Tag Archives: living

It’s a Trap!!!

Remember when you were a kid? You would ask for lots and lots of candy or chocolate or whatever it is you fancy. You know or at least had an inkling that it would make you sick, but you still asked for it anyway. There would even be a temper-tantrum if you didn’t get it. Why have we not outgrown that yet?

Recently the labor groups have asked for a wage increase. The most militant of them asking for the minimum wage to be increased by P 120 . What’s the wage pegged at now? 400 pesos? 410 pesos? They ask for what amounts to more than a 25% wage increase for every person earning minimum. They claim that that wage level is needed to support a family of six everyday while living in the capital.

Before making my main point in the article let me segue a little. Don’t have a family of six! Try a family of three or four! Why have a family of six when you know perfectly well that you cannot support them? This is precisely why we need something like the RH bill.

 Back on topic now. I wonder what would happen to this group if their wish was actually granted. Alright everybody you now make 25% more. How many small and medium businesses would close down? Faced with taxes, competition from bigger companies, and other challenges, would they be able to continue? The big companies that have factories here would be more able to shoulder the burden of adding a quarter to their payroll for the same amount of work. But would they stay here if they had to? Other countries already offer lower wages than us. We are still competing due to other advantages, but add that much expense and most companies here will pack up and leave. Sure some might stay if they think the cost of moving the factory or call center would be too much, but no new factories would be set up. All those children from the family of six would have nowhere to work when they grow up. The people who would be given money by their request would be out of a job next month.

Yet, the labor groups are upset at the “pro-capitalist” administration for denying them the wage increase. Instead only granting a modest 22 peso increase. I get that they might think that that is not enough but seriously ask for something reasonable! How can you ask for something that will almost certainly drive most of your supporters out of employment and then get angry when it is not granted? These groups would appear more credible and garner more sympathy for their cause when they ask a wage increase that could conceivably granted without driving out all business and then get denied for some reason.

Negotiate in good faith. Ask for what you actually want. Instead of using the whole process as a way to garner points with your members. Showing them that you want huge wage increases for them knowing that the government will never grant it. I honestly would like to see these groups given exactly what they ask for one of these days. Then watch as their own members lynch the leaders.


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Perennial Problems

Time to take a break from Bin Laden and his awesome death and go back to our regularly scheduled programming. In this article I would like to talk about corruption. It is one of our nations biggest problems. In fact whenever someone comes up with a plan to make the country prosper, it invariably ends up beginning with curbing corruption. I’m sure a quick search in yahoo will easily tell you how much money we are losing to it every year.

Time for the ISYW angle! How do we solve this problem? Surely there is an innovative way to deal with this. Well the answer is no actually. There isn’t. There are plenty of showpiece measures such as anti-graft drives, impeachment trials, etc. I am sure they flush out some of the worst offenders. But the gist of the situation is, our system is inherently flawed. Which makes it so that corruption is something we will always have to deal with. We would be better of focusing on other problems. Debt servicing, low employment, etc. I’m sure we can pick one out of the huge list of problems we have.

The main flaw in our system that keeps corruption around is simple. We do not pay enough to have officials that are not corrupt. Our president’s salary is 95000 a month. A CEO of a small multinational company would make something like two million a month. Look at the differential between the two. Then think about the complexity of the job put before them. Our president’s salary is listed as salary grade 33. With the other public officials getting paid even lower than he does. Then consider how much it would cost to actually get into office in the first place.

The system itself is set to fail. We are basically relying on the altruism of every single person in public office. We need every single one of them to pursue their positions out of their selfless love for country instead of any motive of self-interest, otherwise the system fails. Realistically, how many people are like that? How many would give up everything just to serve the country, at almost no pay? One out of our population? Two? Then we see that these people, who are precisely what the system is designed for could very well be kept out of it by the prohibitive cost of obtaining office. Even assuming they get it. How long will the altruism stay? Once they are beggared by the rising costs of living coupled with their low paying jobs.

Of course increasing political wages to the point where they would earn as much as their counterparts in the business sector is not a silver bullet. We could very well still choose people which are corrupt for office. But at least the system is set up so that people who are willing to work for both their own and the nation’s good are accommodated. A kind of guilt is also created. Wherein people who get paid this high amount officially have a obligation to do something to earn it. As opposed to the expectation of graft in our current system, because they don’t get paid enough to survive otherwise.

Sadly this will never get implemented in our country. We just have such a bad image of our politicians that we will not enact this. The reaction of everyone would be that they are already so corrupt. Why pay them more? Even if what you are doing really has nothing to do with the current politicians at hand. But rather setting it up so that we can attract a better breed of future politicians.

The only solution left to us is to ignore the problem. Yes sadly that is it. Instead we focus on performance. In essence you can be as corrupt as you want. Set your graft to as high as you think you are worth. But be sure that you are worth that much. Anti-corruption drives should not focus on the most corrupt. No. They should focus on the most incompetent. Then once they are gone they should focus on those with a high incompetence to corruption ratio. Basically under performers. Then drive them out. You will be left with a bunch of highly corrupt officials. In fact the whole government will probably be made up of them. But they will be crooked officials who perform all their functions to the best of their abilities. In essence we get what we pay for.

That’s pretty much it. Remember always expect everyone to act with their own self-interest foremost in their mind. If you take this into consideration and plan for it most systems you set up will work.

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Osama bin laden is dead! Wootness! Though as one of the newly designated terrorists by the Catholic Church I wonder if I shouldn’t be sad? I mean world terrorist number 1 is dead. I jest though. Everyone should be happy that he is gone.

When I first heard the news, my reaction was “Great! How does this effect the terrorists?” I honestly believe it doesn’t. There are just too many of them, too spread out amongst too many groups for the death of one man to really matter. More than half of the current groups don’t really owe any allegiance to him and with the pressure put on by the US manhunt on him I highly doubt that he was leading his own groups throughout this time. I think it would be more likely that command and control has devolved down onto various organizational lieutenants.

What it is is a huge symbolic victory for the United States and its people. The man who orchestrated the attack on their home ground has finally been brought down and they should rejoice. Well done.

This symbolic victory does bring about a very real danger to the war on terror. A danger so great that it could end up costing the U.S. the entire war. With a victory such as this under their belt the U.S. could very well say that they are done with the war on terror and withdraw all the troops from the hot spots in the middle east. Giving away all the gains they have made. Both for themselves and the world in general.

Whether we like it or not, the U.S. is really the only group who are fighting the terrorists that have the capability to win. Sure Israel and some other nations do their part and I thank them for that but if the U.S. withdraws from the war then the war is effectively over. The Israeli army will go back to purely patrolling their own area and making sure that they are safe from attack. The world forgets about terrorism. Or at least puts it in the back of its mind. And we will have another 9/11 in ten years or so. Another generation of Americans will go there and fight because this one didn’t get the job done.

Celebrate the victory you have now. Cherish it. After all you do deserve every moment of it. But do not be content with it. Always look for more victories. Bin laden has heirs. Other terrorist organizations have leaders. There are plenty of targets out there. Till the day the world is finally rid of terrorists.

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Know Your Rights!

So I have been dealing with the BIR lately over some tax matters. Most of them are kind, decent people whom you can negotiate with. However some try to scare you into giving up more than you should because you may not now better.

The issue was about a company’s tax liability. It has been pending for quite some time so the companies accounts have been frozen. Of course this is a problem as the company no longer has money to pay for day to day operations. Negotiations were proceeding smoothly until a certain agent decided to play bad cop and threaten that the BIR will freeze all accounts, not only the corporate one.

Can they do that? Under our laws, and the laws of virtually every country in the world the corporate entity is separate from the personal entity. So the debts of one do not become the debts of the other. However there is a legal principle which can override this law. Under the doctrine of “piercing the veil of corporate fiction” the courts can decide that the company is just a front or just made to shield something else from liability. If the courts decide this then they can order that personal assets be taken to pay for corporate debt.

First off, notice that a court must decide it. Which means that you can give evidence that the corporation is legitimate. The most important thing to get from this is that it will not immediately happen. You will have time to withdraw some assets and place it elsewhere. The second thing to understand is that the courts are very reluctant to do this. Think about it. Every country recognizes corporate entities. If our supreme court routinely employs this doctrine, what would be the incentive for corporations to start here? There are plenty of other places to choose from. Why not just set-up shop in a country whose supreme court is friendlier to corporations? They also know that this kind of doctrine discourages the formation of small and medium industries. Put our self in the shoes of someone who wants to start a business. Would you risk starting a businesses if it meant losing your start-up capital? Would you take the same risk if it meant losing your house and everything you own? For these industries the entire point of a corporation is to limit liability.

Well you know that the courts will not lightly grant this doctrine. Now what? Well you take steps to make sure that there can be no excuse for this to be granted. The most obvious is to keep your personal and corporate accounts separate. Make sure that the proper accounts are used to pay the proper bills. Next make sure that you are paid. Remember you may own the company but you are also an employee, probably in the general manager position. You should have an adequate salary for that. Third , follow all the rules set up for corporations. There should be an existent board of directors, meetings to decide the direction of the company, and minutes for those meetings. Lastly make sure that your company has adequate capitalization. It should have enough money in the bank to run its day to day, pay its employees, and other things of that nature.

So what do you do with this new knowledge? Do you stomp into the BIR and declare that you will pay no taxes due to this? Well, no. The best step is to negotiate the amount with them. Unless truly huge sums of money are involved it would not be practical to argue the amount that you are being charged. They want your business to survive too, if for no other reason than to pay them again next year. Use this information to prevent yourself from being intimidated. If you are doing things properly your only liability is your corporate assets. Nothing else.

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Marcos vs Cory! Round XxX!

Well the country is once again divided! Will we bury our former dictator Marcos in the Cemetery for Heroes or won’t we? Will we forgive him for his past trespasses and let him rest in peace? Or will we hold him up as an example that the Filipino never forgets (on some issues)? Will that red line under Cemetery ever disappear if I don’t use spell check! Interesting times!

Of course like everybody else the Isyw blog has its own opinions. Both sides present some valid arguments and have some impassioned speakers representing them. Both spent plenty of time convincing everybody of the correctness of their position. But still I feel that the most important question has yet to be asked. To wit: DO YOU HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO WITH YOUR TIME?

I mean seriously. We have a growing debt crisis. Growing unemployment. Corruption. At least two armed rebellions. And you want to talk about this? What does this matter? The location of his burial is purely symbolic. It doesn’t get us any more jobs, money, etc.You have thousands of other problems to deal with. I would understand if we took this issue seriously if our country was doing very well, we had no looming problems, etc. Then we would really have time on our hands. But debating this useless issue gets us nowhere. Talk about the RH bill. Talk about our budget. Talk about the ARMM elections. Discuss anything which will actually have an impact on our country.

Bury Marcos in a cardboard box. Bury him in the special cemetery. Bury him wherever the hell you want. His final resting place will not have an impact on what he did in history. Everyone already knows what he did. It is already taught in schools, written inside our history books. At the end of the day everyone will make up their own mind about him regardless of where he is buried.

My personal solution is to have him pay for the privilege. Have his family return some of the money that they have stolen/earned (whatever side you believe) and then apply that directly to our debt. Like I said his resting place is not important. At least the country as a whole gets something out of it.

I can already hear the veterans. “But that will mean we did nothing in Edsa!” To them I ask: Really? Were you there protesting that the dictator should not be buried in the national cemetery? Funny I thought you were there because you wanted to remove him from power. And you did it. No matter what happens from now till the end of time, you did what you did. No burial place is strong enough to take that from you.

Of course, the second argument is that with this solution Marcos will have effectively bought his place in the special cemetery. I still don’t really care where he is buried. He isn’t using his body anymore so I doubt he does too. But if it makes you feel better, whatever happened he was still elected president of our country at least once so there is at least some reason for him to be there.

Look at that! That solution took all of what ten minutes? All that remains to be decided is how much we should charge them. Really if anybody is reading this blog. We have more important things to worry about than where some twenty year old corpse is buried!

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TV rant

This is just a short article about how shallow our television shows have become. It’s probably more of a rant really.

Did any of you ever watch a program of CNN where they use that big television screen that functions like an I-pad? The anchor moves the maps around the screen. He shows you the various data for the conflict in say Libya, the troop movements, political maps, etc. It basically streamlines the data presentation making it easier and more interesting for the viewing public to follow.

Guess what? We have those here! I recently watched a news show on the GMA-7 network where the anchor was using the same screen. Did he use it to show the complicated feudal relationships in our political system? Did it show the possible ways the senators would vote in the upcoming impeachment and the ramifications of each vote? Did he show the effects of world events on the prices of our gas and oil? Nope. He was using it to switch between facebook and twitter reading the replies of viewers on what they would do for summer vacation. Awesome.

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Im Filipino! Really!

Do you ever notice how all of these actors, singers, sportsmen, etc are suddenly discovering they have a drop of Filipino blood on them? They then throw a concert or whatever here, fleece everyone, and then wave goodbye. All the while exclaiming how being a Filipino means so much to them, how much they love being in this country, and how they cherish their fellow countrymen. Of course, the fact that this is their first time in this country is barely given attention. The best part is we love them for claiming their Filipino heritage.

I can’t even blame these artists. Hey it’s an easy buck. Just claim that you have some sort of Filipino connection and you get a stadium jam-packed with crazy fans who all adore you.

Why? Why do we glorify them so much? Do we really fool ourselves into thinking that these are our countrymen who have somehow made it in another country and are now coming back? Well they are not. They barely know anything about us. I have no doubt some of these really are entertainers and sportsmen who have left our country, succeeded, and are now returning . Those we should cherish. But there is a line! It should be obvious just by hearing someone talk and act that they are not one of us.

I remember listening to the radio and hearing that guy Younghusband’s voice. He was articulating, in a very British accent, about the chances of the Philippine team, on how good they are and other matters of that nature. I immediately laughed. I knew he wasn’t really Filipino. He probably just came here because he couldn’t get enough pitch-time in whatever team he is currently with.

Now when he left to attend some function or other in London and the backup goalie was called and interviewed. He said something like “kayang kaya ko yan dood”. Now that is so Pinoy. He is someone I would be proud to be a member of our national team.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not the language. Anyone with half a brain can learn enough Tagalog to get by. It’s more than that. It’s our culture, our heritage. There is just something about our countrymen that make you look up and acknowledge that yes he is one of us. The people I’m referring to in this article may indeed have Filipino blood in them. However they have already given up their native culture and adopted another one. They have lost what it is to be Pinoy.

We are a nation of contradictions. We have a huge chip on our shoulder. The inheritors of the legacy of the Edsa revolution. We believe that we are a land of heroes. Then when we do find them, we discard them for the excess of other nations. People who claim Filipino blood because their career was not flourishing as they think it should have been in their current land. We believe that we can compete with the best worldwide. Yet when it comes to sports, we give people who have never even seen our country citizenship to build a better team.

I could come up with more examples but why bother? You know what I’m talking about. It is time we recover our national pride. Our squad can compete! With only true Filipinos in them. Our entertainers our better! I honestly have not seen an American band whose songs are as expressive as Parokya ni Edgar. Consider the alternatives. Winning with a team so obviously full of imports. Venerating the dregs of the entertainment industries of other nations. They just make us look pathetic.


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