Posted tagged ‘East Asia’


April 4, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good evening from the suburbs west of Manila!

Japan has begun to go back to normal life weeks after the catastrophe of quake-tsunami-nuke crash triad slammed Honshu and broke the hearts of Amaterasu’s scions. Amid the colossal maelstrom and seemingly ceaseless damages wrought, we observed the calm and sobriety displayed by the Japanese, a behavior that was exemplary to say the least.

We outsider-sympathizers were indubitably impressed, more so as nary a rampant looting was exhibited at all as the catastrophe was building up and damages kept on accumulating. Let me say this myself: kudos to you Japanese people for your calm and indomitable courage amidst deep troubles!

Let me call the aspect of Japanese behavior exhibited amid maelstroms as the ‘chrysanthemum complex’. By ‘complex’ we refer to the sociological term for an agglomeration of traits that would constitute a coherent behavior pattern. ‘Chrysanthemum’ is an excellent signifier for that exemplary side of the Japanese culture template that was responsible for the calm, absence of massive looting, cooperation, synergy.

The question is: do Japanese exhibit such behavior at all times, across diverse historic epochs? Or, is it a behavioral complex that had evolved across time, reinforced by a post-war pacifism that sedated the future generations to never again engage in demonic holocausts that the Emperor’s militaristic followers unleashed on Asians and Pacific islanders?

A follow up question is: can the ‘chrysanthemum complex’ be exhibited if the catastrophic events would happen on a relentless, sustained basis for a certain period of time? This question arises, as the latest catastrophe was only a short-term one, though there are still aftershocks past the Reichter 6 magnitude till these days.

Let me sum up the guide question as follows: is the ‘chrysanthemum complex’ a conjunctural manifestation (valid only during a very short-term crisis) or a historical complex (sustainable even under extreme collective duress or force majeure)? Conjunctural stresses on the ‘synchronicity’ principle behind the phenomenon, while historical stresses the ‘causality’ principle across a time continuum.

This is my own note for our fellow global citizens: let us not be over-conclusive about the ‘chrysanthemum complex’. Let us go on and express platitudes to the highest heavens, thanking the Japanese profusely for the exemplary behavior exhibited amid the catastrophe. But we can and should never be totally inferential to the point that we would regard the short-term behavior complex as a permanent one.

There is another facet to Japanese cultural complex, and I will treat this in another digest article. Meantime, like the rest of the global citizens, let me bask in the regenerative energies radiated to the planet by the ‘chrysanthemum complex’.

[Philippines, 02 April 2011]

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March 24, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good afternoon from the Philippine highlands!

Japan did suffer miserably from the catastrophe of a double-whammy temblor cum tsunami that walloped it recently. Deaths are now in the thousands, damage to property at past $183 Billion or 3.6% of its $5 Trillion GDP, citizens’ morale is badly eroded (more so that nuke fallout is imminent, aftershocks that followed), and the graphic images of the tragically affected areas are surreal scary.

Naturally, people will opine that Japan’s economy will be recessionary this very year of 2011. Many overseas workers are now leaving Japan, and most likely won’t return there, adding salt to the wounds the Japanese economy had sustained. It’s a doomsday scenario that both layman and experts do picture right now. Little do people see the positive things that can happen a year after the catastrophe.

It seems that among topgun experts, only the former economic secretary, Cielito Habito (who is now professor at the Ateneo University), sees the positive side to the catastrophe. He forecasts an infrastructure boom that will follow from the negative event, citing what happened to Japan after the powerful 1995 quake that flattened Kobe. Accordingly, Japan’s GDP rose by 3% after the Kobe quake, a good performance in a decade of near zero percent growth.

I do agree with Prof. Ciel Habito about the boom post-catastrophe scenario. True, there will be recession this year 2011, as it will take some time before the geological situation there will stabilize. And it will take some more months to craft a recovery program not just for the northeast Japan but for the entire nation. But next year will be a boom year, when the recovery program will already be in full effect.

What many people are least knowledgeable about is the fact that Japan is awash with gold. Even without external help, Japan will be able to quickly recover from the damaging impact of the catastrophe. But acts of goodwill, such as external aid offered, should never be underestimated or ignored, and most likely the Japanese will accept the boons coming from its friends and allies which will run by the billons of dollars.

The famed gold treasures of Japan were acquired by the Imperial government during World War II yet. Recall that Japanese forces scoured Asia for the treasures during the hot days of that war. The Imperial forces than hauled the huge cargoes of gold to its home base, the total volume of which could easily run by the millions of tons of gold bullions.

Due to incessant bombing operations by the Allied forces during the war, part of the gold was forced to be secreted inside underground bunkers in the Philippines. The Philippine gold cache was salivated upon by the West’s oligarchs, and they did what they can to unearth some of them. Dictator Marcos proved smarter than the others, even as he unearthed part of the gold and deposited them in the islands and overseas (via chain of foundations that were later dismantled, thus leaving no traces of the treasures).

Just the same, couples of million tons of the gold were able to reach Japan. That colossal hoard was partly responsible for the quick recovery of Japan after World War II. Your guess is as good as mine that part of the same hoard will be used for the quick recovery of Japan after the Reichter 9 temblor and tsunami.

So good are the Japanese engineers at tunneling and bunker construction, technologies that they perfected during the war yet. Their prowess dwarfs those of Hitler’s experts, and that prowess was used to build underground bunkers in Japan to secure the gold hoard. Between the islands of Honshu and Shikoku are tunnels that run through both land formations, deep down underground, safe from the prying eyes of would-be international looters such as cabal of financiers led by the Houses of Rothschild and Windsor.

Chances are that ready-made contingency bunkers are available to transfer the remaining hoard after the quake struck Honshu and moved it 2.5 meters away from its former location. More so that Japan’s secret service had unwind of the Tesla Earthquake Machine type of WMD (used by the rouge Aum cult to flatten Kobe), thus leading to the hatching of contingency plans in the event that hostile forces will pound Honshu or Shikoku with the same machine that could be tantamount to treasures lost forever.

Global observers should better get ready then for the sudden surge of Japan next year, or maybe as early as the latter part of this year. Part of the gold will be released surreptitiously to securitize big projects. For as long as the same hoard will remain in huge amounts, hostile forces should cease from plotting economically damaging catastrophes on the Japanese nation, as the treasures will be available to make its people rise like the phoenix.

[Philippines, 16 March 2011]


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March 15, 2011


November 23, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Buoyed up by the positive economic performances and regional integration efforts of ASEAN member-states, let me ensue with the ASEAN agenda, and articulate this time the matter of the Asian Monetary Fund or AMF. What makes the urgency of constituting the AMF even more exigent is the recent pronouncement made by the Asian Development Bank or ADB about the same theme: launch the AMF now!

The idea of an Asian Monetary Fund actually began with the late strong man Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines. Awash with colossal hoards  of gold, Marcos vouched for the creation of an Asian Monetary Fund that shall function as monetary stabilizer, steward of an Asian currency, and financer of bold development projects.

As per note from some of his own former close supporters (they were my fellow economists in the Independent Review, c. 1998 to 2000), Marcos was very eager to back up (securitize) the Asian currency with his very own gold hoards (they amount to hundreds of trillions of US. $ today).

It was too bad that Marcos had downside images among the global financiers, who conspired behind the scenes to overthrow him. They never liked the idea of an AMF that will compete with their stooge thug bank International Monetary Fund, and they were salivating to control his gold hoards. The Trilateral Commision in fact undertook steps toward aiding the process of social turbulence to unfold in the Philippines, turbulence that eventually overthrew the dictator.

It took some time before the AMF idea would resurface. The opportunity for resurfacing came with the Asian financial meltdown of 1997. That crisis saw the region’s currencies attacked by an insidious cabal of Western oligarchic financiers fronted by George Soros, who all rested happy from their criminal currency attacks that fattened their coffers by the trillions of dollars.

Thus came the technocratic and public policy responses to the crisis of that time, with the Asian Monetary Fund idea floating to the surface as a viable option. Necessarily, the stabilization of currencies will come with the institution of an Asian currency, which came alongside the AMF idea.

It then took many years of haggling and bargaining before a continental resolution was finally signed into a sort of a memorandum of undertaking. To recall, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives (Philippines), Hon. De Venecia, took much pains to legwork Asian leaders into finally signing the concordat and presenting the same to the Philippine state leaders for immediate action after accomplishing his mission.

This time around, it is the Asian Development Bank that has taken the cudgels for pushing for the urgent institution of the AMF. As articulated in a previous article, the ADB is among the continental institutions that can aid in launching an ASEAN central bank (circa 2015) as well as an Asian Monetary Fund.

Since the ASEAN is the most actively engaged regional formation among Asians, it is the most logical body that can facilitate the launching of the AMF. Its country members could easily role play the core membership of the AMF, with the quid pro quo that the latter will aid ASEAN in forming its regional central bank comes 2015.

As early as the late 90s yet, this analyst was very highly supportive of the institution of an AMF and Asian currency. The launching of the currency alone will catalyze the stabilization of monetary-fiscal environments, and can even out the very uneven cost of living situations across countries.

AMF would surely be of great help to insulating Asia’s emerging markets versus the destructive undercurrents of the economic crises of North America, Europe, and Japan. It can likewise aid enormously in regional trading efforts, precisely by securitizing and/of directly financing the pioneering and expansion efforts of exporters.

I would, however, add a caveat to the AMF’s formation: securitize the operations via a gold reserve standard or equivalent. The eradication of the gold standard in 1971 is among the factors behind monetary-financial instabilities and emergence of criminal financial predators over the last four (4) decades, predators that were responsible for de-industrialization, agricultural decay, and economic decline altogether.

The launching of the AMF shouldn’t be delayed a day longer. The global economic roof is collapsing due to the structural defects of the northern economies, and so as a measure of mitigation the region’s own economies be insulated from that crash through launching of the AMF, buffering financial collapse via collective money reserves for contingency uses, and instituting the Asian currency very soon.

To re-echo the theme: there is no better time to constitute the AMF than now. Act now, before it is too late!

[Philippines, 17 November 2010] 







November 21, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day to you all! Magandang araw sa inyong lahat!

Let me return to the ASEAN, after delivering my kudos to Latin Americans and Brazilians over the presidential victory of the socialist Madam Rousseff there. How I wish that the ASEANians can emulate the audacious social policies of Brazil under the stewardship of the outgoing leader Lula and incoming Rousseff.

For the good news, the information has already been disseminated that the entire ASEAN is adopting the ‘nautical highway’ program of the Philippines. Accordingly, the planning stage for a regional nautical highway is now under way, with the program most likely implemented way before the 2015 economic integration here.

A brilliant idea, the nautical highway concept was actually hatched by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the previous president of the Philippines. A technocrat-politician, Arroyo surely found a remedy to the sluggish and inefficient transit of people and cargo across the seas in the archipelago.

To recall, Arroyo was an economist and academic before she joined government. As president of the country, she achieved the feat of solving the fiscal problems and doubling national income within a 9-year span. The Philippines finally graduated to middle-income country status during Macapagal’s incumbency.

Infrastructures also expanded by many folds during Arroyo’s incumbency. Roads, wharves, airports, levees, dams, and diverse public works benefited immensely from the boom years of her aegis. Within the context of the transport infrastructure programs did Arroyo conceptualize the RORO (roll on-roll off) nautical highway.

Executed with very high success levels, the nautical highway proceeded to deliver the expected result of accelerating the transit of people and goods across the seas. The RORO also brought down the cost of ship transportation, hence engendering a more mobile poor folks who could nil afford long distance travels.

As already elucidated in a previous article, it would be excellent if the nautical highway would be interlinked with a forthcoming regional railway. More excellent if the nautical highway, roads, railways, and airports would be interlinked in such an exquisite design of transport hubs.

ASEAN-wide planning takes a longer time than national planning, as there would be a preference for consultative process in the planning exercise. Let’s just hope that the planning phase won’t take longer than 1 & ½ years at the most, with the final output passing through a last grassroots or community hearing for discussions and feedbacks.

That means that as early as 2012, the regional RORO will be implemented. Infrastructure, technology, and logistical support will need to be installed and/or allotted by the 1st quarter of 2012 to ensure fast implementation of the program.

With the program implemented, hopefully the poor folks in the coastal areas won’t have to travel to islands of other countries by risky motored banca or canoes. The RORO ships would bring down risks, travel costs, and make travels very comfortable for poor folks and monied middle class alike.

This analyst highly appreciates the latest ASEAN collaborative efforts for building a regional nautical highway. May the planning, implementation, and monitoring/evaluation of the future program come forth with stunning success.

[Philippines, 16 November 2010]







September 25, 2010


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good morning to all ye global citizens! Goodwill and peace to you!

For this day I chose to peregrinate on the 3-Gorges Dam of China, a project that cost a whopping $23 Billion to build. The eco-fascist detractors of the project raised the specter of catastrophe that could result from a collapse of the dam infrastructure, so maybe its time to reflect about the giant energy project.

I just arrived from overseas assignment in 2002 when I had the opportunity to discuss the 3-Gorges dam in my social science classes in Manila. At that time, I was offered a Director post in a think-tank of the Augustinian sisters, a stint that gave me opportunity to mine enormous data about the latest development engagements nationally and globally. I also taught as lecturer while directing research, which surely offered me a privileged position to reflect about global issues.

Being one who has been involved in the planning works on ambitious development projects (e.g. industrial estate/free trade zone, economic support projects for marginal sectors worth hundreds of millions of dollars) as a practitioner, I was truly appreciative of the efforts of China’s state to tame the Yangtze and tap its power-packed waters for electrification, irrigation, and subsidiary purposes. Though environmentally-driven myself, I am not wont to deliver satirical and destructive remarks about such a project as the 3-Gorges Dam that can benefit a greater section of China’s population and economy.

There are always negative trade-offs to any big endeavor, such as the displacement of 1.4 million folks along the reservoir area of the dam. What project of such a stature in the world doesn’t have a downside to it anyway? The downsides are the ones highlighted the most by paid hacksters of the West’s financier oligarchs, notably the political greenies whose obsessive-compulsive reflexes are unmatched anywhere in the world.

The USA had its own taste of baptism of fire from destructive commentators when the FD Roosevelt regime built the Hoover Dam. A pioneering infrastructure and energy project during its own time, the project received enormous media detractions that were paid by Nazi  oligarchs in the homeland who, not to say the least, owned and controlled America’s giant media outfits (they own media till these days). The detractors did everything in the books in fact to destroy FDR for his innovative New Deal measures that included massive infrastructures as pump priming tool to take out America from the Great Depression towards recovery and prosperity.

As one can see, the Hoover Dam stood the test of time, and it remains as one of the marvels of America’s public works. It is too early to say about what can happen to the 3-Gorges Dam, but it has parallelisms to the Hoover Dam and other ambitious infrastructure projects of the New Deal heydays, projects that the predatory financiers in America couldn’t play their hands with as they are primarily state-sponsored.

Understandly, the West’s financiers can not benefit directly from projects initiated by China’s government, even as it is now too late for destructive Western forces to take down China’s economy through massive looting of the financial markets the way they’ve done to their own domestic economies in the EU and USA. So they employ those civil society groups that receive funds from the financiers’ ‘corporate social responsibility’ coffers, with the expectation that the activist funds recipients would drum up the destructive impacts of projects they cannot control such as the 3-Gorges Dam.

In the event of heavy rainfalls however, there is reason to keep watch over the waters’ possible exceeding the 175-meter limit of the dam’s reservoir. As shown by our own precedents in the Philippines, the dam’s administrators used the contingency tool of releasing parts of the waters before the same could ever do damage on the dam through an overflow that could trigger a catastrophic burst of the infrastructure.

With decades of hydraulics experience behind our local experts here, this much I can say: so far so good! True, there were casualties who suffered from the inundations caused by the contingency releases of the rising floodwaters. But no single dam ever burst catastrophically yet, a catastrophe that could have resulted to higher casualties of at least a couple of millions of folks.

It’s now the start of the ‘ember’ months, and so far we are witness to the 3-Gorges Dam standing tall. So far so good! There are still three (3) more months to hurdle before the storms will bring heavy rainfalls, but so far the indications are the dam administrators can manage the hydraulic flows efficaciously.

If there is any message I can deliver to the eco-fascist blabbermouths, they should spread themselves across the world’s continents and plant trees in the de-forested boondocks. This behavior would be truly exemplary, as it will show that sociopathic groups and persons can also exhibit productive behavior during times of crisis.

[Philippines, 15 September 2010]







July 5, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang araw! Good day!

It’s the 1st of July, the first day of official reporting by the newly elected political leaders of the country led by President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III. Riding astride the air of optimism induced by the new leadership, let me say more notes then about my homeland.

Let me shift to landlordism as this phenomenon seems to have remained unscathed by the ‘scorched earth’ flames of modernization and post-industrial growth. Our newly elected president here, ‘Noynoy’ Aquino, is a scion of the oligarchic family of Cojuancos and is an heir to the 11,000-hectare Luisita Estate in Tarlac province.

I still recall that in the late 1990s, as a graduate student of development studies in De La Salle University-Manila, I underwent the course on constitutionalism and development. I tasked myself to review the constitutions of thirty-five (35) countries, with the aim of unearthing and extracting the theme of agrarian reform from them.

To my amazement, most of the countries I researched on, including Taiwan, Korea, and many developing states, clearly emblazoned in their national charter the theme of agrarian reform. The impeccable intention was to declare land reform as a determinative development policy. The landlords should be enticed to divest from their rural estates and channel their new investments to birthing strategic industries.

I did write a paper on the topic, which my professor, Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta (former undersecretary of ASEAN, delegate to the 1986 Constitutional Convention), appreciated very well. The research also enlightened me more about the urgency of decisively implementing agrarian reform in the Philippines that barely made it to the passing mark of successful land reform programs.

Almost a quarter of a century after the new charter was signed and ratified by our citizens, and after the consequent legislation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, many large feudal estates still abound. They seem to remain untouched by the law, as if they are autonomous mini-states in a nation that is rapidly urbanizing along mixed industrial and service economy growth trajectory.

Let’s take the case of the Luisita estate. In 2006 yet, the Agrarian Reform department decided that a total of 6,453 of Luisita should be apportioned to the farmworkers. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court blocked the implementation of the decision as it issued a Temporary Restraining Order or TRO that stopped the implementation. A TRO should be in effect only for a maximum of 30 days, yet years have elapsed and it is still in place.

Other large estates are similarly situated as Luisita. For instance, there are the Yulo estate in Laguna and the Pedro Roxas estate in Batangas. I still recall that way back in 1998, I was among consultants who helped agrarian reform beneficiaries of a 500-hectare piece of Roxas estate (out of total 30,000 hectares) in their capacity-building and productivity boosting. The same beneficiaries asked me if I knew anybody from the Agoncillo clan that owned a total of 30,000 hectares of estates…

There are more such huge estates to count. And truly, I am overwhelmed by their gargantuan sizes that are enough to build huge mega-cities such as Singapore or Manila. I could almost puke at the mere mention of their names, and puke much more when I learn about their vast sizes and the slave-driving management styles of their owners that have led to appalling living conditions for the farmworkers.

RP’s population was 66% urban and 34% rural as of end of 2009. Urban population is moving up by 2% every year, while rural population is moving down by the same figure. By 2016, the next presidential election year, urban population will already be at least 80% urban and rural population down to 20%. What are haciendas for in an urban Philippines, one may ask.

Furthermore, RP’s labor force is now past 50% service sector and 15% industrial sector, with barely 34% left to fend for our farms and fisheries. Agriculture now contributes to merely 15% of the GDP, while services comprises a whopping 60% or so (the rest is industries). Tourism, which forms past 10% of GDP today, will most likely surpass agriculture as a contributor to national income by 2016.

Now that brings us back to the question: what are feudal estates doing in an urban-to-suburban Philippines with a rapidly post-industrializing economy? Strange anachronism! All we need to do is follow the footsteps of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China to realize that such estates must be released from feudal yokes so as to carve out a win-win growth path between the small planters and their former overlords-turned-entrepreneurs.

When I registered my vote for the ratification of the charter in 1986, I already made up my mind to see that all such estates be transformed to high productivity enclaves beginning with their subjection to the reform program. All the landlords should quickly divest from such landholdings and move their investments in industries and services.

I stand pat on that decision, and will be on standby to help out those agrarian beneficiaries who seek professional help for improving their farm production and quality of life. And I welcome a Philippines that will someday move towards the space age, thanks for a willful departure from an anachronistic feudalism of past dark ages.

[Philippines, 01 July 2010]







May 20, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good evening! Magandang gabi!

The dark clouds of the electoral contests are now getting clearer in the Philippines. With our polls settled and our elected leaders about to begin their mandates, I’d now depart from election-related advocacies and move back to the international-global arenas.

I have written quite enormously about international political economy and subsidiary themes for over two (2) decades. Even my blogging has been consumed with peregrinations on the international arena. So let me go back to this arena, even as I now clarify that I am a strong advocate of One ASEAN.

As I’ve elucidated in my past writings (see 2007-08 articles), I perceive the ASEAN as the larger polity to which my own country will return in the future.

The Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, the whole of island Southeast particularly, were largely creations of Western powers. They used to be part of the Majapahit Empire, the world’s wealthiest region before Western colonization fragmented it.

Being a strong believer in ASEAN unity, I am willing to shed off my hard-line Filipino nationalism and don the cloak of pan-ASEAN patriotism. Majapahit was the original nation to me and to those who resonate with the same worldview, and eager am I to see my country return to the Empire.

The Empire no longer bears that name today. Rather, it goes by the name of ASEAN, short for Association of Southeast Asian Nations. But it bears the same geo-political and geo-economic contours of the Empire before it fragmented.

A benevolent Empire it was, as it used the fiat of trade cooperation to get membership into the polity. That is, to be able to become a part of the Empire, concur trade with its nexus and prinzeps. This was a much different track from the typical military occupation used by other regional and world powers to expand their territorial confines.

If we reflect back on what our state players are doing here today, where they’re concurring agreements and treaties using the most civil means conceivable to get to a higher level of unity, the same means actually revives the consensus methods used by our peoples in antiquity. Today, no matter how diverse our political, economic, and cultural systems are, we are talking to each other here, which is reflective of a ‘dialogues of civilizations’ approach.

From state-to-state and civil society-to-civil society talks, let us move on to direct people-to-people talks in the region. People-to-people interactions precede people-to-people cooperations. I strongly contend that people-to-people cooperation should eventually be the base for state-to-state and civil society-to-civil society cooperation and no less.

State-to-state talks are quite slow in results, even if market players joined state actors to buttress the former stakeholders’ positions. In some areas of talks, such as those involving territories, snags are observed.

People-to-people interactions and cooperation will do much to accelerate state-to-state talks that get snagged for one reason or another. The same cooperation can also accelerate the building of a pan-ASEAN identity which should precede any writing of a general treaty that will unify the region at least economically.

People-to-people interactions have already been taking place in the region for almost 2000 years in fact. Western colonization may have diminished the scales of interactions for a long while, but that era of imperialism is much behind us now.

As states, market players, and civil society players are preparing for larger talks ahead, let us noble peoples of the region go ahead and expand the levels of talks to build greater mutual confidence, appreciation of each other’s cultures, and trust. Along the way, we have fellow Asians and global citizens who will support our efforts as true friends.

In any way we can, let us get to know each other better. Let’s set aside utilitarian gains (e.g. get to know Asean pals who can become network marketing partners) and interact based on a true call of our hearts, of our souls.

That way, we contribute to building our preparedness for the grand future coming. We just can’t be caught flat-footed, not knowing what’s going on in our larger backyard because we allowed state players to monopolize the talks.

Fellow ASEANians, let’s get ready!

[Writ – Philippines, 11 May 2012. E. Argonza is adept at international political economy. He was a graduate student of former ASEAN Deputy Secretary General Wilfrido Villacorta, PhD. He has published various articles on the subject, as well as a book on global trade regime.]







May 13, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good afternoon! Magandang hapon!

I’ve been writing about the Philippine poll exercise since December of 2009 yet, as well as social issues that have direct bearing on the agenda of governance of political groups and candidates. The poll canvassing is ending tonight, and so will I end my notes too about the matter. Suffice me to write just one more piece before I move on to other substantive topics.

I am experiencing a sense of fulfillment with the polls here in the Philippines. It is the first automated polls in history, and despite the glitches and isolated violence cases, the poll exercise has been a fairly successful one. I’d grade it at 2.00 or 80%.

Being an advocate of the nationalist agenda, an agenda that is progressive in my country, I was inclined to support a group or coalition of candidates whose platforms are based on economic nationalism and the general welfare principles that redound to a prosperous people and strong nation.

The coalition I supported seems to have won just about 25% of national seats (prex & vp lost, 4 senators won), and I have no complete picture yet of the local level performances. Nonetheless, I am wholeheartedly accepting the outcome of the polls, even if my top exec choices lost.

I’d say to my fellow nationalists who lost the polls: better luck next time. Oil your machineries well, wage an ideology-based campaign from beginning to end, and be prepared for the next battle. We have fellows who won, let them maneuver within the confines of the public sphere (legislative & executive arenas) to advance the nationalist agenda bit by bit.

I have no sympathy at all for the winning presidential candidate, Noynoy Aquino, for reasons I’ve already advanced in many past articles. But for the sake of harmony and unity of purpose, I am willing to give his leadership a chance to show mettle and deliver the ‘public goods’ demanded of his leadership, for a period of one (1) year from his oath-taking.

I’d extend my own congratulatory notes to the Commission on Elections, SmartMatic (automation contracting party), PPCRV (watchdog group), various political parties, civil society groups, and all the stakeholders involved in the polls for the overall success of the electoral contest.

True, there’s a 20% gap in the contest that is accounted by isolated violence, vote buying, jammed electoral machines, and other related glitches. The gaps should be properly itemized and addressed to ensure a better performance comes 2013, the next poll season (assuming that there will be one by then).

To the new leaders, most especially at the national level, may you have the prudence and political will to solve our lingering and emerging problems. You just may not have all the time in the world to solve them, but go ahead and fulfill what you can deliver within the limits of your respective mandate.

Good luck to the new national leadership! Peace and prosperity to my fellow Filipinos!

[Philippines, 11 May 2010]



April 3, 2010


Prof. Erle Frayne D. Argonza
University of the Philippines

Good day!

It is Holy Thursday as I wrote this piece. I normally put a halt to all of my analytical engagements on this sanctified day, but this time I decided to take some minutes to scribble my thoughts about the current Manny Villar-bashing coming from various quarters, particularly from media personalities (opinion writers, broadcast journalists).

I will zero in on those journalists who are in the employ of big tv/broadcast networks and major news dailies. The cacophony of malicious heraldries from these intellectual prostitutes (if you can even regard them as ‘intellectual’ at all) had reached a crescendo that had magnified confusion in the voters’ mind.

Resorting to the typical emotionalist discourse and therefore short-circuiting the rational-analytic faculties of information consumers, the malicious attacks on the person of Sen. Villar, which do not the least contain substance worth our wise reflection, have altogether triggered a mass panic. The decline in the latest survey rating of Villar by 6% shows how little do people see the underlying motives behind the black propaganda peddled by the same cabal whose words they followed.

Let it be recognized, first of all, that these journalists, no matter how mentally adroit they appear to be, are in the payroll of oligarchic media. The mega-hoarding greedy oligarchs have their own respective pockets to fatten, and if the malicious, sensationalizing, irrational heraldries from the Villar-bashing journalists would yield enormous sums for the fat hoarders, then let there be more such destructive onslaughts from the journalistic cretins.

Too few are those journalists who would be considered informative, balanced, and exuding wisdom in their countenance, for such true thinkers reside outside the media circuits. Not even those so-called multi-awarded journalists would count among the truly erudite, awarded as they are only because they were able to whet the appetites of the judges who, likewise, are in the payroll of oligarchic institutions, while some other judges are private pals of writers and creative ‘artists’ who are happy enough to make cronies win.

If there is any attribution I can offer to the oligarchic media for now, it is this: that philistine journalism had taken the upper hand. This eventuality marks the fragmented state of the mind shapers (media), even as they are contributory to the fragmentation of the human psyche as a whole.

Mental cretins who are in the employ of the media moguls, no matter how erudite they may pretend to be, are among the harbingers of a Dark Age where the flames of reason have simply snapped off. These same philistines have elevated the Primal to a high level of discourse, thus further eroding the rational-analytical that has been subordinated tragically to the greedy ends of oligarchic hoarders.

There is nothing to gain from the articulations of those quack intelligentsia, but only great things to lose if one would yield to their contorted peregrinations. The more that a reader or audience would succumb to the seductions of the philistine pen & tongue, the more that his/her reason recedes into atrophied state, the more mis-comprehension of the political dimension of life.

Only the fecal-minded idiots would succumb to such dis-informative articulations that only serve to mask the greedy pursuits of the oligarchs who have been openly supporting the equally oligarchic candidate Noynoy Aquino. The nation shall grieve all the more as the masking of the true reality—that global oligarchs are mounting economic, political, covert offensives to destroy the Philippines—will be reinforced in no small measure by the philistine journalists and their oligarchic employers.

To my fellow Filipinos, beware of these philistine journalists and expose their falsehoods in diverse venues. Stand up and together we shall smote the dragons of oligarchism and poverty, end an eon of colonial history, and proclaim a truly free nation. Stand up for the nation, and a stronger nation means the installation of a nationalist leadership and patriotic political coalition.

We shall overcome!

[Philippines, 01 April 2010. See:, ]


March 23, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Poverty is the Achilles’ heel of the Philippine state, and will be so for at least two (2) more decades. Amid the appreciable growth the economy has sustained so far, with the national economy doubling in just eight (8) years during the incumbency of president Gloria Arroyo, poverty remains very high.

If we go by the yardsticks of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank, the Philippines has been performing fairly well on wealth production as a whole, so much that the country graduated to a middle income status by the turn of the century. No more a poor economy by world standards, yet the country’s poverty increased from 28% in 2001 (when Arroyo took over the presidency) to 33% today (per latest government statistics).

Paradoxical, come to think of it, that while the economy has been growing and had moved to middle income status, more people have become poorer. Tough, very tough, is the task of mining for the ‘gini in the bottle’ that would reduce poverty considerably to a negligible 5% or less, a level that is easily manageable and where state and communities can simply decide to fully subsidize the remaining poor.

Whether the Philippines can meet the UN’s Millenium Development Goal of cutting poverty by half in 2015 seems much clearer now to social forecasters: the dream is elusive and unattainable. Not even if the economy will double again from mid-2009 to 2015 which is a most likely development.

The Philippines’ poorest happens to be the rural populations, notably the fisherfolk sector where malnutrition runs the highest rate (2/3 of children/families). Rural population is now down to 34% or 1/3 of the population, while the urban peoples comprise 66% or 2/3. Urban to rural poverty ratio is 1:2.5, meaning that for every 1 poor person in the cities & towns, there’s an equivalent of 2.5 persons in the countrysides.

The message is clear to the next government (formed by the new president after the May polls this year) that the attack zone on poverty should be the rural population. Both antipoverty and anti-hunger programs should be initiated at very high levels in the countryside to be able to bring down total poverty by a large degree.

Failure to solve rural poverty in the long run redounds to perpetuating insurgency. Even if the present insurgent groups would concur peace pacts with the state, new insurgent groups will emerge again in the foreseeable future should the rural folks remain paupers.

Urbanization is now moving up, and with its growing eminence has come the rise of new cities. Citification has seen the incomes of communities treble by leaps and bounds, thus permitting the same communities to spend on infrastructures and social development.

Left to themselves, without massive migrations from rural folks, the cities can accumulate enormous income surpluses to solve unemployment, poverty, and malnutrition (both hunger and obesity). Philanthropic groups consequently rise from civil society and market players, and boost surplus production for solving poverty.

However, such is not the case even as the migration of the poor from the countryside to the cities continues in steady waves. So this brings us all back to the challenge of solving poverty right at the backyards where the poorest are most concentrated. This means that the food producers shouldn’t be left out in the development game, even as rural development should be brought to its next level.

Goal-wise, the realistic target is to reduce poverty from 33% in 2009 to 25% by 2015, or an average of 1.33% reduction per annum. Means-wise, an appreciable mix of good governance, right socio-economic policies, and strengthening of institutions would do a long way to bring down poverty altogether in the short run.

Urban population will grow to 70% around 2015, while rural population will go down further to 30%. With lower rural populations to manage by then, there is no more reason for government not to be able to do something to solve poverty. And we say government, because the increase in poverty largely came from governance-related factors such as poor absorptive capacity (to handle large budgets), inefficiency, graft, poor inter-governmental coordination, and low political will to pursue audacious solutions to daunting problems.

In 1989, this analyst wrote an article “Prospects of Poverty Alleviation in the 1990s,” a piece that I delivered as a symposium lecture at the University of the East (Prof. Randy David was also a speaker). At that time, poverty was a high of 49%, while urban to rural poverty was 1:2.1.

Since 1989, we have seen poverty reduced from 49% to its present level of 33% (a 5% increase since 2001 though), although rural poverty moved up paradoxically during the same period. Poverty reduction is not really impossible, as evidenced by the huge reduction across a 20-year period. Bringing it down further to 25% by 2015 is a doable target.

So let us see how the nation will fair under the next government of the republic (after May polls), when we see a new set of political leaders and cabinet members installed to power. As I’ve mentioned in earlier articles, my standpoint is that a nationalist coalition, such as what the present candidate Sen. Manny Villar, is most equipped with policy paradigm and tools to deal with the Achilles heel of pauperism, aside from the competence and visionary acumen of the noblesse senator.

By nationalist, I mean that of moving towards a regulated market and fair trade, with high propensity for ‘physical economy’ policies. We can no more return to the days of liberalization policies that saw the economy crash down in ’83-’85, stagnate for a time and grow again before hitting the next recession in ’97, and finally move up to middle income status only after a turtle pace struggle taking three (3) decades.

Liberalism and its propensity to be pro-Big Business and Big Landlord is a big no in our fight against poverty, whether in the Philippines and other nations of the globe. In my country, nationalism is the antidote paradigm and social technology watershed to reverse decades of liberal policies and solution to poverty. I’ve been echoing this theme since my teenage years yet, and remains steadily anchored on it.

[Philippines, 20 March 2010]


March 23, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

The debates by presidential candidates have been reverberating the media audiences in the country for couples of weeks now. The issues have ranged from those that are social policy-oriented (subsidies to poor, health, education, housing, jobs) to macro-economic policies (sustaining growth, accelerating development) and moral policies (corruption, reproductive health). Some articulations of foreign policy were also heard from the competing gentlemen.

Seemingly confusing in their broadness, somehow the various forums for the debates (not actual debates but simply presentation of each one’s opinion about policy questions) did give a semblance of information-based campaigns by enthused candidates. This is already quite a departure from previous polls when debates were sparse and superficial, and should be lauded by observers.

What this analyst, who is a public policy expert, wishes to see clearly in the debates is the economic issue of whether to highlight the physical economy policies versus the virtual economy in the management of jobs and wealth creation by the next government. I raised this same question in the last presidential poll in the USA that pitted Senators Obama and McCain in a neck-to-neck fight. I shared my own assessment then that Sen. Obama resonated nearest to a physical economy inclination and should be supported by USA’s voters.

To reminisce a bit, the national economies saw the radical ascent of Reaganomic policies of privatization, deregulation, liberalization, and reinforcing policies beginning in 1980. Such policies led to the rapid integration of nations into a global economy, liberalized the cross-border flow of financial and monetary assets, and eventually led to the predominance of the ‘virtual economy’ based on predatory finance.

In the mid-90s, the Philippines saw its investments structure alarmingly imbalanced, with 86% or 6/7 of total comprising of portfolio capital, and only 1/7 or barely 16% in real or physical economy investments inclusive of FDIs (direct foreign investments). As early as 1989, I already raised the alarm bells that excessive radical liberalization of the economy could jeopardize the financial sector in the short run and lead to an economic collapse that could be far worst than the 1984-86 Depression of the Marcos era.

When a situation comes that the virtual economy dominates over the physical economy (agriculture, industry, S & T, transport) and subordinates the latter, a bubble is created. A bubble economy is one that grows on the basis of speculations in stocks and predatory operations of financial derivatives (secondary debt papers traded in the global market), and is bound to collapse when a burst comes since it isn’t based on tangible goods.

Surely enough, when the bubble burst in Thailand in June 1996, the ‘butterfly effect’ of a mini-flapping of wings created a storm across a vast region. We then dubbed that crisis as the ‘Asian financial meltdown’. The economies and financial institutions that had the greatest exposure to portfolio finance suffered the most.

The worst was yet to come though, as the USA had to wait for 2007 before it would experience its own crash, a catastrophic crash that spread to Europe and Japan (twas barely out of a decade-long recession). The same bubble economy and its predictable burst led to the crash, a recession that hasn’t fully retreated yet. Europe is still in flames today (watch the financial flames in Greece, Spain, Finland), while Japan remains as flat as it was during its 10-year crisis (1994-2004).

The fact of the matter is that, in a virtual economy, the predatory financiers (bankers included) gain the most, while the people pay the price for the collapse. And the payment comes in the form of ‘stimulus package’ that are derived from tax revenues. So the equation is that financiers run away with the massive loot, and the people pay for the cost of the looting crime. The culprits then run away largely unpunished, while the people face the punitive flames of massive business closures, retrenchment, unemployment, and bad debts.

In my book Fair Trade & Food Security (Kaisampalad publication, 2005/07), I emphatically stressed that we have to reverse the free market and free trade policies to be able to regain economic wellness. Reversal means we have to go back to the principles of regulated economy (production, trade, distribution, consumption), and replace free trade with fair trade in our international trade.

Strong regulatory frameworks, coupled with strong institutions and good governance, will redound to bringing back the physical economy into place. With the economy based on the physical or real economy, this country and any country for that matter will weather any economic storm both local and global. There is ample funds to pay national debts, balance the budget, fund social programs, create jobs, and increase wages.

Among all presidential candidates, only that of Senator Manny Villar so far resonates the strongest in terms of echoing the physical economy. This resonance could be explained by the fact that the noblesse legislator immersed himself in housing & infrastructures for the longest time of his life as an entrepreneur, and only fractionally engaged in speculative engagements. Besides, he was witness to the maelstrom on the realty sector caused by the bubble burst of ’97, a burst that wasn’t of his own making as it was the maneuverings of George Soros & pals via currency attacks (monetary markets) that led to the meltdown.

I hope you would agree with me that the slogan for this year’s polls would be: “It’s the physical economy, stupid!”

[Philippines, 19 March 2010]


March 22, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

The world may be aghast at the latest eventuality where a jailed ex-president of the Philippines, Joseph Ejercito or Erap, was allowed to run again as president of the country. Overthrown in 2001 after massive plunder of the public coffers led to a near system collapse, and having served couples of years in jail for his sordid crime, Erap is back again in the campaign trails, wooing the rural and urban underclasses that serve as his voters’ base.

To recall, the public knew and highlighted the rather obvious plunder of the coffers by the Erap regime then. What was less visible, with evidence more of circumstantial (to use legalese parlance), was the ballooning role of the Chinese mafia, or Triad, in East Asia as a result of the victory in the Philippines of a coterie of organized crime operators led by no less than the President Erap.

East Asia has been largely a backyard for drug traders for nigh centuries, even as such operations were largely in the hands of the (a) British drug traders and (b) Triad operators. The said traders operated on a modus vivendi modality, and maintained a ‘balance of drug trade’ as partners in crime. Any imbalance in the trade—caused by the over-bearing domination of the same by the Triad—would be highly prejudicial to the British traders from whose hands depend the operations of British & Dutch financiers and the wellness Western economy for that matter.

Simply put, any imbalance in the trade in favor of the Triad & Asian organized crime partners would greatly impair the flexibility of maneuverings by the Western financiers who, as we all know, comprise a cartel that had yoked the global and national economies in their predatory pursuits. Financier operations are dependent to a large degree on underworld operations of gold trade that is tied up to the drug trade—the linkage being that drug traders often than not trade in gold more than in paper bills (dollars, pounds, euros).

What peoples of the world knew so little about was that the Erap regime was galvanizing the Philippines into a mafia state where government was merely a paper institution. Power was about to be brokered or exercised entirely by Triad & Partners godfathers, and should the same regime been allowed to stretch a couple of more years to govern, the domino effect could have seen Triad puppet states rising in Asia and elsewhere.

To say that the Erap overthrow was merely one of historical accident—accomplished by Filipinos via people power—is to overstress mass ignoramus by a dumb Herd of folks. Erap’s overthrow was determinatively and deliberately plotted by the Western financiers or global oligarchs (they’re the same by the way), whose Filipino puppet operator was Fidel Ramos and certain local technocratic-oligarchic circles embedded in the Makati Business Club.

Thus, the Erap overthrow returned the ‘balance of drug trade’ in the ‘ecology of organized crime’, so to speak. … That is, until the 10th of May 2010, when the next presidential poll comes.

As of this writing, the poll ratings of Erap have again been moving up. Whether this upsurge can be factored to Erap’s popularity alone is highly contentious. My intuition tells me that behind the scene, mafia operators are silently working to bring fresh cash and patronage gifts to the underclasses—funds that don’t pass at all in the hands of the Erap campaign organizers—by way of gargantuan drug sales, large parts of which are funneled to covert grassroots operators.

Is it really coincidental that tons of cocaine were dropped off in haste from sea vessels, with large amounts landing in the hands of fisherfolk? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to recognize that vessels were in the act of transacting with local mafia operators—aimed at flash and lightning-speed transactions to gain funds for the traders and surplus for the underclasses as well?

With the return to the electoral arena of Erap the mafia godfathers’ favorite subaltern, Triads & Allied mobs have to quickly put into place a contingency plan that may facilitate their installation of puppet regimes in the region. Such regimes’ presence would instantly magnify the incomes of the criminal operators, and will enable them to buy more state officials and business groups across Asia, with the end-goal of completely erasing the divide between legitimate business and criminal operations.

Such an erasure of the distinction between legitimate business and mafia operations was excellently institutionalized in Russia, where the oligarchs are likewise mafia operators themselves. This happened during the country’s rush to privatize state firms, under the aegis of the British financiers’ puppet president Yeltsin. Already deeply ensconced in Russian life, the 9,000 mafia groups were the only ones who possessed the money to buy state firms.

At one juncture in the early 90s, 80% of Russia’s enterprises was in the hands of organized crime, and was alarming to say the least. It was just a matter of time before the ballistic missiles and modern armaments of Russia would land in the hands of the oligarchic mafia lords, and the situation proved far tougher to deal with than the previous situation of brining down the Stalinist state.

It has to take some Draconian measures from the dreaded KGB (renamed as FSB) to checkmate the powers of the criminal godfathers in Russia. And the power struggle between the mafia and KGB continues up until these days, with the KGB taking the upper hand when its agent Putin ruled the country and began jailing oligarchs as cautionary reminder to criminal godfathers that the Russian patriots will not be sitting ducks to the predatory plunder of the nation’s wealth and arms by demonic malefactor gangs.

Will such a situation galvanize in the Philippines too? How many votes can be mustered by Erap in the next polls remain to be counted and seen. What this analyst sees clearly is that every vote of Erap is a vote for the mafia godfathers and the consequent erasure of the business-criminal syndication divide. Conversely, every vote against Erap means a vote of repudiation against that demonic future of mafia-state unity.

[Philippines, 19 March 2010]


March 22, 2010

Prof. Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Consultant-Development Center for Asia Africa Pacific

[13 December 2009]

Foreign policy should not be left unaddressed by any aspiring presidential candidate. The absence of foreign policy in the platform of a candidate could prove disastrous, as it indicates the parochial mind of an aspirant who is over-focused on domestic policy and governance.

Chief issue that could very well occupy the debates would be the ASEAN integration (circa 2015). The concordance of treaties on climate change and economic policies (whether to stress on fiscal stimulus or strengthening regulations) are now ongoing, at a time when Europe had consolidated through the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty. The EU-type regional integration will be a stronger agenda for emerging markets in the short-run and will lead to modifications of each one’s foreign policy architecture.

Prior to 1986 (ascendancy of the revived democracy), there was largely a dis-focus in the foreign policy field. This was an area of policy drift, so to speak, as the country had no independent foreign policy to speak of. Our foreign policy agenda then were dictated by the USA (concerning alliances and enemies) and the World Bank-IMF group (concerning development and economics).

Breaking out of the foreign policy chain was the greatest challenge from 1986 onwards. The Aquino regime promised to pay all of our debt obligations, thus ensuring our encumbrances with the global financial cartels. On the other hand, the Senate abrogated the US-RP Military Bases Agreement in 1991, a noble act that served as impetus for configuring a new foreign policy architecture.

The Ramos and Erap regimes continued the same subservience to the IMF-World Bank group (representing global financiers) and U.S.-centered alliances, even as the Senate signed the Visiting Forces Agreement or VFA within that two-regime period (1992-2001). The VFA was a setback to efforts by foreign policy quarters (diplomatic corps) to help us all procure a condition of independence in foreign policy, even as US troops continue to make presence in key areas of the archipelago.

The Afghan and Iraq wars was a watershed to our international alliances and efforts at achieving independence in this regard. Though committed to sending troops at the inception of the wars, the GMA regime later withdrew troops in both countries. Not only that, the same regime also re-carved the focus of foreign policy from one of gaining alliances and cooperation with other states, to one of advancing the welfare of overseas Filipinos. Our graduation from the IMF programs was also witnessed during this regime, which brought us nearer to independence in terms of international economics and development.

The efforts aimed at achieving independent foreign policy, as re-assertion of our national sovereignty, should be ensued by the succeeding presidency. The shift from external relations to overseeing the welfare of overseas Filipinos is a clear victory of the sector concerned (overseas Pinoys) and should be respected. A renewed assessment of our standing via the IMF (which imposed the disastrous austerity programs in the past) should be done, to ensure that we have indeed exited from its programs and impositions (via its ‘letters of intent’). The clamor to abrogate the VFA should be ensued while the momentum is there.

It is argued that the area where the next presidency can make a dent—foreign policy-wise—is the concurrence of a new treaty leading to the economic integration of the ASEAN at the least, and commitments to an eventual political integration at the maximum. The Philippines must re-assert its leadership in the region, a leadership that eroded due to the perceived rampant graft of government. Hopefully, a new presidency will revive our standing in the international community, and bring back our image as the leading nation in the region.

Among other things, the presidency should ensure the installation of regional institutions, to note: (a) regional executive body (with rotating chairmanship), and (b) regional central bank. The tacit concurrence of Asian countries to launch an Asian currency and an Asian Monetary Fund should also be concretized, with the ASEAN serving as the hub for finalizing the setting up of such institutions. The political parties in the region should also be encouraged to form coalitions and alliances, in preparation for a future ASEAN parliament. There also is the travel & tour agreement of non-visa passports for cross-border travels by citizens and legitimate stakeholders of the region.

Towards the tail end of the presidency, the launching of an ASEAN-wide taxation system, such as the VAT and Tobin Tax (for cross-border financial transactions), should be undertaken. Needless to say, the presidency should lead in galvanizing trade agreements and implementing them region-wide, along a win/win situation for the diverse stakeholders.

The presidency should not forget the forging of a regional identity, which should be buttressed by a massive campaign to develop regional loyalty by the citizens of the region. Along the way, people-to-people interactions, exchanges and cooperation should be encouraged.


March 22, 2010

Prof. Erle Frayne D. Argonza

[07 January 2010]

Noynoy Aquino, presidential candidate of the Liberal Party, has been projecting an image of an anti-graft crusader for some couples of years now. To recall, he was cajoled by his Mama, the late president Corazon Aquino, to join the anti-GMA movement precisely on the issue of good governance.

After his Mama’s death, public sentiment blew the winds of electoral fortune for Noynoy to take on the Aquino’s unblemished mantle and run as president of the republic. Seeing this groundswell of public sympathy arising from his Mama’s departure, vested interests of every shade found a window of opportunity to reap future rewards as largesse of a would-be victorious campaign of Cory Aquino’s son.

Indeed, as shown by preliminary information that reached my ears late last year, Noynoy is surrounded by diverse vested interest groups that (a) couldn’t see each other eye-to-eye and (b) are in active search for a smokescreen for their largesse pursuits. Some of the leading elements were former Ramos- and Erap-era bureaucrats, while others served GMA during her early heydays. Some others represent ideological blocs that are known for their classic opportunism, obstructionism, factionalism, and ‘termite behavior’.

Anyone who is interested to do serious empirical studies on graft and rent-seeking is advised to start with the Noynoy camp. There are couples of circles surrounding Noynoy, all of which the bachelor has no control over.

• Friends and kins comprise a ring of influence-peddlers. This ‘circle’ alone comprises a diversity of “we-bulong” factions that somehow show a semblance of goodwill though on a superficial level. A Noynoy presidency would serve as bread-winning opportunity for the crocodiles within them, in case Noynoy wins.

• Experts comprise another ring of potential state carpetbaggers. While the first ring shows semblance of mutual goodwill, the experts’ ring hardly shows such goodwill at all. During the crafting of Noynoy’s platform, the factions couldn’t even see each other eye-to-eye to iron out the agenda. No wonder that the final platform turned out as a hodge-podge of mother statements that was haphazardly finished to meet the deadline of the Comelec for registration. All of these factions are crocodile nests.

• Civil society groups comprise yet another ring. The Black & White Movement, largely a social democratic-controlled coalition, seems to have the strongest “bulong power” which renders the other social democratic or ‘soc-dem’ factions ‘outside the kulambo’. The unconsolidated state of these diverse groups make it so tough for volunteers to join the Noynoy camp, as they are pressed to identify first of all which faction could be most friendly to them. The top crocodile here is led by a former GMA cabinet member whose coalition received funds from treasuries when her sibling was finance secretary.

• The Liberal Party comprises the final inner ring. Final, because this serves as Noynoy’s homebase group being a party-mate. Fr. Intengan’s ‘soc-dem’ cadres are well entrenched in the directorate and think-tank of the party (even as another Intengan ‘soc-dem’, Norbie Gonzales, is in the GMA camp). The same ‘soc-dems’ possess a lifeline in Europe—the Eurosocialists and Jesuits—who can use them for Europe’s own Bonapartist agenda. Meanwhile, other kibitzer liberals, who are simply eager to waft in the energy of the Noynoy upsurge to gain respective electoral mileage, are just that: kibitzers whose fragmentary opinions wouldn’t weigh as much as the Intengan Euro-bonding puppets and the stalwart oldies.

I was almost lured into the Noynoy trap right after the burial of the Tita Cory. But after receiving information about the inner rings and realizing the power of the Primal-Corruptitious among the crocodile leaders, I decided against this pro-Noynoy option.

Maybe Noynoy should present clear credentials of a true-and-honest saintliness that may make his words worth the salt of the earth. He is hardly any perfected human who merits my attention, which makes it all clear that the country needs a leader—a true leader who’s most experienced, prepared, and has made enormous sacrifices as prelude to his preparation for a feat with Destiny—other than Noynoy.