In the News: The 2010 "Presidentiables" Positions on Charter Change

The Inquirer recently published an article entitled Stand on Charter change, Arroyo as Speaker.

The information was collected for the purpose of knowing the candidates’  stand from their answers to the following questions:

  1. Are there provisions in the 1987 Constitution that need to be amended? If yes, what are these? Why?
  2. Are you in favor of a shift to a parliamentary form of government? If yes, what mode (constitutional convention, constituent assembly or people’s initiative aka signature campaign)? When do you think the country should adopt a parliamentary government? Why a parliamentary system?
  3. Would you support President Macapagal-Arroyo should she seek the speakership in the House of Representatives? Why? [Ms Arroyo is running for representative in her home province, Pampanga.]

I will focus on Item 1 – the candidates’ stand on charter change.

(Drum rolls and fanfare please.. LOL)
What this means is Noynoy Aquino has no personal take on what needs to be amended. He has no personal stake on the issues and will just wait for the advise of a committee. This is no longer about clamor – this is about national interest – the need to demolish the oligopolistic protectionist policies which have left the country with crumbs while its neighbors pantries are stuffed to the brim. You can take aspirin to relieve a fever. But when you have malaria, aspirin will not do you any good.

If my memory serves me right, the last time an Aquino made someone else work on agrarian reform – we wind up with Hacienda Luisita. An oligarch-dominated congress and oligarch-dominated constitutional convention and voila – the 1987 Constitution.

Another oligarch-dominated to determine whether the pro-oligarch constitution should be changed to become more equitable? Charter change under another oligarch has all the chances of a snowflake in hell. Change under such circumstances is change for the worst.

Also, Aquino is vague on the “loopholes” – that’s what you get with a lazy doofus who can’t cite the specific sections which provide the “loopholes” – that my friends is a glaring strawman argument. What are these abuses?

Lastly, if indeed these loopholes are present – guess who put them in and used the policies as well? Exactly, the incompetent administration of Cory Aquino!

Don’t we ever get tired of voting for incompetents? Please naman, maawa tayo sa sarili natin, sobra na tama, ang isang tamad at incompetent na Aquino.

One incompetent Aquino presidency is one too many.

MY Next Step: Reject Noynoy Aquino.

JC, protectionism which skews the playing field in favor of the well capitalized domestic monopoly is anything BUT moral, it’s not love, it’s not public service.

MY Next Step: Reject JC de los Reyes.

Absolutely, am totally with Erap on this. I give Erap points for a progressive position on Charter Change – specifically removing the pro-oligarch protectionist clauses of the constitution.

BUT he is not an able implementor. Erap boozes and womanizes while on the job, therefore totally inefficient and may have lots of lapses in judgment.

MY Next Step: Reject Erap Estrada

Tingnan mo naman ang sagot na yan – walang kyeme, deretsahan, walang paligoy-ligoy.

I agree with his proposed amendments 2 to 6.

The form of government is another matter though – because I still have to make up my mind on it. I am inclined to look at the Indonesian model though which includes run-offs, instead of a return to the two-party system. Then there’s the federal aspect because I would like a more equitable representation and allocation of fiscal and non-fiscal resources.

MY Next Step: Pending a more brilliant plan of action on charter change by another candidate, CHOOSE GORDON.

I dunno Jamby, after reading her platform, we might as well make the Philippines an annex to North Korea or Cuba where you can be xenophobic, ethnocentric in your parochial protectionist policy framework.

Ang problema kasi nito – panay ang sigaw ni Madrigal  na “foreign companies are screwing Pinoys in da Pinas.

Fact check: Kung tutuusin – under the Constitution – given that no company shall have more than 40% in foreign equity tells us that under the worst case “foreign domination” scenario – all companies in the Philippines are still 60% FILIPINO in terms of equity. Therefore  the majority equity holders – FILIPINOS – who control the Filipino companies (that have paid a license to use foreign brand names) are screwing Filipinos.

I will repeat it – Filipino-companies (owned by Filipino oligarchs) have ensured that foreigners cannot own more than 40% of equity. Thus, as far as the Philippines is concerned – llamado ang oligarchs, dehado ang foreigners dito – that’s why we get the crumbs – and the premium, juicier, top-flight investments go to Singapore, Hong Kong., Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. For example, if you are a herbal supplement maker in the Philippines, you have to import the machine which fills the caplets with ground herbs because no one in the Philippines makes those machines. A foreign maker of such machines will just sell you the machine but it will  not bring its facilities to the Philippines because it cannot own the land on which it will make its products!!! So, who gets to make these machines – only those with capital, the old and noveau oligarchs – the Zobel-Ayalas, Madrigals, Aquinos, Cojuangcos, Villars.

MY Next Step: Reject Jamby Madrigal.

Considering at Perlas is silent on changing the provisions that matter.  With Perlas being silent on the pro-oligarch protectionist clauses, I don’t see Perlas increasing our competitiveness and provide a level playing field against domestic oligarchs by allowing Filipino startups to  use foreign venture capital in equity arrangements such as 40 (filipino)/60 (foreign) . You think this is small, consider this – just 2% of the 10  million Filipinos overseas who can launch startups using foreign venture capital given the right policy environment – that’s can yield more revenues and economic velocity than all the NGO-administered microlending/microloan/micro livelihood projects – which  beg money from overseas lenders and philanthropists anyways!

Why loan to startup a business, if you can leverage venture capital? But you’ll never get to use it – why? Because of protectionists  like Madrigal, Aquino, Villar, delos Reyes, and Perlas.

MY Next Step: Reject Nick Perlas.

Absolutely, am totally with Gibo on this. The angle on the AFP is certainly well thought out.

Gordon’s proposed six amendments however has scored more points  and provided more substance. To me, that’s wisdom at work.

MY Next Step: Reject Gibo Teodoro.

The reply is similar to Aquino’s reply – leave it to the committee. To me, such an answer signifies a lack of personal stake in the issues surrounding charter change.

MY Next Step: Reject Ed Villanueva

This is such a “safe” answer – sort of a weasel. This lame posturing attempt at populism and pandering to the masses just pukes the hell outta me.

What gives Manny Villar away as a closet protectionist is the similarity of his position to Aquino – administrative measures to systemic inefficiencies. Jobs, opportunities, and the corollary issues flow from the same river – the xenophobic dams that have kept progress out and impunity in.

Manny does not exactly say how he will make the country competitive for foreign investment – in contrast to the clear-cut policy articulated by Gordon, Teodoro, and Estrada – allow foreigners to own residential and commercial land. I dunno my spidey sense is picking up scents of conflict of interest.

MY Next Step: Reject Manny Villar

Having gone through this exercise, I conclude that GORDON has the best and most pragmatic positions on Charter Change.

One more reason why Sen Richard Gordon is the best choice for President of the Philippines.



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  2. Gordon’s answer makes the most sense; he even probably goes a little farther than I would. For example, I think the media needs to be opened to competition, but I think that needs to be done very carefully — specifically in such a way as to keep that jackass Rupert Murdoch and/or Xinhua out of here.

    His take on parliamentary vs. presidential is exactly right. This country is not ready for a parliamentary system, that’s one step too far. A presidential system — two-party or runoff-style — with a fully-representative legislature (i.e. either give the Senators specific constituencies by province or region, or get rid of the Senate) is a better way to go right now; the country needs to actually learn how to be a representative democracy first before it goes down the parliamentary path.

    I actually could live with Gibo as an acceptable lesser alternative, though. And he does address badly-needed military reform, while Gordon has not.

  3. Hey BenK,

    Likewise, I can live with Gibo as an alternative to Gordon. But since Gordon is also in the running, I go for broke and shoot for who in my opinion is the best, Gordon.

    It does not mean Gibo is “bad” – Gibo is actually a good choice, charter change policies-wise, compared to the isolationist, xenophobic, protectionist policy framework of Aquino, Villar, Perlas, de los Reyes, Madrigal, and Villanueva. The base which comprises these constituency are “old school”.

    Estrada is an oddity. Charter change policies-wise Erap has it right. If his base agrees with his views on liberalizing the market – plus those of Teodoro and Gordon – make up somewhere in the vicinity of 20% of total voters.

    In the end, Gordon has more coverage and depth, but Teodoro’s take on the AFP is right on the money. If by any chance Gordon wins, he should get Teodoro back as Def-Sec.

  4. Dr. José Rizal II · ·

    One of our colleagues did say that within a Presidential System, the only real way to ensure that a real party system emerges is to allow for the re-election of the President (and the VP).

    Real parties have a better chance of forming if there is an incentive for party-policy consistency and a reward for correct execution. (Show good results, get re-elected as a reward) But if elections for the Presidency are always one-shot deals, then the parties end up becoming one-shot deal vehicles who work only for one given election. It is the promise of continuity that ensures that parties stay consistent and more policy-oriented.

    Actually, numerous studies out there have shown that the Parliamentary System does indeed create better party-based discipline precisely because there are no term limits for Prime Minister. A good Prime Minister (one who produces real tangible results) can continue on for as long as he/she continues to produce results and thus remains the leader of his/her own party and gets the electorate continuing to vote his/her party as the majority. This continuity (versus the “one-shot-deal” nature of the present Philippine System where Presidents only get ONE 6 year TERM – unless they continued on as a VP who took the place of a deposed, resigned or incapacitated President) is precisely what will cause real Party Discipline and real Party-based and Policy-based politics to develop on its own.

    Let’s face it, even the USA’s Presidential System actually developed out of the British Parliamentary System. It just so happened that the Americans didn’t want a Monarch, but felt they needed a powerful enough civilian leader who was separate from the legislature which is why they experimented with Montesquieu’s “separation of powers” concept. But ultimately, American-style party-politics developed directly from the British Parliamentary System, and unfortunately, the “carbon copy-of-a-carbon copy” that the Philippine Presidential System happens to be got too far removed from the party-centric platform/policy-oriented parliamentary system of the British that most Filipinos think that “going back to basics” (referring to the original Parliamentary System that the British invented) is a little too difficult to imagine.

    It can be argued, in fact, that a parliamentary system is clearly more party-oriented than a Presidential System because the electorate is forced to choose representatives of parties into parliament, and whichever party or block forms as the majority eventually gets the ability to call the shots. It clearly shows the electorate that it’s all about choosing parties, and parties are all about policies and platforms.

    Choosing Presidents, on the other hand, is usually a matter of choosing individual people rather than parties themselves, which is precisely why the elections in countries that use a Presidential System – even in more developed and supposedly more “mature” democracies like France and the USA continue to be extremely Personality-oriented.

    I would argue, therefore, that a Parliamentary System promotes better Party discipline than a Presidential System because of the following comparison:

    Presidential System (esp. in the current Philippine context):

    1. Voting for an individual candidate

    2. Individual Candidates are differentiated from each other by their individual personalities = “personality politics”, thereby causing Individual Presidential candidates’ WINNABILITY to be of extreme importance.

    3. Single Term Limitation = One Shot Deal Party dynamics: Parties act as ad-hoc election campaign vehicles rather than real parties

    4. Less incentives for individual candidates to stick within a party and work their way up because of the personalistic nature of “one-shot-deal” Presidential Elections, thereby promoting party-switching.

    5. Refer to #2. Because of Winnability, party switching is not unthinkable if a party decides that it wants a winnable presidential candidate and sees that another party has a member who is winnable but “unappreciated” within his own party. A party can then decide to bring in a winnable outsider coming from an opposing party to beef up their own ticket, as what happened numerous times in the 50’s and 60’s. It was the focus on “winnability” and personality-politics that is INHERENT in all Presidential Systems that helped cause the eventual deterioration of the Philippine Presidential System.

    Parliamentary System:

    1. Voting for representatives of parties determines which party/coalition gets majority: whichever party gets majority determines which party leader becomes Prime Minister

    2. Parties are differentiated more by platforms, hence, whichever party has a better set of policies and a better platform has a better chance of winning

    3. No term limits means that as long as a party continues to deliver the goods (because of the right policies) always means that the party will continue to be in power and the Prime Minister will continue to be the same person unless he voluntarily passes the baton internally to his own successor from within his own party or until such time that his party fails to deliver and thus the electorate does not give his party/coalition the majority.

    4. The greater consistency of the “policy-orientedness” of Parliamentary elections and the Parliamentary System in general means that members of parties have to work their own way up within their own parties, and thus switching from one party to another means the the party-switcher needs to work his/her way up from below.

    5. The very “Pinoy” concept of Winnability is less important in Parliamentary Systems, because policy-platforms, rather than individual candidates’ personalities are the real focus.

    6. For all intents and purposes, what really matters is “which party has the majority.” Whoever happens to be Prime Minister is merely an “intra-party affair” within the majority party. Party switching, once again, is a disastrous move because an ambitious member of parliament from within a particular party who already has a more-or-less sure path towards the party leadership within his own party (and thus can become PM if he becomes the party leader and his party gains majority) CAN DESTROY his own chances if he shifts towards another party because that other party will automatically put him on a lower ranking in the path towards party leadership by virtue of being a new member. Likewise, since the Parliamentary System is a more platform and policy-oriented system, a Member of Parliament who is voted by his own constituency because of his conservative views may very well LOSE his post once he shifts to a party that has more liberal views, because this time, the voters in his constituency will notice that his flip-flopping shows inconsistency of convictions. Conservative voters will not vote a candidate who was previously conservative who suddenly turns liberal.

    * * *

    In short, platform, policy, and party-oriented politics develops only when parties are useful outside of one-shot-deal elections. In a parliamentary system, one’s party affiliation is of utmost importance EVERYDAY, not just during elections.

    But in the Philippine Presidential System, since party-affiliation is important only insofar as elections (especially during the once-in-6-years presidential ones) are concerned, platform, policy, and party-oriented political dynamics IS ALMOST TOTALLY NON-EXISTENT.

    * * *

    The only way for the Philippine Presidential System to become more party-oriented is if the Philippines adopts the same amendments that the Indonesians adopted:

    1. separate legislative elections from presidential elections. (Legislative Elections come earlier in the year, Presidential Elections happen months later)

    2. Ban all independent candidates: All who wish to run for President should be endorsed by a qualified Party or Coalition

    3. A Party is qualified to endorse its own Presidential Candidate if and only if that Party has a minimum number of 25% of all legislative seats. Otherwise, if a party is too small, it must join forces with other parties to form a Coalition that has a minimum of 25% of all legislative seats. Only Parties or Coalitions with at least 25% of all legislative seats can field their own Presidential and VP candidates. This “25% of all seats” requirement causes the Presidential elections to lessen the number of Presidential and VP candidates to at most 3 pairs. It is statistically next to impossible for there to be a total of 4 different parties or coalitions having a perfect 25%, 25%, 25%, 25% distribution of seats. As such, having at most 3 candidate-pairs totally eliminates the chaotic nature of having too many candidates in a presidential election.

    4. In case there are more than 2 candidates and the front runner does not have more than 50% of all votes cast, a second round “run-off” election will be done to get the front runner and the runner-up pitted against each other so that the winner has a real majority.

    * * *

    In Truth, the Indonesian system is one step closer towards becoming a Parliamentary System as their President is partly determined by the ability of his party or coalition to have at least 25% of all legislative seats. The link between the total number of legislative seats and the ability to field a Presidential Candidate is why the Indonesian System is one step closer towards Parliamentarianism. That’s obviously because in a pure Westminster Parliamentary System, the head of government is determined precisely by the total number of legislative seats.

  5. I have to disagree regarding the removal of the protectionist clause for this country to develop. I mean, with these clauses in the Constitution, we’re not even practicing protectionist economics, what would happen if we remove them? Foreign ownerships are limited to 40 percent. Yes! Because allowing them to own this country would not make us develop. Virtually, maybe. But not really. With foreigners dominating the market, national industrialization would not happen. We will not have our own industries to support our domestic needs and compete in the international market. Malaysia which now has its own car industry and one of the fastest rising nations in Asia pegs foreign ownership on twenty percent. Compared to them? We’re real losers in terms of protectionism. And for God’s sake, no single nation have been able to develop without first practicing protectionism.

  6. The Indonesian model is a good one. A Parliamentary model — in the strict sense of electing party representatives who then choose the Prime Minister — is too much for this society to take all in one step. As a practical matter, in every successful Parliamentary country, the Prime Minister is essentially chosen ahead of time (based on who the party leader is), and the ‘selection’ of parties is almost if not as much based on the voters’ assessment of who that person is, rather than purely a party choice.

    Japan and Israel play it a little closer to the strict model — and are the two out of the Parliamentary countries who have most often encountered some degree of chaos in the government-forming from time to time. Nothing to threaten their survival, of course; but it’s at least anecdotal evidence that a pure Parliamentary system is likely not perfect. And, even though it is a small matter in practical terms, all, or at least almost all, the successful Parliamentary countries still do have a Head of State of one sort or another…which becomes important when the system is not exactly successful, like in Thailand right now. Having a King, even though he doesn’t do jack sh*t, is a stabilizing concept that keeps the country from flying apart.

    Pinoys need a King like they need a hole in the head, but I do think that the concepts of ‘separation of powers’ and ‘checks & balances’ are deeply ingrained, grossly misused though they may be under the current system, and not something the people are likely to be able to successfully give up. And, even though it may be my American bias speaking, I don’t think they should necessarily have to. After all, it’s not like a consistently-applied presidential system has set the US of A back much. Sure, it could use some tweaks, and I wouldn’t apply it in exactly the same way elsewhere, but it does have a lot to recommend it. And it’s quite a bit closer to what the Philippines is already used to (not to mention, for what it’s worth, that it doesn’t carry the stigma of being one of Marcos’ schemes once a upon a time, or a supposed scheme of Gloria Arroyo in the foggy future). On the whole, it seems like a much more practical — and practicable — course in the near run. A couple decades down the road, maybe it’ll be time for a change. That would be progress, if that’s the case.

  7. Okay, so the protectionist clauses are for the benefit of the development of the economic and industrial bases of the country? Where are they? Who’s developing them? Are your industries supporting your domestic needs, and moving towards being competitive in the international market? Or do uteri count as an industrial complex? Because the only thing this country is capable of exporting under the present scheme is live bodies. That, and the protected oligarchy’s money to put into offshore banks and real estate.

  8. The clauses restricting foreign ownership ensures – 60% are controlled by the local oligarchs. IT ALREADY IS PROTECTIONIST. WTF 😀

  9. Persona non Grata · ·

    Not scared of Rupert Murdoch. Afraid more of Xinhua. Afraid of Filipino journalists the most.

  10. Persona non Grata · ·

    Whatever model the Philippines adopt, if it was still run by Filipinos. Nothing doing.

    It is not who the president will be. It is not the form of government. It is not how much they tweak the constitution. If Filipinos DNA remain the same everything remains forever the same as was before and forever will be.

    EXAMPLE: Filipinos in America. They are the same was was before and forever will be.

    Do not get blindsided by their “successes”. Their successes are borne out of being “led, commanded, controlled and PERFECTLY MEEKLY FOLLOW”. Filipinos cannot think. The best Filipinos can do is PERFECTLY and MEEKLY FOLLOW to get promoted. THEY CALL IT SUCCESS. Once a Filipino is in the pedestal where they make decisions, the unit/division/corp they run remains forever the same as was before and forever will be.

  11. uncle pinoy · ·

    Ditto, PNG. More afraid of journalists who openly admit to tingles running up their legs.

  12. uncle pinoy · ·

    Thanks for another well-written and well-presented article, BongV.

  13. Hi, thanks so much for a well researched and well written article. I would like to request for your permission to repost this to my blog so that it reaches bigger audience and para sana ma convince ang aking pro-noy friends =D

    Please let me know. Thanks.

  14. Very good comparatives, keep it up BongV !!!

  15. Great stocktake! And all from information readily available to the general public!

    One of the underpinnings of the scare tactics used by anti-CharterChange people is that the initiative to implement a new form of government necessarily needs to involve a choice among existing systems.

    Why can’t we come up with our own version that more closely takes into account our specific circumstances?

    The American governance model was developed for, well, Americans just as the parliamentary system most people imagine is a British invention that fits the nature of British society.

    Is it always an off-the-shelf vanilla impementation option that we need to explore?

    I think the underlyng psychology for this lack of courage to design our own is that Blue Seal made-anywhere-but-Da-Pinas trumps Tatak Kalabaw anytime.

  16. Dr. José Rizal II · ·


    You said “And for God’s sake, no single nation have been able to develop without first practicing protectionism”

    Sorry, bud: Absolutely WRONG.

    Singapore went from Third World to First precisely because they did NOT practice protectionism.

    Knowing that they didn’t have many resources of their own (few tycoons, gov’t was cash-strapped) to start numerous local companies that would absorb the unemployed and “soon-to-be-unemployed” people who were going to lose their jobs as soon as the British bases closed down, Lee Kuan Yew and his government wooed foreign investors from everywhere to set up shop in Singapore with NO protectionism whatsoever. Foreign Companies could hire and fire freely and they could repatriate their profits freely. They could set up Singapore entities (local subsidiaries) that are 100% owned by the principal foreign company with no need for token “local owners.”

    There are numerous other examples of this (modern-day Panama is copying Singapore’s model), for example, and Hong Kong was also the same, being non-protectinist, albeit they’re not really a “country.”), but Singapore is the best example because they are also in ASEAN just like the Philippines, they were less economically successful than the Philippines back when they first became independent, and they are the most successful ASEAN country.

    By the way, the ultra-protectionist nature of India’s economy was the key reason for their ultra-anemic economic output (described by many as “the Hindu rate of growth”) following their independence. The boom in employment and the upliftment of so many people out of poverty came as an immediate consequence of dropping protectionism and getting foreign companies in.

    You have to learn to be more practical-minded. First things first. And the first thing the Philippines needs to fix is the massive unemployment and underemployment problem of the Philippines. That can only get fixed by having so many companies that can hire so many people. But there are too few local companies around because there aren’t that many tycoons with the kind of money that can create massive employment drives when they set up mega-corporations, so we have no choice but to rely on foreign companies to help us in creating jobs.

    Focus on job-creation (no matter who owns the companies creating such jobs), and the first major problem that needs to be fixed (massive unemployment) will be fixed. The next step is getting the Filipinos who work in those foreign companies to learn the processes and systems in place so that they can eventually create their own companies that make use of systems-that-work.

    * * *

    Malaysia’s case is different: They have a much smaller population and they also have huge entrepreneurially-inclined ethnic minorities (Chinese and Indians) who helped run the economic show. The result is that it was far easier to create employment for the people because there were fewer people (unlike the Philippines) and more business-minded people. Also, for the relatively small area that Malaysia has, Malaysia has a lot of resources. Minerals, oil, and a well-run agricultural sector.

    Then again, Mahathir already made sure to allow 100% foreign-owned companies to come in many years ago during his watch. He created special economic zones and/or special schemes that attracted foreign companies to set up their regional HQ’s in Malaysia rather than in Singapore (no need for local partners, 100% foreign owned was perfectly fine). Eventually, he also progressively eliminated protectionism in most sectors of the economy, although they certainly still practice protectionism for the car industry (because they have Malaysian cars).

    * * *

    By and large, the most important thing for any country is the elimination of unemployment and underemployment, never mind if a country is protectionist or not. All sorts of mumbo-jumbo about “national patrimony” and “pride” are secondary to solving the “food-on-the-table” problem that ordinary people go through. Since the Philippines has been protectionist for a very long time, and has NOT been able to eliminate real unemployment and underemployment (the OFW phenomenon is indicative of this too), it’s high time we got rid of protectionism in order to get more companies in and massively create jobs.

  17. Dr. José Rizal II · ·

    “As a practical matter, in every successful Parliamentary country, the Prime Minister is essentially chosen ahead of time (based on who the party leader is), and the ’selection’ of parties is almost if not as much based on the voters’ assessment of who that person is, rather than purely a party choice. ”

    True. If there are two or three parties, people can then decide based on who the leaders are of said parties, which party they will vote for in order for it to gain a majority and get its leader becoming the Prime Minister. The key difference is that in a Presidential System, there’s the possibility of voting for a President SEPARATELY from whom you vote for as your district representative. In a parliamentary system, you therefore need to think clearly about whether you’re voting for your representative because you like your representative as a person, whether he (and his party) serves your local constituency’s interests, or whether you support whoever is currently heading his party so that if their party becomes the majority thanks in part to your local vote, that party’s leader becomes the Prime Minister. There’s a bit more thought that goes into the choices made in a parliamentary election. For the Presidential System, it’s perfectly alright (esp. in the Philippines) to choose a candidate from party A as President, a candidate from party B as VP, 12 candidates from all the different parties as senators, and a candidate from party C as your local district representative.

    The system of essentially choosing the party rather than the person in a Parliamentary election is what forces people to end up looking at the platform/policy of the parties. There will clearly be instances where voters in a Parliamentary System want the leader of Party A to become Prime Minister, but they don’t personally like the serious but “grumpy” candidate being fielded by Party A for their own constituency. That forces them to think about the situation as to whether the candidate’s personality is a major show-stopper or would they rather vote for the friendly and jovial local candidate fielded by Party B, whose party leader is someone whose policies they do not agree with.

    As for Japan, while they did have so many “changes of the guard” (too many PM’s), for the longest time, they all came from the same Liberal Democratic party anyway, so the general policies and platform were the same. Only recently did that change when another party got in. In many ways, outside of what appears to have been the cosmetic changes of leader, Japan’s political system, has not really been that chaotic.

    As for Israel, it appears that Israel’s being deeply divided in terms of political sentiments probably has roots in the diverse nature of Israelis. Some are Ashkenazi, some are Sephardi, some are Mizrahi, some are Yemenite, some are Ethiopian beta-Israel, etc. Some Ashkenazim have roots from Eastern Europe, some from Western Europe, some from America. Some Sephardi/Mizrahi came from Arabic-speaking backgrounds, some came from French-speaking backgrounds… Some came from communist backgrounds, some came from capitalist backgrounds, some came from religious backgrounds, some came from secularist backgrounds. Then there’s the idea of creating parties to represent every single conceivable interest-group that can be thought of. Israel’s main problem, as I see it, is essentially that it has too many parties. However, if Israel were to use a Presidential System on top of this deeply-divided situation, still translate into the same kind of chaos, probably even worse. In short, having too many parties is actually problematic whether it be within a parliamentary or a presidential context.

    * * *

    I’d say my main opposition to the continued use of the Presidential System is the fact that even before Marcos came into the scene, the Philippine Presidential System was already constantly getting degraded and deteriorated due to excessive party-switching. This party-switching was precisely because Presidential Elections focus on the personalities of single individual candidates. People vote for such individual candidates, and in the end, the key determinant of why a voter votes for one candidate over another in the Philippine context is WINNABILITY. To a certain extent, winnability is still important in the USA (even in France) and it is important in any presidential system whose president is voted by the electorate at large.

    It is this winnability-obsession inherent in the personality-orientedness of the Presidential System that caused political parties and the electorate to become more focused on it rather than on policies and platforms.

    Consider, therefore, that party-switching is precisely the thing that got Marcos into the presidency to begin with. He was originally a member of the Liberal Party, but later got into the Nacionalista Party and instantly became its standard-bearer as he was – at the time – very “winnable.” I generally think that the inherent “winnability-focus” due to the personality-centric nature of the Presidential System’s style of directly voting the president is the main weakness of this System when transplanted onto the highly personalistic nature of Filipino Culture.

    It’s this combination of a Personality-oriented System and a Personality-oriented People that gives us this problem. Even if we were to return to a strict two-party system, we’ll still end up with the problem of candidates switching parties, and parties accepting them and naming them as standard bearers thanks to their winnability.

    Now, by using the Indonesian model (again, I never cease to show my admiration for it: consider that the Philippines “returned to Democracy” in 1986, while the Indonesians did so only in 1998 – 12 years later than we did, they’ve obviously covered more ground than we have!), we can very easily prevent the electoral chaos we always end up with, and we will hopefully be more likely to get rid of airheads-running-for-President through it.

    That being said, I reiterate the fact that the Indonesian model is really nothing but a step in the direction towards the eventual adoption of a Westminster Parliamentary System. It’s not so much that I’m predicting that the Indonesians eventually will, but if we were to rank the different systems on a scale of “closest to the Westminster System”, the Indonesian System is much closer to it than the current Philippine System is. In short, while the Indonesian system changes appear to have strengthened their own Presidential System, it actually has also brought them closer towards a Parliamentary System in actual practice.

    * * *

    Ultimately, the key reason that I remain a staunch supporter of shifting to the Parliamentary System is simply that the Parliamentary System does not allow Erap or other air-head celebrity types to become Head of Government. The very Darwinian nature of internal competition to gain party leadership within the different parties itself already ensures that the most fit to lead their own parties emerge at the top. And since Prime Ministers do not achieve such status through direct elections, there is no need to choose Party Leaders based on “winnability” and a “winning-personality.” There’s less need to choose a Party Leader who would “embody” what the masses want (action stars/celebrities). The focus, instead, is on party members choosing their respective party leaders who can lead their parties well and produce the positive results than will continue getting their party to improve their performance at the polls.

  18. For one thing, many Filipinos are afraid of charter change because they think the only purpose of that is to prolong the top leader’s tenure. So far there have only been rumors of that, and it’s not concretely proven. But that’s the problem: they believe it. Thus, anyone calling for charter change is called pro-Gloria. Very ridiculous stereotyping and branding based on paranoia.

    I know it’s because of a bad taste left over by Marcos, who was able to prolong his tenure and abuses reigned during it. But the problem is, is prolonging the tenure really that wrong? In the US, before the 22nd Amendment in 1947 was created that limited presidential terms to only two, presidents usually declined (or were stopped by something like illness) from having a third term. They were free to have a third term when they wanted. But circumstances made it that all who had more than one term had only two terms. Thus, the 22nd amendment was created. But it was more because the presidents themselves declined (look up George Washington), not because the people wanted to limit the terms. If I were an American, I’d rather have the 22nd Amendment removed. Obviously, the 1986 Constitution was intended to prevent another Marcos, but that’s the problem: it was a Constitution made with mainly anti-Marcos stuff in mind, and it did not really consider the future of the country.

    To me, I agree with those on this blogsite who say that the best focus of charter change is to remove protectionist clauses. Even the political dynasty laws are too ambiguous or poorly stated.

  19. Have you all read about the WTO and the GATT? The modern version of slavery and colonization? If you have not, it serves us all well rather than make “intelligent” comments that is shallow and distorted to say the least?

  20. Why don’t you share with everyone what you learned from WTO & GATT? Don’t keep all the knowledge to yourself. What’s the point in knowing what you know if it’s all just going to stay locked in your brain? C’mon, enlighten us. 🙂

  21. However people explain GATT and its successor WTO as slavery and colonization will ultimately turn out as opinions.

    I wonder what’s so bad about trading and interacting with other countries. We live in a world full of other people and nations, and trade with them is not just inevitable, but necessary.

  22. Phil Manila · ·

    As important as positions on Charter Change, is a generational ‘changing of the guard’ in order for some ‘leap to the future’ to happen. We saw this in U.K., U.S., Russia, and in the offing, in China. Especially in a country like the Philippines, where majority of the people are under 40 years old.; in fact, 38 percent of the population is under the age of 15.

    Among the presidential candidates, I believe Gibo Teodoro represents this generational chnage.

  23. […] that Noynoy’s stance on charter change is lame and highly protectionist, expect more of the same – corruption, economic malaise, […]

  24. Persona non Grata · ·

    “38 percent of the population is under the age of 15” – Phil Manila

    Malice and immorality of the mind caused population explosion regardless making sexy billboards illegal.

    The more the Filipinos are deprived of pornographic films the more they wanted more of the same.

  25. Coming from a country with a Parliamentary system but having lived in the Philippines for some years now, I’ll say that you have exactly captured what I’ve felt for a while about the Philippines political system.

    Obviously, any political system will have its shortcomings and those shortcomings will differ for each of the different country using that particular system. But, if I may say so, given the nature of Filipino politicians and the nature of Filipino voters, my opinion is that anything closer to the Parliamentary system can only benefit the country. For policies and platforms that will make real changes and have real impact on all citizens of the country, people have to start looking past “winnability” and “personality” and “popularity”. A system that would promote real political parties with strong party-discipline would hopefully eliminate all the unserious candidates, like eliminating chaff from the wheat. I think the electorate of this country will be greatly advantaged by having only serious wheat to consider…

  26. I am not sure if this space will be enough to make a discourse on the WTO and GATT, the faces of neo-liberalism and Darwinism (aka Modern Synthetic Theory of Evolution) to hopefully “enlighten”.

    While the use of the words “protectionist” and “protectionism” here are accurate, “some” comments here are obviously a pattern of “reductionism”, a capacity we developed largely as a product of our modern, hi-tech age which aims to understand and to create the whole on the basis of its parts, one aspect of the “centric” fetish of western science. Others here, due largely to our 100-year obsolete educational system are only here to “criticize”, to destroy something by fragmenting it, breaking it down to “unusable” parts. The capacity to see the unfolding process of the “good” which oftentimes tags some imperfections is already lost. Reductionism and criticism have their place in the appropriate context but a reductionist view cannot see “wholes” and criticisms do not build, they only destroy. Criticism hinders us from moving forward, denying our capacities to “create” the future. We must, as a people connect to that objective, artistic consciousness that sees “wholes”. To realize how parts harmonize with one another. This is the only way we see “chreods” or ordered patterns in transformative processes.

    My question to the originator of the article above is “which parts of each of the presidential aspirants’ views on free trade does he think are protectionist” and why does he not like those? Only then can there be a substantial debate on the matter. Without an explanation here, the writer will just mislead other people and to me, that is an irresponsible use of the pen, or of the keyboard, as it here applies. It is best to state the basis of the “antipathy” so the readers may understand the “view’ of the writer and perhaps to accept what the reader does not subscribe.

    Globalization refers to the process of global integration of the economies of nations. The Philippine government starting with the former president Fidel V. Ramos started our economic downward spiral through his Philippines 2000 which married an economic model called “globalization”. He was a worshipper, like many here, of the neo-liberal macroeconomics model that recklessly uses the GDP and GNP as measures of “progress”. Nation states bought the idea of ‘globalization” hoping that this would lead to agricultural modernization, industrialization, urbanization, trade liberalization, and hyper-consumerism resulting in increased GDP or GNP per capita. But perhaps, even the apoligists here would admit that the process called “globalization” that they so willingly embrace has tag-alongs in increasing prevalence called social and environmental destruction in the whole world and especially in the Philippines which the “apologists” would like to “unconditionally” give away to foreigners for the sake of “progress”.

    Externally, it looks like a march towards modernization and progress and yes, to my delight, there are positive aspects to globalization. A close look though marks the beginning of an era where a few elite businessmen and politicians steer the direction of billions of people around the world. These “global developments” produce unprecedented and massive negative impacts on life at the individual (including the apologists), village, town, city, region, and country levels.

    The “apologists” of globalization and darwinism have obviously not yet reached the threshold of the limits of competition and the “free market”. fortunately, they probably have not personally felt the ill-effects of the above or they are the perpetrators of the modern “religion” under the guise of WTO and GATT. This is unbelievable, given all the articles that have been posted in this rather lovely site as an attempt to “get to the bottom of things”. All this clamor is actually a manifestation of something that wishes to emerge not only nationally but globally.

    When there is a clamor there must be a certain “crisis” that is felt, albeit not fully understood, right? The Filipino Crisis is a result of many things but since we are here talking of the presidential race and its correlation to globalization’s and free trade’s impact on the Philippine society then let us look at a few facts that globalization espouses (that which its sympathizers want us to blindly embrace) and their implications to civil society, government, and small and medium enterprises. What are we really up against?

    (Source; Philippine Agenda 21 by Nicanor Perlas. PA 21, the sustainable development framework of the Philippines and hailed by the U.N.’s as one of the most promising innovations of the 21st century)


    a. 358 billionaires have an income of $ 760 billion that is equivalent to the collective income of 2.5 billion poor people. This data has increased furthering the gap.
    b. The three richest officers of Microsoft – have more assets, nearly $ 140 B, than the combined GNP of the 43 least developed countries and their more than 600 million people. Like the first, this is has also increased over the last decade increasing the chasm between the rich and the poor.
    c. The income disparity between the rich and the global poor has increased by more than 100% where instead of a 30-fold disparity, the gap is over 100-fold (74 by 1997).
    d. The average salary of CEO’s of the top 1000 corporations has reached 157 times more than the average worker. A reason why Obama was so angry with those financial CEO’s who went to Washington by private jets yet wanted to borrow bail-out money from US taxpayers during the recent financial meltdown which affected a lot of the poor countries.

    It is no coincidence that even the Americans (the land of Adam Smith who espouses “free markets”) are now starting to fight against trade liberalization such as the outsourcing of their jobs.


    a. Of the top 100 economies in the world, 50 are TNC’s. they leveraged these vast economic resources in beguiling 120 nation states to enter into the LOPSIDED GATT/WTO agreement.
    b. With trade liberalization, food security is now under the mercy of market forces and giant TNC’s.
    c. The destiny of nations is driven by powerful networks of what development economists call “regional economies’. These are enclaves of high economic growth areas in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, China and other similar economies. The new rulers are economic elite who network among themselves and determine the destinies of other nations.

    “FREE TRADE” AND “LEVELING” THE GLOBAL PLAYING FIELD ARE ILLUSIONS. They are nothing else other than making it easier for powerful elite foreign interests to take control of a country’s economy.

    a. 100 TNCs control 70-75% of world trade, or over $2 Trillion. Now also increasing as of this writing.
    b. 40% of global trading is intra-trading ot trading between subsidiaries of TNC’s.
    c. GATT allows the U.S. and the E.U. to pour billions of dollars of agricultural subsidies despite discussions of leveling the playing field.


    The above phenomenon are considered “normal” and the result of “free competition”. This bizarre and alarming thinking that embraces “aggressive competition” stems from the widespread belief that the ‘free market” is an efficient and equitable way to allocate the scarce resources to satisfy human needs. The price of a product or service will indicate whether it is in short supply or in abundance. An expensive price will signal that there is shortage of the product or service. Thus, if the price is high, people will invest in this area. Prices signal what products ought to be manufactured or made available.

    With this reason, neo-liberals want the minimum amount of interference from the state so that the market can “work”. Individual decisions based on self-interest are supposed to be guided by an “invisible hand” so that ultimately, society will benefit from these thousands of selfish micro decisions. There is a prevalent belief that all the wealth concentrated in the hands of a few will “trickle down” to the masses.

    Unfortunately, the market is imperfect and far from free. Look at the recent global economic meltdown. For the poor, the free market is a myth. This myth destroys families, communities, drives people into poverty and excessively destroys the environment. A sensitive and truly observant person can see all these things happening except the materialist whose only god is MAMMON.

    First, monopolies and cartels engage in price-fixing. Poultry giants, for example, manipulate prices in the provinces that drives away the small scale producers. Some traders even go to a point of harassment forcing small producers to give their produce at tremendously low price. In Baguio alone and nothing to do with free play of the market, only 4 families control over 80% of Baguio vegetables.

    True costs of production, including social and environmental costs, are not reflected in the market price. Thanks to the orthodox practice of making GNP and GDP as barometers of “progress”.Thus, the market, instead of wisely allocating scarce resources, actually squanders them for the short-term gain of traders.

    Subsistence producers have no real control of when to dispose of their products. They know that the prices of their products can improve, but they are buried in debt, just to eat. Predators (the Darwinists’ “fittest”) take advantage of the poor of their bargaining power and victimize them. The poor dispose their products under distress and not from a signal of the “free market”.

    Similarly, many farmers borrow production capital from creditors who are traders themselves. The agreement is that they have to sell their produce to the trader that lent them the money come harvest time. In all times though, the price they obtain for their produce is always way below the market price. This mindset reflects a Darwinist thinking, an obsolete thinking that has its followers until the 21st century.

    Darwin theory of evolution and creation pre-supposes that the forms of nature-microbes, plants, animals, and the human species were all created, not by a Divine Intelligence, but by “natural selection” acting purely through a mechanism of survival of the fittest in a continuous struggle for existence. Darwinists thinking can be captured this way “recent science shows that, even more than you might suppose, people are animals”. My challenge to a Darwinist reading this is, try to think that you are alone in this world with only monkeys around you, try to think if the possibility could occur that the monkeys can turn to become human like you.

    The Darwinists view of “survival of the fittest” is justified by their view that we are “animals” with predatory instincts. They forget that we are also humans, a kingdom of its own where thinking is possible. A close observation and comparison between animals and human beings will be very instructive about the inherently stark differences between the two. This thinking, when harnessed is the seat of real consciousness which sees the interconnectedness of the parts that make the whole. This is beyond animalistic tendencies which we are supposed to tame. Only a materialist can think like Darwin.

    Realting the above principle of the “free market” model, this economic system is geared towards competition, with the powerful, usually the haves, winning against the interest of the have nots. This “competitive advantage” is viewed as healthy without any further discussion of power structures or monopolies in the economic realm.

    The Darwinistic thought resonates the underlying principles of neo-liberal capitalism of Adam Smith. It purports that somehow, out of the millions of competitive, self-serving and even deadly interactions in nature and in the market, a new and better order miraculously arises. The Darwinist views this as ‘inevitable” because it is part and parcel of the very structure of the natural order.

    Viewed closely, the Darwinian thought managed to transmute itself into the 21st century in different forms of social Darwinism, including neo-liberal capitalism. This transmuted form when paired with modern genetic engineering erases the “human being” and simply becomes a complex biological machine that can now be cloned, altered, and even patented.

    This now brings me to genetically modified organisms applied in food production. Whereas palay used to grow about 4 feet high and thereabouts, genetically-modified palay is now barely a foot and can be harvested in 30 days. This phenomenon that we are so in awe contradicts the law of nature that governs that palay. One condition, by the way, of the free market is “perfect information”. However, it is interesting to note the contradiction that the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade bans the labeling of biotech products because it is restrictive of “free trade”. Really? So much for perfect information.

    Our 19th century western science influence and media-programmed thinking empowers us to give our children milk formula whose protein content are 100 times more than that of breast milk. If nature’s calculation were wrong, why only have such small content? Does the human infant really need that much protein? Is the science we know now still relevant? Or Is it becoming religion? Is the economic model of our neo-liberals really universal? Does it truly bring about the highest purpose of human beings?

    This now brings me to the point of whether it is totally wrong to be “protectionist”. To me, Marxist collectivism and Neo-liberal capitalism are two sides of the same coin. Both have a leanings towards imperialism or forms of Neo-colonialism. Globalization and Free Trade are the new forms of colonization and domination. U.S. President William Mc Kinley said: “ in this age of keen rivalry among nations for mastery in commerce and the rule of the survival of the fittest must be as inexorable in their operation as they are positive in the results they bring about.” This blatant lust for raw power and bottomless desire for wealth is shared by the club of the 29 richest countries of the world. Culled from the statements of Jean-Clause of the OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development).

    ‘We are in a worl of competition, and to reap the benefits offered by this global economy, one needs rapid and deep structural adjustments”.

    “In some countries this does translate into unemployment. In other countries, into growing disparities within the society.”

    “One has to make sure that no one in the society has the impression that he or she hasn’t gotten a fair chance.”

    These statements are the very premises of the WTO and GATT. The World Bank and the IMF, under the WTO and GATT through its Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) forcibly makes developing nation states to change their constitutions to conform to the WTO and GATT. This way, the WTO and GATT, in Perlas’ words, the WTO and the GATT SAPped the developing states like the Philippines.

    Here, it is important to bring to the table what Mr. Nicanor Perlas has done for this country and even to the materialist Darwinist and the Neo-liberals of this country. In 1996 during the Philippines’ hosting of the APEC which the former President FV Ramos chaired, Mr. Perlas and a host of civil society leaders convinced FVR to make “sustainability” the foremost framework by which the agreements at the summit were to be made. For the rest of the world watching, it was a ‘first”. Thanks to Mr. Perlas and the “freaks” of the 21st century. That event protected small farmers and producers in our country without the Darwinists and materialists knowing about it.

    Then came the Philippine Agenda 21, a product of Nicanor Perlas’ untiring facilitation of the best minds in Civil society, economy, and polity to come up with a working framework that the Philippines can base as a jump off point towards a truly competitive and yet sustainable society. The PA 21, is regarded by the U.N. as one of the most promising innovations on sustainability of the 21st century. This made Mr. Perlas a sough-after resource speaker in various countries all around the world. His PA21 has become a framework of all countries seeking real sustainability in their respective societies. This is a fact that not many of us know…Nevertheless, it doesn’t change the fact.

    Since this discussion has been started in view of the presidential candidates’ stand on globalization and free trade, allow me to ask here if there is any amongst the presidential aspirants who can reach the kind of understanding that Perlas has on the intricacies and inner workings of society? There are many aspirants but there is only one presidentiable. Perlas is world-class and he may just be the treasure we would lose if we are not using our creative thinking.

    EcoWastes Coalition, Greenpeace, and other civil society groups, and the already-conscious few KNOW that Perlas is the real substantive choice in the May exercise. A word of warning: the Philippines soul has been destroyed to a point that what is ethical and immoral has become the ‘norms”. Our choice for president this may will spell the difference between reaching our highest potentials as a nation-state or be fed to the dogs.

    additional readings: Philippine Agenda 21; Elite Globalization: An attack on Christianity; Shaping Globalization. (Center for Alternative Development Intitiatives);

  27. please pardon the typo-errors.

    in the 2nd to the last paragraph, “unethical” instead of “ethical”.

  28. Persona non Grata · ·

    GCL, do not be self-conscious about spellings and syntaxes. The message is important. Philippine columnists and bloggers are so up to here pefecting their english forgetting the message.

    A perfect spelling and english don’t make the argument correct. It gives an appearance for those people whose english-is-second-language as intelligent argument. DO NOT BE FOOLED. BECAUSE I AM NOT


    a. Of the top 100 economies in the world, 50 are TNC’s. they leveraged these vast economic resources in beguiling 120 nation states to enter into the LOPSIDED GATT/WTO agreement.

    b. With trade liberalization, food security is now under the mercy of market forces and giant TNC’s.

    c. The destiny of nations is driven by powerful networks of what development economists call “regional economies’. These are enclaves of high economic growth areas in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, China and other similar economies. The new rulers are economic elite who network among themselves and determine the destinies of other nations.

    “FREE TRADE” AND “LEVELING” THE GLOBAL PLAYING FIELD ARE ILLUSIONS. They are nothing else other than making it easier for powerful elite foreign interests to take control of a country’s economy.

    a. 100 TNCs control 70-75% of world trade, or over $2 Trillion. Now also increasing as of this writing.
    b. 40% of global trading is intra-trading ot trading between subsidiaries of TNC’s.
    c. GATT allows the U.S. and the E.U. to pour billions of dollars of agricultural subsidies despite discussions of leveling the playing field.

    This is where the old school is lost.

    Instead of stepping up to the plate, and competing against TNC using innovative grassroots-based corporate entities like COOPERATIVES.

    Case in point: Amana

    Amana Community, a society of German pietists whose founders immigrated to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. The community had its roots in Germany, where a pietistic sect called the Inspirationists had established the Community of True Inspiration to protest the arbitrary rule of church and state. For mutual protection, the Inspirationists congregated on several large estates, but high rents and unfriendly governments forced them to seek a new home in America. Under the leadership of Christian Metz, the Inspirationists crossed the Atlantic in 1843 and founded Ebenezer, a settlement near Buffalo in Erie County, New York. Here, they formally adopted communism as a way of life and developed a complex of six villages with jointly owned mills, factories, and farms.

    The rapid expansion of nearby Buffalo threatened the isolation that the Inspirationists had sought in North America, and in 1855 they moved to the frontier state of Iowa, an increasingly common destination for many nineteenth-century immigrant religious communities. They located in Iowa County, incorporated as the Amana Society, and once more built houses, churches, schools, stores, and mills, and continued their community life of “brothers all.” Eventually, fifteen hundred people inhabited seven Amana villages and owned 26,000 acres of prime farming land.

    By the early twentieth century, both neighboring communities and industrial capitalism had begun to encroach upon the Amana villages. As memories of the founding Inspirationists faded and the old idealism grew dim, the communities’ characteristic spiritual enthusiasm waned. By unanimous vote, the community reorganized in 1932 on the basis of cooperative capitalism as a joint stock company in which both business owners and employees held stock. For nearly a century, the Amana Community conducted the most successful experiment in American communism and established itself as the nation’s longest-lasting communal society.


    Barthel, Diane L. Amana: From Pietist Sect to American Community. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984.

    Ohrn, Steven G. Remaining Faithful: Amana Folk Art in Transition. Des Moines: Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, 1988.

    Hoover’s Profile:
    Amana Society Inc.

    Home > Library > Business & Finance > Hoover’s Profiles
    Contact Information
    Amana Society Inc.
    506 39th Ave.
    Amana, IA 52203
    IA Tel. 319-622-7500
    Fax 319-622-3119

    Type: Private – Cooperative
    On the web:
    Employees: 229

    The Amana Society is a jack of almost all trades. The company operates the businesses of the Amana community of Iowa, which include The Amana Furniture & Clock Shop, Amana General Store, Amana Woolen Mill, Amana Meat Shop & Smokehouse, Little Amana General Store & Woolens, Amana Holiday Inn, Amana Colonies RV Park, and Amana Woolen Mill. The Amana Society’s mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret the heritage of the Amana community. About 20% of the company’s furniture is commissioned and designed specially to a customer’s request. The group is affiliated with the Amana Heritage Society, which operates a museum, among other activities.

    Key numbers for fiscal year ending December, 2008:
    Sales: $34.4M

    Chairman: Les J. Ackerman
    President and CEO: John K. Peterson
    Director Finance: James Mohni

    Bernhardt Furniture
    Ethan Allen

    The small can’t compete? This one makes $34.4M every year. If they had the attitude of Filipinos like Perlas, they’ll just wind up writing a book, instead of being actually, productive – you know generate a value -run a business, grow one.

    This one can – it takes leadership and the can-do spirit of competition and free enterprise – which is pretty much lacking in Perlas’ and the critique of the “progressive left”.

    Instead of whining and dreaming, I would suggest the left to actually try working for a change 🙂

    Learn from the cooperatives that have turned the tables against the monopolies and have themselves become formidable players in the market – a worker’s corporation; a laborer’s corporation; a people’s corporation – where individuals are both laborers and owners. These same companies use the same tools of management – marketing, accounting, sales, finance – and have been successful. If they can do it, why can’t Filipinos?

    The left is being intellectually lazy – generate value for a change. They want to be pampered like infants.

    [gview file=””]

    Cooperative Businesses in America

    Cooperatives in America are as old as the nation itself. The first successful U.S. cooperative was organized in 1752 when Benjamin Franklin formed the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire — the nation’s oldest continuing cooperative. The modern cooperative era dates to 1844, when the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society was established in Rochdale, England. These pioneers wrote down a set of principles to operate their food cooperative. These principles contributed to their success and spread to other cooperatives around the world.

    Cooperatives have thrived in part because the concept is so fundamental and universally appealing — people or businesses banding together to form an independent business entity to serve the needs of the collective membership, customer base, employees or other user group. But as old as the form of business may be, cooperatives have never been more modern in the way they operate. Like other businesses that must reinvent themselves every day in response to ever-changing markets, cooperatives are continually evolving to meet their members’ needs, with new cooperatives started all the time.

    Co-ops typically are formed when the marketplace fails to provide needed goods or services at affordable prices or of acceptable quality. Among other things, cooperatives provide:

    Business services, such as personnel and benefits management, and group purchasing of goods and services
    Credit and personal financial services
    Equipment, hardware and farm supplies
    Electricity, telephone, Internet, satellite and cable TV services
    Food and grocery services
    Funeral and memorial service planning
    Health care
    Legal and professional services
    Marketing of agricultural and other products

    Cooperatives follow seven internationally recognized principles as the basis for doing business:

    1 – Voluntary and open membership
    2 – Democratic member control
    3 – Member economic participation
    4 – Autonomy and independence
    5 – Education, training and information-sharing
    6 – Cooperation among cooperatives
    7 – Concern for community

    In part because the cooperative community is so diverse, there is no current authoritative count of cooperative businesses in the United States or their economic impact. Past estimates of the number of co-ops have ranged as high as 40,000.1 This report counts 21,367 co-ops in six individual sectors. It is the beginning of an effort to develop new estimates of the size and impact of the entire co-op community. Legislation pending on Capitol Hill would make $500,000 available to expand on this effort.

    II. 2005 Cooperative Business Survey: Scope

    October is National Co-op Month. As part of efforts to acknowledge and celebrate Co-op Month 2005, the National Co-op Month Planning Committee developed a survey to measure the economic impact of U.S.-based cooperatives.

    The survey included questions on the number of co-ops; the total number of members of co-ops; cooperative businesses’ employment and payroll; and cooperatives’ economic activity, measured in terms of gross sales, production volume, assets or other relevant metrics. Respondents included organizations representing five cooperative sectors: credit unions, farm credit banks and associations, electric utilities, grocery and housing. Data from a fifth sector, agriculture, was obtained from the federal government. These six sectors generally are considered the largest segments of the cooperative community.

    Other sectors — notably worker co-ops, telecommunications co-ops and most purchasing co-ops — were not easily covered in the survey. While there are only approximately 300 purchasing co-ops, they represent an estimated 50,000 independent businesses and their economic impact is substantial.

    2 Included are all ACE and True Value hardware stores and Carpet One retail outlets.
    Approximately 4,800 individual hardware retailers are ACE members while 700 flooring retailers are members of the Carpet One cooperative.
    3 In 2004, the 10 largest purchasing co-ops alone had revenues of more than $12 billion.
    4 In addition, there are consumer co-ops beyond those represented here. Some of those are substantial as well. Seattle-based Recreational Equipment Inc., for example, has more than 2 million consumer-owners.
    5 In 2004, the three largest consumer co-ops alone had revenues of $5 billion.
    6 Still, this report includes economic data on more than 21,000 U.S. co-ops that together have nearly 130 million members. While these numbers are impressive, they do not negate the need for comprehensive data on the cooperative business community. Comprehensive data is needed to accurately gauge the size and impact of the cooperative sector, to demonstrate the sector’s value to members and others, and to advocate on behalf of cooperatives at various levels of government.

    III. 2005 Cooperative Business Survey: Summary
    The economic impact of U.S.-based cooperative businesses is significant, reflecting the ubiquity of co-ops, the large number of Americans who are their owners or customers, and the role co-ops play in generating business activity, including jobs and economic growth.
    For the six key sectors that are the focus of this report — agriculture, credit unions, farm credit, electric utilities, grocery and housing — the data are impressive. However, for some sectors the data are incomplete. Notably, information was not available on the payroll of the agriculture sector, or on the number of customers and employees of grocery co-ops. Notwithstanding the absence of this information, the identifiable economic impact of these six keycooperative sectors is quite large. In summary:

    There are 21,367 cooperatives in the six sectors.
    • These cooperatives have more than 127.5 million members.* Adding in the memberships of three additional large consumer co-ops would increase this number to 130.5 million.

    • Cooperatives in these six sectors employ considerably more than 500,000 Americans, with aggregate payrolls of more than $15 billion annually. These cooperatives generate total annual revenues in excess of $211.9 billion.** Adding in the revenues of 10 additional large purchasing cooperatives and three additional large
    consumer co-ops would increase this number to $229.7 billion.

    Among individual sectors:
    * Agriculture co-ops have a gross business volume of more than $111 billion per year and 2.8 million members.
    * The Farm Credit System has approximately $125 billion in assets and $96 billion in loans outstanding.
    * Credit unions have $668 billion in assets and more than 86 million members, who receive billions of dollars in benefits annually from lower loan rates and higher savings rates.
    * Credit unions have $443.5 billion in loans outstanding.
    * Electric utility co-ops serve 37 million people and their lines cover more than three-quarters of the U.S. land mass.
    * Food and grocery co-ops generate $33 billion in annual revenues while retail food co-ops alone pay back an estimated $4 million a year to their members.
    * Housing cooperatives have combined budgets in excess of $11 billion, and make an estimated $1.2 billion in property improvements each year.

    Philippine cooperatives have a long way to go. Filipinos have a long way to go in terms of cooperativism.

    The earlier the “progressive left” realizes that the “war” is won in terms of whose workers are happy and contented the better for them.

    Competition is the name of the game, get to work. Get a job, if you can’t find one – create one!

    Perlas wrote a book, BongV writes a blog – the cooperatives make a lot of mullah 😀

    BongV says perlas should read Richard Williams – The Cooperative Movement – Globalization from Below, described as

    “the history of the cooperative movement from its origins in the 18th century and deals with the theory of cooperation, as contrasted with the “Standard Economic Model”, based on competition. The book contains the results of field studies of a number of successful cooperatives both in the developed and developing world. It includes insights from personal interviews of cooperative members and concludes by considering the successes and challenges of the cooperative movement as an alternative to the global neo-colonialism and imperialism that now characterizes free-market capitalist approaches to globalization. The book considers democratic and local control of essential economic activities such as the production, distribution, and retailing of goods and services. It suggests that cooperative approaches to these economic activities are already reducing poverty and resulting in equitable distributions of wealth and income without plundering the resources of developing countries. 😀

  30. GCL:

    I dislike Perlas protectionist stances precisely for the reason that I cannot get intro creative equity arrangements which are currently not allowed by the constitution.

    If there’s one of me who has gotten into this dilemma – an enterprising person who has access to global equity but cannot use it in the local arena – while a local oligarch – has access to capital and can use it. the foreign venture capital will balance my handicap against the local oligarch.

    i am filipino, too – the oligarch has capital – i don’t have it. i have a business idea that a venture capital is willing to fund but it’s not possible given the equity limits of the constitution. sure the foreigner makes money – after all he invested in it – hello???? the locals had the opportunity, but they didn’t use it – why should they be entitled to the returns? nagpakatamad sila eh, they lose. simple as that.

    i don’t have a problem supporting the truly handicapped. but able bodied whiners who don’t have the balls and creativity to compete – they puke the hell outta me.

    Perlas – has the filipino mindset. Try the indian mindset and see the difference, napakalayo.



    Dr. A. Vinayagamoorthy
    Department of Commerce, Periyar University
    Salem-11 TN

    Dr. Vijay Pithadia
    Asst. Professor
    R.K. College of Business Management
    Kasturbadham, Bhavnagar Road, Rajkot-360020 GJ


    Co-operation is a world-wide movement. It was introduced in India in the early years of this century in the wake of famines, which had resulted in economic hardship and an alarming increase in the indebtedness of the farmers to the moneylenders. Co-operative credit on easy terms appeared to be the best means of getting the farmers out of the vicious circle of indebtedness and poverty. The idea was to free the farmers from the necessity of having to borrow money on usurious rates of interest from Sahukars or village moneylenders. The Co-operative Societies Act, which was passed in 1904 envisaged the formation of village credit societies. In 1912, the Act was amended to enable formation of other types of societies for activities relating to sale, purchase, production, housing etc. This Act also provided for the creation of federations of primary societies and for supervision, audit, mutual control and overall development of the co-operative movement. In 1919, the subject of co-operation was transferred to the provinces and most of the provinces enacted their own laws to regulate the working of co-operative societies. To give a stimulus to the co-operative movement, the Government of India set up an Agricultural Credit Department in the Reserve Bank of India with a view to providing financial assistance and credit to the co-operatives.

    Co-operation was introduced in India mainly as a defensive organization for dealing with problems of rural indebtedness. With the acceptance and implementation of a planned economic development wedded to the ideas of socialism and democracy, co-operation became a dynamic economic instrument for achieving the social objectives of the National plan.


    The term globalization is often associated with international business. It is a process of development of the world into a single integrated economic unit. In India, globalization refers to the opening of the gates of the economy for mutual global co-operation by way of reducing control and bureaucratic delays and steering the economy towards better market orientation.

    Globalization started from the 19th century and the period between 1870 to 1913 has been considered as first phase and the period from middle of 20th century is viewed as the second phase. The World Human Development Report, 1999 states that the most significant feature of the current phase is market economic policies spreading around the world with grater privatization and liberalization than in earlier decades.


    It is a well-known fact that the year 1991 marked the beginning of a new era in economic policy of our country. To encourage privatization, policy changes such as deregulation of state enterprise, reduction in tariff barriers, creation of appropriate climate to promote private investment in infrastructure, manufacturing etc. provided for new direction and affected almost all the sectors of the economy, including co-operative sector. But the reform measures under the new economic policy, mainly concentrated only in removing the fetters on private enterprises and in stimulating higher economic growth by promoting industrial sector. The rural and agricultural sector remained somewhat neglected and also the effect of economic reforms on the economic fortunes of the common people was overlooked. Throughout the reform decade i.e., from 1991 to 2000, the role and relevance of the cooperative sector remained on the background, in spite of its predominant position in various fields of our national economy.

    There are at present 5.04 lakh cooperative societies of different type with a membership of 22 Crores, covering 100 percent villages and 67 percent rural households. The transition from controlled economy to open competitive economy in the name of globalization or liberalization has thrown a whole lot of challenges to the cooperative sector. It was believed that cooperatives would not be able to survive in the face of stiff competition posed b private sector. In contrast, there were still few, who regarded cooperation as a dynamic enterprise, which had been able to survive for around 150 years. A study of functioning of cooperative societies in various segments such as agricultural credit, agricultural marketing, fertilizer distribution, agro-processing, dairy and sugar industries, has shown that there are some strong and viable cooperatives. But at the same time one must realize the fact that the co-operative structure, as it emerged, has shown the following weaknesses.


    1. Weak structure at primary level

    2. Lack of responsiveness from federal organizations towards the needs of their member organizations

    3. Working of different cooperatives in isolation rather than unified system

    4. Lack of participation of user-members

    Some of the other weaknesses are, lack of professional management, lack of adequate infrastructure, lack of capability to withstand competition, over-dependence on government for financial assistance and restrictive provisions of cooperative law. Some of these main weaknesses observed in the cooperative movement; have to be tackled on war-footing in the years to come, in the best interest of the survival of cooperative movement.

    The current status of cooperatives reflects both a threat and an opportunity. It is a threat, because cooperatives have failed, to a large extent, in delivering efficient goods and services unlike the private sector and an opportunity, because the new economic scenario will offer enough opportunities, which could be effectively utilized by the cooperatives to prove their case of continuation. Some of the new challenges to be faced by cooperatives in the new millennium are briefly categorized as follows:

    New Challenges

    1. A borderless system of economic activity is coming into being. Big multinational companies will take full advantage of the borderless world, without hindrance of national boundaries to undertake large-scale economic activities, which will dominate the world market. Such a new economic scenario, presented a threat to cooperative movement’s ability to survive.

    2. Since the government now has withdrawn support, due to changed economic priorities, many cooperatives encounter difficulties in generating their own resources and have to completely reorganize themselves to survive and succeed in a competitive environment, without depending n any state support.

    3. At present, there are about 207 national and 8 international organizations, which are the backbone of ICA and there are about 754 million individuals spread over 90 countries of Asia, Africa, Europe and America, who are members of ICA. With such a huge and diversified structure around the world, one cannot question the ability of the cooperatives to survive and succeed, but what needs to be deliberated upon is, the new direction towards which cooperative movement should move with firm determination.

    4. Internal and structural weaknesses of cooperative institutions, combined with lack of proper policy support have neutralized their positive impact and resulted partly in the mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption in the financing of cooperatives. This has necessitated the need for a clear – cut policy on co-operatives, to enable sustained development and growth of healthy and self-reliant cooperatives.

    Keeping in view the challenges ahead, cooperatives have to reorient their strategies, in the changed economic environment of our economy. Some of the strategies to reorient and renew their development thrust in the new environment are:

    Development Thrust

    1. To face the challenges in a liberalized economy, the cooperatives have to reorient their structural functioning and management. It may include:

    i. Enhancing the competitive strength in cooperatives by their merger and division, wherever necessary
    ii. Non-viable societies that do not have scope for revival should be liquidated.
    iii. Ensure active participation of members in their day-today business and de-listing or removing the inefficient or inactive members from membership.
    iv. Federal organizations of cooperatives must give sufficient financial and other support to their constituent societies.

    2. With the growing diversification and size of operations in cooperatives, there is a need for constituting two separate boards namely, policy-board, consisting of elected representatives of the members and executive-board, consisting of senior executives headed by the chief executive, with clear demarcation of areas of their powers and functions. In other words, besides elected cooperators, there should be a provision to co-opt outside experts in areas, requiring high degree of specialization or technical and managerial expertise.

    3. Large-scale enterprises in the cooperative sector may require huge funds. To mobilize more funds, cooperatives may enter capital market and mobilize funds by means of deposits, debentures etc. At the same time, cooperatives must evolve deposit-insurance scheme, to instill confidence among the depositors, both in urban and rural areas. Effective deposit mobilization will help them to build their own bendable resources, for profitable and diversified lending. They have to adopt efficiency parameters, in terms of cost-effectiveness and a reasonable return on investment, if they have to survive in the competitive atmosphere.

    4. According to some experts, there are a number of agricultural commodities like rice, sugar, fruits, vegetables; spices etc. that have strong competitive advantage in export markets. This has positive implications for agricultural cooperatives. Moreover, some cooperative thinkers interpreted that the historical attributes of cooperatives namely, countervailing power, access to capital on favorable terms, scale-economies and income improvement, provide them with necessary strength, to overcome the challenges of a competitive market.

    5. Intensified enrolment drives to cover maximum number of small and middle sized agrarian producers, processors etc., intensified linkages with NGOs or Self-help Groups or panchayats and intensified efforts on the part of the government of India and promotional bodies like NCDC to attract funds and other forms of assistance from international agencies like world bank, Asian development bank, EEC, FAO, ILO, etc. for specific development projects in the cooperative sector, will go a long way in strengthening cooperatives, in order to complete in the new economic environment.

    6. For the development of rural sector, which is still very largely in the Informal spheres, the parameters of the new system do not apply. In such cases, we should identify:

    i. The areas where the cooperatives cannot penetrate or cover,
    ii. The areas where the cooperative sector has a comparative advantage, and
    iii. The areas where cooperatives can build up strategic alliance with private sector, public sector and International agencies. Such an understanding will greatly help in the vertical and horizontal integration of support services for agro-industrial production processes.

    7. For building up professionalism in the management of the cooperative enterprises, it is necessary on the one hand to upgrade the quality of the staff with latest developments and on the other hand, develop proper and cordial relationship between the managers and members of board of directors. Proper and continuous training must be provided to both cooperative leaders and profession executives.

    8. It is only now that cooperatives have an opportunity to thrive for years, despite their relevance restricted by a hostile legal and policy environment fell far short of their promise. The extensive powers conferred on the registrar of cooperative societies, are a drag on the efficiency of the cooperative system. The dawn of the new era began in 1995, when Andra Pradesh legislature passed the AP mutually aided cooperative societies Act, 1995. by the end of 1999, three more states viz., Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Madhya radish have enacted similar parallel acts for self-reliant cooperatives. Maharastra, Tamil Nadu, Orisssa, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are considering similar laws. Recently, Karnataka state legislature has passed & implemented Souharda cooperative society Act since 2000. It is this, changing environment that provides the opportunity for genuine cooperatives, to arise and compete. Parallel-laws for self-reliant cooperatives; provide a legal environment that allows cooperatives to function as autonomous, democratic, member-sensitive, member-controlled, self-reliant enterprises.


    In a developing country like India with huge deficits in terms of quality and quantity, the State has to shoulder the primary responsibility of providing cooperative credit. Considering the low living standards of common man, incomplete and imperfect markets, and other socio political considerations it is the primary duty of the government to ensure that its citizens have easy access to cooperative credit.

    The need of the hour for the cooperative sector in the era of liberalized environment is to seize every opportunity available to it. Thus, the future vision of cooperative movement will have to be based on efficiency parameters relating to promotion of excellence, improvement of operational efficiency and strengthening of financial resource base.


    1. Daya, R. (1999), Internationalization and Cooperatives in the Nest Millennium,The Cooperator, Vol. 37, No.6

    2. Dubashi, P.R. (2002), Cooperatives in the Next Millennnium, The Cooperator, Vol. XXXVII, No. 9

    3. Dubashi, P. R. (1999), Cooperation and Second Generation of Economic Reforms,The Cooperator, Vol. XXXVII, No. 5

    4. krishnaswamy, O. R. and Kulandaiswamy, V. (2000), Cooperation: Concept and Theory, Arudra Academy Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

    5. Mishra, R. V. (1999), Cooperative Sector: Problems and Prospects, The Cooperator, Vol. 37, No.6

    6. Ramesh, R. S. (2000), Challenges Before Cooperatives under Liberalized Economic Regime, The Cooperator, Vol. XXXVII, No. 10.

    7. Subramanyam, B. (1998), Cooperative Credit Structure: A Perspective for 2000 A.D., Cooperative Perspective, pp. 6-14, July-Sept, 1998.

    8. Government of India- Reports of the Ministry of Finance, New Delhi, (1993-1998)

    9. Annual Credit Plans – Lead bank office, Anantapur, Reports (2002-2005)

    10. Ruddar Datt & KPM Sundharam, ‘Indian Economy’, S. Chand & Company Ltd., Ram Nagar, new Delhi – 110 055.

    11. Sami Uddin and Mahfoozur Rahman, (2001) Cooperative Sector in India, S. Chand & Company Ltd, Ram Nagr, New Delhi- 110 055.


    The Indians are rushing to enjoy globalization – the pinoys are rushing to isolate themselves. Susginoo, Nick Perlas maghunos dili ka noy. His campaign has the trimmings of new media, but his thinking on globalization ain’t new – it is tired, old, and revenue-less.

    Try cooperativism and entrepreneurship, something that produces real value instead of spinning wheels.

  31. justice league · ·


    I went to several fora where ChaCha was discussed several years ago. Those who presented their claims included a future Justice of the SC and one forum even had Chairman of the ConCom Abueva himself.

    I heard all their talk.

    They talked about how a ruling government in a parliamentary form can be replaced within the same term of Parliament. They talked about shadow cabinets formed by the opposition that is prepared to hold the reins of government should the ruling party somehow collapse. They talked about greater accountability of parliament.

    But all of those were lies once the fine print of the recommendations came out.

    (Heck, they even tried to emasculate the SC into looking into a declaration of Martial Law)

    Now, I’m not against amending the charter per se.

    But I’ve seen how politicians will lump all recommendations into one spoiled meal to force feed the people and leave one with only 2 choices, vomit or swallow.

    If you feel so strongly for your advocacy then you should consider putting up your own “People’s Initiative” in amending the Constitution. The People’s Initiative was upheld in the same ruling that struck down “Sigaw ng Bayan’s” petition. All those in favor of your advocacy surely wouldn’t mind donating time and money on the process. At least your amendment will be pinpoint precise.

    Though you may only amend the Charter piecemeal with that method every 5 years, at least you won’t be hampered by a time limit for gathering signatures like the Swiss model.

    Are you up to it?

  32. BongV,

    I’m not sure your perception about Perlas being protectionist is accurate:e

    Here is Perlas’ answer during an interview with Women’s on-line magazine COSMO that touches on foreign investments to the Philippines when he becomes President.

    Cosmo: Most of our girls have lost their jobs. How will they get back their jobs? Are we seeing a prosperous economy under your term?

    Perlas: A lot of people are holding back, both domestically and internationally, because of corruption. Our business climate is one of the poorest in the region. We have long application lines for business permits and fees, and there’s corruption all the way. We have one of the highest corruption rates. I mean, there’s a lot of incentives for business, and I think when we clear out the government, we’ll have a responsible fiscal management, which, among others, includes a not too large budget deficit.

    This present government is just really increasing our budget deficit. So, we [first] send a signal that we have a stable economy so people will invest. We solve the peace and order problem, so they’re not bothered. We create a climate, and when you have that, you provide strategic services, employment opportunities for the poor, entrepreneurship for the poor. We’ll definitely have a dynamic economy. Before, I was a global consultant for integral sustainable development, and I know many people in the world who are willing to invest in sustainable development. Sustainable development is my framework; the [foreign investors] will actually be willing to put billions of dollars in this country if they see that it is moving in the right and green direction. They’ll be excited. It’s good for them and it’s good for us, that they’re doing green investments.

    Full link of the interview:

  33. Singapore first adopted a free for all market under that man but later on added a protectionist centrally-planned economy because of the sudden realization for the need of it. Also, we have to consider the fact that Singapore has little domestic demands that they need to rely on the international market for growth. They liberalize only the areas where Singapore has no capacity for building their own industry because of a lack of resources.

    How can you say that we are a protected economy? Majority if not all of the heavy industries here in the Philippines are foreign-owned of joint ventures with the foreigners. If this is a protected economy, why do we have free zones? EU acknowledged the Philippines for developing a large number of free zones. Why do we a have lot of incentives for foreign investors? Is that what we mean by protectionism? Why are foreign companies exempted from paying taxes or if not, being given a high discounted tax rate? What can we say about the mining act? Yes, the Constitution explicitly states that only forty percent of the land can be owned by the foreigners but until now there is not a single enabling law to advance this provision. Mas malala pa nga because they’re using the loopholes to operate against this provision.

    This is not a matter of what is written, this is a matter of what is being practice and what is being done to control our economy. Yes, the Filipino business elites controls our economy but they are mostly junior partners of foreign companies and they mostly serve the demands of the elite market.

  34. In the year 1973, the Singapore Government has imposed restrictions on foreign ownership of all private residential property in Singapore. Such ownership is governed by the Residential Property Act. The Act aims to give Singaporeans a stake in the country by being able to buy and possess their own residential property at an affordable price and also encourage foreign talent by allowing permanent residents and foreign companies who make an economic contribution to Singapore to purchase such properties for their own occupation. (Philippines does not allow similar arrangements).

    The Residential Property Act (RPA) is then amended on 19 July 2005 to allow foreigners to purchase apartments in non-condominium developments of less than 6 levels without the need to obtain prior approval. For restricted property such as vacant land, landed properties such as bungalows, semi-detached and terrace houses, prior approval is still needed if foreigners wish to buy. Landed properties is a special class of residential property that Singaporeans aspire to own, and should remain restricted. Foreigners need to apply for approval from Singapore Land Authority before buying.

    If you are a foreigner (or expatriate) and you wish to purchase a restricted residential property, you need to download the application form at You can submit the form together with the relevant supporting documents such as your entry and re-entry permits and qualifications to:

    Land Dealings (Approval) Unit
    No. 8 Shenton Way,
    #27-02 Temasek Tower,
    Singapore 068811

    What are the non-restricted residential properties?

    Foreigners are not restricted from acquiring:

    * Developments approved as a condominium development under the Planning Act
    * A flat in a building of 6 levels or more including the ground level and any level below the ground level including HUDC Phase I, Phase II flats and privatised HUDC Phase III and IV flats
    * A leasehold estate in restricted residential property (refer to A) for a term not exceeding 7 years including any further term which may be granted by way of an option for renewal

    Singapore first adopted a free for all market under that man but later on added a protectionist centrally-planned economy because of the sudden realization for the need of it. Also, we have to consider the fact that Singapore has little domestic demands that they need to rely on the international market for growth. They liberalize only the areas where Singapore has no capacity for building their own industry because of a lack of resources.

    We are a protectionist economy because the Philippine constitution has clauses that
    1 – restrict foreigners from owning more than 40% equity
    2 – restrict foreigners from owning property for their business and residence

    Free zones are more of an exception than the rule and are still governed by the constitution.

    We are giving incentives in the hope that they will forget that they can’t own land nor have a majority share, otherwise, they will not even bother to look at the Philippines 😀

    How can you say that we are a protected economy? Majority if not all of the heavy industries here in the Philippines are foreign-owned of joint ventures with the foreigners.

    If this is a protected economy, why do we have free zones? EU acknowledged the Philippines for developing a large number of free zones. Why do we a have lot of incentives for foreign investors? Is that what we mean by protectionism?

    Why are foreign companies exempted from paying taxes or if not, being given a high discounted tax rate?

    I am in favor of the mining act. It’s a choice between dying from hunger just watching the darn thing. Or, learning to use it responsibly – I say use it responsibly. If locals can’t do the job, let foreigners do the job instead.

    What can we say about the mining act?

    In this case the constitution is quite explicit – there is no need for an enabling law to re-echo that foreigners can’t own land. 🙂

    Yes, the Constitution explicitly states that only forty percent of the land can be owned by the foreigners but until now there is not a single enabling law to advance this provision. Mas malala pa nga because they’re using the loopholes to operate against this provision.

    you have a choice of dealing with the junior partners – or dealing with the principals.
    remember, the MAJORITY holder (MEANING FILIPINO) is not in control.

    As far as the foreign principals are concerned – the Juniors just want it to themselves. And what do you want – to close junior even? anong ipapalit mo sa toothpaste? asin? don’t be silly

    This is not a matter of what is written, this is a matter of what is being practice and what is being done to control our economy. Yes, the Filipino business elites controls our economy but they are mostly junior partners of foreign companies and they mostly serve the demands of the elite market.

  35. So, ano ng masasabi natin sa Deo Xang Ping era of China? Protectionist or not? Are we like that? What can we say about UK? Protectionist or not?

    If we are to limit the word protectionist sa kung anong nakasulat sa Constitution, then, whaaaaat?

    The SAP was proposed by an international financial institution. It was adopted here in the Philippines kaagad. Protectionism?

  36. Cleve,

    you rock man! if BongV closlely looks at the Singapore situation, it actually adjusts its laws according to what is needed at a particular time. It can be “protectionist” and “open” as the need arises. To simply deduce that the Philippines is “protectionist under todays situation is simply being blind to the reality that is going on. The point is that the fulchrum has to be found and exercised accordingly. Extremes, whether totally open or totally close is bad for us.

  37. May Party Sa Dasma Wala Akong Wheels · ·

    You mean Den Xiao Ping. Jeezus, cleve. Do some reasearch first.

  38. May Party Sa Dasma Wala Akong Wheels · ·

    Este DENG XIAO PING. Missing G.

  39. GCL:

    That’s the point – Singapore has the flexibility of being open or protectionist as the need arises because it has not put the protectionist clause in its Constitution, unlike the Philippines .

    Gets? Intiendes? Tagalugin ko na? Cebuano? 😀

    You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

  40. May Party Sa Dasma Wala Akong Wheels · ·

    You rule, BongV!
    As in. 😛

  41. cleve:before we compare philippines to china, i wanna ask:1. are you in favor of the philippines becoming socialist like china? if you ask me am all for it – CONFISCATE ALL OLIGARCH PROPERTIIES and PRIVATE PROPERTY and transfer it to the government. instead of owning the land – you pay a lease to the government – citizens and foreigners alike.

    2. are you in favor of filipino laborers taking a paycut from their minimum wage of $4 per day in Manila to China’s minimum wage standards – roughly$2/day

    China’s minimum wage is lower than that in 32 African countries, and is almost the lowest in the world, according to “World Wage Research” (“WWR”), a widely viewed report circulated on China’s major Web sites and blogs.

    “China’s average annual wage is less than 15 percent of the world average, ranking 158th in the world,” said Liu Zhirong, independent Chinese scholar and author of “WWR,” during an interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA).

    His research showed that the lowest average annual income of the 183 countries and regions in the world is approximately US$6,078, while China’s is only US$896. (BongV – Philppines Per Capita is $3,300 (2008 est. – South Korea’s “impoverished masses” have per capita of $26,000 (2008 est.) ; source: )

    Liu relied on official information in compiling the report, such as statistics from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and national government offices, including those from the labor departments in many countries. He told RFA. “If the information were based on the feelings of the common [Chinese] people, I’m afraid the result of this analysis would be even worse.”

    Su Ming, a former professor at Peking University now living in Canada, said the information is reliable. In 2008, he said, the Web site of the State Department of the Chinese regime was hacked and inside information was revealed.

    “At that time, 230 million Chinese were living on an average annual income of US$44,” Su said. “The wage standard last set by the United Nations was US$1 per person per day. This means that the number of people in China who were living below the poverty line was at least 600 million to 700 million.”

    Independent commentator, Dr. Cheng Xiaonong, who currently lives in the United States, believes that if the unemployed people in the cities as well as young collage graduates earning low incomes were also counted, the number would increase to 800 million to 900 million.

    The Chinese communist officials are working to make sure their own wages meet international standards while ignoring the wages of the common people, Liu commented in the “WWR” report.


    after you answer that, let’s continue with your comparison of China and the Philippines.

  42. BongV,

    in that case how did you conclude Perlas’ stance on Trade as protectionist? He does not advocate a protectionist idea when there is a need to open. Is it a bias for Gordon or a truly objective understanding of Perlas’ platform?

    Sige lang kasabot ra man ko sa imong possible biases ba pero ayaw lang pamasangil labi na nga sayop ra ba imong panglantaw. mao na pag-chure oi!

  43. DrBelloW · ·


    I’ve read with interest your posts here. I wouldn’t claim to agree with either you or BongV in totality, but I would like to address here, your convictions: What are they?

    In your earlier post where you gave a lengthy discourse on, in your words, “the faces of neo-liberalism and Darwinism”, you said a lot and you referred liberally to your source material. Unfortunately, you would know that your sources are rather one-sided. I’m not saying that they are inaccurate; just that they are undeniably one-sided. There was a lot of sound and fury, heat and light. But I couldn’t really tell what your own personal stand is on the topic under discussion. Are you truly against globalization? Whatever you were, what was undoubtedly evident was your support for your presidential choice and his right to be a protectionist. I quote one line of yours in particular: “the use of the words “protectionist” and “protectionism” here are accurate”.

    But in your next significant post, your first line was: “I’m not sure your perception about Perlas being protectionist is accurate”. And you went on to quote an interview as evidence of his anti-protectionism. So if Perlas is not a protectionist after all, are you still pro- or anti-protectionism?

    I don’t think any of the candidates are totally one or the other and it will boil down to a question of degrees. But I think BongV’s point is that as long as you keep a protectionist clause in the constitution, it ties you in to a protectionist stand, regardless of whether there is a need to be open or not. That was the premise of the article that started all this. I’m sure BongV can answer for himself though, and so I’ll refrain from adding further to that.

    Everyone here is entitled to his or her views, just as much as you are entitled to yours. So before you get too upset by the differing points of view, I would just like to know what your views actually are on the clauses in the constitution that BongV would like so much to get rid of.

  44. GCL:

    I have to thank Dr BelloW for pointing out the gist – as long as you keep a protectionist clause in the constitution, it ties you in to a protectionist stand, regardless of whether there is a need to be open or not.

  45. GCL:

    Nick’s answer to the question about charter change was quite clear.

    Perlas did not have any explicit statement that he was going to remove the Secs 10 and 11 of Article 12 of the Philippine Constitution, unlike Dick Gordon.

    Therfore, Nick Perlas is protectionist by virtue of his support for a Constitution that has protectionist clauses – clauses which he does intend to change.

    Sure thing, Nick has a lot of ideas. But you can only address administrative inefficiencies so far.

    At a certain point, the systemic constraints by the protectionist clauses ( Sec 10 and 11, Article 12) of the Philippine Constitution generate a massive hemorrhage of investment opportunities – opportunities lost – for one simple reason – the investor can own a condo unit in SG, HK, SoKor, Taiwan, Indonesia – but NOT in the Philippines.

  46. Dr. Bello and BongV

    I believe in Global Cooperation utilizing associative forms of economic activities that can lead to economic efficiencies and productivity but i reject the present practice of globalization where “global competitiveness” means materialistic and cut-throat. I reject the destructive tendencies that Globalization and Trade liberalization brings. I believe that we must, at all times, qualify the parameters to any trade pacts and junk the myth of “free market” that is superstitiously relied upon as “omni-beneficent”.

    I believe in opening up within the framework “sustainability” which answers certain economic parameters aimed by the Philippine Agenda 21 such as:

    1. social equity – more equitable distribution of resources and products
    2. environmental soundness or integrity
    3. social justice, peace, true democracy, freedom, and respect for the indigenous people, Filipino culture, and values.

    I subscribe to the idea of putting boundaries to any policy of liberalization.. This means that if market forces results in social inequity, environmental destruction, and cultural loss then that policy must be revised, re-framed, and recast.. In the case of the 40/60 ownership by foreigners against Filipinos, I can also see the a lot of problems that FDI and ODA brought. I have nothing against foreigners making business here. Unluckily, many of these foreign and even local(oligarchs) investors seek to maximize their gains as the primary and sole aim. As we see now, this resulted to a kind of growth that is ecologically and socially costly too.

    The political parameters must also be there where ecological and social costs are internalized to provide a more structural stance. I also, like the PA 21, reject the idea of “Grow now, Pay later”.

    i would like to cite the PA21’s political parameter:

    “Government provides an enabling environment for the equitable and appropriate matching of sustainable development investment programs and projects with financial resources, including both domestic and foreign, public and private, in accordance with plans and programs developed in consensus of the three sectors of society namely the political, economic, and also importantly, civil society.”

    If we therefore take matters (our future) in our own hands it has to have a kind of framework where FDI’s match to those of our sustainable goals. Given this context, economy must be placed in the context of ecological and social sustainability. To allow the “invisible hand” of “free market” solely on the hands of economy can be disastrous. Our over-willingness to open up without a deeper understanding of the present context by which globalization and trade liberalization are being forced upon us by some foreigners and materialistic capitalists and “all-knowing politicians” will lead to our society demise. I hope this clarifies my stand and as for provision in the constitution, I guess that has to be reviewed in the context of the above-cited parameters.

    I am a fan of your work Dr. Bello and I see that your work is not so different from that of Mr. Perlas. In your talk in the USC in Cebu, I wished you were braver enough to represent the “voice” of those who have been sidelined by all the political gimmickry that is going on in our presidential race. Your extensive influence could actually help, albeit laden with difficulties (given our traditional thinking trapped in the context of what has been “tested’ in the past and not without basis), to bring about a transformation that you and Mr. Perlas have been fighting for.

    I am not sure where in your person the remark “floating in the wind” (referring to Mr. Perlas?, pls. clarify for I could be wrong, my apologies nevertheless) came from when I could see that you are amongst the brightest this land has compared to the other 8 presidential contenders (exception of Mr. Perlas and Gordon). You yourself lamented about how the many presidential forums failed to nail the necessary issues that needed debating. I believe that if media listened more to you, you would have paved way for the Filipino people to actually see who the only qualified presidential aspirants in this race are.

    The computer revolutionaries were branded as “freaks” but these few men completely changed the way we see the world now. If we will be courageous enough, we can make manifest that which is hoping to “emerge” from the Filipinos…unfortunately, it cannot be from the context of traditonal political thinking that only subscribe to the “winnability virus”. And since we have been practicing this “tradition” for the longest time, isn’t it high time to shift to something ‘unheard’ of? Each of us, especially the brightest and discerning, are called upon to carry those who have the least in understanding.They have more responsibility than the ignorants amongst us.


    To BongV, keep up the good work, we need you and people like you to keep us away from WOWOWEE.

  47. GCL:

    I have no issues with sustainable development and all the paradigms that make this a better world to live in – the whole nine yards.

    While government can provide an enabling environment, it can only do so, subject to the business rules it has bound itself to – the Charter.

    However, I do have an issue about the protectionist clauses of the 1987 Constitution – Sections 10 and 11 of Article 12. Nick Perlas has been silent on this TWO Provisions. And in my book, silence means consent.

    I understand what Bello is saying about strategic protectionism – open some, protect some.

    In the case of the Philippines, even if you have a mature industry which is ready for competition – you still cannot open it for the reason that the Philippines Charter prohibits it – 1987 Constitution – Sections 10 and 11 of Article 12.

    I have worked previously as an Investment Promotion Officer of the VERY FIRST LGU investment promotion program in the Philippines and became a Division Chief of the Investment Generation and Project Development Division of the same agency. Every LGU you have visited that offers local incentives – fiscal and non-fiscal, at one time or another, went to the agency I was working with – to learn the ropes – those LGUs made use of their Lakbay-Aral funds and now have their own LGU-centric investment promotion program.

    Prior to that, I was still a closet tibak in the tradition of the very first GENERAL TRANSPORT STRIKE – WELGANG BAYAN ever… the dudes were the “command and control” of the pilot project. Before Welgang Bayan was rolled out nationwide – field testing was done first in.. MY HOOD. Prostitution, Drugs, gun duels, drive-by shootings, salvaging – sure everyone had em – but we had the bulk of em.

    I applied for a job in the agency because I was getting tired of running a business – everywhere I go, merong humihingi – I had an Ad agency and an audio visual production outfit – TV/VIDEO/RADIO/SLIDES/COMPUTERS plus my IT practice. The big contracts were with government – but unless one had to “cozy up” to the powers that be, I couldn’t even get a Bid Canvass Form. In the times, I would get the canvass bid forms – it was palabas, they already decided who was going to get the project, I was just asked to bid to give the process a semblance of legitimacy. I figured that I will become corrupt in a matter of time, so I stopped the business and opted to become an employee, for the meantime. Same thing with computer programming – kahit sa private companies may humihirit na rin.

    Anyway, I applied for an IT position and was instead given a front-line entry level marketing position – Investment Promotion Officer to be more exact. Anyways, it was just a job – and I felt guilty that I was selling out to evil capitalists. The thing is, the more I was doing the job, and learning more about it – we had all the materials – EIU, Peter Wallace Briefings, ODA – the more I came to know about investments – domestic and FDI.

    I have seen FDI at work and how it integrates with trade, tourism, and services to accelerate economic development. So much so that, in 3 to 4 years after launching the program – we turned the Philippines MOST DANGEROUS CITY AND COMMIE LABORATORY FOR URBAN INSURGENCY TACTICS into THE PHILIPPINES MOST LIVEABLE CITY and sustained it.

    Our KPIs were clear – numbers of jobs directly generated by the program, AND the investments on the ground. Any investors who availed of the program – breezed through the registration process. So much so, that there were rumors that some “fixers” were not happy that we eliminated the grease that investors usually pay to get licenses and permits. NOT in my agency, NOT in my watch.

    I recall an incident where an executive of one of the largest food conglomerates was so happy they saved hundreds of thousands in taxes. The executive went to the office and handed me an envelope. I said what is this for? He said, for the boys. I said – No thank you, you have rewarded us by investing, by providing jobs for the people in this city – THAT is my reward, I will have to return the envelope. He didn’t take it back. So, I went to his office, gave the envelope to his secretary, and said, anytime you need us (as long as we don’t go to jail), we are here to see to it you turn a profit – the community has meaningful jobs, the city has greater economic velocity, we are happy – everybody wins.

    Even the lefties benefited from what we have done – a roof over their head, food on the table, tuition for their children, more workers to recruit who can now actually pay union dues.

    Anyways, my epiphany came on a day when I was talking with one of the key personalities – the alter ego of the Local chief executive that time – and I was mentioning to him that how about those investors who don’t want to go into joint ventures, sayang din yun – those meant more jobs for all of us. He had this grin – well, they all still have to come to us – without us, they can’t invest. And I thought – paano naman yung mga tao – we can have a win-win scenario – he just said unfortunately, they have to deal with the constitution. And he gave me a wink. I connected the dots – who really has the capability to go into joint ventures that meet the terms of the constitution – definitely not the small startups like me. TOINK. mothereffin OLIGARCHS!!! CORY CONSTITUTION!! FRAKKING LEFTIES – MY OLD HOMEYS!!! WE’VE BEEN HAD!!!

    We need to stop looking at investors as evil, because investors are people, too who are willing to risk their hard earned money so that the rest may have jobs. Give and take lang yan. It does not mean that we should turn a blind eye when laws are violated. The presumption in our case – was that they are all out to do good, until proven otherwise after a review of the investment plans.

  48. BongV,

    I agree to what you have said in this last piece but i have a question.

    Is it really necessary to remove that “protectionist” clause in the charter where the 40/60 foreign against filipino ownership can be found? Aren’t we, ordinary, Filipinos already F***d up by both domestic oligarchs (politicians and businessmen) who are the the likely partners of foriegn oligarchs too? Sa 40% pa nga lang, these less than 1% of the population already seem to own the whole of our country, papano na kaya pag ibinigay na rin natin ang 60%?

    Isn’t the pre-requisite to an “enabling” framework a “transformed individual” (that makes up society). Its like the issue on whether to retain our presidential system or adopt the parliamentary system, a shift to parliamentary system (given the same traditionally-thinking and self-interest seeking politicians) will render our national fate in the hands of the few who are themselves OLIGARCHS already, di kaya? Di ba ang pre-requistie of having PM’s or ministers/ representatives is that yung mga representatives must truly have the people’s (HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL EQUITY) welfare in his mind? Eh, papano yung mga congressmen at senadores natin ginagawa na ring Negosyo and Pang-Gobierno.

    Thank you BongV, mabuhay ka at ang Anti-pinoy!

  49. GCL: Removing the 60% protectionist clause from the constitution does not necessarily translate to Filipinos being edged out. because legislation can be passed or repealed based on the national interests vis-a-vis the global economy. protectionist policies should be wielded as a thermostat. having the fixed 60/40 clause is like having a car whose A/C is stuck in the lowest cool position. that’s okay in really hot weather but as the weather turns colder you will be as cold as a snowflake because your thermostat is stuck. there is no need to reach a 100% transformed individual before creating an enabling framework. the first step is to recognize the direction – then reconfigure the resources and processes to create the enabling framework, with continuous improvement in mind. ****


    Here’s from an earlier blog I wrote in FV, last year..

    Is the Philippines Ready for “Change”?
    May 23rd, 2009 by BongV


    What is “Change”?

    An open source definition of Change describes the term as “the process of becoming different” in terms of: a)  Time; b) Social change; c) Biological metamorphosis, and; d) The mathematical study of change

    For the purposes of this blog, “Change” refers to social change.

    How does social change take place? When an organization is unstable, unviable, and unoptimized, how does it reach the peak state – viable, stable and optimized? Assuming we can conceive the ideal state, what is the mechanism for achieving the viable state?

    Managing the Change Process

    The venerable wiki defines Change Management as

    the process during which the changes of a system are implemented in a controlled manner by following a pre-defined framework/model with, to some extent, reasonable modifications

    Change Management can be used to describe

    a process in systems engineering
    an IT Service Management discipline
    a structured approach to change in individuals, teams, organizations and societies
    a systematic health-care reform
    a systematic process of managing the changes of official documents

    For purposes of this blog, Change Management refers to “a structured approach to change in individuals, teams, organizations and societies from a current state to a desired future state.

    There are many models and one can select a model that makes more sense to the target audience. Individual Change Management includes methods like Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze, Kubler-Ross, Formula for Change, People Centered Implementation (PCI) and Adkar. Organization Change Management methods include but are not limited to Dynamic conservatism, Decision downloading, Appreciative Inquiry, Scenario Planning, Organize with Chaos, Theory U, Solution focused brief therapy, Closework theory of intervention, and the Constructionist Principle.

    The details of these methods are left to the reader for further reading. A starting point can be the Wiki on Change Management

    Worth mentioning  is the map/territory relation. The wiki expounds:

    The map/territory relation is proven by neuroscience and is used to signify that individual people do not have access to absolute knowledge of reality, but in fact only have access to a set of beliefs they have built up over time, about reality. It has been coined into a model by Chris Argyris called the Ladder of Inference.

    Ladder of Inference

    As a consequence, communication in change processes needs to make sure that information about change and its consequences is presented in such a way that people with different belief systems can access this information. Methods that are based on the Map/Territory Relation help people to:

    * become more aware of their own thinking and reasoning (reflection),
    * make their thinking and reasoning more visible to others (advocacy), and
    * inquire into others’ thinking and reasoning (inquiry).

    What Needs to Change

    Using models provide a basis for review, analysis, planning, design, implementation, and feedback on the process of rational change. However, the most essential question to ask is “What should the system be doing? How should it be working?”

    The basic requirement for rational change is to have two models – the AS-IS and TO-BE to  represent the before and after models.

    The AS-IS influences the TO-BE.  By identifying the diffferences beween the two models, a set of changes that need to be enacted in sequence or parallel can be defined and allows the creation of a transition plan. Note that there can be multiple AS-IS and/or multiple TO-BE models depending on the model framework or methodology used.

    The AS-IS model enables diagnosis of the underperforming systems, procedures, and organizations. A TO-BE model is generated after designing the improvements and removing the inefficiencies in the AS-IS model. The transition plan provides a mechanism for effecting the change from the AS-IS to the TO-BE model, with due attention given to resistance to change. Modeling the TO-BE state makes the benfits very clear to the stakeholders of the system.

    Effecting the transition from AS-IS to TO-BE

    For the purposes of this blog, the AS-IS state can be described as:

    Very High Incidence of Corruption
    High income disparity
    Ineffective Leadership
    Apathetic Citizenry
    Unstable Business and Political Climate

    Another example of an AS-IS Model is provided here.

    Likewise the TO-BE state can be described as:

    Low Incidence of Corruption
    Low income disparity
    Effective Leadership
    Involved and Empowered Citizenry
    Stable Business and Political Climate

    Transition plans can vary, and in a nutshell can encapsulated as any of the following:

    Blame Big Bad Government Only

    Blame Juan Only
    Hold Both Juan and Big Bad Government Accountable
    Assassinate Change advocates
    Silence alternative proposals and label such as “racist” or “elitist”

    The debate on what the best transition plan is ongoing from Aparri to Jolo, to Riyadh, London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and all over the World Wide Web as culture warriors unsheath their swords to either clash as gladiators or to beat the swords into ploughshares and build a better prosperous future.

    The differences between transition plans proposed to the general public may be seen in the following comparison between the positions of two candidates on the issue of jobs.

    Differentiating “Transition Plans”

    Clearly not all the transition plans can effect the transition from the AS-IS to the TO-BE. And when the dust settles, there will be more clarity and a common definition on the form and substance of the definition of a transition plan for “change” that matters.

    Communicating the Message of Change

    There are at least two models on the mechanics for communicating the transition plan for the purpose of effecting change.

    The first model, hypodermic needle model, as expounded by our open source reference is

    a model of communications also referred to as the “magic bullet” perspective, or the transmission-belt model. Essentially, this model holds that an intended message is directly received and wholly accepted by the receiver. The model is rooted in 1930s behaviorism created by the Frankfurt School in Germany and is considered by many to be obsolete today.

    The hypodermic needle theory implied that mass media had a direct, immediate and powerful effect on their audiences. The mass media in the 1940s and 1950s were perceived as a powerful influence on behaviour change. Several factors contributed to this “strong effects” theory of communication, including: the fast rise and popularization of radio and television, the emergence of the persuasion industries, such as advertising and propaganda, the Payne Fund studies of the 1930s, which focused on the impact of motion pictures on children, and Hitler’s monopolization of the mass media during WWII to unify the German public behind the Nazi party.

    This view of propaganda took root after World War I and was championed by theorists such as Harold Lasswell in his pioneering work Propaganda Technique in the World War (1927). He argued that the people had been duped and degraded by propaganda during the war. Lasswell based his work on a stimulus-response model rooted in learning theory. Focusing on mass effects, this approach viewed human responses to the media as uniform and immediate. E. D. Martin expressed this approach thus: “Propaganda offers ready-made opinions for the unthinking herd” (cited in Choukas, 1965, p. 15). The “Magic Bullet” or “Hypodermic Needle Theory” of direct influence effects was not as widely accepted by scholars as many books on mass communication indicate. The magic bullet theory was not based on empirical findings from research but rather on assumptions of the time about human nature. People were assumed to be “uniformly controlled by their biologically based ‘instincts’ and that they react more or less uniformly to whatever ’stimuli’ came along” (Lowery & DefFleur, 1995, p. 400).

    The second model, the two-step flow model is unlike the first model. First developed by Paul Lazrasfeld and Elihu Klatz, the model states

    “Mass media information is channeled to the “masses” through opinion leadership. The people with most access to media, and having a more literate understanding of media content, explain and diffuse the content to others.”

    The opinion leader is an individual who uses media actively, who provides interpretation or explanation of media content. Our open source reference further states

    Typically the opinion leader is held in high esteem by those that accept his or her opinions. Opinion leadership tends to be subject specific, that is, a person that is an opinion leader in one field may be a follower in another field. An example of an opinion leader in the field of computer technology, might be a neighborhood computer service technician. The technician has access to far more information on this topic than the average consumer and has the requisite background to understand the information, though the same person might be a follower at another field (for example sports) and ask others for advice.

    The two-step flow model laid the foundation for diffusion of innovations.

    Diffusing “Change”

    How, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures is explained by Everett Rogers in his theory of Diffusion of Innovations – “the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.”

    The theory further states that “The core elements that make up diffusion research are:

    1. The Innovation
    2. The types of communication channels
    3. Time or rate of adoption
    4. The social system which frames the innovation decision process

    What is the Innovation all About

    Is the innovation decision made by an individual who is distinguished from other individuals in the system? (as in raising the minmum fuel mileage to 35 mph)

    Is the decision made collectively by all individuals in a system (as in electing a president).

    Or, is the decision made for the entire society by a few individuals in positions of authority and power?

    Suffice to say, decisions to innovate will be made and the mix of decision-making methods might vary from one social system to another.

    Embracing Innovation

    The process of adopting innovation occurs through a series of communication channels over a period of time among members of society.

    Rogers categorizes the five stages as: awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, and adoption. To elucidate:

    Knowledge – In this stage the individual is first exposed to an innovation but lacks information about the innovation. It should be noted that during this stage of the process the individual has not been inspired to find more information about the innovation.

    Persuasion – In this stage the individual is interested in the innovation and actively seeks information/detail about the innovation.

    Decision – In this stage the individual takes the concept of the innovation and weighs the advantages/disadvantages of using the innovation and decide whether to adopt or reject the innovation. Due to the individualistic nature of this stage Rogers’ notes that it is the most difficult stage to acquire empirical evidence (Rogers, 1964, p. 83).

    Implementation – In this stage the individual employs the innovation on a varying degree depending on the situation. During this stage the individual determines the usefulness of the innovation and may search for further information about it.

    Confirmation – Although the name of this stage may be misleading, in this stage the individual finalizes their decision to continue using the innovation and may use the innovation to its fullest potential.

    Thus, different people may be in different stages of adopting innovation with respect to the timeline. Understanding the stages of adopting the innovation will help identify the interventions and the approaches  that are appropriate for each stage.

    How Soon Can Change Be Felt?

    The speed by which members of society changes – or adopts an innovation is the Rate of Adoption. The rate of adoption depends on an individual’s adopter category. The theory is expounded in our open source reference:

    Within the rate of adoption there is a point at which a innovation reaches critical mass. This is a point in time within the adoption curve that enough individuals have adopted an innovation in order that the continued adoption of the innovation is self-sustaining.

    In describing how an innovation reaches critical mass Rogers’ outlines several strategies in order to help a innovation reach this stage. These strategies are:

    have an innovation adopted by a highly respected individual within a social network
    creating a instinctive desire for a specific innovation
    Inject an innovation into a group of individuals who would readily use an innovation
    and provide positive reactions and benefits for early adopters of an innovation.

    How do different people embrace change?

    Rather then re-invent the wheel, let’s understand the source itself and use the framework by which it categorizes people based on the manner they adopt to change.

    Diffusion of Innovation

    The reference states:

    Rogers’ defines an adopter category as a classification of individuals within a social system on the basis of innovativeness. In the book Diffusion of Innovations Rogers’ suggests a total of five categories of adopters in order to standardize the usage of adopter categories in diffusion research. It should be noted that the adoption of an innovation follows an S curve when plotted over a length of time. The categories of adopters are: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards [4]

    Innovators Innovators are the first individuals to adopt an innovation. Innovators are willing to take risks, youngest in age, have the highest social class, have great financial lucidity, very social and have closest contact to scientific sources and interaction with other innovators.

    Early Adopters This is second fastest category of individuals who adopt an innovation. These individuals have the highest degree of opinion leadership among the other adopter categories. Early adopters are typically younger in age, have a higher social status, have more financial lucidity, advanced education, and are more socially forward than late adopters (Rogers, 1964, p.185).

    Early Majority Individuals in this category adopt an innovation after a varying degree of time. This time of adoption is significantly longer than the innovators and early adopters. Early Majority tend to be slower in the adoption process, have above average social status, contact with early adopters, and show some opinion leadership

    Late Majority Individuals in this category will adopt an innovation after the average member of the society. These individuals approach an innovation with a high degree of skepticism and the majority of society has to have adopted the innovation. Late Majority are typically skeptical about an innovation, have below average social status, very little financial lucidity, in contact with others in late majority and early majority, very little opinion leadership.

    Laggards Individuals in this category are the last to adopt an innovation. Unlike some of the previous categories, individuals in this category show little to no opinion leadership. These individuals typically have an aversion to change-agents and tend to be advanced in age. Laggards typically tend to be focused on “traditions”, have lowest social status, lowest financial fluidity, oldest of all other adopters, in contact with only family and close friends, very little to now opinion leadership.

    Thus, in FV, when discussing topics which might be considered “innovative” or “out of the box” or “creative” – you can use the framework to gauge the reaction of the FV community and identify the innovators and early adopters, the early majority, the late majority, and the laggards.

    Celebrities, Pekeng Peryodistas and Bloggers as Opinion Leaders

    There is evidence that individuals have different levels of influence in the diffusion process. Opinion Leaders have the potential of spreading positive or negative memes about an innovation and have most influence during the evaluation stage of the innovation-decision process and late adopters, according to Rogers. Typically, Opinion Leaders have more media exposure, more cosmopolitan, have higher socioeconomic status, have vast social networks, and are more innovative.

    Philippine society’s Opinion Leaders traditionally consisted of celebrities and the MSM personalities. The rise of the Internet, however, has expanded the playing field.

    The techonology brings :

    a new crop of Opinion Leaders
    a shorter Rate of Adoption of Innovation
    a faster diffusion of opinion
    more detailed analysis of the Philippine AS-IS state
    more views on what is the TO-BE state of the Philippine society.

    more exchanges of ideas

    There is excitement in the air as people are hungry for change that matters.

    A war of memes rages, may the best meme be defined as one that rationally and responsibly brings about prosperity to our society.

    What then are the Prospects for Change?

    We are still a long way off from effecting change that matters.

    There are lots of inefficiencies that have yet to be addressed. And that will mean – innovating, communicating the innovation, managing the rate of adoption, and measuring the consequences of the innovations.  There are many views, but ultimately, optimization will lead to but one viable/optimal strategy that leads to a society performing at its peak.

    The fact that the discussion on how change should take place and what type of change should take place means we have a long way to go but we have taken the first step in a journey of a thousand miles.

    Is the Philippines ready for “change”?

    I will put it this way:

    The innovators and the early adaptors are ready for change
    The early majority is not ready, yet.
    The late majority is definitely not there, yet.
    The laggards, well… uhhhh…. hmmmm… ahh.. they don’t even wanna think about “change”.



  50. if you look at the diffusion of innovation curve – you will see a representation of the Philippine electoral panorama

    – the innovators – gordon, perlas,

    – early adopters – teodoro

    – early majority – villar

    – late majority – aquino

    – laggards – estrada.

    malas ng pinoy if they don’t go for gordon or perlas or teodoro…

    change ain’t coming yet (if Pulse Asia and SWS were to be believed)…hate to burst the bubble

    but if AP polls are accurate … 51% – Gordon…. dang… the only way for that to happen is to go out there and campaign as if your life depended on it.. that’s what am doing on AP now… LOL..pass it on.. let reason guide us

  51. BongV,

    I like your presentation and would like to add into your references the work of Rudolf Steiner (the starter of Waldorf Education, Biodynamic Agriculture, Associative Economics, Anthroposophic Medicine, Curative Arts, Eurythmy, and Spiritual Renewal) and Otto Scharmer (Theory U or Presencing). They provide, shall i say, a more innovative thinking than Argyris’ ladder of Inference.

    I have a problem on the statement:

    “The map/territory relation is proven by neuroscience and is used to signify that individual people do not have access to absolute knowledge of reality, but in fact only have access to a set of beliefs they have built up over time, about reality. It has been coined into a model by Chris Argyris called the Ladder of Inference.”

    The science of neuroscience oftentimes eat up its own findings. The very longing of absolute knowledge pre-supposes its availability rather than its absence. “Set of beliefs” are what held us to our current position which is “past” driven. It is not innovative and thus you see the results of what you here call as

    – the innovators – gordon, perlas,

    – early adopters – teodoro

    – early majority – villar

    – late majority – aquino

    – laggards – estrada.

    Theory U of Otto Scharmer is an innovative way to get past the inability to “access absolute knowledge”. Steiner, on the other hand bridges the sense-perceptible and the non-sense perceptible through challenging us to use different organs of perception utilizing the empiricism of modern science. Contrary to “past thinking”, we actually have 12 senses rather than a mere 5. There is a way to hone these senses that becomes the vehicle for higher perception.

  52. Hi GCL:

    Thanks for the feedback and the additional references.

    Sure thing, will read up some more on Theory U as you suggested.
    Though I am an unabashed stickler for the objectively verifiable so as to not leave room for equivocation – thus the empirical approach.

    That does not mean, however that I will not read and evaluate for myself, given that I have scant knowledge on Theory U at this point – for short – am ignorant of said matter. Having said that, ignorance can be remedied by knowledge – and that will be the logical next step on Theory U.

  53. Mabuhay ka BongV at ang mga sumusubaybay sa AntiPinoy!

    You are doing GREAT service to the Filipinos.

  54. DrBelloW · ·


    Not to be patronizing but it is so much more edifying to read civilized discourse where everyone can exchange their differing views and even share resource material.

    Thank you for sharing with us your own personal thoughts and ideas on the matter at hand. You obviously have the same convictions as your chosen presidential candidate, and are probably a close student of his writings. Nevertheless, BongV has a solid point with regards to the constitution. No president can be flexible and react to realities on the ground (ie truly participate in strategic protectionism that would benefit our whole country and not just the oligarchs) if it would require a constitutional amendment to allow the necessary laws to be passed. Certainly not here, not now in the Philippines.

    Finally, I should say that I’m afraid you have mistaken me for Dr Walden Bello. The good professor and I have similar names but, I assure you, we are very separate people. And I suggest that you direct your comment that he should have been “braver” and your question re “floating in the wind” to him directly. Perhaps you will then have further clarity as to where exactly he stands. Just for your information, whatever I may think of Dr Bello’s views, I do admire the remarkably clear way he communicates them; and whatever I may think of his actions, I certainly take my hat off to his sincere passion.

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