Way Out of This Debt Spiral
Ryan McMaken 11/07/2023 

Is All This Military Spending Really Good for the Economy?

Time To Think 'Quadrillions', As There's 'Zero Fiscal Restraint' In D.C.
" having 12 policymakers and 400 PhDs at the Fed who set the interest rate, that's not a free market."

Doug Casey on the Imminent Bankruptcy of the US Government
by Doug Casey

Running on Empty
by Jeff Thomas

See also:
Fiscal Irresponsibility 30, Grexit is another socialist failure, July 08, 2015
Fiscal irresponsibility 31, Another US government shutdown, implications for PH and other countries, September 28, 2023 
Fiscal Irresponsibility 32, US public debt rising by $7.7 B/day, October 29, 2023.