The Philippine Onion

Lies and half-truths shall set you free

Posts Tagged ‘world bank’

Toward a new generation of Filipino heroes

Posted by commiedyan on November 26, 2007

(We warn our dear readers that the foregoing analysis by our resident economist, e-kunomista, is not for the squeamish and fainthearted. It is rated PG35).

The depreciation of the once-mighty dollar is endangering the country’s economic growth, fueled the past few years by remittances from overseas Filipino workers, now fighting a Sisyphean and losing battle against the forces of globalization over which they have no control: the more they sweat, the less the value of their labor.

What is to be done?

The answer is right under, and slightly above our very noses, and even in our gut. We have been contemplating the story of justice secretary Raul Gonzales, who, we have been told by sources in the Makati Medical Center, had a healthy pair of kidneys until these rejected the body of their owner. Fortunately for Mr. Gonzales, one kidney of his loyal driver shared the sentiment of its master.

We do not wish the good secretary ill, for we normally do not make fun of the senile—we say this with all sincerity because we cannot be compelled to take a polygraph test— but we have been told his other internal organs might follow his discarded kidneys, politicized and now making a lot of political noise in that hospital. He has also said that he has just come back from hell, and if there really is a hell, we say, practice makes perfect. But so much for Mr. Gonzales, suffice it to say, we wish him a more speedy recovery.

Filipinos, especially the poor and unemployed, have an excess of internal organs and useless limbs, and if only these could be sold at fair market value, we can be well on our way to a more equitable and sustainable development, using a more visceral interpretation of human capital touted by the World Bank.

Equitable because there is no need for a trickle-down effect, as market development, on the supply side, should start with the third decile in the income distribution. We estimate that the kidneys of these people alone would lead to an immediate 5% reduction in poverty incidence. But, you ask, is that sustainable?

Silly question, for biochemistry teaches us that the lighter the body mass, the lower is the energy required for its sustenance—addressing as well escalating petroleum prices. Secondly, why stop at kidneys? We can proceed with slivers of liver, which have regenerative capabilities. More importantly, we can reduce the digestive tracts, the source of the nasty gastric juices responsible for those embarrassing hunger statistics. There seems to be no scarcity of serendipity here, for we can also encourage the sale of testicles to address the population problem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in analysis, economics, Malacañang, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

The patient English: words and meanings in Philippine politics

Posted by commiedyan on November 22, 2007

by Old Spice

The perfect use of language is that in which every word carries the meaning that it is intended to, no more, no less.C. Connolly, Enemies of Promise

We can probably excuse budget secretary Rolando Andaya with his attempt to dupe us that, in regard to the World Bank’s road improvement loan ‘deferment’ is better for the country than ‘suspension.’ He’s been in denial all along.

We’ll also excuse the credibility-challenged Senator Juan Ponzi N. Really during the resumption of the senate hearings on the NBN-ZTE deal last Tuesday for this quotable:”You pretend that you do not know government processes which I do not believe because if you are dealing for 20 years in this line of business you’d know every gamut of this business…” According to our old Webster’s, gamut means “a whole range or series.” He was trying to intimidate Ernesto Garcia, Joey de Venecia’s consultant on the NBN deal. Garcia refused to budge from his comic account, as we could see from where we sat. (For all we know, the senator might have used the word in its Cebuano meaning, root).

But Raul Lambino? Almost every sentence he uttered violated a rule of grammar, from subject-verb agreement to chronology and tense. His narration was the rightful headline and sounded credible, were it not for the confusion in the sequence of events which made us tense. Add to his crimes dangling modifiers, misplaced prepositions, and a profusion of split infinitives (he was probably absent from class when the English teacher suggested never to split infinitives).

Still we are inclined to believe Lambino’s account on the threats on the lives of the de Venecias, that the army general who reputedly did well in East Timor turned into a turtle in regard to his integrity.

But we should be more wary next time he shows his face selling charter change. Remember that he lied straight-faced (while we cried) that his efforts then were independent of the administration. The preamble of the Charter might look like this:

We, the sovereign Filipino peoples, implored the aid of Almighty God, in the order to build adjust and humane society, and establishing a Government that embodied our ideals and aspirations, promoted the common good, conserved and developed our patrimony, and secured to ourselves and our posterity, the blessing of independences and democracy under the rules of law and regimes of truth, justices, freedoms, loves, equality, and peace, did ordain and promulgated this Constitution.

We are aware of course that legal English is a tool for obfuscation, as lawyers live on clarifying the tangle they themselves create. But how do people with such atrocious grammar pass the bar? Pray tell us Fr. Joaquin Bernas.

English has a way to go to capture the precision of mathematics, as I myself was aware of in a pleading to the high court on the oil deregulation law in 1997. We can hardly wait though for the time we don’t have to ask the court for the meanings of executive, privilege, and initiate.


Posted in language, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

RP offers technical, financial assistance to World Bank to stem corruption within its ranks

Posted by commiedyan on November 20, 2007

Manila—The Philippine government yesterday offered the World Bank wide-ranging technical and financial assistance to stem corruption within the ranks of the multilateral aid agency. This development came on the heels of the suspension of a $232M road maintenance and improvement project allegedly due to an internal row within the WB itself.

Bank officials monitoring the deal could not agree on their shares of the kickbacks, according to Cerge Remonde, chief of the presidential management staff. “Sharing is part of our expertise and culture and we have offered them our assistance so we can finally move on,” he told TPO.

In regard to transparency and accountability, Remonde protested: “If not for executive privilege, our alleged president is even willing to make her diaries public…I’ve seen them you know. She crosses all the P’s and S’s from her husband’s activities.”

“Huh? Corruption? In the Philippines?” public works and highways secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. asked sarcastically. Isn’t that the same institution that kicked out its own president because of ethics violations? Ebdane was referring to Bush crony Paul Wolfowitz, now desperately trying to get a fellowship in Stanford amid protests by faculty and students.

“Let them go after the big fish first,” Ebdane added. “Which country launched an overpriced rocket program just to get the to the moon when Filipino engineers could easily have designed and built a bridge at a tenth of the cost?”

Finance secretary Margarito Teves also recalled April meetings in Washington where he “was briefed about the inquiry then being conducted by the bank’s internal investigations unit, the Department of Institutional Integrity (INT).” At the time, Teves was sending a series of e-mails to TPO complaining how bank officials mistreated him. “Can you imagine? They were having steak and wine while I was chewing on chicken feet and sipping Zesto juice my daddy packed for me?”

On allegations of collusion among bidders. budget secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. said this had been a practice encouraged by the administration to make its loyalists happy. “Why is the WB complaining only now?”

Justice secretary Raul Gonzales told TPO he was considering filing a suit against WB officials for undue vexation, especially if Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago becomes chief of the International Court of Justice. “Otherwise, I’ll let them eat my discarded and sauteed kidneys.”

Meanwhile, Anna Marie Nemenzo, president of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, which celebrates its 20th anniversary tomorrow, said the Philippines should just stop borrowing if it wants to avoid being humiliated by arrogant officials of multilateral lending agencies.

Filomeno Sta. Ana III of Action for Economic Reforms said his group was still trying to secure funds from unnamed foundations for the establishment of a comprehensive mental health improvement program open to government and non-government organizations. “Buang silang tanan bay (they’re all loonies),” he told TPO.

Posted in analysis, Malacañang | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »