Tuesday, July 31, 2007


2nd of two parts

I am not a fan of MJ but a portion of this interview made him win my admiration and acknowledge his brilliance.

The Business Mirror's website is back to business and the article may now be accessed online. I read the hard copy this morning. That's where I got the earlier post. Let us read what the paper directly quoted from him;

"There are a lot of revenues that are not reported, and examples are everywhere. C’mon! Let me give you an example: Instead of paying sales tax, I’d tax companies based on their production. That’s what you call measured capacity, and I told the President about this. Now it’s measured. And I have the technology. I can use radio-frequency identification on the inventories [of factories]. That’s what’s being used right now in Latin America. I can talk to Manny Pangilinan tomorrow and broadband [the computation of taxes] so all the factories will be monitored. Easily, we can increase tax collection by P1.2 trillion.

Here’s another example: the 12-percent value-added tax (VAT). All I have to do is vertically integrate through a backbone all the data that can be accessed with the press of a button. You eat a pizza and you pay a 12-percent VAT. That 12 percent is entirely paid to the government, no more, no less. That’s another P1 trillion collected. With the additional collection, we can easily quadruple the salaries of policemen, nurses and everybody else!"

Let us extract the two points, namely the use of the internet technology in:

  1. Collecting taxes based on production and,
  2. Collecting the EVAT.

Amidst the negative publicity against the former Congressman, I find those two proposals very interesting. To start with, I am almost sure that most people in the tax bureau do not have any idea what he is talking about. But as a somewhat internet savvy individual, I think there is a lot of substance in his suggestion.

The way I understand imagine it; one way to implement the first measure will be to electronically tag all factory machineries, vehicles and other equipments. Every time it operates, special software will calculate the amount that it produces and store it in a databank. All raw material deliveries will also be monitored through electronic tagging at the factory gates and its origins traced through invoices. The values of the raw materials will be cross referenced through import documents and traced back to the manufacturer. This process will make undervaluation, mis-declaration and other forms of technical smuggling of goods very difficult.

The entire processes will be more than enough to fill several pages of this blog but the initial stages that I have listed here should be more than enough to affect a record breaking increase in tax collections.

In regard to the 2nd proposal, all cash registers only need to be linked to the tax bureau (through the internet) and no sale will go unreported.

This process excites me for:
It can be easily implemented and will surely be effective.
It will not cost the government much (the private sector can easily finance this)
Most importantly, it will NOT BE an additional burden to the consumers. The way things are now, businesses charge the consumers with EVAT (in every transaction), do not remit all of it to the government and manage to get away with it.

Mark Jimenez’s proposal is a very good solution.

So many things are not known about Mark Jimenez and this article shows one thing about him, his experience as an IT businessman can be very valuable to the Filipinos. His ideas are ground breaking and can be very useful. Now wonder, President Clinton listens to this guy.

MARK JIMENEZ: Interesting insights regarding solutions for the Philippine Economy

*This is an installment and an update and commentary will be done after I'm done with some chores.
Mark Jimenez, a wealthy Pinoy businessman is featured in today's issue of Business Mirror. I am unable to navigate the site because of errors (I contacted the web hosting company to report the problem-- Let's see).

  1. The government install broadband applications that will automatically record the output (production) of companies. Taxes will be based on production and not on sales.-- Sounds good! He estimates that this will lead to an additional collection of PhP 1.7 trillion in collected taxes.
  2. Internet technology be used to record and collect sales taxes (EVAT).-- There will be no escaping the taxes due to the government
  3. Etc.
Other points and a discussion will be posted within the day.

For the meantime, comments are most welcome!!!!

Monday, July 30, 2007


This reminds me of the case of a high ranking European Union diplomat teaching at the Ateneo, who was charged with sexual harassment (forced sexual solicitation) by a straight A student. The last news about the guy is that he has left the country without submitting to an investigation.

This one is something else but the magnitude of the allegations is also serious. Let me start by quoting UN's Staff Rule 101.2 (d) indicates that ‘any form of discrimination or harassment, as well as physical or verbal abuse at the workplace or in connection with work, is prohibited. Harassment in any shape or form is an affront to human dignity and international civil servants must avoid it,’

The allegations are being quoted verbatim. In the spirit of fair play. Her replies to the main dailies will also be posted in the updates. Should you, dear readers find out something related to this case, please let me know and it shall see print in this blog. For the meantime, here are the complaints against the UN Chief.

-- Most recently, she insulted and embarrassed staff in front of high ranking government officials, publicly berating them with rude language for supposedly not undertaking a task which she committed to the government without even consulting and formally informing the staff concerned.

-- Poked a staff member’s chest and forcefully slapped another’s back to emphasize a point because she is angry or frustrated.

-- Rebuffed a staff who was so happy because Mrs. Noble already signed a contract (after several weeks of the document being with the latter). When the said staff slightly touched Mrs. Noble on the shoulder and quipped that it was finally over, Mrs. Noble physically shoved her hand away and responded in a loud voice, “What are you suggesting -- that
I’m pending documents in this office…”

-- Meetings where she often raises her voice and nit-picks on managers and staff members, embarrassing and denigrating them unnecessarily. Several incidents of one-on-one meetings with staff where she raised her voice caused further intimidation and fear among them.

-- High-handed behavior with staff members, treating them with not a bit of respect. In one incident, a staff witnessed Mrs. Noble’s ordering another staff to fetch a pen under her table, which she can very well do on her own.

-- Several incidents with staff where she would nakedly point out their supposed rudeness in front of colleagues for not immediately greeting her good morning or good afternoon while she does not even observe it herself. In fact, she would rudely interrupt meetings of staff with the Deputy Resident Representative and not even apologize for the rude intrusion. There was one incident where she was not satisfied with the workshop flow and accused the UN staff in-charge of the activity of sabotaging the Office, in front of everyone.

-- Several incidents where staff were too afraid to speak or question her decisions even if such will clearly compromise the organization for fear of retaliation. Whenever staff muster enough courage to speak their minds on certain issues which clearly contravene her own, she would intimidate these staff until they give up. By her actuations, Mrs. Noble always presumes herself to be correct and no one should, therefore, question her actions. In one of the staff meeting, Mrs. Noble announced staff movements and claimed that she has informed the particular staff of his re-assignment to another unit, where he allegedly agreed on. The concerned staff responded that it was the first time that he has heard of the re-assignment.

-- Often exhibiting unnecessary frustration, rage, and intimidation if an outcome is not to her liking, accusing staff of perceived hidden motivation, imaginary errors, and incomplete staff work. She often accuses staff of hiding things from her and not providing her enough information, no matter how many briefings, briefing papers and other information materials are provided her. She does not listen to staff explanation and makes oft-repeated accusations which are baseless and untrue.

-- One incident where she almost tore a letter apart when she erased her signature in front of a staff, implying that the staff was trying to trick her into signing that document.

-- She also has the habit of throwing papers back to the persons submitting them, if she is not satisfied with such papers.

-- Recent arbitrary (and forcible) termination of two staff without due process. Further, the manner in which she handed out the decision and her ensuing instructions for its implementation, such as the terminated staff’s leaving the UN premises immediately, packing their belongings and turn-over of keys and IDs within the hour, showed how little her respect is for common decency and dignity of a human person, treating them like common criminals. Staff members who witnessed these incidents were left in shock and fear. If these could happen to high-ranking national staff in the UNDP/UN, then it can very well happen to them, or even much worse. These incidents of arbitrary termination happened in a span of only two weeks.

-- Adding insult to injury, one of them was told not to contest the decision of his termination. If he did, then Mrs. Noble said that she will have to state a reason for the termination that will tarnish his record which, in effect, would deprive him of possible UN employment opportunities in the future.

-- Several verbal threats to staff that their contracts will not be renewed if targets are not achieved or performance is not acceptable to her. She even made a threat to withhold a staff member’s salary if performance is not up to her standards.

-- Mrs. Noble’s impossible, whimsical requests and demands to be included in certain high-level meetings and conferences have led to incidents where staff had to push themselves to the limit to satisfy her. There was an incident where a staff had to stay late at night for two days just to enable her to get into an event she, for some reason, craved to be in. When everything has been arranged, she decided last minute not to go anymore, without any explanation or apologies.

-- A very grave infraction committed by Mrs. Noble was her incursion into staff privacy in communications. She had one of the staff member’s office cellphone seized, its contents downloaded, on mere unfounded accusation of a PMO staff that the staff member was spreading malicious messages about her. Mrs. Noble made no amends nor even offered an apology even when the exercise did not yield information incriminating the staff whose cellphone was seized.


Let's get to know one another.

I went blog hopping today and decided to start a program that will feature other blogs and at the same time get this site featured in other blogs through reciprocal reviews.

To be featured, it is simple:
  • Write a short review of this blog ( a couple of sentences, at least)
  • Post a comment in this post together with url of your review.
  • I will your review your post and add your website in this list.
NOTE: The first few links will be saved from the reciprocal review requirement for they have commented in the original post, prior to this revision.

  1. SweetAgring
  2. Pinoyambisyoso
  3. Jehzeel
  4. Composed Gentleman

MORE REFRESHING NEWS: Philippines beat China in Basketball---WHOA!!!!

I am not much of a basketball fan but I know that in Basketball, Yao Ming's China rules most of Asia. Therefore, despite the lackluster performance in the ongoing Olympic trials, it really makes the basketball crazy Filipinos very happy to know that their national team beat China by 5 points (74-79).

According to the radio reports, the Philippines were lagging behind during the first three quarters of the game but the fourth quarter changed all that. Here's the complete report.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I have wanted to write about this since the middle of last week. It seems that despite all the bad news coming out about the people in this country and the rest of the world, in general, there is still enough reason to trust the 21st century Homo Sapiens.

A study conducted by the Reader’s Digest showed that most of the inhabitants of this planet are still honest. Reader’s Digest deliberately lost 30 mid priced cell phones in each of the more than 30 cities all over the world where they conducted an experiment. The phones which had available call credits, were left in restaurants, bus stations and other public places and called to find out if the finders will agree to return it.

In Manila, 24 out of the 30 phones were returned—WHOA!!!! Other cities which got high marks include Ljubljana, Slovenia (29), Toronto,Canada (28), Seoul, South Korea (27), and Stockholm,Sweden (26). Other Asian countries mentioned were Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (13 each).

"What we found out surprised and intrigued us," said Conrad Kiechel, RD's Editorial Director. "Despite the temptation that people must have felt to keep the phones, and the fact that the test imposed on everyone's time, the average return rate was a remarkable 68 percent, or about two thirds of the 30 phones we dropped in each city."

Friday, July 27, 2007


This is an update to the reported cases of Swine Flu that was written in this page two days ago.


I am no fan of GMA. Having said that, may I add that I am not much of a fan of Erap, either!

Gloria claims credit to four projects originated and funded by Erap, Erap complains but forgot to mention that he got the glory for some of FVR's works, FVR gets credit for some of Cory's, etc, etc..

Let me cite a few projects. Erap, in his two years term as President awarded lots of houses (housing projects) to former squatters. He got so much credit for that and even during the heat of the impeachment trial, his followers were using those projects as a proof that he really helps the poor. Here are some points to ponder:
  1. How many years does it take to identify a good project and complete its physical plans (engineering and architectural blueprints)?
  2. After that, how many years does it take to find and allocate funding for those projects?
  3. How long does it take to prequalify the interested bidders?
  4. How long does the contractors need to study the project, prepare the proposal, find the appropriate funding sources, etc, etc?
  5. How long does it take the bidding panel to complete the analysis of the bids submitted?
  6. After the project has been awarded, how long will it take the contractor to clear the land, build the roads and construct the houses?
  7. After completion, how long will it take the government to completed the evaluation of the contractors work?
Having identified some of the major steps, how long do you think it will take the entire process to be completed? Was Erap able to do that within a couple of years? I don't think so. If I remember it correctly, FVR's projects were called "Pabahay 2000" and other variants of that. Erap's housing projects were also named "Pabahay ___" Are those different phases of the same projects?

How about the EDSA's railways (MRT)? FVR started and inaugurated it (even before its completion). Erap inaugurated it again during his term. The train tickets even had his photo in it.

How about FVR? Well, I will give him high credits for the construction of C-5. But let me point out that the designs of those roads were done during the Marcos time or even earlier. I heard that there were even plans for the C-10, completed together with the blueprint of the C-5.

What else? The Philippines had a power crisis as a result of the non operation of the Batan Nuclear Power Plant. The country didn't have enough production facilities to power the needs of the late 80's. It was further worsened with the alleged poor maintenance of some of the existing power plants (there were radio reports about petrol being diluted with water). The power crisis ended early in FVR's term. However, I believe that a lot of the rented power barges and other power relief efforts were started during the Aquino administration.

The list goes on!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The MARINES vs the MILF in Basilan

The MILF leadership disappoints me.

When the marines declared that 14 of their men were killed by an Abu Sayaff ambush, they proudly proclaimed having been the one who encountered and killed the marines (the claim is that 30 marines were actually killed). I wonder what is there to be proud about. They were supposed to be hunting the same kidnappers that the military was running after.

When the military demanded that the perpetrators of the beheadings be surrendered, they responded in the negative and threatened with war. Statements such as having the best MILF unit in Basilan came out of their spokesman.

And now that war seems to be imminent, they are suddenly calling on the foreign donors to the Mindanao development projects to intercede and stop the government from attacking. Double speak, eh?

May I ask, why did they ambush the government troops, in the first place? Is intrusion into their alleged territory punishable by death? The MILF keeps on using the words ceasefire, but why didn't they stop firing for 9 hours? The battle started at 9AM and the Marines started withdrawing at 6PM. Why did they continue to fire for 9 hours?

Was that the spirit of the ceasefire agreement? If ceasefire means killing whoever fails to ask for a permit to pass, perhaps war is better. At least, the rules are clear -You kill the soldiers and the soldiers try to kill you back.-- Is that what you want?

So why are you asking for foreign intercession?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

SWINE FLU SCARE: update for today

A few hundred kilograms of unsafe meat, commonly known in the country as "Double Dead", was confiscated in Pasay last night. The arrested suspects were aparently long been under surveillance by the government.

Source: DZMM news.


A recent encounter in Basilan that resulted to the death of 14 members of the Philippine Marines is partly blamed to defective ammunition. In a TV footage, some mortar rounds misfired during the heat of the encounter.

Marine spokesmen blamed the defective mortar rounds to poor storage and old ordinances among others. Poor storage is a bit difficult to solve since mortar rounds are sensitive to moisture and other environmental intrusions and soldiers naturally operates in the harsh rainforest.

Here's a video that shows a new solution that will be implemented by the Philippine military. Mortar rounds are first kept in plastic cannisters then sealed with what seems to be a rubber or silicon based sealant before being applied with an electrical tape as a secondary sealant.

Watch the video.


Was listening to DZMM this morning and reports came in about a possible outbreak of Swine Flu in Bulacan, a province located a few kilometers north of Manila (National Capital Region). There are supposed to be rumors that truckloads of hogs (pigs) that died from Swine Flu are being sold to unscrupulous traders who in turn sells it in the Public Markets.

In a later interview however, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap declared that only one farm was reported to have the possible presence of Swine Flu and that intense monitoring and further tests are being implemented to make sure that the government will be able to act quickly should the problem becomes real

Farm owners also declared that during these times when there is a change in weather patterns, hogs have the tendency to catch common colds which can easily be remedied by administering paracetamol and lots of water. Therefore, a news of an outbreak at this point is premature.

However, there is one thing that struck me. Radio listeners who sent SMS (text) messages declared that farm owners are less likely to report Flu outbreaks and the unscrupulous of them has the tendency to sell the affected hogs at low prices.

1) I find the news quite alarming and here are a few things that I would like to say:
The Hog Industry, according to Secretary Yap, acccounts for 14% of the country's agricultural output. Therefore, a decline in sales brough about by real or imagined pestilence will have an adverse effect in the livelihood of at least 14% of our agricultural workers. That's a lot. Let us therefore be very cautious in handling this reports. Rumor mongering in this time of crisis should be discouraged.

2) Radio listeners who reported the tendency of some farmers not to report outbreaks should not be dismissed. Having lived in the Philippines for so long, we all know that there is some truth to those statements. People should therefore be vigilant and check the quality inspection certificates or seal, before buying meat.

3) The local governments should take the lead in monitoring the public markets and movement of farm animals. They are in the best position to control any possible outbreak.

Let us all be vigilant but not paranoid. Life goes on. Just be careful.

Good Day!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


That's really a good idea. A brand new laptop that costs lesser than used (2nd hand models). Countries like the Philippines should immediately try this out. If only bandwidth is not a problem in those public schools...

Read the complete article here.


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