Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ireland and the Philippines

In just over a generation, Ireland has evolved from one of the poorest countries in Western Europe to one of the most successful. It has reversed the persistent emigration of its best and brightest and achieved an enviable reputation as a thriving, knowledge-driven economy.
As a result of sustained efforts over many years, the past of declining population, poor living standards, and economic stagnation has been left behind. Ireland now has the second highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita within the European Union (after Luxem­bourg), one-third higher than the EU-25 average, and has achieved exceptional grow.

One of the biggest successes of the Irish economy has been new job creation. From 1990 to 2005, employment soared from 1.1 million to 1.9 million. Economic growth, more jobs, and rising living standards meant the resolution of the emigration problem, which had bedeviled Ireland for generations.

How Ireland Became the Celtic Tiger
by Sean Dorgan of Heritage Foundation

If you are familiar with history, Philippines and Ireland have a lot of in common :

1. Both are Catholic country.

2. Stagnation and emigration are a way of life.

3. English speaking and low labor cost

4. Companies are uncompetitive

5. depended heavily on agriculture

6. high unemployment

7. drain of human capital due to immigration

8. persistent inflation

9. huge public debt

10. government responsible for excessive and misguided public spending.

How come Ireland became the most successful economically with the 2nd highest per capita in all of Europe while the Philippines remain at the bottom of the heap in Southeast asia?

Their secrets :

a) At the heart of these policies was a belief in economic openness to global markets, low tax rates, and invest­ment in education.

b) Ireland’s transformation was national in scope, with individu­als, businesses, institutions, and government sharing the same ambition.

c) It involved parents deciding that their children would have choices that they did not have and would not be forced to leave their home com­munities because of economic necessity.

d) Political decisions were driven and sustained by the public will for success.

e)Smaller government became part of the road to success. There was surprise with the first moves to cut spending severely across a range of programs and abolish a number of government agencies.

f) moderate wage increases in return for modest reductions in direct income taxes, in effect allowing take-home pay to increase more than the pay raise granted by employers.

g) While cutting back on spending, the govern­ment took steps to promote business investment.

h) The people of Ireland have assiduously invested in human capital over the past 40 years. Ever since the OECD published Investment in Education in 1966, education has had a central position in Ireland’s development policies. Education in state colleges and universities is free from elementary up to college.

This economic openness, combined with low taxes, pragmatism and ambition, further invest­ment in education, and a continuing eye to the future, are the ingredients for success. this only prove that hard work and good policy can bring rewards.

Let us test the current regime claim that they will make the Philippines a First World country when they step down in the year 2010. Check the space if the current policy exists in this regime:

[ ] The economy is open to the global market.

[ ] Companies and workers enjoy low tax rates.

[ ] Investment in Education is their priority.

[ ] The government enjoy the trust of the people, businesses and institutions

[ ] The government is not encouraging immigration because there are lot of jobs available.

[ ] They cut spending accross all government programs.

[ ] They abolish a number of government agencies.

[ ] education is free in all state colleges and universities from elementary to college.

7-8 yes answers. Congratulations you live in a First World Country.

5-6 yes answers. Thank your government. They take care of you

4 below yes answers. Peace man! Throw the gun!


Monday, November 20, 2006

U.P. announces 300% Tuition Fee Increase

"University of the Philippines Board of Directors unanimously approved 300% increase in tuition fee or a ma ximum of P18,000 per semester."

Philippine Star, November 19, 2006

This is rather sad. Many poor 4th year high school students who are bright can't afford the P18,000/semester tuition fee. Most of them coming from the province will now think twice going to UP.

You may notice that the current GMA regime does not prioritize higher education. The military is her priority. The country who prioritize education always come up a winner. Look at Ireland now being called as a CELTIC Tiger. The Irish knows that in order to compete they need quality workers. How they do it?. State-funded education is available at all levels, so you will not have to pay fees unless you choose to send your child to a private school or college. you will not be charged fees for approved full-time undergraduate courses in state-run universities and Institutes of Technology, although you may have to pay a small amount for registration, exams, etc..

With a lot of pork barrel (in billions) given to congressmen and senators, what on earth that they did not allocate money for the improvement of higher education?

Why are they not making laws to make higher education affordable?

Are they deaf and blind or are they deaf and blind?


Friday, November 10, 2006

Ten Forever Jobs

My students are asking what jobs will stay almost forever. Here's my list (with the help of Forbes):

1. Politician - We hate their trapo ways and some of us vomit whenever they handle a microphone. Though we adore a few. We can continue to expect actors and actresses to be elected.

2. Prostitute - This oldest profession will always on the rise as long as poverty is around.

3. Morticians- We can not escape death. You can be placed in a coffin or be cremated.

4. Tax Collector - You can not escape tax either. If they can tax the air you breath in the future, they will do so.

5. Barber - unless you are bald, you are heading for a haircut almost always monthly.

6. Artists - Creative writers, comedians, actors, entertainers, painters, designers. Art changes and evolves with technology, but it will never disappear.

7. Religious Leader -Many people will continue to look to religion to find meaning in their lives.

8.Criminal-The crimes may change, but the profession will remain.

9.Parent- OK, so it doesn't pay very well. Or at all. But there will always be a demand for someone to raise our helpless human babes.

10. Soldier-The world's population is growing, religious fervor shows no signs of abating and precious resources are becoming increasingly scarce. Count on the military to stick around for all kinds of future conflicts.

National Career Assessment Examination

"Education Sec. Jesli A. Lapus announced that the 300,000 4th year public and private high school students are required to take the National Career Assessment Examination scheduled for December 12"

This announcement caught many parents by suprised and wonder if this is similar to the defunct NCEE. I browsed the DepEd Memorandum No. 342 series of 2006 regading this National Career Assessment Examination (NCAE) and summarized below:

1. The NCAE will be done first in Manila on December 12. Others to follow.
2. This is not similar to NCEE. Therefore students can flunk and still go to college.
3.This aims only to guide high school students and parents on what appropriate career path is fitted for them.
4. The exam consider mental competence, aptitude, skills and interest.

This is a good project of Sec. Lapus because some college students are unemployable because of the wrong choice of course. The parents will spend large scale of hard-earned income and they should know what course that will fit their children's competence and interest or else all will be squandered.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Talent is Irrelevant

The evidence we have surveyed... does not support the notion that excelling is a consequence of possessing innate gifts.
Michael J. Howe, Jane W. davidson, & John A. Sluboda

This is rather true. Let's analyze what Geffrey Colvin said in his Fortune Mag article:
1. Nobody is great without work.
2. There is no evidence of hig-level performance without experience or practice.
3. You will achieve greatness only through an enormous amount of hardwork over many years. And not just any hard work , but work of particular type that's demanding and painful.
4. The good news is that your lack of a natural gift is irrelevant - talent has little or nothing to do with greatness.
5. You can make yourself into any number of things , and you can even make yourself great.
6. There is a vast evidence that even the most accomplished people need around ten years of hard work before becoming world class., researchers call it the ten-year rule.
7. The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what researchers call "deliberate practice".
8. More deliberate practice equals better performance. Tons of it equals great performance.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Economic Revolution

Food in the Philippines are among the most costly in Southeast asia. Food is cheaper in Thailand. Surpisingly, food is cheaper in Singapore, which has no agriculture at all"
Alex Magno, Philippine Star, Nov. 4, 2006.

I could agree more. When I was assigned in 1998 to Singapore for several months way back in my PLDT days, the price of rice there is equivalent to P9/kilo. The price of rice in the Philippines then? A whooping P15/kilo.
Indeed we have a regime of high food prices because of failed land reform, high price of fertilizers, absence of irrigation, explosive population growth and lack of support for our agriculture sector.

As a father who is always in the public market every weekend , it is evident that there is no shortage of food in the country. It is the high prices and low income that made our life difficult.

We really need an economic revolution, if not our children will reap the harvest of Philippines as a failed state.