Myth 1: That progress depends on foreign investors coming in.
Foreign investments coming in would help. They add. But, that the country will progress only if we bring in foreign investors, to the point like it is the end of the world for Filipinos if we cannot, is in fact twisted, corrupt and bankrupt ideology. It is a myth. The Americans, the Japanese, the Europeans and the Chinese to mention some, gained progress through self-reliance. Fact is, nations whose leaders [and peoples] are not ideology bankrupt are those that have advanced. Fact is, the Philippines standing next to advanced Japan at the start of the 20th century is now the number one most backward country in the Far East.
Enticing or luring foreign investors into the Philippines, has not worked. 10 million OFWs and ever increasing number of Filipinos seeking economic opportunity abroad attest to that. We have yet to see a reversal of that trend.
And, why advanced nations opened up their economy to foreign investment is because they need to EXPORT their capital and they want everybody to do the “same”, open up – globalization, leveling of the playing fields. They did not advance because of foreign investments, which in their experience is late-day development.
Myth 2: That wage increase is killing industries and it keeps away foreign investors.
Fact is, today, the Philippines pays cheapest compared to its neighbors. Philippine labor costs about I/10th compared to those of their counterparts in advanced and most industrialized nations. The country is not as attractive for foreign investment as its immediate neighbors like Malaysia, Vietnam and China. There is negative cycle of high degree of poverty and high unemployment. [Industry and consumerism are Siamese twins. To kill one is to kill both. To stunt one is to stunt both.] As proven by Philippine experience, cheap labor is not everything to foreign investors. There are other factors being considered like social-political stability of the host country, and likewise the types of industries and their market. Peoples Republic of China [PRC] for one, has cut the Philippines when it came to that.
The State has been pursuing those myths for a very long time already.
I came from Negros, the home of the Sacadas. And anybody there will tell you that a place full of Sacada is a dead place for business and industry except for the Hacienderos. The whole Philippines has over time become a Sacada country of some sort.
Developing Our Prime, Best Resource
I remember in the end of the Marcos era, Filipinos talked about developing our best asset – agriculture, while blaming the more “ambitious” industrialization thrust of the past. Those talks were easily forgotten.
Much has to be done to bring Philippine agriculture into shape today. In the sugar industry, for example, the need is not as simple as putting up new mills. We need comprehensive stimulus, incentive, motivation, for landowners when the nearest thing in their mind has been to put up their lands for Voluntary Offer to Sell [Land reform], while would-be beneficiaries talk like getting a share of one or two hectares of land will end their misery and the start of this nation becoming great again. As predictable as sunrise and sunset, and as clear as seen in reality experienced, there won’t be enough by these beneficiaries for their table and they won’t be able to repay government thus the program has become a dole-out that does not solve the problem of poverty.
Presently, we have room for additional 30 and more sugar-ethanol mills in the Visayas. This would be hitting [more than] two birds in one shot. The figure is nothing, actually, because 10 thousand [fully productive] hectares is more than one regular mill can accommodate. And, we are talking here of hundreds of thousands of hectares of upland agricultural lands; half of them are underdeveloped and idle. We are not talking yet about committing any of our millions of hectares of denuded public lands, which is what proponents of Cassava and Jatropha Curcas have in mind – wholesale use of those lands for almost no cost to them, to utilize destitute squatters in public lands who literally scratch for a living, many of whom will work for food. Jatropha and cassava involving private lands is fine. But same programs to involve vast track of forest reserves I think is a big mistake for the world.
As we know, from farmers’ standpoint, Cassava and Jatropha Curcas cannot compete with say coconut, corn and sugarcane in terms of cost-income. It means that cassava and Jatropha programs, which are getting more attention from government, practically do not consider the Philippine farming sector. And the way domestic political-economy runs in the country, it appears that the country, blessed with climate very suitable for agriculture, is decades away from self sufficiency in its bio-fuels need as mandated by its bio-fuels law – or perhaps never will be like in its needs for foods such as rice, corn and wheat that are traditional imports.
There is always an insatiable need for fuels. And that’s guaranteed by the global situation. Furthermore, there won’t be any real competition in there coming from the world. And, Philippine government is capable of putting up all those industries needed. State can privatize them later if that’s what people want. Yes, as you will note the idea is towards Socialism or industrialization by the State, if you hate socialism. State can always pursue programs in partnership with private, domestic and or foreign capital. Meanwhile people need jobs. And jobs mean more consumers. And more consumers mean more industries and jobs.
Whatever way, the nation needs to survive. At, nangu-ngutang na rin lang tayo, bakit hindi natin gastosin sa mga direct-productive kaysa magtapon sa mga palliatives and superficial development? Talking about economic stimulus, especially in times like now, a gain in one place is a loss in another place, spending on one thing may be cutting on another thing, so there’s nothing real. But where or on what money is spent indeed makes difference. There can be long term, real economic stimulus.
The country’s bio-energy program has been beset with bugs since the start. The program, much more should it be nationalized, has conflicts with the present political-economic powers in the Philippines. Counting on foreign investors for the development of the program has its dead ends, too, thus the idea for the State itself to initiate the industries. Like, kontra ito sa nagmamay-ari ng mga existing sugar mills gayon din sa komokontrol ng negosyo sa industriya, o dili kaya, walang kikitain para sa mga namumuhunan ng laway lang – ang mga umaasa sa pangungurakot, etc. Meaning, the whole idea of a progressive nation is in fact a dream for Filipinos until they have freed themselves of the clutch of bankrupt ideologies . The Filipinos are in a quagmire that has built-up over many decades.
The Filipino nation must advance – the long or the short way, the easy or the hard way, and sooner or later. And in this confused side of the world, down can be up, wrong can be right, exit could be entrance. Yeah, like what the Dragon warrior in some virtual Realms kept saying, “Left is Right… Right is wrong.” So take your choice, folks. One cannot possibly be wrong. That’s right, or maybe you have not been to a meeting of Bayawak. And what’s that? In Hiligaynon it means about a bunch of people everyone talking none of them listening. [From bayawak a creature believed to be deaf.]
So, what is definite about Must Self-destruct be Stopped or Pushed? Well, I’d say if people are hell-bent on their ways, give ‘em the final shoves when they have stood at the edge of their world, folks! Oh, OK, just seat back, relax, and watch them as they fall since you and me can do nothing about it 😦
Add to your vocabulary, folks. Sacadas migrant agricultural workers. Connotes [discriminatory]: unruly [as teachers would say of their noisy class], useless people; looking too much but buying nothing [as regarded by shopkeepers]; work animals [by the aristocracy].