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