Gawad Kalinga Housing Project Posted by Hello

My Tag-Board is Back

For lack of a better alternative, I have re-installed my old tag-board in my blog! :D hahahahha oh well!

Solution to the Poor V: Domestic Capital

Doing business in the Philippines is expensive. The electricity rate in the Philippines is only second to Japan. This is due to antiquated power generating processes and shortsighted contracts signed by the Ramos administration with private power generating companies, giving these companies discretion to set the price for electricity that they produce. As a result, it is tough to build a globally competitive business. The reality of globalization is that local businesses no longer just compete with local competitors, but also any other country that can produce the same good/service at a cheaper price and higher quality. As such, local businesses either close their doors or set up shop elsewhere where production costs are much cheaper.

Another reason for lack of domestic capital is due to the low savings rate by Filipinos. Many would argue that most people are barely making both ends meet, as such there is nothing left to save in the bank. However if people can afford to feed their texting habit then they can afford to save some money in the bank. It is the misplaced consumerism that our countrymen practice that is keeping savings rate in the nation low, lowering bank’s capacity to lend out money. Since banks have limited capital to lend out, small to medium size enterprises are locked out of the capital market since banks would rather focus their capital lending activities to the biggest enterprises in the Philippines to reduce their risk.

Ordinary citizens have no control over the price of electricity and lack of infrastructure in the Philippines, but we do have control over our spending. Before you buy anything, please think long and hard if you really need to make that purchase. Since our government is failing in developing the infrastructure within the country, we should do our part to help Filipino entrepreneurs access capital by increasing our savings. Sounds simple, and yet it is something concrete that we can do to help our economy.


An Ode to Atsi Deanie

Atsi Deanie,

Atsi (ate or older sister) Deanie is my mentor. She has taught me so much about perseverance and compassion. If you know anything about www.ivolunteer.ph, you would know that it would not be here if not for Atsi Deanie. Her sheer determination to network with individuals, corportations, civic organizations, government entities, etc. has kept the first Philippine voluntarism portal going.

A person’s life can be full of sadness. Sometimes tragedy can crush the human spirit. But not my Atsi Deanie. A few months ago, I sent Atsi Deanie the url to my blog. In turn she sent me the url to her blog. Her blog is not publicized. Atsi Deanie’s blog was about her father and hir cancer. Her intent was to capture all the remaining moments of her father’s life.

In that blog she detailed her love and devotion to her father. I was in tears after I have read all of the entries. I asked myself, how can one person be so full of love and devotion? You see, Atsi Deanie has been keeping the dream of ivolunteer alive single-handedly since its establishment 3 years ago. Although there were 8 of us that founded it, it was her that kept it going all these years; I say this not to diminish the efforts of the other founders. Not only that, Atsi Deanie has a full time job and her own family.

Her last post in her blog was about the burial of her father. A daughter grieving, but dutiful nonetheless; as I reflect on her work at ivolunteer, I realize that she is as dutiful to her father as to the welfare of our countrymen. Today we complain about how Filipinos have lost his love for his country. Not my atsi Deanie; she is a real patriot if I ever saw one.


Pinoy Blog of the Week 03/11/2005

Pinoy Blog of the Week 03/11/2005 Posted by Hello

I am absolutely flattered that my blog was recognized as blog of the week by Pinoy Blog! Thanks to all of you who regularly visit my blog. It is my hope that through discussions in this medium that we will be able to better understand the problems that confront the Philippines today. With better understanding comes more effective individual decisions. Again thank you!

The following is the write up for Divergent Poles at www.pinoyblog.com :

When Mell Ditangco started blogging in 2002, he was single and all wrapped up in his career which was on a definite upbeat swing. Seven months later, he was an entrepreneur and a married man. Soon after that, he was reaching out to his roots. A Filipino-Chinese living in the United States started blogging about the Philippine political scene. He names the government, the academe and organized religion as the causes of poverty in the Philippines. There was a time when he thought that micro-financing would provide the much-needed capital to uplift the lives of marginal Filipinos. Then, he realized that the inability of the masses to rise from the quagmire is anchored on more deep-rooted reasons.

As with many Filipinos who migrated to the U.S. as adolescents or adults, Mell retains many fond memories of the country he left behind. His memories of Christmas in the province is nostalgic. On the other extreme, his ties with his native land despite the physical distance still made him emotionally vulnerable to to news of political corruption.

Mell Ditangco's Divergent Poles is quite a ride despite the intermittent posting. It is a package containing a young man's journey through life. It is also an intellectual journey as he grapples with possible solutions for the problems besetting the country that he continues to love from afar. Well, the journey goes on. The young man is about to become a dad.


Do Filipinos’ have a Victim’s Mentality?

I must confess that I am frustrated. Why? You ask. I really thought that micro-lending is the answer to the poverty that is gripping more than 60% of our countrymen in the Philippines. Based on my research results, the government’s initial micro-lending program was a failure. According to an independent study by the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants, recipients of the micro-loans thought that the funds received from the government were grants. The government’s micro-lending program was designed to be self-sustaining, but since too many beneficiaries defaulted it effectively shut down the program. This failure seems to imply that even if poor Filipinos are given an opportunity to improve his/her life he/she will manage to screw it up.

The Philippine government is always seen as a bastion of corruption. However in this case the common Juan Dela Cruz squandered a golden opportunity to improve his lot in life. Had those beneficiaries paid back what they were loaned, they would have had the opportunity to borrow larger sums in the future to further grow his/her business.

Filipinos need to change his/her mindset before he/she can improve his/her condition. I am afraid that a good number of Filipinos, whether from the lower and middle class, suffer from a victim’s mentality. Rather than look for ways to improve his condition, he would rather blame the government, the multinational corporations, the Americans, corrupt elite, etc.. Let me make myself clear, I am not saying that there are no injustices occurring in the Philippines, but let us not play the blame game and quit trying to improve our lives. Let self-reliance be our battle cry to combat the injustices that we see. Let us not sit idly by and let opportunities pass us by.

We have no right to hope for our beloved Philippines if we do not change our ways.

Baby Colin

Baby Colin Posted by Hello

I have been debating for a while if I should share this bit of great news in my blog. The picture above should say it all. My wife and I are going to have a baby! :) The feelings of becoming parents for the first time is exciting and un-nerving at the same time. I think there is nothing one can do to emotinally prepare in becoming a parent. I guess its instinctual once the baby is there. We shall see! There you have it folks, Divergent Poles is going to have a baby.


A Glimpse of My Cyber Neighborhood

I have been part of the www.tsinoy.com community since 1999. I have met a lot of great people there. It is there where I met my www.ivolunteer.ph co-founders. When I first started posting at the message board of www.tsinoy.com I was just a junior at the University of Southern California. I must admit, my views back then were less mature and naïve. Its just amazing how quickly time flies. One would think that spending all that time in the Internet is a complete waste of time. I tell you what, in tsinoy.com I had atsis (ates or older sisters) and ahias (kuyas or older brothers) that taught me about decency, tolerance, objectivity, to think before you react, etc.

Earlier today I learned that I have been appointed as a moderator of Revlution! Café, tsinoy.com’s politics and current events forum; I consider this a great privilege, so thank you tsinoy.com family for trusting me. I will definitely try to impart the lessons that I have learned when I fist started out at the Revlution! Café forum.

While writing this post, I realized how much the Internet is a part of my life. Currently I post regularly in www.grabeh.com, www.pinoyexchange.com and ww.tsinoy.com. A recent addiction of mine is maintaining my blog and bloghopping. My favorite blog ring is www.pinoyblog.com; it is there where I get most of my traffic.

Sometimes I amaze myself and wonder where I find the time to maintain my blog, bloghop and engage in discussions in 3 discussion forums. Creating articles in one’s blog and discussing political issues require a lot of research! I even work 10 to 12 hour days to boot! Although I am proud to say that I don’t mix my Internet time with work. So where do I get the time? Pretty much it comes out of sleep time… like now, its almost 12 mid night and I am still composing this post! Ok, I am turning in now, I have to work tomorrow! Good night all!

I Deleted My Tag-Board!

I deleted my Tag-Board. Its always down anyway. Do you know of a reliable tag-board? Please let me know! Thanks!


Martha Stewart is Free

So Martha Stewart is free. Martha got sentenced to go to jail due to insider trading of M Clone (spell check please) stocks. I don’t agree with the amount of scrutiny that Stewart got, especially when she only benefited a few hundred thousand dollars. That is chump change compared to the billions of dollars lost due to the collapse of Enron and Andersen.

Andrew Fastow has done more damage in the capital markets of the USA than any person can imagine. One will recall that Andrew Fastow was the CFO of Enron prior to its collapse, and he has been credited for the off-the-books deals that brought down the pre-imminent energy company.

The result of Andrew Fastow’s deceitful ways still reverberates today. Due to the Enron collapse, the US Senate has enacted the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; this law requires companies that are public to have an audit of its internal controls by an independent third party such as a CPA firm. Specifically, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act mandates the documentation of key internal controls and management testing of these controls; then auditors will need to audit the internal control documentation and testing present an opinion on the integrity of the internal control environment of the company. Key internal controls are defined as controls that would prevent or detect fraud and/or financial misstatements that are material.

Attestation engagements are not too expensive, a quarter million for companies that are $2.5 billion in revenue. The expensive piece is the preparation for it. One company (revenue $200 million) spent $2 million preparing, while a client of mine spent $4 million (revenue 2.5) billion. OUCH!!!

The US capital markets are not exactly bullish these days even if there is more information available to investors regarding a company’s internal controls. Although its still early to tell if the added attest requirements will perk up investing activity. It sure will be interesting in the next few weeks as attest results become available to investors.

My First Vacation In 15 months!

Dear Self,

In a few weeks you are going on a one week vacation! I am sure you can't wait; I am so excited for you!

You have been working very hard this past year, working 11 to 14 hours a day. I am sure you feel so tired right now. No matter, your vacation is near.

So what are you going to do on your vacation?

Oh, read a few books, do lunch with friends, go to the park, go to the beach. Staying Local I see, thats nice!

I am sure you will have fun in your vacation. Have fun! :D


Who will Tell Our Story in America?

I came to America as a teen-ager. I have read, watched and heard all about the American story from the White, Black, Hispanic, Asian perspective. But how about my story, why is the Filipino story in America so scarce? These types of questions lead me to seek out works that is Filipino centric. The works of Jessica Hagedorn (Book: Dogeaters), Carlos Bulosan (Book: America Is in the Heart), and Doroteo Ines (Short Film: A Filipino in America) are some of the great contributors to Filipino-American literature/film.

Back in college, I met this enthusiastic film major that always have great ideas. His name is Patricio Ginelsa. He wrote and directed “Miss Teen Raffle Ticket”; this was a play about two Filipino-American teenagers of immigrant parents, Chris and Vicky (Note: I forgot the character’s names so I am using the actors names instead); sorry Patricio). The story is about how immigrant parents have very high expectations of their children; so high that it can lead to conflict and even further widening the culture/age gap between them. To complicate things, the two teenagers have a secret relationship that results in pregnancy. I will not tell you the entire story as Patricio plans on making this into a movie one of these days.

I just love that play, even though the characters were flawed, it spoke of the issues that confront Filipinos today in America. I feel privileged to have been a part of that play. As we performed, you can tell that the audience appreciated seeing the human condition portrayed in the Filipino context. The play was shown way back in 1998 at the University of Southern California at the Pilipino-American Cultural Night.

Patricio has been instrumental in propagating Filipino centric movies. Patricio was actually one of the associate producers of the “The Debut”. One of Patricio’s most recent works is a Black Eyed Peas MTV, the Apol song. He wrote the story and directed the BEP MTV. This MTV is Filipino to the core; a Filipino World War 2 veteran in a nursing home, reminiscing about his youth and juxtaposed with images of real Filipino World War 2 veterans fighting for their rights in Washington. His works is just amazing.

People like Jessica and Patricio are rare, so we must support these individuals and others like them as much as we can to ensure that our stories are told.

To learn more about Patricio Ginelsa please visit the following sites:
http://kidheroes.net/aplsong.htm (the Black Eyed Peas MTV)
http://www.lovethatlumpia.com/ (Lumpia)

To learn more about Jessica Hagedorn’s play Dogeaters visit the site below:
http://www.esipa.org/happening/ (Dogeaters, the play)


iVol Blog Notice: Public School Teacher Training Program Fundraiser

Isulong Mo Foundation, is organizing a fundraising
project entitled “isa.dalawa.takbo!” This is a fun run
for the benefit of our Teacher Training Program for
Public Schools. This event will be held on March 6,
2005, 8:00-11:00am at the UP academic oval.
Registration fee is P150. Registration starts at 7:00
and the race will start promptly at 8:00am. The
starting line will be at the new stage at Sunken

This will be a great event for you and your family! We
will have special prizes for the most unique
individual (solo flight award), the most unique couple
(together forever award), and the most unique family
(pangpamilya award). There will be 3 catagoies during
the race, 1 ikot for kids 8-12 years old, 3 – 5 ikot
for 13 and above.

Help us raise funds for the upcoming teacher training
programs for public schools in the Pasic City area.

For registration inquiries, contact jam at
0917-8456206 or Marla at 0917-9721987 OR email us at
isulongmofoundation@yahoo.com. You may also log on to
our website at www.geocities.com/isulongmofoundation

Thank you very much!

We hope to see you there!

Peanut: Hanging Out

Peanut 3 Posted by Hello

Peanut 2 Posted by Hello

Peanut Posted by Hello


I am Sick and Tired of my Template!!!!

I am sick and tired of my template. I would have changed my template a long time ago, but I am afraid of losing all my blog-add ons such as my tag-board, sitemeter, RSS feed, etc. Do you know how to change templates without disturbing my blog-add ons? Hellllllllllllpppppppppppppppp!!!!!!!!!!


Solution to Poverty Part IV: Results of Initial Micro-Loan Programs in the Philippines

The Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants conducted a study of the progress of micro-financing in the Philippines. The results of the study are discouraging. The study revealed that incidences of loan defaults among micro borrowers were high; so high that government micro lending programs could not continue, as funds could not be replenished. Many of the borrowers felt no need to pay the loans as they thought it as a grant (read entitlement). The study highlighted the failure of government and private enterprises in implementation of micro-financing.

But how about the people who got the micro-loans, what did they do with the money? Its ok to have some borrowers default, but to the point that the entire program could no longer go on? This is a bad reflection on Filipinos. The poor and middle classes always condemn Marcos, Ramos, GMA, et al for their thievery. But in this one instance, a good number of poor Filipinos were given loans to build businesses, but what did they do? They defaulted because they felt the loans were grants; no matter how they rationalize it in their minds what they did is thievery. Their act has now prevented others from having a chance.

The good news is the government and private entities have since adapted and are slowly implementing more effective micro lending programs. The following are the key measures adapted by government and non-government entities regarding micro lending policies:

1) Differentiate social from financial intermediation programs. (Direct credit programs of the government were unsuccessful because of high overhead costand high incidence of non-payment of loans. People mistook the creditextended by the government as social assistance, which they do not need torepay. In this regard, to avoid the said misconception, the government shouldrefrain from acting as direct financial intermediary and let the non-governmental organizations act as financial conduits).

2) Initiate reforms that will create a financial system conducive to the operationsof financing conduits. (The financial and market reforms that took place inthe Philippines included the lifting of the interest rate ceiling; liberalization ofbank entry and branching; adoption of market-oriented interest rates;termination of subsidized rediscounting programs and government’s directlending programs).

3) Enact laws upholding the fight against through microfinance. (Social Reformand Poverty Alleviation Act and the General Banking Law 2000).

4) Take on strategies promoting microfinance as a primary tool to fight poverty.(National Strategy for Microfinance prepared by the National Credit Council).

5) Synergize anti-poverty efforts with non-governmental organizations and otherstakeholders to develop a common goal to attain (Philippine Coalition forMicrofinance Standards).

To see the entire study, please visit http://www.picpa.com.ph/articles/vision.pdf


Blog Review: Gigi Goes Gaga

When I first visited Gigi goes gaga, I was instantly impressed with the quality of the articles. Her articles are typically about her past, may it be distant or recent. Gigi makes it a point that you see the place where she’s been; not only that she makes sure that you see deep within her – Only to realize you are looking at yourself. She boldly tells you the lessons she learned in her life--. Her writing has a universal quality to it; so universal it does not matter if you are male or female or from America, Africa or Manila.

My favorite articles from this blog are COMING TO AMERICA PART 1 and COMING TO AMERICA PART 2.

Go Visit her blog at http://www.gigigoesgaga.typepad.com/

Two Divergent Poles Up for Gigi Goes Gaga! :)

How Has Micro-Financing Faired in the Philippines?

I found a comprehensive article which describes how Micro-Financing has faired in the Philippines.

Here is the link to the article:


I will post an analysis later.


Its Tax Season Once More

If you are a working stiff like me and from the USA, you should have gotten your W - 2 by now. I am an accountant by training, so I have been doing my own taxes ever since; this is not to say that I specialize in tax preparation. Truth is, you don't need accounting training to put together tax returns. There are detailed instructions available from the Internal Revenue Services that you can pick up at your local post office or download online. I have friends that get their tax returns prepared by H & R block, which charges a hefty price, that’s a waste of money! I will do my taxes today since I got my W - 2 and other statements that I need to do my tax returns.

Divergent Poles: Blog Review

One of the threads in pinoyblog is about blog recommendations. Recently, Loving Cielo (http://lovingcielo.blogspot.com/) says that he likes my recommendations. Since I am having severe writers block regarding micro-finance, poverty, corruption, tragedy of the commons, etc. I have decided to write blog reviews! Maybe if I write something lighter it will help me with my writer's block! :D

I will start reviewing blogs from my blog roll! So watch out for my blog reviews!


Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Happy Chinese New Year! Posted by Hello

Kung Hei Fat Choy! Happy year of the Rooster!

Did you ever wonder how the Chinese name a particular Chinese Year? I was browsing one of my favorite websites, Tsinoy.com (www.tsinoy.com), and low and behold they have an article explaining how they name a new year.

Here is how the Chinese name a new year:

1. By an animal (like a mascot).

There are 12 animal names; so by this system, year names are re-cycled every 12 years.

2. By its Former Name.
The new year is the year of Yiyou. By this system, the Name of the Year is repeated and re-cycled every 60 years.

3. It is Year 4702 by Chinese calendar.

Years of the Rooster:

1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

To read the entire article go to the following link!

Go to a Coffee Tour at Amadeo, Cavite!

A friend referred me to the website (http://www.amadeocoffee.com/index.html) of the Municipality of Amadeo, Cavite; its an awesome website. Amadeo is a leading producer of Coffee in Cavite. The municipality of Amadeo has taken the initiative to revitalize the coffee industry. They even have an Adopt-a-Farm Project. Here is a small blurb about the program from the Amadeo website:

The Adopt-a-Farm Project is an original and innovative concept of the Municipality of Amadeo which aims to turn under-utilized and idle lands become productive. The project – an integrated component of the 10-year National Road Map for coffee endorsed by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and the National Coffee Development is also envisioned to provide extra income and generate jobs in the farmside.

Isn’t that cool!

They even provide coffee tours of the municipality. The tours include the following:
- Organization farm
- Adopt a farm (investment opportunities talk)
- Traditional farming
- Milling
- COOP store for coffee tasting, pahimis blend
- Lunch
- Barako farm

Visit their website now for more information!


A Relaxing Day Off!

My manager actually gave me the day off today. I have been working on one client for an entire year preparing the company for compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley (for more info go to http://www.sarbanes-oxley.com/). Its been a grueling year, with 10 to 12 hour days my normal working hours. It’s a wonder I have been pretty active in updating my blog!

So, ceased the opportunity to take it easy today. So what did I do today?

I brought my car to the Honda Service Center to get an oil change. While my car was getting serviced I went to the park to eat breakfast and take a walk with my pet peanut. Peanut and I had a vanilla latte and chicken salad sandwich for breakfast at the park. We took a nice slow walk. After that we went home. I just finished giving Peanut a bath and she is fast asleep while I type this post! Cute dog, before she went to sleep she took her collar and as if to tell me put this on me. Awwwww… So I did! A nice slow day; just what I need to recharge.
Will get back to discussing problems, solutions and other serious matters in a little bit, I need to relax my mind for a few days.

Plagarize Me Not!

Do you know how tough it is to come up with original content? Its not easy. I would say it consumes you to the point of insanity. So next time you see interesting content in the internet, make sure you give credit where credit is due if you are going to repost it. Is that clear!? Good.


Kape: A Philippine Coffee Cookbook

Kape: A Philippine Coffee Cookbook Posted by Hello

Kape: A Philippine Coffee Cookbook is a great read. It is very educational as far as the coffee industry in the Philippines and full of tempting coffee and pastry recipes. Chit Juan and Vicky Veloso-Barrera are the authors of this book. Chit Juan is very impressive; as the Figaro Coffee Company's CEO, she has turned her love for coffee to a crusade to save the coffee industry in the Philippines while making mega bucks at the same time. Figaro Coffee Company has distinguished itself by offering true blue Filipino Coffee such as Kapeng Barako.

So next time you have an urge for a caffeine high; head over to Figaro and support one of our own and in the process support our coffee farmers and keep capital circulating locally.

Our nation needs more visionaries and doers such as Chit Juan to re-invigorate stagnant industries such as the coffee industry. Perhaps when we have more people like her, our hopes for a better Philippines will be well founded.


Awarding of Best Volunteer Experience Essays in Discover. Act. Volunteer Fair

Volunteers are people whose heroic efforts are left unsung. But the
time has come for them to have all the attention and to celebrate the
great service they have given to the community and society.

The Best Volunteer Experience Essay Writing Contest, a project of
iVolunteer.ph in cooperation with United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and
Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA),
became a venue for volunteers––whether seasoned or green––to relate
their challenging yet wonderful experiences. The 6 winning personal
essays have become sources of inspiration to the people who have read

In "Children Have Dreams Too!" the lack of a college degree did not
hold back Maricel Barahan in her efforts to help children with
learning difficulties realize their own dreams.

Ms. Christina Alejandro in "The Seed" showed us how volunteering is
like planting seeds. We never know how tall or how wide the plant
will become. We just water it everyday and let it grow.

In the crannies of Davao City's depressed areas, paraplegics,
hemiplegics and children with developmental delays brought meaning
into Michael Velilla's life as a volunteer physical therapist in "A
Different Road."

In "Going Against The Tide," Jan Andrew Zubiri received lessons on
flexibility, performance and courage while at the same time saving
the breathtaking beauty of life beneath the waves in a volunteer's
summer journey.

Children with leukemia taught volunteer Christina Alejandro more
about courage, perseverance, faith, and hope than any book she could
read as she shared with us her experiences in "The Sixth Floor."

Ms. Theresa Cayton is "A Sacred Volunteer" who is willing to go out
of her comfort zone to respond to the challenges of her work on river
and lake rehabilitation. She gives untiringly her time and effort.
That she learns from her experiences at the same time is just an
added bonus for her.

On December 5, 2004, iVolunteer.ph will be awarding the volunteer-
writers of these 6 winning essays. The program, entitled "Creative
Collaborations Through Volunteering: Awarding Ceremony of the Essay
Writing Contest Winners", will be held at Clamshell 2, Intramuros at
230 PM- 400 PM.

Apart from awarding the winners of the essay writing contest,
paintings from artists like Jill Posadas, Elbert Or, Bleps Carlos,
Jen Abaricia among others will be featured. These artists have
volunteered their talents to come up with paintings of their own
interpretations of the winning essays.

Musical numbers in the program will be provided by the Young Artists
Fellowship for the Environment (YAFE) and Ciudad.

"Creative Collaborations Through Volunteering" is a part of the
National Volunteer Month Celebration with a volunteer fair
entitled "Discover. Act. Volunteer" to be held on International
Volunteer's Day this December 5, 2004 at Clamshell2, Intramuros,

It is a one day fair filled with various activities like round table
discussions, mural painting, photo exhibit, awarding and recognition
of volunteers, street dance and a mini concert. This is to encourage
volunteer organizations, managers, stakeholders and individuals to
adopt its four-fold objectives of facilitation, promotion,
recognition and networking for volunteerism to grow and prosper

Discover. Act. Volunteer is brought to you by the collaborated
efforts of the iVolunteer.ph, Philippine Business for Social Progress
(PBSP), CreativeAid, Philippine Association of Volunteer Efforts
(PAVE), Philippine National Volunteer Services Coordinating Agency
(PNVSCA), Volunteer Organization Information Coordination and
Exchange (VOICE), VSO-Bahaginan, Filipino United Nations Volunteers
Association (FUNVA), People Power People Movement, and the United
Nations Volunteer (UNV).

The 6 winning essays are published in the iVolunteer.ph website and
maybe accessed at



Chaos seen with TRO on 3 MMDA traffic schemes

Here is some piece of infuriating news. The Makati Regional Trial Court has issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on three MMDA traffic schemes. The traffic schemes to be suspended are the following: Metropolitan Traffic Ticketing System (MTTS), No Physical Contact Policy and the Edsa Organized Bus Route Project. These programs by the MMDA actually help reduce traffic and corruption in Metro Manila roads!

This is the reason why these transport groups asked for a TRO on these programs:
“The restraining order was in response to a petition by nine transport groups which claimed that the implementation of the schemes trampled on "their constitutional right to due process which necessarily include their right to life."”

How about the rest of the folks in Metro Manila? Don’t they have a right to have traffic-reduced commutes? We need order, not anarchy in our roadways. Shame on these transport groups for wanting to keep things corrupt to their favor and to the detriment of everyone else. Shame on the judge who granted the TRO; I think he granted this TRO as a favor to BF’s detractors.

As a people, if we allow things to degrade into chaos like this, then we deserve the consequences it begets.

Chaos seen with TRO on 3 MMDA traffic schemes

Posted 00:43am (Mla time) Jan 31, 2005
By Margaux Ortiz
Inquirer News Service

EXPECT chaos back in the streets and in retrieving confiscated licenses once a temporary restraining order (TRO) on three key Metro Manila traffic schemes takes effect.

That was the warning aired by Chairman Bayani Fernando of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

He said, "The absence of an effective traffic scheme would mean chaos."
Fernando was referring to the Metropolitan Traffic Ticketing System (MTTS), No Physical Contact Policy and the Edsa Organized Bus Route Project.
On Thursday, Judge Cesar Santamaria, of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 145, issued a 20-day TRO on the three MMDA traffic schemes.

The restraining order was in response to a petition by nine transport groups which claimed that the implementation of the schemes trampled on "their constitutional right to due process which necessarily include their right to life."

Groups that sought the TRO are the Pinag-isang Samahan ng mga Tsuper Operators Nationwide (Piston), Philippine Confederation of Drivers and Operators-Alliance of Concerned Transport Operators (PCDO-ACTO), Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Altodap), Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association (Fejodap), Makati Jeepney Operator and Driver Alliance (MJODA), Integrated Metro Bus Operators Association (Imboa), North East Manila Bus Operators Group (Nembog) and Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP).

Fernando lamented the court's decision, saying "I could not believe that the judge would issue such an order considering how important and effective the traffic policies are."

He added, "It is unbelievable that the court would allow itself to be used by transport groups, which have their own interests (to protect)."
The chairman explained that with the schemes, the MMDA uncovered some operators' illegal practices like their deployment of colorum (without franchise) and out-of-line units.

Up to yesterday, however, the MMDA had yet to receive a copy of the TRO, the implementation of which is dependent on the putting up of a P100,000 bond by the petitioning transport groups.

The bond, the court said, was to cover damages that the MMDA might incur due to the issuance of the TRO.

But the TRO on the schemes was the least of the MMDA and the motoring public's problems.

The suspension of the traffic schemes would mean going back to old ways of doing things, according to MMDA general manager Robert Nacianceno.

For one, the suspension of the MTTS would mean the resumption of license confiscations and the issuance of traffic violation receipts. These, in turn, would entail drivers lining up again at MMDA redemption centers.
And that is where real trouble begins.

With the implementation of the MTTS last year, the MMDA shut down its nine license redemption centers in Metro Manila.

The centers were closed because with the MTTS, traffic violators were only issued tickets for which corresponding fines could be paid at any of the hundreds of branches of a local bank.

During the effectivity of the TRO, drivers whose licenses would be confiscated would all have to line up at one place: the MMDA office in Makati City, which the agency plans to use as a temporary redemption center.

"Motorists would surely be inconvenienced because instead of merely paying their traffic fines at any Metrobank branch, they would have to line up with thousands of other motorists in a single redemption center," Fernando said.


I have Problems Too

I have problems too. But I would rather not talk about it here in my blog. I admire those folks who have the guts to talk about their vulnerabilities in public. I may talk about my fondness for my family, my pet peanut, but I don’t feel comfortable talking about what lies deep within. I admire bloggers such as sofia_g of Do you Have Game (http://sunbridgesofia.blogspot.com/); every post is filled with a litany of hopes, lost chances, longing, pining, unconsolable grief, agony, pure euphoria, etc.

My posts on the other are filled with discussions of the interplay of micro-economics, macro-economics, accounting, capital markets, Filipino culture, micro-banking, etc.; devoid of warm fuzzies. Sometimes I wonder if my visitors even read my articles. I must admit that my articles lack personality. No matter. My messages are borne out of love for country, concern for the poor, and a passion to formulate solutions.

My Referring Web Pages:

Since I made my blog public I was always curious where my visitors came from. Thanks to the blog of sparks (http://caffeinesparks.blogspot.com/)I discovered a referral service (http://www.truefresco.org/referrers.htm) that identifies your referring web pages; this allows you to know where your visitors got your link.

I have had the service for a day now, when I reviewed my referring web pages, I was not surprised. Click "read more" to see my referring web pages.

Referring Site.........................................QT..Percentage

MissT - The DutcheD Pinay...............................7.......0.26%

PinoyBlog.com: The Philippines According to Blogs.......10......0.37%

my hide-away............................................4.......0.15%

Bambit Online...........................................2.......0.07%

Site Meter - Counter and Statistics Tracker.............2.......0.07%

Yahoo! Login............................................1.......0.04%



100,000 Pesos: What would You do with IT?

Here is the deal; if I loan you 100,000 pesos what would you do with the money?
Please don't be shy, post a comment! :)
Read on to see conditions.

Here are the rest of the terms:
- I will not require collateral
- The interest rate is at 9% to 10%
- You will have to take courses on how to run a business
- You will have to take a course on the benefits of frugal living
- You will have to take a class on family planning that includes topics on artificial contraception
- I will require you to volunteer your time at NGOs


Walk in the Park

Wilson Park, Torrance California Posted by Hello

Every Saturday, I take a walk in the park. Its my chance to smell the roses so to speak. The picture above is the park I frequent. Go ahead click on it; its a beautiful panoramic picture of Wilson Park.


Paris Hilton and Britney Spears

Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are among the 10 most popular search terms this year in separate lists published recently by Yahoo, Google and Lycos.

Lets see if I can draw people in my blog by mentioning these two names at random!?

Lets go:
Britney Spears is beautiful!
Paris Hilton is hot!
Paris Hilton is a brat and needs to be spanked.
Britney Spears should spank Paris Hilton.



Solution to Poverty Part III: Micro-Loans vs Grants

I received a very interesting comment from bambit of Bambit Online (http://bambit.blogspot.com). Bambit said the following:

“What is your opinion on microlending vs. grants? A friend from an INGO once told me that microlending makes money from the beneficiaries instead of really giving them the means to start and maintain a business, as what grants do. But I am really interested in what you have to say.”

Here is my response to her.

Grants and micro-loans are the same; both are resources to be used for making a living. The primary difference of the two is obvious, micro-lending institutions charge interest for the loans they provide and the other is free. Some might feel that charging interest to the poor is exploitation, but I think its just fair as long as the interest rate is reasonable.

However, a micro-enterprise by its nature does not generate much value due to its small size, which means one might be able to earn a decent living from micro-loans but it won’t make you rich. As I said in my previous article, “I must admit that the impact of micro-lending is somewhat limited…”; as such your observation is accurate as far as the limited benefits of micro-credit.

The second half of the story is this, “but it is effective in keeping the very poor "productive" and "participating" instead of being unemployed and a burden to society” , which I stated in my previous article. There is a price to be paid for being “productive” and “participating”. The stark reality is that opportunities for the poor in our country are very few; one should not fault the micro-lender for charging the micropreneur for that opportunity, given that the interest rate is reasonable. Because of this, I proposed in my previous article to combine micro-institutions with cooperatives to pool together the resources of micropreneurs, resulting in enhanced efficiencies and competitiveness.

Micro-lending institutions having a profit motive is a good thing; this should motivate the management of these institutions to operate efficiently and expand operations and in the process provide capital to more poor folks. Grants are great, but funds given away cannot be replenished, unless new donations are received; thus limiting the number of beneficiaries.

Providing capital is easy. What is tough is to get the poor to utilize the money effectively; this is the reason why I believe that lending programs should be accompanied with business training and mechanism that would encourage productive behavior and discourage the opposite. I believe this is the true issue we are facing in the Philippines.


Solution to Poverty Part II: Organize the Poor

In my last article I introduced the idea of micro-lending as a tool to alleviate the economic station of the poorest Filipinos in the barrio. I must admit that the impact of micro-lending is somewhat limited, but it is effective in keeping the very poor "productive" and "participating" instead of being unemployed and a burden to society.

Unless you amplify the impact of micro-lending institutions, I believe this can be achieved by organizing micro-entrepreneurs (microprenuers) to form a cooperative.
My proposal is to marry micro-lending institutions with cooperatives, lets call these organizations micro-cooperatives for the purposes of this discussion. Micro-cooperatives can become umbrella organizations with quasi-corporate presence that can create greater value added products that can compete locally and even internationally.

However, I must stress that these Micro-cooperative institutions must have built in mechanisms to educate, reward good performance/traits and punish the opposite.

I am inclined to believe that Micro-cooperatives will do well to alleviate the economy of the Philippines. The Department of Agriculture credits much of the Philippines GDP growth in 2004 from agriculture cooperative. The Philippines has a comparative advantage in agriculture, so it just makes sense to establish Micro-cooperatives in the barrios.

As we speak government is attempting to marry concepts of micro-lending and cooperatives to micropreneurs who are open to "agro-forestry" and think of it as a viable enterprise. One good advantage about this livelyhood project is that workers will do their "farming" on areas still classified as "timberland". That means they have no landowners to pay homage to except the government. This will at least decrease the number of people who are still hoping that CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform) will save them from poverty, see link below for entire article.


Folks, if government and private enterprise will join together we do have a fighting chance.

Imagine the possibilities!


Read Solution to Poverty Part I: Provide Capital to the Poor at the following link:


Fourth Season of American Idol

American Idol Posted by Hello

I saw the premier of the fourth season of American Idol a few minutes ago.

You know I just love this show! My job is very stressful and whenever I watch the auditions for the American Idol it just makes me laugh; a great diversion from stress. Some people who audition have no idea that they just can't sing. People say Simon Cowell is just rude, but I think he is just being honest.

Is it cruel of me to feel no sympathy for those non-talents? Nah!


Why the Philippines did not Become a Tiger Economy

I was going through My Hiding Place (http://myhideaway04.blogspot.com)and I read an interesting blog entry. The entry was asking the question, what prevented the Philippines from becoming an economic tiger. Here are my responses:

Response 1:

Pre World War Two, Asian countries were predominantly feudal in nature, where a small number of families controlled the economy.

The four great dictators of Asia just after the war: Marcos, Park, Lee, and Soeharto all tried to smash feudalism by creating their own.

Marcos was basically cold towards the existing feudals just before he declared martial law. Most of them went abroad or stayed put but consolidated their holdings and avoided expansion, lest they incur the ire of Marcos and his cronies.

His cronies were there to, among other things, break the monopoly of the older families.

Most of the Korean Chaebol directors were either relatives or cronies of Park Chung Hee. Most of the leading families in Singapore also were close associates of Lee Kwan Yew. In Japan, it's a different thing. The Kieritsus like Mitsui, Sumitomo, Koban, etc. are owned by noble families, some are more than 400 years old.

Why the other countries managed to industrialize while the Philippines was left in the mud is still a mystery to some. It certainly wasn't due to lack of effort. Marcos built the following:

• The biggest copper smelter in Asia
• The world's biggest nickel refiner
• The biggest cement plant in southeast Asia
• The biggest food terminal in southeast Asia
• A nuclear plant

All these were started by Marcos and his cronies but the grand industrialization plan just didn't pan out.

After Marcos left, the old families were back, and what do they have to show for it?

• Two business districts
• A very big beer brewery
• Several sardine and corned beef canneries
• An outmoded telecom company
• A cheeky TV station

The new families (mostly Tsinoy) haven't contributed much besides upgrade commercial and retail trading activities in metro Manila. Malls, malls and more malls. More sardine canneries, a new beer maker, etc., etc.

I hope this helps unravel the mystery for you why the Philippines did not become Asia’s next Tiger economy.

Response 2:

• Its one thing to perceive the results of the failure of our elite, which has spilled to the general populace.

• It is yet another thing to realize what they have done wrong.

• And it is yet another thing to know what to do to change things.

• Filipinos have this sense of powerlessness and have gone overseas for greener pastures.

• What if the Marcos cronies did a better job of using plundered resources?

• If the Marcos cronies succeeded, we would not detest Marcos at all. Most people don’t know it, but Marcos is the most effective President we have had since the 1960’s.

• What if the elite (old and the new families) invested in more value added industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, software development, etc.?

• We would have a fighting chance. But the truth is, the elite feels powerless against globalization that is why they would rather build businesses in retail and distribution. Of course there are a few exceptions.

• Collectively we have a hand in this failure. But it is not enough to perceive the results of this failure. It is necessary to change, to do this we need to realize our failings, which we seem to pin on others. Stop! Think about it.


Accounting and Creativity Do Not Mix!

When I was in high school I started composing poems; it was my creative outlet. This pretty much continued up to my senior year in college. I was always creative in everything I do. Even in doing my assigments in one of my dull accounting classes, Financial Reporting and Accounting Standards, I wanted to be creative. So my professor(Hi there Professor Larson) gave us an assignment on how to do accounting given existing accounting standards.

Easy enough, so I prepared my accounting treatment; how to book revenue and expenses given the scenario given in the assignment. Then I got creative! I prepared an accouting treatment that increased revenue and decreased expenses, resulting in inflated net income. "Oh what joy", I thought. It was a masterpeice! So, I gleefully submited my assignment to Professor Larson.

The following class, Professor Larson called me out in front of the entire class. He said, "Mr. Dijamco you get zero for the class assignment for not following the instructions." I argued back and said, "my paper clearly demonstrated my ability to apply existing accounting standards, shoudn't I get full credit?" Then he said, "Mr. Dijamco, in accounting we are not allowed to be creative, you get a score of zero for this assignment..."

I think that was the last time I mixed creativity and accounting! LOL


Speaking of creativity here is a poem I composed:

A day that you wait an entire year for…
Constantly wondering how it would be this year…
Of course you hope it will be special…
But it has never been…
Will it be this year?

Alas it has come and gone,
once more…
Again that day…
Is a day you wait an entire year for…


Why Do Dogs Love Chewing on Socks?!

Peanut Posted by Hello

When I come home from work peanut, my pet dog, always runs to me and licks my face. I love that about dogs, they are so affectionate; they have a way of making you feel at home admist the hustle and bustle of life in Los Angeles.

Another thing I observed about peanut is that she loves to chew on socks. Why does she like chewing socks!? My dog peanut loves socks with a passion! It does not matter if the socks are freshly washed or have been worn all day. She gets it from the hamper and chew on it like there is no tomorrow.


Lets see, dog chew worn socks, dog kisses and licks me on the face…



Grameen Story: Inspiring Story of Uplifting the Poor

Here is an inspirational story that someone e-mailed me regarding the history of Grameen Method of microlending. It is a story of hope that might help our countrymen be self-sufficient and restore their pride in themselves.


It began with a simple $27 loan. After witnessing the cycle of poverty that kept many poor women enslaved to high-interest loan sharks in Bangladesh, Dr. Muhammad Yunus lent money to 42 women so they could purchase bamboo to make and sell stools. In a short time, the women were able to repay the loans while continuing to support themselves and their families. With that initial eye-opening success, the seeds of the Grameen Bank, and the concept of microcredit, were planted.

After earning a Ph.D. in economics at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Yunus returned to Bangladesh to settle into a life as a professor. But a famine in 1974 ravaged the country, leading Dr. Yunus to alter his thinking and his life profoundly: "What good were all my complex theories when people were dying of starvation on the sidewalks and porches across from my lecture hall?.... Nothing in the economic theories I taught reflected the life around me." Armed with little more than a lofty dream to end the suffering around him, he started an experimental microcredit enterprise in 1977; by 1983 the Grameen Bank was officially formed. The idea behind the Grameen Bank is ingeniously simple: extend credit to poor people and they will help themselves.

This concept strikes at the root of poverty by specifically targeting the poorest of the poor, providing small loans (usually less than $300) to those unable to obtain credit from traditional banks. At Grameen, loans are administered to groups of five people, with only two receiving their money up front. As soon as these two make a few regular payments, loans are gradually extended to the rest of the group. In this way, the program builds a sense of community as well as individual self-reliance. Most of the Grameen Bank's loans are to women, and since its inception, there has been an astonishing loan repayment rate of over 98 percent.


Hello World!!!

I was browsing through sitemeter, my visitor counter, and I was reviewing what countries my visitors came from. I was pretty amazed that I have visitors from all over the world namely France, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and of course the Philippines.

I was also astonished to learn that my readership in the Philippines only constituted 2% of my visitors. While I have 5% of my blog visitors came from Europe; 1% in France and 4% for the Netherlands. I totally did not expect that!

I am pretty sure my readership is pretty much Filipinos working or living overseas.

Anyway, so I decided to greet all of you in English, Dutch, French and Tagalog. Here it goes!

English – Hello! How are you?

Dutch – Hello! Hoe gaat het? (Thank you for the correction Ms T!!!!

French – Bonjour ! Comment allez-vous ?

Philippines – Pst, musta! Just Kidding! Magandang Bati. Kamusta ka?

That was fun!

I used an online translator (http://www.worldlingo.com) for Dutch and French.

Pretty cool website!


USC Marching Band and LA Clippers

I have decided to mix things up as far as the topics I cover in my blog. I have been thinking of what topics would be cool to wire about; so far I have jotted down a few topics.

Tommy Trojan: University of Southern California Symbol Posted by Hello

In light of the USC Trojans winning the National Football Championship I would like to write about my alma matter, the first thing that I would like to write about good ol’ SC is the USC marching band. I have been dying to buy a USC marching bank CD, but have been too busy to swing by the USC bookstore. So watch out for that article!

Los Angeles Clippers Posted by Hello

Also, I would like to write about the Los Angeles Clippers. I have been a die-hard fan since Larry Brown coached the most underachieving basketball team in the NBA. I want to discuss why have they been underachieving all these years!?

This should lighten things up around here a little bit! :D



Sorry I Can't Be Perfect

Simple Plan - Perfect Posted by Hello

Ok, here is one of those rare occassions where I am going to talk about myself in this blog. I promise you its going to be rare! :D


When I first heard the song Perfect by Simple Plan, it struck a cord within me.

The song is all about a father that does not understand his son and the pain that situation brings.

In the song the son pleads for the dad to understand, but realizes that 'its too late.'

The son even apologizes to his father for not being 'PERFECT'.

When I was growing up, no matter how hard I tried I could not seem to please my dad, no matter if I was in the honor roll or was well behaved I seem unable to get any approval from my dad.

Now I scarcely talk to my dad and I have this lingering feeling that he is disappointed in me despite my achievements.

I can totally identify with this stanza of the song:

'I try not to think
About the pain I feel inside
Did you know you used to be my hero?
All the days you spend with me
Now seem so far away
And it feels like you don't care anymore'

It just breaks my heart to realize that my relationship with my dad is in such a disarray.

Here is the full lyrics of the song:
Hey Dad look at me
Think back and talk to me
Did I grow up according
To plan?
Do you think I?m wasting
My time doing things I
Wanna do?
But it hurts when you
Disapprove all along

And now I try hard to make it
I just want to make you proud
I?m never gonna be good
Enough for you
I can?t pretend that
I?m alright
And you can?t change me

?Cuz we lost it all
Nothing lasts forever
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect
Now it?s just too late
And we can?t go back
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect

I try not to think
About the pain I feel inside
Did you know you used to be
My hero?
All the days
You spent with me
Now seem so far away
And it feels like you don?t
Care anymore

And now I try hard to make it
I just want to make you proud
I?m never gonna be good
Enough for you
I can?t stand another fight
And nothing? alright

?Cuz we lost it all
Nothing lasts forever
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect
Now it?s just too late
And we can?t go back
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect

Nothing?s gonna change
The things that you said
Nothing?s gonna make this
Right again
Please don?t turn your back
I can?t believe it?s hard
Just to talk to you
But you don?t understand

?Cuz we lost it all
Nothing lasts forever
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect
Now it?s just too late
And we can?t go back
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect

?Cuz we lost it all
Nothing lasts forever
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect
Now it?s just too late
And we can?t go back
I?m sorry
I can?t be Perfect

Flame Wars In Pex!

PEX Posted by Hello

I frequent PinoyExchange’s Local and Foreign Issues forum, talking about political issues and the like. The most frustrating thing about PEX is the flame wars! I don’t engage in flaming, so once things turn ugly I stop responding to posts.

Here is a particular thread that I am active in.

Here is an exchange of posts where I defend Benign0’s statement.

Phooey's post:
mell, I think what arcie took offense at the comparison of exporting logs and exporting OFWs. No one is "exporting" OFWs as they arent some commodity the government can market or exert control over.
People leave on their own accord after forming their own assesment of economic/career opportunies in both countries. While it may seem "intelligent" of people to see them as a collective and make presumptions on them as a whole, the fact is that they exist as individuals and arrive at life decisions on their own, regardless of how much "encouragement" the government provides. Benign03's choosing to work in Australia is a personal decision as is the choice of a OFW to sweat (live) it out in a desert kingdom (some of which are actually quite pleasant to live in based on anecdotal evidence). Why should either be seen as a "easy-way-out" solution?

My response:
Government officials are taking the easy way out by going around the world pleading with foreign nations to allow Filipinos to work in their land; then they plunder and sell out our futures to the elite and multinational companies, stunting our economy and thus perpetuating poverty and joblessness in our nation.

Same with the logs, instead of enforcing laws, government officials allow illegal logging to go on, as long as they get a piece of the action.

If the government officials do things regardless of the harm it does to the economy and make agreements with foreign nations to make it possible for our countrymen to go there, isn’t that taking the easy way out?

As a Filipino what else are you supposed to do if there are no jobs to support your family? The answer then becomes obvious.

Benign0 and I are speaking of the government taking the easy way out, not OFWs.

However, there is something to be said about Filipino parents working oversees and the possible harm it could bring to their children. But that’s another topic.


Why Do I Blog About the Philippines!

I have been blog hopping for some time now, more than two years now in fact. I noticed that the most common topic in a blog is about the blogger’s life or something immediate to his/her life. I on the other hand, write mostly about the either about Philippine society, government, academia, religion, big business and corruption or all of the above in my articles in my blog.

Dude, what is wrong with me! I have lived in the United States for half my life now, I came here in my teens. I have gone home maybe three times in the past 15 or so years. Why do I care so much?!?

Many days I find myself analyzing the problems of the Philippines to the point of obsession. I would discuss my analysis to whomever that would listen, even to Americans that would know jack about the Philippines; they would quickly change subjects and say, “hey did you catch that LA Lakers game last night.” Getting the cue of disinterest, I would say “that Kobe, he is the bomb!!!”.

I write because I feel a burden. I want to light a fire in the dark. I am doing the best I can for my country given where I am in life. I am an American in my passport, but my heart and mind belongs to my country, the Philippines.

Solution to Poverty: Provide Capital to the Poor

Previously, I have talked about how our society’s institutions (Academia, Religion, Government and Big Business) have allowed itself to be corrupted by the elite, to the detriment of the poor and middle classes. One of the biggest problems the poor is facing today is the lack of access to capital, as a result they have no hope of pulling themselves out of their poverty.

My proposed solution to uplift the poor is the establishment of Micro-Lending Institutions that will provide micro credit to the rural poor. According to Grameen Banking, “Microcredit is the extension of small loans to enterpreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans.”

Micro-Lending institutions should be based on the Grameen Banking Method method, but should be specifically tailored to the Philippine context to ensure the program’s success.

I feel that providing the poor capital is not enough to uplift them from poverty. There needs to be vigorous education and mechanisms in place to make sure that participants in micro lending programs make use of the funds efficiently and re-orient their behavior (culture) to enable wealth creation.

The key ingredients to self-reliance are education on business skills, mechanism to re-enforcement of positive behaviors and mechanism to provide dis-incentive for negative behaviors.

Education on business skills:
Participants (micropreneurs)should be required to go through business skills training prior to receiving their micro-loans so that they will have the skills necessary in running a small business. Business skills training will the concepts of basic accounting such as operating expense (pang-ikot), liability (utang), equity (puhunan), profit (kita), flow back capital (kita na idadagdag sa puhunan), etc. Most business professionals take these skills for granted, however, micropreneurs will find these skills invaluable in their businesses. After learning these concepts, participants will have the skills they need or a least a basic framework to run their business.

Also, there should be vigorous education on planning one’s family that will include artificial contraception. Let them know that the more children they have the harder it is for them to provide for them.

Mechanism to re-enforcement of positive behaviors:
Economic Planning Sec. Romulo Neri said the Philippines's savings rate, or gross domestic savings as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), stood at 24.7 percent.

This lags behind neighbors Thailand's 30.5 percent, China's 38.7 percent, Malaysia's 41.8 percent and Singapore's 44.2 percent.

The amount of lent to participants will be based on the percentage of their savings. This way, participants will develop the habit of saving. The more you save, the more you can borrow, thus rewarding positive behavior. I would surmise as participants learn how to save, the less they spend on gambling, drinking, smoking etc. and other unnecessary purchases.

Mechanism to provide dis-incentive for negative behaviors:
In any business transaction, there needs to be an environment of trust. It is essential that participants and the micro-lending institution can trust each other. Participants who are delinquent in paying back loan amounts will be tracked by the micro-lending institution. The delinquent participants will be prevented from using the services of the micro-lending institution in the future. Not only that, a listing of delinquent participants will be circulated to all microprenuers of the lending institution; this will be a warning to the other members have not to have business dealings with the delinquent participants as they are not trustworthy.

Of course a mechanism will be in place to distinguishing between participants who have fallen into hard times and those that are plainly not trustworthy.

I firmly believe that if we help enable the poorest of the poor to lift themselves up, we would have done our nation a big service. A bottom up approach to solving poverty in the Philippines will be the most effective as the poor has the most to gain and should be more motivated for things to change. You see, we need to change how we do things, but we must enable people to work and live smarter.