Friday, November 30, 2007

Balimbing Roll-Call

Now is a good time to do one. Fortunately, today's technology already makes this possible.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Peninsula Standoff

Liveblogging by DJB and Schumey. Also by Manuel Buencamino.

Ellen Tordesillas is in the thick of things.
I salute our new heroes led by
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV...
...and General Danilo Lim.

Update 12-01-07: A piece of up-close blogger journalism by Jego.

Philippine Quarterly GDP Growth Dashboard: 1Q 2004 to 3Q 2007

This is an update of the GDP Growth Dashboard from the previous entry to include the 3Q 2007 figures. The graphic below shows the quarterly growth per sector from 1Q 2004 to 3Q 2007. The graphic is derived from data made available at the NSCB Web Site:

Growth Rate per Type of Expenditure
(Click on image to enlarge)

Growth Rate per Industry Sector
(Click on image to enlarge)

(Further updates later.)

*Very Good means that growth rate for a given period is greater than the median growth rate for the periods considered by equal or more than one standard deviation as computed using the 1Q 2004 to 2Q 2007 figures.
**Good means that the growth rate for a given period is equal or greater than the median growth rate for the periods considered as computed using the 1Q 2004 to 2Q 2007 figures.
***Poor means that the growth rate for a given period is less than the median growth rate for the periods considered as computed using the 1Q 2004 to 2Q 2007 figures.
****Very Poor means that growth rate for a given period is less than or equal to one standard deviation below the median growth rate for the periods considered as computed using the 1Q 2004 to 2Q 2007 figures.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pakistan to Return to Civilian Rule

Back in the late 80's when we were being subjected to Honasan's coups, a local TV sitcom spoofed a victorious military junta giving a press conference:
"Reporter: Sir, when will we return to civilian rule?
Junta leader: When we retire.
Reporter: Please clarify.
Junta leader: After we retire, we will then become civilians, so by then you'll all be under civilian rule.
Looks like this Pakistani general also followed Philippine sitcoms. Congratulations Pakistan, (i think).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

US Presidential Candidate Compatibility Quiz

Via John Marzan. You can take the test here.

Ultimate 2008 Presidential Candidate Matcher
Your Result: Dennis Kucinich

The top priority of Dennis Kucinich is to end the war in Iraq. Kucinich also favors a repeal of the Patriot Act, would fund stem cell research, and create a universal healthcare program. He is liberal on social issues, and favors eliminating Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. Kucinich is also concerned about global warming.

Dennis Kucinich (88%)
Barack Obama (84%)
Hillary Clinton (83%)
John Edwards (82%)
Rudy Guiliani (30%)
John McCain (16%)
Ron Paul (4%)
Mitt Romney (0%)

It would be a sign of progress if for 2010, we would be considering our Presidential candidates on the basis of their stand on issues, although this is by no means the only criteria. (Despite what the above results says, i wouldn't be voting for Kucinich.)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Regina: Baby Love

Another 80's classic.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Political CompassTM of the Philippine Blogosphere

Thanks to Anna's invitation, there are now more data points to map the ideological landscape of the Philippine blogging community as measured by the quiz over at the Political CompassTM website. I've tabulated the responses and plotted them as a scatterplot below.

Click on image to enlarge

The local blogosphere (at least those who congregate at Manolo Quezon's blog) tend to cluster in the lower left quadrant of the Compass. Another pattern that can be detected, as traced by the red line of best fit below, is the farther one is to the left on the economic scale, the less authoritarian that person tends to be.
Whether the above patterns are representative of the larger Philippine Society or a segment of it is, at this point, a matter of speculation.

Update Nov-30-2007 12:56AM: Over at mlq3's, commenter inidoro ni emilie makes an interesting conjecture:
"i suspect that with more data points you can muster, your fit will turn out to be more downward parabolic than linear [q3 and q4]. which means, those in the first quadrant will turn out to be outliers–more exceptions to the rule."
The only way to find out one way or the other is to get enough data points.

Update Nov-25-2007 12:32AM: I have adjusted the line of best fit above to conform to the results of the linear regression computations. Here's the slope, y-intercept and correlation coefficient and median values given the available data.

slope, m=0.21
y-intercept, b=-2.01
Correlation Coefficient, r=0.289
Median, left/right-3.62
Median, top/down-2.72

I will adjust as new data comes in.

Update Nov-24-2007 8:50PM: Below are the raw scores i used for the above graph.

Political Compass Coordinates: Selected Philippine Bloggers
LabelBlogger / CommenterX-AxisY-Axis
1 adbAnna de Brux-2.50-0.62
2 d0dD0d0ng03
3 UpnUpn Student1-2.05
4 jegJego-2.00-2.72
5 mavThe EQualizer-4.38-1.28
6 abeAbe Margallo-4.00-2.72
7 awbArbet Bernardo-5.13-1.85
8 cvjChuck Jugo-4.25-3.03
9 aynkAy Naku-2.88-5.49
10 dvl8DevilsAdv8-6.62-4.87
11 brnbBrianB-7.75-4.00
12 vkgViking-4.62-6.46
13 TornTorn-7.50-7.59
14 rnmRenmin-9.88-6.05
15 mbManuel Buencamino-2.62-3.64
16 jstrJester-in-Exile-4.88-3.23
17 ellnEllen Tordesillas-2.62-4.56
18 pscdKarlo Mongaya-8.00-1.69
19 jjmJojo Malig-6.13-3.64
20 sprkSparks-8.38-4.97
21 tngTongue In, Anew-5.25-2.67
22 smpSampot-6.75-2.82
23 pilPilipino-3.25-1.25
24 jmrzJohn Marzan0.38-0.41
25 schmSchumey-6.25-3.79
26 asjrAntonio Sy Jr.1.73-1.03
27 djbDean Jorge Bocobo0.75-0.92
28 romRom Sedona-0.62-5.08
29 ineInidoro ni Emilie-5.51-0.72
30 kgKarl Garcia-4.12-0.97
31 mlq3Manuel L. Quezon III-3.50-5.69
32 nikiBlogspotting-3.25-2.62
33 jfckJoyful Chicken3.38-5.13
34 raeinTiffany Chua-5.62-0.21
35 harrellHarrell Wong-1.50.82
36 bongBrian Ong-3.25-0.15
37 mitaMita-3.62-3.03
38 dmbDean Michael Berris2.75-4.26
39 lstrLester Cavestany-2.38-2.21

Update Nov-25-2007 10:20PM: For purposes of comparison, here are the results of a similar exercise done for the New Zealand Blogosphere more than four and a half years ago.
slope, m=0.234
y-intercept, b=-4.41
Correlation Coefficient, r=0.553
Median, left/right-3.44
Median, top/down-4.82

The same inverse relationship between leftist convictions and authoritarian dispositions is found among the Kiwi bloggers of that time period.

Update Nov-26-2007 11:14PM: Here's another such ongoing survey from 2004 with 299 bloggers. My guess is that these are mostly American blogs.
slope, m=0.377
y-intercept, b=-1.78
Correlation Coefficient, r=0.566
Median, left/right3.4
Median, top/down-0.5

As seen from the positive correlation coefficient, the observed relationship also holds for this batch.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Poor: Two Narratives (Part 2)

As a follow-up to my previous blog entry, i was looking for the best way to describe the second narrative. I've come across some good ones, but i think this quote linked to by Urbano de la Cruz nails it:
"the people who come to the city [and live in squatter developments] are the cream of the crop with the highest ambitions and aspirations."
As he says, it's something to think about.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Anonymity, Pseudo-Anonymity and Privacy

The Guardian Unlimited article, which i linked to in my previous blog entry, presents the Electronic Frontier Foundation's defense of anonymous speech:
Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group that defends online free speech, privacy and intellectual property rights, said Kerr's argument ignores both privacy laws and American history.

"Anonymity has been important since the Federalist Papers were written under pseudonyms," Opsahl said. "The government has tremendous power: the police power, the ability to arrest, to detain, to take away rights. Tying together that someone has spoken out on an issue with their identity is a far more dangerous thing if it is the government that is trying to tie it together."
In other words, anonymity is necessary since government is not always benevolent, and free speech by the individual is valued by society.

On the other hand, blogger Bee contends that...
"an overdose of anonymity is fatal to every kind of constructive communication"
In her blog entry, she links to Kevin Kelly's contribution to the book What Is Your Dangerous Idea?, i.e. "More anonymity is good"
which highlights the dangers of too much anonymity:
" every system that I have seen where anonymity becomes common, the system fails...Communities infected with anonymity will either collapse, or shift the anonymous to pseudo-anonymous, as in eBay, where you have a traceable identity behind an invented nickname. Or voting, where you can authenticate an identity without tagging it to a vote...

Anonymity is like a rare earth metal. These elements are a necessary ingredient in keeping a cell alive, but the amount needed is a mere hard-to-measure trace. In larger does these heavy metals are some of the most toxic substances known to a life. They kill. Anonymity is the same. As a trace element in vanishingly small doses, it's good for the system by enabling the occasional whistleblower, or persecuted fringe. But if anonymity is present in any significant quantity, it will poison the system.
Kelly concludes that...
"Privacy can only be won by trust, and trust requires persistent identity, if only pseudo-anonymously. In the end, the more trust, the better."
The above discussion clarifies for me the value of anonymity, its relation to privacy, and its limits. More importantly, it introduces the concept of pseudo-anonymity, i.e. anonymity that is traceable to a particular identity.

Pseudo-anonymity can be a means to bridge the requirements of national security without sacrificing privacy. In practical terms:
  1. The Telecommunication Companies and Financial Institutions need to implement technologies that will mask the identity of its users. These masking technologies will prevent the identity of the persons from being known (even by the Government) without the application of the corresponding unmasking technology.
  2. The Government Intelligence Agencies can then continue to monitor the masked communications and/or transactions without any court order.
  3. Once anything suspicious comes up, the Government Intelligence Agency can then apply for a court order requesting the unmasking of the relevant communications or transactions, i.e. linking these communications or transactions with a particular individual.
The above scheme balances the needs of privacy and national security.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Abe Margallo: The Philippine Elite's Bayanihan Pact

In his blog entry, Abe Margallo reflects on What to do with the Philippine Oligarchs. He provides a concise summary of where the recent Philippine Presidents (legitimately elected or otherwise) stand with respect to the Philippine political and economic elite. More importantly, Abe reiterates his proposed Bayanihan Pact which is...
" entrepreneurial arrangement where the oligarchs emerge as national business elites in partnership with the State, a representative group from the private sector, and the bureaucracy (hence, there’s no need for a bloody confrontation) in the nature of a Philippine, Inc., just as a Japan, Inc., a Korean, Inc. or a China, Inc., of recent time or the French, Inc. the British, Inc. or the American, Inc. of the old."
I believe Abe's suggestion (which he first wrote about in his book aptly titled Build or Perish and further discussed in his blog entries here and here) is the optimal way to achieve economic takeoff without going through the hassle and gamble of a Civil War or a populist dictatorship.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Privacy Without Anonymity in the USA

A few months back, i wrote a blog entry on Privacy Without Anonymity. Over the weekend, Donald Kerr, principal deputy director of national intelligence in the United States, declared:
"Privacy no longer can mean anonymity...Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information."
Over at Boing Boing, where i stumbled upon this news, there is a lot of resistance to what it calls an Orwellian redefinition. I would tend to be more sympathetic since the tradeoff between privacy and transparency is not cut and dried and is something that merits thorough deliberation. As Kerr added:

"Our job now is to engage in a productive debate, which focuses on privacy as a component of appropriate levels of security and public safety...I think all of us have to really take stock of what we already are willing to give up, in terms of anonymity, but [also) what safeguards we want in place to be sure that giving that doesn't empty our bank account or do something equally bad elsewhere."
In principle, i agree with his statement although not necessarily with the policy of eavesdropping without a court order.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Demographic Dividend and Faith in the Philippines

At the start of 2005, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala gave a speech where he professed his faith in the Philippines based on three emerging trends. One of these is the demographic dividend::
"Philippine population has shifted structurally where those of working age – from 15 to 64 – will considerably dwarf those of dependent age (children and the elderly). In 2005, our working age population is projected to constitute 61.8% of the population. This is projected to rise to 63.9% by 2010, 65.6% by 2015, and 68% by 2025."
As basis, he cited a Study by Dr. David E. Bloom on the Demographic Dividend: New Perspective on Economic Consequences Population Change which correlates the rapid per capita growth in East Asia to such a change in the population structure:
"East Asia created its economic miracle in part because of this. Rapid demographic transition from 1965 to 1990 was matched by real per capita income growth averaging 6% per year during the same period. The demographic alone is estimated to account for approximately one-fourth to two-fifths of this growth. The same transition is pushing China and India into the forefront of economic development. Dr. Bloom believes that the next 10 to 15 years could be the turn of Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines."
In a related paper Contraception and the Celtic Tiger, Dr. Bloom together with David Canning describes a similar economic takeoff by Ireland that coincided with the legalization of contraceptives. This Paper talks about the dependency ratio and asserts that:
"Contrary to the neutralist view, the emerging evidence indicates that population does matter to economic growth, with age structure playing a central role. As the dependency ratio falls, opportunities for economic growth tend to rise, creating what is now referred to as a 'demographic dividend'."
Ratio, Working-Age to Non-Working-Age Population

True enough, a separate paper by Rodrik, Pritchett and Hausmann on Growth Accelerations shows that Ireland's annual per capita GDP growth in the decade after 1985 accelerated to an annual average of 5.0% as compared to the previous eight years where the figure was at 1.6% (a difference of 3.4%).

For their part, Bloom and Canning takes pains to stress that change in age structure within a population alone does not account for the entire growth acceleration. Rather,
"It is important to note that Ireland, like the 'miracle' economies of East Asia, had in place economic and social policies that favoured its taking advantage of the demographic shifts it experienced. Two key policies were at work in Ireland. First, in the late 1950s, there was recognition that the 'closed economy' model of development had failed in Ireland. This led to new policies with an emphasis on encouraging direct foreign investment in Ireland and promoting exports. Second, from the mid-1960s, free secondary education was introduced, leading to a large increase in school enrolments and subsequent expansions in higher education. The resultant high levels of education, combined with export-oriented economic policies, seem to be powerful factors in ensuring that the benefits of the demographic transition are realised. As discussed in the introduction, there are a wide range of policies that have contributed to Ireland’s economic growth. We think these policies also made the Irish economy more flexible and capable of absorbing, and profiting from, the demographic dividend. In our empirical study we use 'openness' as a measure that affects the impact of the demographic dividend, but we see 'openness' more as a proxy for good economic policies in general and not an
endorsement of export orientation alone...
In the case of the Philippines, the improvement in the dependency ratio that Zobel de Ayala mentioned in his speech is indeed taking place although at a somewhat slower pace.

Ratio, Working-Age to Non-Working-Age Population
[Sources: derived from "Zobel de Ayala's speech and NSCB Estimates]

I'm not sure why the above NSCB estimates are lower than the figures quoted by Zobel de Ayala in his speech. Perhaps these other people of faith have something to do with it.

Update Nov-15-2007 3:06am: In the comments section, Urbano de la Cruz points to the role of cities as population sinks. This means that greater urbanization contributes to the decrease in the birth rate.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Trickle-Down Economics

Mariannet Amper
"There is this mind-set, which I think is so passe, that says: ‘The country is in shambles and the country is having a hard time and you are out there partying.’ But this generation is guiltless when it comes to that." - Tim Yap

Monday, November 05, 2007

November 9, 2007: Postcards for Gloria Day

Click on image to enlarge

Similar activities are also planned overseas. Details can be found here and here. For further updates, visit the Black and White Movement's blog. As Manolo reminds us:

" small yet meaningful ways, resistance is what’s called for these days...not by blowing things up or giving the authorities the satisfaction of beating us up, or, God forbid, inconveniencing those who value the smooth traffic flow more than they care about the disappearance of Jonas Burgos, or inconveniencing the congressmen in cassocks known as the Catholic bishops. So what can we do, that allows us to be considerate of the politically blind, but which will show that we are aware, awake, and not in awe of the authorities?

Consider that the prime message of the government that adores your tax pesos so it can serve up cash buffets in the presidential palace you own, is this: they are all the same. This is meant to discourage your thinking of alternatives, because if all the alternatives are like what we have, better the devil in the duster you already have, to any other devil waiting in the wings. But this argument is only good as long as you agree that indeed, you are like them: that when they say they are all the same, they include you.

Are you really like them? Is the congressman or governor waddling out of MalacaƱang with a doggie bag full of money, the same as you? Of course not. When they shriek, “let he who is without sin, cast the first stone,” they forget the number of guests at the cash buffet didn’t include millions like yourself. But OK, let’s not cast stones. Let’s send something peaceful but equally painful: words on postcard."
Update Nov-19-2007: Pictures of the postcard i sent last November 9 (needed help to upload - thanks Pimpuk!)