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The CenSEI Report (Vol. 2, No. 31, August 6-12, 2012)
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NATION
Strategic Analysis and Research by the
Center for Strategy, enterpriSe & intelligenCe
China’s upgrading of the administrative level of Sansha City and establishment of a new military garrison there covering disputed areas of the South China Sea run counter to collaborative diplomatic efforts to resolve differences and risk further escalating tensions in the region ~ U.S. State Department Acting Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell The Chinese side expresses strong dissatisfaction of and firm opposition to [the State Department statement]. We urge the U.S. side to correct its mistaken ways, respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity ~ Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Kunsheng lambasting the U.S. statement
Report
Volume 2 - Number 31 • August 6-19, 2012
3 Short List for the Next Chief Justice
This week the Judicial and Bar Council is set to draw up its short list of nominees for Chief Justice. Here’s how they are likely to winnow down the 20 to a highly select few — and who have the best chances to be on the sheet given to the President • Status quo: The Supreme Court lets Congress cast two JBC votes — for now
WORLD
13 Ivy League Courses Online — and Free
Want to get a Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford education without having to leave home or pay top dollar? Free online courses from world-class universities are proliferating • e-Syllabus: Sign up here for courses ranging from American poetry to applied cryptography • Brains and bytes: Asia's centuries-old value for higher education combines with high technology to extend learning opportunities across the region • Work-study: Tips on passing courses while holding down a job
BUSINESS
21 Fiscal Magic with Smoke and Liquors
As urged by President Benigno Aquino III in his State of the Nation Address, Congress seems set to finally past the “sin tax” bill amending excise levies on tobacco and alcohol. The health of millions of Filipinos, especially smokers, drinkers and the poor, depend on it
TECHNOLOGY
29 From Low-Cost Labor to High-Tech Robots
Rising labor costs and the dwindling pool of skilled workers is prodding China and other manufacturing nations to go the robotics route, just like Japan and the West did decades ago. Get set for manlike machines doing all manner of work • Made in the Philippines: Home-grown, prize-winning robotic gear • Remote control: Here comes the avatar economy
POINT & CLICK You can access online research via the Internet by clicking phrases in blue
HEALTH/LIFESTYLE
Promising tests of an experimental dengue vaccine hold out hope of finally laying the deadly virus to rest. But the war on disease must be waged not just in the lab, but more so on the ground and in the water • Killer bugs hard to kill: Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are a tough breed
35 Ending the Scourge of Dengue
CONTENTS
NATION WORLD BUSINESS
TECHNOLOGY
HEALTH/LIFESTYLE
Center for Strategy, Enterprise & Intelligence provides expertise in strategy and management, enterprise development, intelligence, Internet and media. For subscriptions, research, and advisory services, please e-mail report@censeisolutions.com or call/fax +63-2-5311182. Links to online material on public websites are current as of the week prior to the publication date, but might be removed without warning. Publishers of linked content should e-mail us or contact us by fax if they do not wish their websites to be linked to our material in the future.
The CenSEI Report Goes Fortnightly
As intimated two issues ago and in response to readers’ comments on limited reading time, The CenSEI Report will come out every two weeks starting this month. Subscribers who have paid for six months or one-year terms will receive their remaining number of issues over twice the number of weeks. Hence, for example, a reader with three months left on his or her subscription would receive the Report every fortnight for six more months. We had considered cutting the length of articles and keeping the weekly schedule. However, that would have robbed certain stories of the breadth needed to really do justice to a given topic, and provide readers the authoritative, comprehensive treatment they have come to expect from The CenSEI Report. Quite simply, when we do a report, we would like it to deliver far more than any other story on the same topic one can find. Hence, we opted to give readers more time to read our articles instead of abridging them to fit the hectic schedules of many decision makers, policy analysts, academics, and other thinkers who rely on The CenSEI Report for timely, strategic, enterprising and intelligent briefings on major issues of the day. With the fortnightly turnaround, The CenSEI Report must sharpen our strategic sense, to carefully and accurately select the developments and issues that would matter long after the headlines of the week have faded from the public mind. Articles must have significance and relevance for at least several weeks, if not months after the events that spur our writer-analysts and editors to undertake articles on them. This more acute strategic sense we apply this week. That the “sin tax,” dengue and robotics articles would be relevant for months is clear. The World article on free online courses in topnotch universities is also import for even years. The lifelong learning which the report encourages and enables is for decades to come, and its impact on people and society can only grow exponentially over a long, long time. The Nation section’s review of the most likely nominees for Chief Justice may seem a one-day story, since the Judicial and Bar Council is set to finalize its shortlist on the day this issue comes out. Yet the qualifications, affiliations and opinions of the legal minds most likely to land in the shortlist, if chosen correctly, will be useful through the next Chief Justice’s nomination, appointment and assumption on or before the constitutionally mandated August 27 deadline for filling the Judiciary’s highest position. So here is The CenSEI Report fortnightly — providing strategic, enterprising intelligence not just for the moment, but for keeps.
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The CenSEI Report looks at the eight likeliest candidates to succeed departed Chief Justice Renato Corona
By Atty. John Carlo Gil M. Sadian
Short-listing the Successor
The Judicial and Bar Council (L-R): Academic Representative Jose V. Mejia; Retired SC Representative Justice Regino C. Hermosisima, Jr.; Office of the President Undersecretary Michael Frederick D.L. Musngi; Supreme Court Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, who chaired the proceedings; Rep. Niel C. Tupas, Jr., who represented Congress via a gentleman's agreement with Senator Francis G. Escudero due to the recent decision of the Supreme Court that Congress is only entitled to one seat; Private Sector Representative Justice Aurora Santiago-Lagman; and Integrated Bar of the Philippines Representative Atty. Maria Milagros Nolasco Fernan-Cayosa. (Supreme Court photo)
STRATEGY POINTS
The Judicial and Bar Council is meeting on August 6 to fulfill its constitutional mandate of nominating for the President’s consideration the best candidates to succeed Corona If the JBC’s previous voting process is any indication, the incumbent Supreme Court justices have the edge, and outsiders will really have to impress the council to make the short list
ith the Supreme Court Resolution temporarily allowing two members of Congress to sit in the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), there is no stopping the council’s scheduled Aug. 9 deliberation on the final “short list” of nominees for the vacant position of Chief Justice that would be submitted to the President. To comply with the constitutional requirement that a vacancy in the High Court be filled within 90 days from vacancy, the President would have only until August 27 to pick one from the short list of at least three nominees from the JBC. As recognized by tradition, this list is non-negotiable, i.e., the President cannot ask for a revision of the list so as to include other nominees.
W
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How the JBC will probably vote. The process by which the JBC selects the names to be included in the short list is actually an internal matter among its members. The practice is for each member to cast their votes for a predetermined number of nominees, depending on the number of such nominees and the vacancies to be filled. A preview of how JBC members might vote can be seen in our data from the JBC deliberations for the replacements of Justices Antonio Nachura and Conchita Carpio Morales. For these two vacancies, there were a total of 30 nominees from which the JBC would choose six names (three for each vacancy). What the JBC did was for each member to select ten nominees, and then tally the total. The six nominees who got the highest number of votes were included in the short list that was submitted to President Aquino. Court of Appeals Justices Bienvenido Reyes (6 votes) and Estela PerlasBernabe (5 votes) were eventually appointed. Note that among the current nominees for the vacant Chief Justice post, Solicitor General Francis Jardaleza (0 vote), human rights lawyer Katrina Legarda (0 vote), UP Law Dean Raul Pangalangan (3 votes), Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento (1 vote), and UE Law Dean Amado Valdez (1 vote) were among those who got the lowest number of votes for those previous Supreme Court vacancies. In the past, whenever the post of Chief Justice was vacated, the JBC automatically nominated the five most senior incumbent justices of the Supreme Court. Although outsiders were considered for the long list of nominees, the JBC had never included an outsider in the short list. For the present vacancy, we have yet to see whether outsiders would be included in the short list considering that six of the nominees are incumbent high magistrates. For now, what is certain is that the six justices have the strongest chance of being included in the short list, notwithstanding the President’s preference. After seeing the nationally televised public interviews of the nominees, The CenSEI Report
TALLY SHEET Two (2) positions of Associate Justice SUPREME COURT (vice Hon. Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura and Hon. Conchita Carpio-Morales) June 21, 2011 1 2 3 4 / / / / 5 / 6 / 7 8 TOTAL 2 2 2 5 1 0 4 2 2 0 6 2 5 3 0 0 1 3 1 4 6 7 7 4 1 4 1 2 1 2
1 Abdulwahid, Hakim S. 2 Bato, Ramon, Jr. M. 3 Bautista, Lovell R. 4 Bernabe, Estela P. 5 Bruselas, Apolinario, Jr. D. 6 Cabili, Tomas O. 7 Carandang, Rosmari D. 8 Castañeda, Juanito, Jr. C. 9 Castillo, Mariflora P. 10 Cruz, Stephen C. 11 De Leon, Magdangal M. 12 Dicdican , Isaias P. 13 Dimaampao, Japar B. 14 Fernando, Remedios S. 15 Jardeleza, Francis H. 16 Legarda, Ma. Carolina T. 17 Padilla, Sabino IV B. 18 Pangalanan, Raul C. 19 Quiroz, Alex L. 20 Reyes, Andres, Jr. B. 21 Reyes, Biemvenido L. 22 Reyes, Jose, Jr. C. 23 Robles, Rodolfo D. 24 Sanidad, Pablito, Sr. V. 25 Sarmiento, Rene V. 26 Tijam, Noel G. 27 Valdez, Amado D. 28 Veloso, Vicente S. E. 29 Vilches, Nimfa C. 30 Villaruz, Francisco, Jr. H.
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Ballot No.: 1- Chief Justice Renato C. Corona 2 - Secretary of Justice Leila M. De Lima 3 - Senator Francis Joseph G. Escudero 4 - Congressman Niel C. Tupas, Jr. 5 - Justioce Regino C. Hermosisima, Jr. 6 - Justive Aurora Santiago-Lagman 7 - Atty. Jose V. Mejia 8- Atty. Maria Milagros N. Ferman-Cayosa The result of the voting was as follows: Reyes, Jose, Jr. C. Robles, Rodolfo D. De Leon, Magdangal M. Reyes, Bienvenido L. Bernabe, Estela Perias Dimaampao, Japar B.
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looks into the qualifications and the mindsets of eight of the likeliest candidates to succeed Renato Corona as Chief Justice. Seniority rules. Section 11 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 provides the seniority rule that governs the Supreme Court. Nonetheless, even without this law, it is an accepted fact that seniority is one of the most important features of the High Court. The evidence can be seen in every corner of the Court: the sitting arrangement of the justices, the order their names are listed, the distribution of members in the Divisions, and even the sequence of their entry in the session hall. All of these prove that seniority indeed matters for the justices—a lot. This probably explains why the JBC has this tradition that only the five most senior justices are nominated whenever the position of Chief Justice is vacated. And indeed, seldom does it happen that the most senior of these five is bypassed by the President. That is why some were surprised when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo broke tradition twice, when she chose Artemio Panganiban over Reynato Puno in 2005 and Renato Corona over Antonio Carpio in 2010. The circumstances surrounding the untimely vacancy in the Chamber of the Chief Justice would once again present an opportunity for tradition to be broken. Not only could the most senior justice—or the five most
The Supreme Court lets Congress cast two JBC votes — for now
By Mary Grace V. Pulido High Tribunal declares 8-man Judicial and Bar Council composition unconstitutional, but withholds execution of the ruling to allow both Senator Francis Escudero and Rep. Niel Tupas to participate, for now DECISION: Francisco I. Chavez vs. Judicial and Bar Council G.R. No. 202242, July 17, 2012, per J. Jose Mendoza Facts: When the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) announced the opening of nominations for the position vacated by the impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona, the name of former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez was among those who were nominated for the position. While he did not accept his nomination, he nonetheless questioned the present eight-member composition of the JBC as contrary to the express provision of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that the JBC shall have seven members. The Senate and the House of Representatives would send alternate representatives to the JBC until 1994, when Congress started sending two representatives in the JBC with one-half vote each to represent each chamber. Then in 2001, the JBC allowed both representatives of Congress to have one full vote each, thereby increasing the number of votes in the JBC to eight. Main Issue: Whether or not the practice of having two (2) representatives from each house of Congress with one (1) vote each is sanctioned by the Constitution. Ruling: Voting 7-2, the Court ruled that the current numerical composition of the JBC violates Section 8(1), Article VIII of the Constitution. According to Justice Jose Mendoza, “It is clear, therefore, that the Constitution mandates that the JBC be composed of seven (7) members only. Thus, any inclusion of another member, whether with one whole vote or half (1/2) of it, goes against that mandate. Section 8(1), Article VIII of the Constitution, providing Congress with an equal voice with other members of the JBC in recommending appointees to the Judiciary is explicit.” The Court agreed with Chavez that “the use of the singular letter ‘a’ preceding ‘representative of Congress’ is unequivocal and leaves no room for any other construction. It is indicative of what the members of the Constitutional Commission had in mind, that is, Congress may designate only one (1) representative to the JBC. Had it been the intention that more than one (1) representative from the legislature would sit in the JBC, the Framers could have, in no uncertain terms, so provided.”
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The Supreme Court en banc hears Senator Arroyo: Supreme Court Justice Diosdado M. Peralta (seated center at the High Bench) presides over the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on August 2, 2012 on the motion for reconsideration filed by Office of the Solicitor General representing Senator Francis Joseph G. Escudero and Rep. Niel C. Tupas, Jr. Participating in the oral arguments are Justices Bienvenido L. Reyes, Jose Portugal Perez, Roberto A. Abad, Lucas P. Bersamin, Peralta, Mariano C. Del Castillo, Martin S. Villarama, Jr., Jose Catral Mendoza, and Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe. Appearing before them is Senator Joker P. Arroyo. (Supreme Court photo) It further stressed that “the word ‘Congress’ used in Article VIII, Section 8(1) of the Constitution is used in its generic sense. No particular allusion whatsoever is made on whether the Senate or the House of Representatives is being referred to, but that, in either case, only a singular representative may be allowed to sit in the JBC.” The Court also noted that “the seven-member composition of the JBC serves a practical purpose, that is, to provide a solution should there be a stalemate in voting.” According to Justice Mendoza, “a single vote may not be divided into half (1/2), between two representatives of Congress, or among any of the sitting members of the JBC for that matter” because this “can possibly cause disorder and eventually muddle the JBC’s voting process, especially in the event a tie is reached.” Thus, the Court concluded that the Framers of the Constitution “knew that an odd composition is the best means to break a voting deadlock.” This ruling, according to its dispositive portion, was supposed to be “immediately executory.” How the Justices Voted: 8-MEMBER JBC UNCONSTITUTIONAL: 7 votes D. Peralta, L. Bersamin, M. Villarama, J. Perez, J. Mendoza, B. Reyes, E. Perlas-Bernabe 8-MEMBER JBC CONSTITUTIONAL: 2 votes R. Abad, M. Del Castillo INHIBITED: 5 votes A. Carpio, P. Velasco, T. Leonardo-De Castro, A. Brion, M. Sereno RESOLUTION: Francisco I. Chavez vs. Judicial and Bar Council G.R. No. 202242, August 3, 2012, Minute Resolution Acting on the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the Office of the Solicitor General, the Supreme Court issued a Resolution on August 3, 2012 suspending the effect of the Court’s July 17 Decision that declared the eight-man composition of the JBC unconstitutional. According to the Court, pending final resolution of the Motion for Reconsideration, any immediate execution of the July 17 Decision “poses a possibility that Congress may be under-represented in the JBC.” In the same vein, forestalling the July 17 Decision “presents a likelihood of an unconstitutional overrepresentation of Congress in the JBC.” Thus, confronted with “the risk of under-representation or over-representation of Congress in the JBC, the Court [found] it in the best interest of justice” that all of the justices, including those who inhibited, be given the opportunity to take part in the final deliberations and resolution of this petition. Thus, the Court resolved that “it is more equitable for the present members of the JBC to resume their task of selecting nominees for the vacant position of Chief Justice” pending final resolution of the petition. Note that out of the 14 justices, only nine participated, with five of the six nominees for the position of Chief Justice inhibiting themselves. Among the nominees, only Justice Abad participated, saying that he “found no compelling reason” to inhibit. He dissented from the majority.
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senior—be bypassed, we could even have a Chief Justice with no previous judicial service. The CenSEI Report presents its most likely nominees whose names would probably be included in the coveted short list to be submitted for the President’s consideration. dissenters who automatically voted together in politically sensitive cases involving the Arroyo Administration. The tandem’s strong dissents started when the Sigaw ng Bayan initiative reached the High Court. The deeply divided Court thumbed down the proposed constitutional amendments that would have shifted the country’s form of government from presidential to parliamentary. Carpio wrote the decision that tagged the initiative as a “gigantic fraud on the people.” Since then, Carpio and Morales most of the time—if not all the time—sided against the Arroyo Administration in politically sensitive cases that reached the Court. During his JBC interview, Carpio said that had he wanted to become Chief Justice, he would have not voted against Arroyo in these cases. Carpio highlighted his falling out with Presidents Ramos and Arroyo when they tried to touch the Constitution. According to him, “The Constitution shouldn't be amended for one person. It should be enduring.” He also denied being part of an “all-boys club,” stressing that the strong dissents among the magistrates prove that no such club exists. He also denied that his fraternity influences his decisions, citing his vote to dismiss a member of Sigma Rho from the Court of Appeals. Carpio also believed that tradition should be followed by appointing an incumbent magistrate as Chief Justice. He made this point by showing his familiarity with the problems hounding the judiciary and the reforms that the Court is implementing to address the clogged dockets. He stressed the need for computer-literate judges and an online case management system. While he advocated for transparency, he maintained that the discussions among the justices and their draft decisions must remain confidential. Carpio also denied having a hand in the Corona impeachment. When asked what he would do had he been in Corona’s shoes, Carpio said that he “would have resigned right away” had he
 
Antonio T. Carpio. 62, UP, 1975 Bar, 85.70% (6th Place)
“If we look friendly, it is because we have no choice. Your ally today in the case could be your enemy tomorrow. You have to be civil to each other. There are no permanent enemies, friends in court.” It is not unknown to many that Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio had long been in line to become Chief Justice. Being President Arroyo’s first appointee to the High Court at the age of 54, he became the most senior member of the Court way back in 2006. While Carpio had no prior experience in the judiciary before joining the Supreme Court, his ten years as part of the Court may give him an edge above the other nominees. An economics degree-holder from the Ateneo de Manila, Carpio graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines College of law in 1975 and placed sixth in that year’s bar exams. He started his career in private practice, eventually founding Carpio Villaraza & Cruz, a law firm that later be known as “The Firm.” He joined the government when he was invited by President Fidel Ramos to be his Chief Presidential Legal Counsel in 1992, only to leave Malacanang when he disagreed with the Ramos Administration’s last-minute efforts to amend the Constitution. He went back to “The Firm” and engaged in private practice until his appointment to the High Court. Carpio and his cousin Conchita Carpio Morales would later earn the reputation of being the
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misdeclared his SALN the way Corona did as it was the “dignified way.”
 
move on and the Court must continue its job as prescribed by the Constitution. Teresita J. LeonardoDe Castro. 63, UP, 1972 Bar, 80.90% “The judiciary is not for the weak of heart. It is not for the timid... Being   a chief justice would be a great honor, but there will be pressure to prove myself to be worthy.” As the third most senior member of the High Tribunal, Associate Justice Teresita LeonardoDe Castro was also nominated for Chief Justice in 2010. A Bachelor of Arts graduate from UP, she finished law in the same school in 1972. De Castro started her career in government as a law clerk in the Supreme Court. She later transferred to the Department of Justice and there rose from the ranks to become Assistant Chief State Counsel. She rejoined the judiciary when she was appointed by President Ramos to the Sandiganbayan, a court she would eventually head in 2004. She penned the decision convicting President Joseph Estrada of plunder. When asked whether she thinks her seat in the Supreme Court was a reward for the Estrada conviction, Justice De Castro answered in the negative, asserting that her promotion to the Supreme Court was something she “deserved” and that the Estrada trial even delayed her promotion. She values her career in government and believes that this made her ready for the highest judicial post. Justice De Castro also said that the justices “had nothing to do with the ineligible expenditures” covered by the controversial aide memoire sent by the World Bank to the Court in December 2011 regarding the US$199,000 “ineligible” funds that the bank said were spent on activities and projects not covered by the 2003 loan agreement between the bank and the Supreme Court. The
Presbiterio J. Velasco, Jr. 63, UP, 1971 Bar, 89.85% (6th place)
“I initially thought Carpio should be appointed since he's the most senior associate justice, because I strictly follow the seniority in our court. But, I realized I have a wealth of experience behind me.” Being the second most senior member of the Court, Justice Presbiterio Velasco Jr. is one of the automatic nominees for Chief Justice. He was already nominated for this position when Chief Justice Puno retired in 2010, but he declined then. This time, he initially wanted to decline again but eventually changed his mind, saying, “I realized I have a wealth of experience behind me.” He took up political science at UP and went on to be graduated from its College of Law in 1971. He placed sixth in that year’s bar exams. Velasco was a private practitioner before he joined government as JBC member representing the Integrated Bar, and later on, as Justice Undersecretary under President Ramos. He joined the judiciary in 1998 as a justice of the Court of Appeals and eventually became Court Administrator prior to his appointment as a magistrate of the Supreme Court. Justice Velasco believes that economic growth is dependent on the performance of the judiciary. Foreign investors, according to him, would only come if they perceive the courts as “predictable, uniform, consistent.” He also advocates free legal aid, especially to pauper litigants, by requiring new lawyers to render free legal service for one year. While he recognized that there was “sadness” when Chief Justice Corona was removed from office, he believes that the country should
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lady justice, who heads the Judicial Reform Support Project (JRSP) management committee, clarified that there was nothing “unlawful or illegal” with the use of the funds. The aide memoire only said that the expenditures “should not be charged to the loan... and that there should have been prior agreement with the bank,” which made them “ineligible.” thinks is absolute. The second independence is institutional, one that is supportive of the decisional. It would involve cooperation with, not hostility toward the other branches of government. Justice Brion was also asked about his reputation in the Court as “Mr. Immutability.” He explained that he is of the belief that as long as the Court prohibits the filing of any second motion for reconsideration of their decisions, then the Supreme Court should be considered immutable. Roberto A. Abad. 68, Ateneo, 1968 Bar, 81.70% “We have a wounded court, especially after the impeachment trial. If I become CJ, the first thing   to do is forgive. I hope the president will forgive us, I hope we can reconcile with the legislature.” Although he is not among those automatically nominated by the JBC, Associate Justice Roberto Abad’s name is included in the list after being nominated by UST Law Dean Nilo Divina. The Court’s number 8 justice finished law at Ateneo de Manila, but was recruited by then-Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion to teach law at UST. He was Dean of UST law prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court. When asked regarding his thoughts on Corona’s impeachment, Justice Abad said he believes that “It was healthy” because made the Court look into its “inner being.” He also said that he supported Corona because he is a friend. He clarified, however, that he is “not going to betray the constitution for a friend.” Justice Abad also said if one is qualified, it does not matter whether one is an incumbent justice of the Court or an outsider. He nonetheless recognized the “natural bias for an insider, his performance [being] already tested and on the
 
Arturo D. Brion. 65, Ateneo, 1974 Bar, 91.64% (1st place)
“Ang Korte Suprema natin ay malakas. Kailangan lamang natin ng malakas na liderato upang makapunta kung saan dapat puntahan.” Also automatically nominated is the fourth most senior member of the Supreme Court, Associate Justice Arturo Brion. A Mathematics degreeholder from the San Pablo Colleges, he took up law in the Ateneo de Manila and finished valedictorian and cum laude in 1974. He topped that year’s bar exams. He also holds an Ll.M. from York University in Toronto. After a stint in private practice, Brion joined the Ministry of Labor in 1982 in what would be a fruitful government career focused on labor law. He was later on appointed Court of Appeals justice, only to return to the executive as President Arroyo’s Secretary of Labor before his appointment to the High Court. When asked whether the judiciary was weakened by the Corona impeachment, Justice Brion disagreed, saying that the judiciary is strong and that it just needs a strong leadership to steer it towards the right course. He said that he dreams of “an independent court that is full, effective and co-equal—One that is a partner of other departments in nation-building.” On judicial independence, Justice Brion envisions two kinds of independence. One is the Court’s decisional independence which he
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record.” He added that “Appointing an outsider CJ is risky.” Citing his dissenting opinion against the Court’s ruling declaring the unconstitutionality of the Truth Commission, Justice Abad stressed that he has independence, saying that “I was appointed by Arroyo but I voted that the Truth Commission was constitutional.” Ma. Lourdes P. AranalSereno. 52, UP, 1984 Bar, 89.10% (14th place)
“have strong intuition, can take in so much work and burdens.” Thus, she claimed she can take on the task of being Chief Justice because she believes that she “can lead fellow justices even if she often gives dissenting opinions.” When asked whether she can heal the judiciary, she responded by asking what there is to heal, stressing the point that despite heavy dissenting opinions against each other, the justices still manage to get together for lunch and laugh at each others’ jokes. She also said that despite being the youngest magistrate in the High Court, she does not see any problem in leading the other justices as she already had experiences in the past where she had older people work under her. Justice Sereno also took the chance to clarify that she did not push for ₱10 billion as just compensation for the Cojuangcos in the Hacienda Luisita case. She said that she merely dissented as to the time the “taking” of the hacienda would be determined and that no value was ever discussed during the deliberations. Leila M. de Lima. 51, San Beda, 1985 Bar, 87.02% (8th place) “In this day and age, it has been proven that the Supreme Court is not as   infallible as we think it is. They are human beings.” The only outsider with a real shot at being appointed Chief Justice, President Aquino’s Justice Secretary, Leila de Lima, was nominated by the Volunteers against Crime and Corruption. A History and Political Science graduate of De La Salle University, she took up law at San Beda, where she finished as class salutatorian in 1985, placed eighth in that year’s bar exams. She started her career as a staff in the Supreme Court, but later on engaged in private practice, specializing in Election Law. She served as Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights
 
“The Supreme Court is not in a position to correct a historic injustice if it is not in conformity with the law.”
President Aquino’s first appointee to the Supreme Court, Associate Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, the Court’s number 12 justice, was also nominated by Felma Roel Singco, Raegan de Guzman, and Fidel Thaddeus Borja. An economics graduate of Ateneo de Manila, she tool up law at UP and graduated cum laude, placing 14th in the 1984 bar exams. She also has an Ll.M. from the University of Michigan. At the age of 51, she is one of the youngest appointees to the Supreme Court and would serve there until her retirement in 2030. She was part of the think-tank of the Asian Institute of Management prior to her appointment to the High Court. Serving as government counsel in different cases, one of her most controversial cases was the Fraport case filed by the German government against the Philippine government concerning the NAIA Terminal 3 Project. Before Corona was impeached, the Palace stated that the “next chief justice” must be in the mold of Justice Sereno. During her JBC interview, Justice Sereno spoke with a heightened degree of passion, so when asked where she gets such passion, she responded that she was born that way: a person with enthusiasm for life. She also said that lady justices
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under the Arroyo administration before joining the Aquino administration. Downplaying questions as to her independence, De Lima assured the JBC that she would try her best effort to maintain her independence amid the “speculation that a Cabinet secretary is beholden to the appointing power. I’m an alter ego but this does not necessarily mean that I’ll succumb to every whim of the appointing power.” She also belittled the disbarment cases pending against her, saying that these were merely harassment cases. These cases were anchored on her defiance of a Supreme Court temporary restraining order (TRO) that was supposed to allow former President Arroyo to leave the country back at a time when no criminal charges had yet to be filed against the former leader. De Lima denied defying the TRO issued by the Supreme Court, saying, “There is no defiance of the TRO. I did not willingly defy the TRO. It was a matter of the former president hurriedly and prematurely trying to leave the country in spite of the case and in spite of the non-service of the TRO.” Nonetheless, despite her strong chances of being appointed by Aquino, her inclusion in the short list is now in jeopardy as the Integrated Bar of the Philippines dismissed her motion to have the disbarment cases against her dropped. Instead, the IBP Board directed the Investigating Commissioner to proceed with the formal investigation of her case. If the disbarment cases remain until Thursday August 9, then De Lima will not be considered for the JBC short list in compliance with Rule 4 Section 5 of the JBC Rules, which provides that “those with pending criminal or regular administrative case” are disqualified from appointment to any judicial post.
Vetting the successor
Francis H. Jardaleza. 62, UP, 1974 Bar, 88.35% (3rd place) “With all due respect, experience is not indispensable.”
 
Another outsider who might have a chance to make it to the JBC short list is currently the top lawyer of the Aquino administration. Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza graduated cum laude from the UP College of Law in 1974 and placed third in that year’s bar exams. He also got his Ll.M. degree from Harvard. After passing the bar, Jardeleza engaged in private practice and also became a foreign associate in a New York law firm. He served as senior vice president and general counsel of San Miguel Corporation from 1996 until his appointment as Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon in 2010. President Aquino designated him Solicitor General in February this year. Having served as counsel for San Miguel Corp., Jardaleza was asked whether he was privy to the coconut-levy funds case involving Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr., the President’s uncle, who was a principal administrator of the controversial Marcos-era program that exacted taxes from coconut farmers that eventually became involved in the acquisition of San Miguel Corp. While he answered that he was not privy as he was only counsel for San Miguel in some cases, he nonetheless admitted having some degree of knowledge as San Miguel corporate secretary. When asked whether he can fulfill the duties of a Chief Justice considering his lack of judicial experience, he told the JBC that with his experience dealing with budgets of corporations and the Ombudsman, “with all humility,” he was able to cope.
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Administration coalition's senatorial lineup for 2013 'done to a large degree' - Aquino
The senatorial slate of the administration's grand coalition of the Liberal Party, Nacionalista Party, and Nationalist People's Coalition is nearly done, according to President Benigno Aquino III. He admitted that despite some conflicts at the lower levels of the coalition, they are close to coming up with a possible unified ticket for the 2013 elections. Senator Manny Villar's Nacionalista Party has decided to coalesce with the Liberal Party and move on from the 2010 elections. The NP said they recognized the need to be united in a common agenda to serve the country despite political rivalries. It was earlier reported that the LP is considering the inclusion of winnable candidates from other political parties to ensure victory in the 2013 polls. reportedly has ₱3.6 million based on her SALN for 2011. However, the JBC is set to deliberate on De Lima's other qualifications since there are pending disbarment cases against her.
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Nation
Braces and all, Arroyo’s back at work
Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo reported for work at the House of Representatives July 31, attending the plenary session after about a year of absence. She attended the session wearing her neck brace and a corset to support her body. Arroyo, who has a severe spinal problem, considered her attendance as a dry run for her next appearance, which will be on Aug. 7, to cast her vote against the Reproductive Health Bill. Arroyo began complaining of dizziness last year after the opening of the regular session of the 15th Congress, and was diagnosed as having a pinched nerve. This caused her to undergo several operations. She tried to seek medical treatment abroad but was prevented by Justice Secretary Leila De Lima from leaving the country. Currently, Arroyo is out on bail on charges of electoral sabotage filed by the Commission on Elections in relation to the 2007 elections.
Department of Justice failed to prove and substantiate its allegations of rebellion against the Ampatuans. Ampatuan patriarch Andal Sr. and his sons and allies were cleared of the charge. The case arose from the brutal incident in 2009 that resulted in the death of 57 people.
House ends debate on RH bill
An Aug. 6 late-breaking Rappler. com story reports that the House of Representatives voted to end debate on the controversial Reproductive Health Bill, one day ahead of a previously announced Aug. 7 vote. The vote followed a caucus of the House majority coalition with President Benigno Aquino III in Malacanang earlier in the day. The vote to end debate means the bill will advance to the period of amendments, where discussion will now revolve around proposed amendments to the bill. The advanced House vote may have been influenced by an Aug. 4 Catholic Church-sponsored, anti-RH Bill rally at the EDSA Shrine, which drew anywhere from 7,000 to 10,000, according to different estimates, as reported in the Philippine Daily Inquirer the next day. The Reproductive Health bill, House Bill 4244, seeks to provide universal access and information on natural and modern family-planning methods in order to reduce the numbers of maternal and child deaths related to childbirth. Malacanang has its own version of the bill in its Responsible Parenthood proposal. Seven opposition lawmakers, some of whom were co-authors of the bill, withdrew their support for the bill last week, a move that some feared could have caused others to drop their support for the bill had the vote gone as scheduled on Aug. 7.
All 20 CJ bets pass JBC wealth test
The Judicial and Bar Council revealed that the results of their examination on the wealth of the candidates for Chief Justice showed that none of them have hidden wealth based on the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) they submitted. The candidates also submitted a waiver on the secrecy of their bank deposits in addition to their SALN to avoid suffering the same fate as convicted former Chief Justice Renato Corona. Three of the nominees have revealed their respective networths. Chief Justice Antonio Carpio declared a net worth of ₱46.3 million in 2010, Associate Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno's declared net worth was ₱17.8 million in 2010, while Justice Secretary Leila de Lima
CA rejects plea to indict Ampatuans for rebellion
The Court of Appeals junked the motion for reconsideration on the dismissal of the charges of the crime of rebellion against members of the Ampatuan clan in relation to the massacre of more than 50 people in Maguindanao in 2009. The Court maintained its earlier decision, which affirmed the ruling of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, which found no probable cause for the indictment of rebellion. In its earlier decision in December 2011, the appellate court ruled that the
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How Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and Princeton are making access to higher learning less exclusive
By Marishka Noelle M. Cabrera
Ivy League Education for Free?
STRATEGY POINTS
Online education programs like Coursera and edX aim to bring first-class learning to millions around the world for little or no cost Higher education is seen as vital to boosting workers’ skills, labor productivity, competitiveness, and growth Asian nations are embracing the use of ICT in delivering education for overall development
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Ivy league education for free?
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In
the tradition of, well, tradition, an Ivy League education is believed to be reserved for the world’s crème de la crème—the best and brightest minds, offspring of the most influential families, the future movers and shakers of society and industry. Earning a degree from one of the Ivy League schools is seen as a key, if not THE key, to securing one’s future. But in case we needed to be reminded, it costs quite a bit to study in one of these schools.
in a June report from The Huffington Post. Harvard’s president Drew Faust was also quoted in the report: “edX gives Harvard and MIT an unprecedented opportunity to dramatically extend our collective reach by conducting groundbreaking research into effective education and by extending online access to quality higher education.”
A major challenge in pursuing an Ivy A League education, apart from the highcaliber curriculum and competitive admission process, is the cost. from the Both exclusive and expensive, “The gathering together of high-caliber education from many universities’ educational curriculum top-tier universities content on one site will enable and competitive has proven to be a learners worldwide to access challenge even for the course content of any admission process, many Americans. participating university from is the cost The tuition cost of a single website, and to use a a private university set of online educational tools based on 2007-2008 shared by all participating data can reach $50,000 a year, according universities,” the report notes. to a Nov. 2007 New York Times reference piece, “Guide to Student Loans.” Recently, it The University of California, Berkeley, was reported that total student loans reached will also be collaborating with edX, thus $1 trillion for the first time, in an April New expanding the group of participating schools York Times story. offering courses in the edX platform, or what is referred to as the “X Universities.” Today, however, a revolution seems to be taking place inside the ivy-covered walls No passing fad. Two computer science of some of the top universities in America. professors at Stanford University believe the Harvard University and the Massachusetts Internet should allow millions around the Institute of Technology (MIT) have teamed world to receive education from foremost up, in a “historic” partnership, to launch learning institutions at little or no cost. edX, an online education center that aims to As such, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng offer education on a mass scale, as discussed launched Coursera, a social entrepreneurship
A Harvard Gazette article reveals that the foundation for the technological platform of edX is that of MITx, a learning program designed to offer online versions of MIT courses that major challenge in feature video lesson segments, embedded quizzes, studentpursuing an ranked questions, feedback, Ivy League online laboratories, and education, apart student-paced learning.
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company with partners from top universities, to offer free online courses. A May story in Newsweek reports that volunteer professors from Stanford University, Princeton, University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania have signed up to offer full courses—complete with videotaped lectures, homework, examinations, and grades. Koller says in the report, “Today universities can offer a great education to a tiny sliver of the population. What we’re hoping to do is provide the technology to enable a university like Princeton to offer an education not just to hundreds or thousands of students, but to millions.” To which Ng adds, “Technology is changing education. This is coming whether we like it or not.”
Courses available online
Whether you’re looking for courses in computer science, health, humanities, business, social sciences, or the arts, Coursera, edX, and Udacity may just have the right program for you.
Coursera •Machine Learning •Introduction to Sustainability •Cryptography •Gamification •Model Thinking •Computer Architecture •Computer Vision: From 3D Reconstruction to Visual Recognition •Statistics One •Modern and Contemporary American Poetry •A History of the World since 1300 •Introduction to Mathematical Thinking •Greek and Roman Mythology •Introduction to Logic •Principles of Obesity Economics •Drugs and the Brain •Critical Thinking in Global Challenges •Medical Neuroscience •An Introduction to Operations Management edX •Introduction to Solid State Chemistry •Introduction to Computer Science •Software as a Service •Circuits and Electronics
•Health in Numbers: Quantitative Methods in Clinical and Public Health Research •Artificial Intelligence •Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Udacity Beginning Courses: •Intro to Computer Science: Building a Search Engine •Intro to Physics: Landmarks in Physics •Intro to Statistics: Making Decisions Based on Data Intermediate Courses: •Algorithms: Crunching Social Networks •Logic and Discrete Mathematics: Foundations of Computing •Web Application Engineering: How to Build a Blog •Software Testing: How to Make Software Fail •Programming Languages: Building a Web Browser Advanced Courses: •Design of Computer Programs: Programming Principles •Artificial Intelligence: Programming A Robotic Car •Applied Cryptography: Science of Secrets
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Venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates saw the project’s potential and have invested $16 million combined. Not long after its launch, an additional 12 elite schools joined the cause, bringing the grand total to 16, according to a July story in VentureBeat. Ng says in the report that the commitment of the best universities to teach online classes proves that the venture
is “no passing fad.” He also notes that, so far, there has been little resistance on the part of current students and academic bureaucrats. As demanding as a university-level class. Another project of the kind is Stanford’s Udacity, where passing a class is “as demanding as passing a university-level class.” Moreover, the program offers participants a range of
The importance of higher education in Asia
Low- and middle-income countries in East Asia are placing greater emphasis on higher education as a source of scientific, technical, and analytical skills. “A well-trained and highly educated workforce underpins growth: skilled labor can be deployed flexibly, achieve high levels of productivity, apply existing technologies, and engage in innovation,” according to the World Bank 2011 East Asia and Pacific Regional Report “Putting Higher Education to Work.” Findings from the World Bank report show that higher education can boost productivity and competitiveness in developing East Asia countries, including the Philippines, by providing high-level skills demanded by the labor market. Across East Asia, the report says, employers expect workers, especially those with higher education, “to possess the technical, behavioral, and thinking skills to increase their productivity and spur growth.” Further, employers want workers with “the ability to think, adapt, undertake continuous learning, and even be creative.” To be sure, deep and widespread disconnects in the higher education systems in East Asian countries need to be addressed first and foremost in order to produce graduates equipped with the adequate skills needed to contribute to a productive workforce. However, with the option to learn from world-class learning institutions via the Internet provides an opportunity for individuals in rising Asia to enhance their skills, which could translate to greater career development. Asia’s affinity for ICT. Asian nations have developed an affinity for the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to serve education in different ways, according to the Feb. 2012 Asian Development Bank (ADB) report, “Access without Equity? Finding a Balance in Higher Education in Asia.” The report says: “Of the new pedagogies, distance education or open distance education has proven to be especially attractive to policy makers and budget-conscious administrators as well as a segment of learners who look for a much more self-directed and flexible learning environment.” Asia, the report says, has more than 70 universities engaged in open access to higher education. The Open University of China and India’s Indira Gandhi National Open University, for instance, enroll over 2 million students each; while Thailand’s Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University has about 400,000 students, and the University of the Philippines Open University has around 2,800. Dual-mode providers or institutions that engage students both on- and off-campus have also been making use of distance education. Based on data from the Economist Intelligence Unit, the report shows the e-Readiness rankings of select Asian countries, which involves connectivity and technology infrastructure, as well as the e-Learning readiness rankings or the ability to teach and learn online. Out of 10, South Korea got a score of 8.34 in e-Readiness and 8.24 in e-Learning; China got 4.85 in e-Readiness and 4.52 in e-Learning; the Philippines received a 4.90 in e-Readiness and 4.80 in e-Learning; and Indonesia got 3.59 in e-Readiness and 3.67 in e-Learning.
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certification options that are accepted by technology companies looking to recruit among the program’s student body. Behind Udacity is Sebastian Thrun, vice president of Google. Featured in a July article in Forbes, Thrun is described as the “creative genius” behind the self-driving car and a pioneer in robotics and artificial intelligence. Upon realizing his course at Stanford could be accessed only by a small audience, he decided to release an online version for free. Launched in February, the program currently enrolls over 112,000 active students. By focusing on computer and technical skills, the article notes, Udacity is filling an Institution’s The Hamilton Project. “Policies to improve the education and skills of workers can play an important role in putting Americans back to work in good-paying jobs,” the authors write. Now, the rapidly changing economy is impacting even those with college degrees. In fact, in a May report in Investor’s Business Daily, it was found that “the number of jobless workers age 25 and up who have attended some college now exceeds the ranks of those who settled for a high school diploma or less.” U.S. Labor department data show that of 9 million unemployed in April, 4.7 million had attended or were graduated from college, while 4.3 million had not.
‘We have been talking about equal educational opportunity for years. What is going on here may be its true advent’
~ William J. Bennett, former U.S. Education secretary
important niche. “It both provides advanced education for people seeking to improve their academic skills and solid vocational skills for people trying to find a job. This makes for a very attractive alternative to other types of advanced education.” Better prospects for better-educated workers. Whereas 40 years ago an average American with a high-school diploma could get a middle-class job, nowadays “job prospects and earnings of the typical high school graduate have fallen far behind those of better-educated workers,” according to a December 2011 blog entry on jobs and education from the Washington-based, public-policy organization Brookings
(Another issue is state disinvestment in public higher education in the U.S. The March 2012 report “The Great Cost Shift: How Higher Education Cuts Undermine the Future Middle Class” of the New York City-based public-policy research and advocacy organization Demos suggests that while students are pursuing higher education, “states are collectively investing less in young college students than they did 20 years ago.” As a result, “decreased social mobility, a diminished middle class, and a decline in long-term economic prosperity” may be experienced.) The future of higher education. A CNN article written by former U.S. secretary of
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education William J. Bennett based on his interview with Thrun asserts Udacity is meeting the educational and vocational needs of the labor force “directly and
efficiently.”“We have been talking about e qual educational opportunity for years,” he says, “What is going on here may be its true advent.”
Mixing work and study
The beauty of distance learning is being able to study at your own pace, in your own time— most especially for individuals taking on full-time work. Here are some tips on how to become both an efficient worker and learner. Know what you are getting into - Francine Maigue is a U.S.-based choreographer, artistic director, and columnist who recently earned her Master’s Degree in Management from Harvard University via the prestigious university’s distance education program. She tells TCR that the key is to understand the demands of the course from the start. In her case, enrolling to take Harvard’s online classes was not a guarantee that one would be accepted into and be graduated from the program—she had to maintain a certain grade in each of her classes and she was required to actually attend classes on campus. Keep your family and co-workers informed - Maigue stresses the importance of informing your family or the people you live with, as well as your bosses and co-workers of your plans to pursue further studies. This way, you can assess and clarify expectations and responsibilities both at home and at work beforehand. More often than not, your superiors will be supportive of your decision, since upgrading workers’ skills will eventually add value to the company. Manage your time and take only what you can handle - An article from the Online Education Database recommends setting aside time, say two hours, to attend to your coursework at the same time each day. Developing a routine allows you to stay on top of things. If your work allows it, try to do the same shifts each day. Also, online courses are designed to fit your schedule, hence, refrain from taking more classes than you can handle. Asking about the course load beforehand will allow you to see which classes to take separately and which ones can be taken at the same time. Get acquainted with the technologies, class structure, and platform - The University of Tennessee recommends updating your computer with the software and hardware that you will need. Make sure that your computer can run the necessary programs to avoid any inconvenience especially as tests and deadlines draw near. Moreover, familiarize yourself with the online course structure. Explore the site first and understand how to access the necessary class components, such as lectures, chat rooms, message boards, and multimedia presentations. Discipline - Learning online and at your own pace can even be more difficult than learning in a structured environment. Working with classmates from different countries, backgrounds, and time zones requires more planning and careful consideration of each one’s schedule. In the end, however, success in work and study depends on the level of discipline one is willing to put in.
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In a study by the Pew Research Center, some 1,021 experts and stakeholders were surveyed to get their views on the future of higher education in 2020. Sixty percent believe that higher education will be different from the way it is today brought about by the mass adaptation of technological advances in teleconferencing and distance learning. There will be a transition, they believe, to “hybrid” classes that combine online learning components and on-campus class meetings. Thirty-nine percent, however, feel that while people will be accessing more resources through the use of technology, traditional lectures with in-person, on-campus attendance will still be the norm. As far as tradition goes, life on campus, earning a genuine college degree, and the brand value
Ivy league education for free?
of top-tier universities still cannot be replaced by online learning and certification—at least not in the near future. “The campus environment offers opportunities and experiences that cannot be replicated online,” MIT president Susan Hockfieldsays in the Harvard Gazette report, “EdX is designed to improve, not replace, the campus experience.” While gaps in the system of higher education can be addressed by exploring new methods of teaching, it will take some time before these approaches take root, as the Forbes article suggests. It says: “Some could argue there is an unbreachable gap between lecturing and teaching but there is certainly demand and room in higher education through online learning, and nobody said you can’t do both.”
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World
Global slowdown bites across Asia
Threatening to follow Europe and the United States in an economic slowdown, Asia’s economies posted disappointing export and manufacturing figures on Aug. 1, according to an Aug. 2 Financial Times story posted on CNN. China reported a slight deterioration in manufacturing activity for the month of July. South Korea experienced a sharp fall in exports a day after Taiwan unexpectedly reported that its economy shrank in the second quarter. The dismal data from Asian economies reflect the region’s dependence on demand from Europe and the U.S. Domestic economies, as in China, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong have slowed in recent months. A World Bank report published in May, “Capturing New Sources of Growth,” recommends rebalancing towards domestic demand and investing in productivity increases in order to maintain high rates of growth, job creation, and poverty reduction. which he has put his formidable skills andprestige to this most difficult and potentially thankless of assignments." Meanwhile, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "His [Annan's] resignation highlights the failure in the United Nations Security Council of Russia and China to support meaningful resolutions against Assad that would have held Assad accountable for his failure to abide by the Annan plan." Western diplomats criticized China and Russia for vetoing three council resolutions intended to increase pressure on Assad to stop attacks on civilians. China expressed regret over Annan’s resignation and stressed its support for the role of the U.N. in resolving the Syrian conflict. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that they “respect his decision,” and praised Annan for his efforts. Longtime Syria ally, Russia, was surprised by the move, after the country has given Annan’s efforts strong backing as the only way to resolve the crisis. most favored nation (MFN) trading status, which India has already extended to Pakistan. Pakistan’s political parties are in favor of normalizing trade relations with India in hopes of boosting the country’s failing economy. When the British dismantled its Indian empire and since the partition of the sub-continent in 1947, India and Pakistan have been archrivals, whose animosity can be traced to religion and history.
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Iran test-fires short-range missile with new guidance system
Amid growing concern over Iran’s nuclear facilities, the country announced that it has successfully fired a short-range missile equipped with a guidance system, which Iran plans to install on all the future missiles it builds, according to a Reuters Aug. 4 story. Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the missile was intended as a defensive weapon. “These capabilities are defensive and would only be used against aggressors and those who threaten the country's interests and territorial integrity," he said. In July, the Iranian military launched a barrage of missiles at “mock enemy bases” as part of a major war games exercise aimed at dissuading any potential outsider attack. The U.S. and the European Union began imposing sanctions on Iran’s oil industry in an attempt to inflict economic pain to get Iran’s leaders to consider an international deal that would effectively curtail the country’s advancing nuclear program.
Annan quits as Syria peace envoy
As the 17-month-old conflict spirals out of control, Kofi Annan is quitting as U.N.-Arab League peace envoy for Syria, Al Jazeera reported on Aug. 3. United Nations secretarygeneral Ban Ki-moon announced “with deep regret” the resignation of Annan, who cited “finger pointing and name-calling” in the 15-nation Security Council as one reason why he decided to step down. Ban said, "Kofi Annan deserves our profound admiration for the selfless way in
India allows Pakistan investment
India is finally allowing investment from Pakistan to come into the country in what is regarded as a boost for bilateral economic ties, BBC News reported on Aug. 2. The commerce ministry confirmed that a citizen or a company of Pakistan is permitted to invest in India, except in the areas of defense, space, or atomic energy. All foreign direct investment proposals from Pakistan would need clearance from India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board. Early this year, Pakistan expressed that it would offer India the
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Reaping the Wages of Sin
Reforming taxes on cigarette and liquor should bring in over ₱30 billion more in government revenues, even as industry players are digging in their heels
By Pia Rufino
STRATEGY POINTS
In June, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 5727, which would restructure the existing system of excise taxes on cigarettes and liquor, the so-called “sin” products, and the Senate is preparing to tackle the issue starting Thursday, Aug. 9 Cigarettes and alcohol are more affordable in the Philippines compared to neighbor countries, because cigarette and alcohol brands are taxed based on their 1996 retail prices, and prices are not indexed to inflation The government hopes to raise at least P30 billion more from a reformed sin-tax law, pledging to set aside proceeds to fund universal health care and livelihood programs for displaced farmers While a reformed sin-tax law will raise local cigarette and alcohol retail prices, people expect tax hikes on cigarettes to serve as a strong disincentive to smoke
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present, tobacco products enjoy low retail prices in the Philippines. In fact, local cigarettes are among the cheapest compared to their counterparts in fellow Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, per data from Southeast Asian Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), a Thailand-based, multi-sectoral coalition that helps ASEAN member states develop effective tobacco control policies. Figures from SEATCA’s February 2012 paper, “Asian Tobacco Tax Report Card: Regional Comparisons and Trends,” show that a pack of the popular foreign brand Marlboro of the major tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI), is most affordable in the Philippines, where it cost only around US$0.63 (₱26.33) compared to US$8.30 (₱346.85) in Singapore, US$5.90 (₱246.56) in Brunei, US$1.24 (₱51.82) in Indonesia, U$1.46 (₱61.01) in Laos, and $2.36 (₱98.62) in Thailand.(See table and graph below) Meanwhile, a pack of the top-selling localbrand cigarette costs US$0.28 (₱11.70) in the Philippines, the second cheapest compared to US$0.25 (₱10.45) in Cambodia. Prices of the most popular local-brand cigarettes are pegged at US$1.18 (₱49.31) in Indonesia, US$0.75 (31.34) in Laos, US$2.36 (₱98.62) in Thailand, and US$0.63 (₱26.33) in Vietnam. Low tax rates on tobacco products. Cigarettes are affordable in the Philippines because of low tax rates on tobacco products. In its 2011 policy paper “Cigarette Tax and Price: Affordability and Impacts on Consumption and Revenue,” SEATCA says the declining real prices of cigarettes in the country arise mainly from a “flawed excise tax system,” and recommends that “appropriate tobacco tax and price laws and regulations should be swiftly enacted to reduce cigarette affordability and effectively curb the growth of tobacco use.”
At
In early June, Congress passed House Bill 5727, which seeks to restructure the 15-year-old system of excise taxes on cigarette and liquor -the so-called “sin” products -- which will result in increased taxes and prices of these products. Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means will begin its first hearing on sin taxes on Thursday, Aug. 9, according to its chairman, Senator Ralph Recto, as quoted in an August 1 Philippine Daily Inquirer report. Recto also reportedly expressed confidence about the passage of a sin-tax bill in the Senate by the end of the year.
TOP-SELLING CIGARETTE BRANDS IN ASEAN COUNTRIES
Country Brunei Cambodia Indonesia Lao PDR Malaysia Most Popular Local Brand No local production ARA (BATC) A Deng (LTL) A Mild (PMI) Most Popular Foreign Brand Marlboro Gold Ks (PMI) Marlboro (PMI) 555 (BAT)
Philippines Singapore Thailand Vietnam
Insignificant share of local market No local production Krongthip (TTM) Vinataba (VINATABA) Fortune (PMFTC)
Dunhill 20’s (BAT) Marlboro (PMI) Marlboro (PMI) White Horse (BAT) Marlboro (PMI)
Marlboro (PMI)
*BATC = BAT Cambodia; LTL = Lao Tobacco Limited; PMFTC = Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation; TTM = Thai Tobacco Monopoly; VINTABA = Vietnam National Tobacco Corporation
Brands of major tobacco companies, e.g. British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International, dominate various local markets in ASEAN countries
Table from Asian Tobacco Tax Report Card: Regional Comparisons and Trends February 2012 by Southeast Asian Tobacco Control Alliance, p. 5
Losses from a flawed sin tax law. In its December 2010 report, “Paving the Road to Inclusive Growth and Development: A Proposed Legislative Agenda for the 15th Congress,” the Senate Economic Planning Office (SEPO) notes that weaknesses in the current sin-tax structure include non-indexation of specific tax to inflation and a complex multi-tiered tax system. SEPO is tasked to provide the Senate
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with research and policy analysis on economic and social issues. “The multi-tiered structure of the current tobacco and alcohol excise tax system requires a complex set of rules for product classification and has opened up much room for discretion and abuse. It has resulted in the practice of downshifting production and demand from high/medium-priced products to low-priced products. As a consequence, effective burden has decreased over time. It has also adversely affected the state of competition in the market since homogenous products with the same prices are slapped with different tax rates,” according to the report. Moreover, taxes on sin products should be indexed to price movements to boost government revenue while discouraging consumption, the SEPO adds in its report. Republic Act No. 9334 or the Sin Tax law, which was passed in 2004 and took effect in 2005, provides for different rates of excise tax classification and calls for an 8% increase in excise tax rates on all brands of cigarettes and alcohol products every two years. Per the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Excise Tax is a tax imposed on goods manufactured or produced in the country for domestic sale or consumption or any other disposition. In its Revenue regulations in 2004, the BIR provides complete revised tax rates for 20052011 for different brands of alcohol and tobacco products that were introduced on or before December 31, 1996. At present, brands that were sold in the Philippines before 1996 are still taxed based on the 1996 retail price. Price classification freeze a major problem. In his 2009 paper, “Taxation of Cigarettes in the Bloomberg Initiative Countries: Overview of Policy Issues and Proposals for Reform,” Emil M. Sunley sees the price classification freeze as a major problem, noting that brands that are present in the country before 1996 are taxed based on their 1996 prices, while newer brands based on their current price per pack.
CIGARETTE PRICES IN ASEAN COUNTRIES
10 9 8 7 6
Most Popular Foreign Brand 5.90 8.3
5 4 3 2 1 0
0.25 1.19 1.18 1.24 0.75 1.46 0.28 0.63 3.32 2.36 1.76 0.63 0.74
Most Popular Local Brand
Brunei
Cambodia Indonesia
Lao PDR
Malaysia Philippines
Singapore
Thailand
Vietnam
Graph from “Asian Tobacco Tax Report Card: Regional Comparisons and Trends,” Southeast Asian Tobacco Control Alliance, February 2012, p. 5.
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“Given inflation since the beginning of 1997, government tax revenues in real terms have old brands are taxed artificially low increased by 36%, indicating furtherthe compared to new brands that are selling diminishing contribution of the tobacco excise at about the same current tax to total government revenue price (before excise and from 1999 to 2009,” according Value Added Tax). This to the paper. The current law, anomaly should be fixed,” which taxes the sin Current structure vs. the said Sunley, a former Assistant Director, Fiscal products based on proposed tax reform. Affairs Department, According to the June 6 Rappler their 1996 prices, International Monetary report on the sin-tax bill passing has resulted in Fund, and former Deputy the House of Representatives, lower sin-tax Assistant Secretary for the current tax structure on Tax Policy, U.S. Treasury collections for the cigarette involves a four-tier Department. system. At present, low-priced government cigarettes (priced at ₱5.00 and The need to index taxes below) are taxed ₱2.72 per pack; to inflation. According to medium-priced (₱5.00-₱6.50), Department of Finance (DoF) Undersecretary ₱7.56; high-priced (₱6.50- ₱10.00) at ₱12 Gil Beltran, speaking in a June 6 article on per pack; and premium (₱10.00 and above) at the Rappler.com site prior to the passing of ₱28.30. House Bill 5727, the government stands to lose an additional ₱4.7 billion in revenues if the House Bill 5727, which is authored by Cavite pending sin-tax reform measure does not index Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya, intends to sin taxes to inflation. The current law, which put up a two-tier excise tax system for tobacco. taxes the sin products based on their 1996 In the proposed system, cigarette packs which prices, has resulted in lower sin-tax collections cost ₱11.50 or less will have an excise tax of for the government, he said. ₱12.00 for the first year, and ₱22.00 for the second year—or equivalent to an increase of 341 “The revenue loss could be higher if inflation percent and 709 percent respectively. is higher. [It] could be ₱5 billion next year if inflation will be higher,” he adds, referring to Meanwhile, cigarette packs worth more than estimates of the DoF, which supports HB 5727. ₱11.50 will have an excise tax of ₱28.30 for the first year, and P30.00 for the second year. Declining contribution of tobacco taxes to government revenues. The Meanwhile, under the proposed sin tax afore-mentioned 2011 SEATCA policy paper, reform, the tax structure on alcohol reflects the “Cigarette Tax and Price: Affordability and individual product’s net retail price. Distilled impacts on Consumption and Revenue,” sees a spirits (whiskey, brandy, rum, gin and vodka) declining trend in the contribution of tobacco worth less than P90 will be taxed at P20 during taxes to government revenues in the Philippines the first year of the measure’s implementation, for the decade. distilled spirits priced at ₱90 to ₱150 at ₱80; and spirits worth P150 and above at ₱320. “While revenues from tobacco excise tax Wine which costs more than ₱500 or less will have increased in nominal terms, in real be taxed at ₱250 while wines worth more than terms they have actually decreased by 12% ₱500 at ₱700. For ₱50.60 or less fermented for the same period. In contrast, the total liquor (beer, lager beer, ale, porter), tax rate
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will be ₱13.75 and ₱18.80 for fermented liquor worth more than ₱50.60. Universal health care. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad in a July 7 statement on the passage of the HB 5727 said the updated sin tax system will bring in P33 billion additional government revenue in the first year of implementation, which will largely go to “critical health services, including health coverage for indigents and informal sectors under the National Health Insurance Program, as well as the development and rehabilitation of various health facilities in several regions and provinces.” Under the ambitious universal health care program, also known as Kalusugan Pangkalahatan, the government wants 100% coverage by the year 2016. A Sept. 2011 Philippine Daily Inquirer report cited non-government organization HealthJustice Philippines in saying that the Philippines has suffered ₱461 billion worth of health-care expenses and productivity losses due to smoking, based on a 2006 joint study by the WHO, Department of Health, University of the Philippines-Manila and the Philippine College of Medical Researchers Foundation. HealthJustice also cited a World Bank study in saying that a 10% increase in taxes on tobacco products would lead to a 4-8% decrease in consumption, thus saving thousands of lives. Reducing country’s smoking prevalence. The World Health Organization (WHO) expressed its support for higher tobacco taxes, saying that high tobacco prices will discourage young people from starting and encourage smokers to quit, according to Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. “We realize that developing strong tobacco control policies is not simple. Nevertheless, we
CURRENT Net Retail Price ₱10 and above ₱6.50 ₱10.00 ₱5.00 ₱6.50 ₱5 and below
CURRENT CIGARETTE TAx RATES VS. PROPOSED REFORM
REFORM BILL 2013 tax per ₱28.30 ₱12.00 Tax Per Pack ₱28.30 ₱12.00 ₱7.56 ₱2.72 Net Retail Price ₱11.50 and above ₱11.50 and below 2014 tax per ₱30.00 ₱22.00
CURRENT TAx RATES ON ALCOHOL BEVERAGES VS. PROPOSED REFORM
DISTILLED SPIRITS (Whisky, Brandy, Rum, Gin, Vodka) Net Retail Price CURRENT Tax Per Proof Liter ₱634.89 Net Retail Price More than ₱150 REFORM Tax Per Proof Liter ₱320 ₱80
Above ₱675 ₱250 - ₱675 Below ₱250
Based on 750ml volume capacity
₱158.72
₱317.45
₱90 - ₱150 Below ₱90
₱20
FERMENTED LIQUOR (Beer, Lager Beer, Ale, Porter) Net Retail Price CURRENT Tax Per Liter Net Retail Price REFORM (by 2013) Tax Per Liter
Below ₱14.50
₱14.50 - ₱22
Above ₱22
Per liter of volume capacity ₱15.49 ₱20.57 ₱10.42
Above ₱50.60 Below ₱50.60
₱18.80 ₱13.75
Net Retail Price
CURRENT
WINES (Sparkling wines and champagne) Tax Per Liter Net Retail Price
REFORM (by 2013)
Tax Per Liter
Below P14.50
₱14.50 - ₱22
Above ₱22
Per liter of volume capacity ₱15.49 ₱20.57 Above ₱500 Below ₱500
₱700 ₱250
₱10.42
TCR compilation of figures provided in “Historic sin tax bill passes House,” Rappler.com, June 6, 2012
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know that the restructuring of tobacco prices and taxes in the Philippines would significantly reduce tobacco consumption and prevent unnecessary suffering and death from cancer, heart disease, stroke, and such chronic respiratory diseases as emphysema, which, with diabetes, are now the leading causes of illness and death in the country,” Shin said. Findings from WHO’s 2009 Philippines’ Global Adult Tobacco Survey revealed there are an estimated 17 million smokers in the Philippines, and that an average of 10 Filipinos die from a tobacco-related disease every hour. The study, which involves over 12,000 households, depicts the high smoking prevalence rates among men (47.7%) and women (9.0%) in the country. Likewise, results from the survey show that a smoker spends ₱326.40 monthly on cigarettes. Fortune is the top-selling brand among Filipino smokers, followed by Marlboro, Champion, Hope, Philip Morris, Might, More, and Winston. Spending more on cigarettes than on education and health. Meanwhile, a May 2 Malaya article cited findings from the government’s 2009 Family Income and Expenditure Survey in reporting that more than 76% of smokers 20 years old and above come from poor families. Moreover, 2.6% of their monthly income is spent on tobacco, which is higher than what they allocate for education (1.6%) and health (1.3%). Abaya reiterated in an interview with GMA7 that “the genuine intent of the (sin tax reform) legislation is to make (sin products) unaffordable to them (the poor) such that the little that they have in life will be spent more in their necessities in life.” Opposition from farmers, industry players. The sin-tax reform measure has been
met with opposition from the cigarette and liquor companies as well as tobacco farmers. Beer companies San Miguel Brewery Inc. and Asia Brewery Inc. said in March that tax hike on alcohol products will adversely affect 8,000 workers in beer production and sales, as well as tens of thousands of workers in the distribution of beer products to retail outlets, according to a March report from ABS-CBN. Figures from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) indicated in the document “Q and A on the Proposed Sin Tax Reform Measure” by the DoF, shows that San Miguel Corp. controls 90% of the local beer market based on 2011 Volume of Removals, while Asia Brewery controls 10%.
Speaking with GMA-7, Cavite Representative Joseph Abaya says that the genuine intent of sin-tax reform is to make sin products unaffordable for the poor so that they will spend more on necessities The two beer manufacturers argued that the government must keep the current tax structure as it “has been effective in promoting both volumes and tax revenue collection growth from the beer industry,” noting that excise tax collection from the beer industry increased by 43% from 2004 to 2011. The country’s largest cigarette maker weighs in. Meanwhile, Chris Nelson, president of dominant cigarette maker Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC) said that the company will suffer a 26% decrease in sales once the sin tax law is reformed, according to a June 14 GMA News
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online report, elaborating that local cigarette production of roughly 100 billion sticks would shrink to 74 billion annually if and when HB 5727 is enacted. The Philippine unit of Philip Morris International, the world’s largest non-stateowned tobacco firm, and business tycoon Lucio Tan’s Fortune Tobacco Corp. merged in 2010. Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. controls 97.15% of the local cigarette market based on 2010 Volume of Removals/Excise Collections, in the aforementioned DoF document. An ‘unprecedented’ tax increase for low-priced cigarettes. In a June 8 interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Nelson said the company wants a moderate tax increases like the proposed tax hikes for beer --which is between 8% and 32%, based on a June 8 in-depth online news report from ABS-CBN. He describes the a 708% tax increase on low-priced cigarettes in the country as “unprecedented,” noting that no Asian country has comeclose to the proposed tax rate hike under HB5727. Nelson said PMFTC will reduce the number of its workers, which is currently around 3,000. He also said the company expects a 50% drop in demand for tobacco for domestic consumption, which, in turn, will affect the livelihood of around 22,000 farmers nationwide if the proposed tax hike in the Abaya bill will be mandated.
Reaping the wages of sin
For its part, the DoF explained in the abovementioned document that “tobacco farmers, who might be displaced by the reform of sin taxes and are forced to shift to planting other crops or other livelihood endeavors, will continue to share in the incremental revenues. The bill (HB5727) provides that a share of the revenues from the revised law will go towards farmer support programs.” In the June 8 ABS-CBN report cited earlier, DOF Secretary Abad said that 15% of sin-tax revenues will be allocated to support tobacco farmers who may be adversely affected by the measure, but did not mention specific initiatives that will be implemented for farmers. He also said, “Tobacco- and non-tobacco growing provinces will likewise have a share in the revenues generated by an updated excise tax regime. In its original form, HB 5727 was expected to generate at least ₱60.7 billion, which will be channeled to 81 beneficiary provinces. This is a far cry from the 16 provinces now being supported by the present excise tax scheme.” It might be about time the country’s complicated excise-tax system governing tobacco and alcohol products was overhauled, but considering how much the proposed new taxes could come up to, it might also be valid to ask whether enough people will be able to afford cigarettes and beer to come up with the ₱30+ billion the government expects to collect from new and simplified, but much higher tax rates.
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NEWS ON THE NET
Apple sags as consumers buy cheaper iPhones
An Associated Press story in the July 25 edition of Business Mirror reports that while Apple's revenue and net income posted increases of over 20% in the second quarter of 2012, the company's earnings nonetheless failed to meet analyst expectations. The story also reports that Apple has routinely exceeded analyst expectations, failing to meet those expectations only twice in 10 years. According to the report, Apple sold 17 million iPads, beating expectations, and 26 million iPhones, at the low end of expectations, but average selling prices declined to their lowest levels since 2010 for the iPhone and to their lowest levels ever for the iPad. The company's chief financial officer attributed the selling-price decline in part to consumers buying less-expensive versions of the device, as in the case of the iPad, for which Apple launched a new model in March while keeping the older model in stores while cutting its price. Also blamed were an appreciating dollar, which devalued foreign sales, and a sales decline in China. Nonetheless, the report adds, Apple, with a market value of $539 billion, remains the world's largest company. Meanwhile, the company has a cash hoard of $117 billion, which is growing at a rate of $1 billion a week, according to Andrew Ross Sorkin, in a July 30 column dedicated to suggested acquisitions Apple might consider making with all that cash, posted on the DealBook blog of the New York Times. The column, in turn, gave rise to an Aug. 1 post on Slate's Moneybox blog by Matthew Yglesias, Slate's business and economics correspondent, on how much of that cash is actually stashed offshore in order to avoid paying a U.S. federal statutory corporate income tax rate of
28
Business
35% on it. Yglesias' suggestion: Apple should lobby Congress for a “repatriation tax holiday” that would allow Apple to being the money back home and spend it on whatever it chooses, be it dividends, or mega-mergers, or whatever else it might want.
$625M fund established for local infrastructure deals
A $625-M fund has been established by four investment firms in the Philippines to support local infrastructure deals, including projects under the government's public-private partnership program, according to a July 31 Business World report. The Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure (PINAI) private equity fund will be funded by Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Australian financial services giant Macquarie Group, and Dutch pension asset manager Algemene Pensioen Groep. The bulk of PINAI's funding is being provided by GSIS, which contributed $400 million, and the ADB, which is contributing $25 million. The Macquarie Group, through its Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets division, will be the fund manager. PINAI is looking to invest in telecommunications, utilities, transportation (airports, mass transit, toll roads), and power (traditional and renewable energy generation and distribution) projects. According to a Macquarie official, the fund should be fully deployed within the next three years. The fund aims to finance five to 10 investments by purchasing shares in the project companies, with $50-125 million for each project. The new alliance comes at a time of heightened interest in promoting infrastructure spending in Southeast Asia. The ASEAN Infrastructure Fund (AIF), which was launched in September
2011 by the Association of South East Asian Nations and the ADB with initial funding of $335.2 million from ASEAN members' contributions and $150 million from the ADB, held its first board meeting in May. The AIF, which hopes to finance up to six projects a year, with a $75-million cap per per project, seeks to promote intra-regional trade, connectivity, and investment.
27 publicly listed firms fail to hit minimum public float
A July 31 Business World story reports that 27 firms listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) have yet to meet the minimum 10% public ownership standard required by the bourse. The list was compiled from a PSE memorandum circular posted on its website. The list includes San Miguel Pure Foods Co. (0.08%), San Miguel Brewery (0.61%), San Miguel Properties (0.06%), Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (0.15%), PNOC Exploration Corp (0.21%), Allied Banking (1.51%), Cosmos Bottling (1.79%), First Metro Investment Corp. (1.94%), Alaska Milk (2.28%), and PAL Holdings, Inc. (2.30%). The firms have until the end of the year to cure their public-ownership deficiency or have their trading suspended by the PSE. According to the story, San Miguel Brewery, San Miguel Pure Foods, MPTC and First Metro Investment are considering taking themselves off the local bourse, while PAL Holdings and PNOC Exploration have said they are considering share sales to boost their public float levels. According to a Philippine Daily Inquirer report in January, suspended companies will face a 5-10% capitalgains tax on stock trades, as opposed to the preferential tax rate of 0.5% they currently enjoy, and will still have to pay listing fees while suspended. In addition, they face a five-year prohibition on their relisting.
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TECHNOLOGY
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Man vs. Machine?
To boost productivity and cut costs, companies are replacing humans with robots
By Tanya L. Mariano
STRATEGY POINTS
Wage hikes and mounting pressure to remain globally competitive are boosting the robotics industry Expert opinion is split: some are convinced robots will snatch jobs away from humans, while others think robots can make humans’ jobs easier and free them up to perform higher-level work Today, robots are employed in a number of fields, including manufacturing, pharmacy, laboratory research, agriculture, search and rescue operations, and the military
T
hey don’t get tired, they don’t care if working conditions are appalling, and, let’s face it, they’re better than humans at certain tasks. As wages and the pressure to come up with more efficient production methods rise, companies are turning to robots. In China, Foxconn founder and chairman Terry Gou announced in July 2011 that the computer components manufacturer would be replacing some of its 1.2 million workers with 1 million robots in the next three years to improve efficiency and slash rising labor costs, reported Xinhua. The robots will take over routine tasks, such as welding, spraying, and assembling. The company currently has 10,000 robots in its workforce. Japanese company Canon is also planning to completely automate the production of its digital cameras in order to cut costs and
keep pace with other Asian countries, such as China and India, where labor costs are lower, according to an Associated Press news report on the Yahoo portal in May. The initiative could be completed as early as 2015, says company spokesman Jun Misumi. Wage increase boosts robotics in China but threatens migrant workforce. In a country that banks on its inexpensive labor force, a rise in local salaries could cause it to lose its competitive edge. A nationwide survey of 74,000 rural residents and 66,000 urban residents from 31 provinces, conducted by China’s National Bureau of Statistics, found that 2011 wages in China’s cities increased by 12.4% and wages in rural areas rose by 21.9%. Automation via the use of robots thus presents companies in China a cost-effective solution to remain globally competitive.
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Man vs. machine? 30
“In fact, industrial robots are already cheaper than workers in China’s eastern regions,” a July 4 China Daily report quotes tech expert Wang Tianmiao as saying. According to Wang, head of the expert panel of robot technology at the Chinese government’s State High Tech Development Plan, a typical industrial robot would cost 500,000 yuan over 10 years, less expensive than a technician who gets 6,000 yuan every month while being three times more efficient. Jamie Wang of research firm Gartner likewise says that a robot operating for 160 hours a week can easily replace between two to four workers putting in 12-hour shifts, according to a July 16 Technology Review report. The same article suggests that China’s workers, mostly young Chinese girls from the countryside who moved to the city for factory jobs, may face competition from robots as the country increases its machine labor force. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), China is expected to be the biggest robot market in 2014, unseating Japan and Korea from the top spots. In 2011, together with the U.S. and Germany, China contributed the most to the industry’s remarkable growth. Automation could cut employment opportunities for humans. Writing in the Huffington Post, tech expert Martin Ford notes, “In the past two decades, information technology has advanced dramatically and is increasingly being employed to eliminate jobs of all types. Job automation technology, together with globalization, has been the primary force behind the stagnant wages and diminished opportunities for less educated workers we’ve seen in recent years.” The author, engineer, and Silicon Valley entrepreneur predicts that, in the future, aside from lower skill workers, people with significant education and training could also lose their jobs due to advances in artificial
intelligence, software automation applications, and machine learning. The U.S. government’s National Intelligence Council report, “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World,” also projects that service industry workers could be replaced by robots by 2025. According to the 2008 Computerworld article on the study, 13 years from now, robots will have progressed to a level where they can replace both unskilled and low-skill workers and “affect immigration patterns by taking over some jobs now performed by migrant workers.”
MAN VS. MACHINE: WILL HUMAN WORkERS BECOME OBSOLETE?
Source: Video uploaded to YouTube by PBS News Hour
 
So should you be worried about your job? The following video (above) by PBS News Hour looks at the future of human workers in light of recent technological advances. Robots could save humans from poor working conditions. However, others think that robots will actually make humans’ jobs easier. Julie Shah of the Interactive Robotics Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology foresees a future where the factory floor is shared by humans and robots working side by side. As quoted in a Robotics Trends article, Shah says, “If the robot can provide tools and materials so the person doesn’t have to walk over to pick up parts and walk back to the plane, you can significantly reduce the idle time of the person.”
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This is exactly what is happening at online retail giant Amazon’s warehouses. Previously criticized for mandating overtime work and the dizzying heat at their Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania warehouse, as reported by The Morning Call in August this year, workers now have robots to assist them in their duties. Instead of having workers retrieve items from the shelves by themselves, small orange bots bring the shelves to the workers, according to The Atlantic Wire. (Amazon in March 2012 acquired Kiva, the Massachusetts-based manufacturer of these robots. This is the company’s second-biggest acquisition since its 2009 purchase of Zappos. com, according to a Bloomberg report.) According to the Yahoo report on Canon, Misumi assures the move towards automation will not endanger the jobs of its employees, saying, “When machines become more sophisticated, human beings can be transferred to do new kinds of work,” he says. Could this mean that in the future, humans will not have to slave away for hours on end in factories under inhumane conditions? In the case of Foxconn, let’s all hope so. The company recently came under international scrutiny after a string of worker suicides -- 17 between 2007 and 2011 according to Wired -- exposed labor regulation violations and poor working conditions at their factories. According to a Bloomberg report in March, an audit of the company found “serious and pressing” violations of Chinese labor laws among at least 50 regulation breaches. For Frank Tobe, publisher of robotics industry news source The Robot Report, steps toward automation can only mean good things for humans. Quoting Tobe, contributing writer John Roach of Future of Tech at MSNBC writes, “The move to robots will free employees from the mind-numbing assembly-line tasks, which could help trim the suicide rate. The workers, in turn, could be trained for higher-skilled jobs, such as operating robots.”
“The Magic Shelf:” How kiva Systems’ small, orange robots automate warehouse processes Kiva Systems
Robot pharmacists at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center can dispense 350,000 doses of prescription meds without error YouTube
The FroboBox driving an ASuBot (short for Aarhus and Southern Denmark University Robot) YouTube
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Robots as pharmacists, farmers, soldiers, and… prostitutes? Today’s robots are capable of many things that used to be the exclusive province of humans. At the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center, robot pharmacists can prepare 350,000 doses of prescription medication without making a mistake, according to a March 2011 UCSF news release. When computers at the pharmacy electronically receive orders for medications from UCSF pharmacists and physicians, the robots “pick, package, and dispense individual doses of pills.” In Japan, a flexible, seven-jointed robot called Mahoro is helping scientists at laboratories and saving lab assistants from having to do dangerous lab work, The Verge reported in July. Developed by Japan’s National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and robotics firm Yaskawa, Mahoro works from a “virtual bench” that houses scanned 3D models of its surroundings. Aside from freeing up human lab assistants to do more challenging tasks, one of the most important uses of the robot is its ability to work with hazardous material and infectious diseases without having to go through the usual safety precautions. Agricultural robots. Technological advances are also boosting the possibilities for agricultural robots. According to an Aug 2011 Technology Review piece, technologies that give robots depth perception and visual acuity at par with humans, plus the open sourcing of robot control hardware and software, are enabling robots to take on certain tasks at the farm. For instance, using the FroboMind software, researchers were able to drive the FroboBox, “a straightforward Debin Linux-powered computer whose flexible outputs can be used to drive almost any kind of automateable farm machinery.” The following video shows the FroboBox driving a lawnmower-like machine called the ASuBot. Unmanned search-and rescue. Search-andrescue operations comprise another field where
World-class robotics in the Philippines
The Philippines boasts a number of homegrown robots, some of which have received international acclaim. In 2008, a team from the Mapua Institute of Technology won first place at the First World Cup on Computer Implemented Inventions held in China with their Mechanical Anti-Terrorist Concept, or MAC, a robot capable of bomb disposal, according to a Nov. 2011 story in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. A team composed of eight mentors from De La Salle University and the University of the Philippines, and three coaches and 32 junior students from the Philippine Science High School advanced into the 2009 World Championships of the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competition Hawaii Regional with their entry, “Larry Labuyo,” according to a Philippine Online Chronicles report in March 2009. More recently, a robot that can detect double-dead meat – locally known as “botcha” -- won the third Best Project Presentation award at the FIRST Lego League World Festival held in Missouri in April 2012, reports ABS-CBN News. The robot was created by a group of high-school students from Dr. Yanga’s College, Inc. in Bulacan. The Philippines is also home to experts that seek to harness robotic technology to spur development. For instance, Genetic Computer Institute Vice President Melvin Matulac hopes to modernize and automate agricultural processes in the country by organizing a nationwide agricultural robot design competition for high-school and college students, according to Agricultural Philippines. Another robotics expert in the country is the multiawarded Elmer Dadios, a professor at the Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Management at the De La Salle University. Dadios serves as Philippine Robotics Society president, and his research includes developing micro robots for the World Cup, legged mobile robots, an automated live fish counter, and an automated tuna fish quality classifier.
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Man vs. machine?
The ‘avatar economy’ is coming
In an article published on Technology Review, Matt Beane, a doctoral student in information technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, predicts that the “outsourcing of non-routine labor via robotic telepresence could begin to occur on a mass scale within a decade.” That is, with robots that can be controlled remotely with the aid of computer screens becoming cheaper, and the required ideal bandwidth of 160 megabits per second coming to the U.S. and Europe by 2014 or 2015, as well as the strengthening of bandwidths in countries like Mexico, Poland, China, and Thailand, we may be getting closer to an economy where labor is performed by robots controlled from thousands of miles away by low-wage workers in developing countries. Beane adds that while most robotic systems available are used for high-value tasks involving costly experts, such as when doctors perform a diagnosis remotely, “the next wave promises much more capability per dollar.” He concludes, “Let’s take the time to manage the avatar economy thoughtfully while it is still young.” help from robots is welcome. Texas A&M University houses the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue, a crisis response and research hub that “strives to direct and exploit new technology development in robotics and unmanned systems for humanitarian purposes worldwide,” according to their website. They participated in the World Trade Center searchand-rescue operations in 2001, and have since deployed robot-assisted teams to a number of operations in response to disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the collapse of the Mildas Gold Mine in Nevada in 2007, and the L’Aquilla earthquake in Italy in 2009. The use of robots is also common in the military. In fact, Wired reported in Feb. 2011 that 1 in 50 U.S. troops in Afghanistan is a robot, based on figures given by Lt. Col. Dave Thompson, the top robot-handler of the Marine Corps. The robots are sent to handle bombdisposal and mine-clearing operations, as well as checkpoint inspection, for which they still require close human supervision, however. ‘Clean, guilt-free sex’ by 2050? And at the very extreme end of robot predictions are two researchers from the Victoria Management School in Wellington, New Zealand. In a research paper that looks at what the sex industry will be like in 2050, Ian Yeoman and Michelle Mars envision a future where brothels are filled with life-like robots of varying ethnicity, body shape, age, language, and sexual features, according to Fox News. Say the researchers, this will open up a world of “clean, guiltfree sex.” While experts are still split on whether robotics will endanger human employment or actually enhance it, it looks like the robotics surge is unstoppable. Based on figures from the IFR, 165,000 industrial robots were sold around the world in 2011, the highest since 1961 and 37% higher than in 2010. Adds IFR Vice President Arturo Baroncelli, “The impetuous increase of demand in 2010 and 2011 following the worldwide financial and economic crisis exceeded all our expectations. We expect that in 2012, robot sales will further increase with a more reduced growth rate and again reach a new peak level.”
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Technology
3D printing gives ‘magic arms’ to 2-year-old girl with congenital disease
According to an Aug. 3 Mashable report, engineers at the Nemours/ Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children have created a durable exoskeleton via 3D printing so that two-year-old Emma can have control of her arms. Born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenital, Emma has little to no control of her limbs, unable to bring food to her mouth or play with blocks. She is one of 15 children to use the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton, or WREX, which is made of metal bars, resistance bands, and small 3D printed components. 3D printing allows for easy customization and replacement of parts. The following video shows Emma using the WREX.
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AT&T to replace 2G with 4G wireless network in 5 years
An Aug. 4 report in Mashable says that AT&T will be discontinuing service on its second-generation wireless network, or 2G, in the next five years to make room for the 4G network, as detailed in a report it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The move is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to improve performance of the network. As of June 30, 2012, more than onethird of their postpaid smartphone subscribers are using devices that are capable of 4G. According to the document, “Due to substantial increases in the demand for wireless service in the United States, AT&T is facing significant spectrum and capacity constraints on its wireless network in certain markets. We expect such constraints to increase and expand to additional markets in the coming years. While we are continuing to invest significant capital in expanding our network capacity, our capacity constraints could affect the quality of existing voice and data services and our ability to launch new, advanced wireless broadband services, unless we are able to obtain more spectrum.” In the Philippines, Globe Telecom was the first to roll out 4G wireless technology, which it did in 2009, according to this Yahoo news report.
For more information on 4G devices, check out this slideshow by PCMag on the best 4G-capable phones around.
Facebook has over 83 million illegitimate accounts
According to Facebook’s recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, about 8.7% of its 955 million active accounts broke the social network giant’s usage rules: • 4.8% represents duplicate profiles, meaning those belonging to people who are already registered users • 2.4% fall under user-misclassified accounts, including personal profiles for pets, organizations, or businesses • 1.5% of users is classified as “undesirable,” which includes those using fake names “intended to be used for purposes that violate our terms of service, such as spamming" According to a BBC news report, “The estimate comes at a time of growing concern about the effectiveness of marketing on the platform.” Facebook’s ad strategy has faced criticism before, with General Motors pulling out its advertising from the social network in March this year, saying they were “ineffective,” reports Mashable, and Nate Elliott of technology and market research firm Forrester questioning the effectiveness of marketing via Facebook.
Disabled children like two-yearold Emma get ‘magic arms’ thanks to 3D printing YouTube
3D printing has also been used to print body parts and, more recently, a working rifle.
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HEALTH/LIFESTYLE
cenSEI
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Ending Dengue
The war must be waged not just in the lab, but also in our streets and homes
By Joanne Angela B. Marzan Vaccine trials on Thai children show effectiveness against the virus YouTube
STRATEGY POINTS
Dengue cases worldwide arerising, with over 2.2 million in 2010, and 16.4% more in the Philippines this year. Hopes for a vaccine are up too: one tested by Sanofi Pasteur seems effective against four strains of the virus. Even as immunization beckons, year-round efforts to keep mosquitoes away from man remains the first line of defense.
D
engue is on the rise. The World Health Organization (WHO), in its 2012 Dengue Fact Sheet,estimates that around 50-100 million dengue infections occur worldwide every year and that over two out of every five human beings — about 2.5 billion people — are presently at risk from dengue. From only nine nations with severe dengue epidemics before 1970, WHO reports, “the disease is now endemic in more than 100 countries” in all continents except Europe. Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific regions are “the most seriously affected.” Even more alarming is the unabated increase in cases, from about 1.8 million in 2008 across the
Americas, Southeast Asia and Western Pacific, to more that 2.2 million in 2010. In the Western Hemisphere alone, 1.6 million cases were reported in 2010. “Explosive outbreaks are occurring,” WHO warns.“The threat … of dengue fever now exists in Europe.”Local transmission occurred for the first time in France and Croatia in 2010, and “imported cases in three other European countries.” In the Philippines, infections are up this year. According to the Disease Surveillance Report on Dengue (July 8-14, 2012) of the Department of Health (DOH), cases from January 1 to July 14, 2012 are up by 16.43% to 51,597.
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Ending the dengue scourge
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Monthly comparisons are even more alarming. There were 12,543 cases reported in June, up 78% over June 2011. Cases in May more than doubled from only 3,701 the year before to 7,905 in 2012. Mega-Manila topped the numbers, totaling to 25,785 cases from its three regions or nearly half of all illnesses in the country. From January-July 2012, the National Capital Region (NCR) had the most caseswith 11,476 (22.24%), with Region IV-A second at7,265 (14.08%), and Region III third with 7,044 (13.65%). While some provinces have shown significant declines, cases in four regions more than doubled, year-on-year: Region IX, up 227.51% to 2,250 cases;Region V with 137.67% increase to 1,369; Region XI jumping 136.54% to 4,078; and Region VI growing 124.48% to 3,668). That’s just from January to mid-July. Positive vaccine trials. Now for some good news:the first dengue vaccine yielded positive results, according to developer Sanofi Pasteur, the world’s largest human vaccine company. “Results of this first efficacy trial … represent a key milestone in the quest to develop a safe and efficacious human vaccine against dengue,” said Michel De Wilde, Sanofi Pasteur executive vice-president for research, in a July 25 press release. “We are
Monthly Cases of Dengue in the Philippines, 2011 and 2012 Damage Cases by Month, Philippines, 2012 vs 2011
A DEADLY SPIkE
Chart from Disease Surveillance Report on Dengue (July 8-14, 2012) , DOH, page 1
WHEN MOSQUITOES kILL FILIPINOS
Dengue Cases & Deaths by Region Philippines, 2011 & 2012
Cases 2012 I II III IV-A IV-B V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII ARMM CAR CARAGGA NCR Total 2367 1277 7044 7265 289 1369 3668 4205 194 2250 1887 4078 2068 209 1277 674 11476 51597 2011 3935 3522 7484 6306 649 576 1634 2607 558 687 1088 1724 1613 179 938 650 10165 44315 % Change -39.85 -63.74 -5.88 15.21 -55.47 137.67 124.48 61.30 -65.23 227.51 73.44 136.54 28.21 16.76 36.14 3.69 12.90 16.43 2012 18 8 13 54 3 3 38 29 2 18 4 41 22 3 4 11 57 328 Region Deaths CFR (%) 0.76 0.63 0.18 0.7 1.04 0.22 1.04 0.69 1.03 0.80 0.21 1.01 1.06 1.44 0.31 1.63 0.50 0.64 2011 31 24 27 36 2 6 21 18 3 7 3 14 12 3 7 5 74 293 CFR (%) 0.79 0.68 0.36 0.57 0.31 1.04 1.29 0.69 0.54 1.02 0.28 0.81 0.74 1.68 0.75 0.77 0.73 0.66
Table from Disease Surveillance Report on Dengue (July 8-14, 2012) , DOH, page 3
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fully committed to making dengue a vaccinepreventable disease by bringing a safe and effective vaccine to people living in endemic regions of the world.” According to the statement, “the vaccine generated antibody response for all four dengue virus serotypes … evidence of protection was demonstrated against three of the four virus serotypes circulating in Thailand.” Ongoing analyses are being done to “understand the lack of protection for the fourth serotype.” Meanwhile, scientific and clinical experts and public health officials are reviewing all data from Sanofi Pasteur’s first efficacy trial, with the results due to be published and presented to the scientific community at the end of the year. Large-scale phase III vaccine clinical studies in 31,000 adults and children are ongoing in Latin America (Mexico, Colombia, Honduras, Puerto Rico and Brazil) and in Asia (the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand). Vaccine tests in the Philippines. Dr. Maria Rosario Capeding of the DOH’s Research Institute Tropical Medicine (RITM) sees great potential in Sanofi Pasteur’s vaccine. A member of the clinical trial team in the Philippines, Capeding said initial results indicate that Sanofi Pasteur’s vaccine is effective in fighting the four strains of dengue virus in the country. “Most of the subjects [who got the full three vaccine doses] have proven to be immune against dengue for five years with no side effect,” Dr. Capeding told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a July 25 article. Around 3,000 people participated in clinical tests in Manila, and close to half received all three doses of the Sanofi Pasteur formulation. Majority were aged 2 to 45, living in Manila, Laguna and Cebu. Other pharmaceutical companies working on dengue vaccines. According to the Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI), a consortium laying the groundwork for vaccine introduction in endemic areas, “several vaccines are in various stages of advanced development, with clinical trials currently underway on five candidate vaccines.” Sanofi Pasteur’s vaccine is ahead, now on its last clinical evaluation before possible licensure in 2015 (see table). Other organizations and companies developing vaccines are GlaxoSmithKline and the Walter
DENGUE VACCINES UNDER DEVELOPMENT
Developer sanofi pasteur GSK/WRAIR LAV GSK/WRAIR PIV NIH Biological E Butantan Panacea Vabiotech Inviragen/CDC Merck (Hawaii) 2000 2007 2005 2000 2012 2000 2011 Mid - 2011 2011 2012 2011 2011 2011 2015 2015
Table from Vaccine Development, Dengue Vaccines Initiative
Preclinical Phase I 2001 2003
Clionical Evaluation Phase II Phase IIb 2010 On hold Phase III 2012
Licensure 2015 >2015
Late 2012
2015
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Reed Army Institute of Medical Research (WRAIR), the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH), Inviragen and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Hawaii Merck.
to be safe and effective, licensure can be achieved soon and the burden of dengue disease can be reduced.”
The need for prevention. While immunization may finally become available Developing a safe, effective in 2015, that is still about vaccine, however, is just three years from now. While immunization one step in the global fight Until then and even may finally become against dengue. The remedy when vaccines are widely available in 2015, must reach the people who available, other preventive need it. “Work must begin measures should be taken until then and even now to prepare countries to against the disease. In when vaccines are introduce dengue vaccines its 2009 publication, widely available, other Dengue: Guidelines for once available, so that the preventive measure traditional lag time for Diagnosis, Treatment, vaccine introduction can Prevention and Control, should be taken be shortened,”says DVI. WHO stressed the need “to against the disease “The case must be made prevent or minimize vector for the addition of another propagation and human immunization to already crowded schedules, contact with the vector-pathogen by destroying, especially in developing countries confronting a altering, removing or recycling non-essential host of needs and limited resources.” containers that provide larval habitats” (page 60 of the report). In short, get rid of mosquitoSpeaking of limited resources, another critical breeding grounds. issue is vaccine cost. First-of-its-kind vaccines tend to be expensive. Hence, DVI funded a WHO identified three types of environmental research to find out the production expense for management to implement: dengue immunization. Cost, says DVI’s Richard Mahoney, “is one of the most important factors 1. Environmental modification – long-term affected its adoption and uptake.” physical transformations to reduce vector larval habitats. One example is installing a Through the study on baseline manufacturing reliable piped water supply to communities, expenses, “the results should help pave the way including household connections, so people for the rapid introduction and distribution of don’t have to store water in large containers a dengue vaccine once licensed.”The report, which breed mosquitoes. published in the July edition of Vaccine, showed that at 60 million doses produced annually, 2. Environmental manipulation – temporary 10-dose vials would cost $0.20 each,and singlechanges to vector habitats involving the dose shots $0.70. management of “essential” containers by frequent emptying and scrubbing of water The DVI study concluded that“the vaccine vessels, flower vases and desert room coolers; can be made available at a price that most cleaning of gutters; sheltering stored tires ministries of health in developing countries from rainfall; recycling or proper disposal of could afford. This conclusion provides discarded containers and tires; management or strong encouragement for supporting the removal away from homes of plants that collect development of the vaccine so that, if it proves water in the leaf axils.
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3. Changes to human habitation or behavior – reduction of human–vector contact, such as installing mosquito screening on windows, doors and other entry points, and using mosquito nets while sleeping at daytime. In his 2012 State of the Nation Address, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III recounted the use of anti-dengue mosquito traps: “In 2011, traps were distributed in Bukidnon, which had recorded 1,216 cases of dengue in 2010. After distribution, the number of cases decreased to 37— that is a 97%
Aedes aegypti: The deadly bite of a tiny killer
The Aedes aegypti is described by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the “principal mosquito vector of dengue viruses … closely associated with humans and their dwellings.”In fact, humans not only provide the bug with blood to make its eggs, but also places to lay them and germinate millions of larvae. Without this human assistance, the Aedes cannot multiply. The video,“Aedes Aegypti: Dengue Mosquito in Action,”shows the female Aedes biting and sucking blood from its victim — the indispensable first step in breeding. Yet despite this tough requirement to reproduce, Aedes aegypti is not easy to eradicate. “It is very difficult to control or eliminate Ae. aegypti mosquitoes because they have adaptations to the environment that make them highly resilient, or with the ability to rapidly bounce back to initial numbers after disturbances resulting from natural phenomena (e.g., droughts) or human interventions (e.g., control measures),” the CDC warns.“One such adaptation is the ability of the eggs to withstand desiccation (drying) and to survive without water for several months on the inner walls of containers.”
Dengue carrier mosquito taking blood and spreading the germ
YouTube
Aedes Mosquito Fast Facts From Singapore Government Campaign • The dengue-spreading mosquito is female; it bites to get the protein found in blood to develop its eggs. • The female Aedes can lay eggs at least three times in its two-week lifespan, producinga staggering 100 eggs each time. • The mosquito cannot spread the germ for approximately one week after ingesting the virus from a person carrying it. In this incubation period the virus replicates and reaches the bug’s salivary glands. • Aedes eggs can lie dormant in dry conditions for up to nine months, all that time ready to hatch if exposed to favorable conditions with water and food
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reduction rate. In the towns of Ballesteros and Claveria in Cagayan, there were 228 cases of dengue in 2010; in 2011, a mere eight cases were recorded. In Catarman, Northern Samar, 434 cases of dengue were reported in 2010. There were a mere four cases in 2011.”
The WHO publication also talked about the importance of social mobilization and communication activities in combating dengue, for all sectors to take part and play their respective roles (see table). “Behavioural change is required at both individual and community
Selected examples of potential intersectoral actions Sector Public sector Ministry of the Environment Solid waste management, water supply, promotion of healthy public policies Incorporation of environmental health issues and activities in school curricula Urban infrastructure and planning, including water and sanitation services Street stormwater drainage systems. underground service units for telephones, etc. Housing structure and watershed containers Ministry of Tourism Reduction of economic losses associated with dengue outbreaks Legislative framework Discarded containers and household water-storage containers are larval habitats Issue Rationale
WHAT WE CAN DO TO STOP DENGUE
Ministry of Education
Empowerment of children with knowledge of health risks and skills to carry out actions tp manage the environment. This is often an entry point for community action Urban development and infrastucture can be designed and managed to avoid creation of larval habitats {e.g. sufficient resources dedicated to the collection and disposal of refuse, and to a reliable and good quality water system} Design of water run-off drainage systems and manholes that do not create underground mosquito larval habitats Design structures that avoid the creation of mosquito larval habitats {e.g. roofing design, water run-off and catchment systems} Involvement of the hospitality setor in routine vector control actions and environmental managemen Provision of the legislative and regulatory framework to support environmental management actions and sound use of insecticides Consumer packaging and petrochemical industries, and manufacturers of tyres and water storage tanks are examples of how the private sector may contribute - indirectly or directly - to larval habitats and to potential solutions, especially in the context of "social or environmental responsibility." Smallscale tyre businesses may have limited means to protect used tyres stated on the premises NGOs are able to mobilize resources and actions or community level on issues of common interest
Municipal authority
Ministry of Public Works
Ministry of Finance and Planning
Private sector
Stewardships, particularly in industrial and manufacturing sectors
Non-governmental organizations
Mobilization of community action
Table from Dengue: Guidelines for Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Control, WHO, page 81
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levels in order to reduce vector larval habitats successfully, and in turn to reduce the number of adult mosquitoes available to transmit disease,” the report argued.
Ending the dengue scourge
Plainly, even as it awaits a dengue vaccine, the world must remember that the war against the killer disease is waged not just in the labs, but also in communities where carriers
Anti-dengue campaign video warns Singapore children
NEA/YouTube
Former Health Secretary Francisco Duque, now Civil Service Commission chairman, stressed the need to conduct the anti-dengue campaign all year-round, not just in the months when the disease normally spreads. Any letup in that drive usually led to a rise in infections.
of the virus breed in the millions across the planet, and are now moving north to new regions as the world warms. Stopping mosquitoes from injecting the germ is just as important as injecting people with vaccines against it.
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NEWS ON THE NET
Technology
In-person bullying still bigger problem than cyberbullying: expert
An expert from Europe says face-toface bullying is far more common than cyberbullying among youth and should be the main focus of prevention programs, as reported by HealthDay News on August 4. Findings from one of several large-scale studies by psychologist Dan Olweus of the University of Bergen, in Norway, involving 450,000 U.S. students, found that 18% of students said they had been verbally bullied and about 5% said they had been cyberbullied. About 10% said they had verbally bullied others and 3% said they had cyberbullied others. Meanwhile, the Department of Education in the Philippines issued a landmark policy-- The Child Protection Policies and Guidelines--that aims to protect children from violence in the school environment, including bullying, according to a May 7 report posted on news website LoQal.ph. A bill that would prohibit bullying in schools –House Bill No. 5248 --was approved by the committee on basic education and culture of the House of Representatives and submitted for plenary deliberations, according to a Sept. 2011 Philippine Star report. reportedly found evidence of DNA damage in healthy cells after chemotherapy, which triggers them to secrete a protein that sustains tumor growth and resistance to further treatment. The researchers hope their findings, which they characterized as “unexpected,” will spur research on improving treatment, e.g., combining an antibody to the protein with the chemotherapy or using smaller, less toxic doses of chemotherapy. In the Philippines, cancer cases and deaths comprise the third highest cause of death, and will most likely overtake heart disease as the top cause of death worldwide, said Dr. Willie T. Ong, internist-cardiologist and an advocate for health workers, in his Oct. 2011 Philippine Star column. Ong also provided 2010 estimates of the most prevalent cancers in men and women, from a Philippine Cancer Society and Department of Health publication. For men, the top three new cancer cases came from lung, liver, and colon-rectum, which were also the top three cancers in terms of deaths, in the same order. For women, the top three new cancer cases came from breast, cervical, and lung, which were also the top three cancers in terms of deaths, with lung ahead of cervical cancer as cause of death.
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initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of delivery has increased from 32% in 2008 to 52% last year. United Nations Children's Fund Representative in the Philippines Tomoo Hozumi said, "The strong legislative and policy framework in the Philippines is being recognized as one of the best in the world, protecting every Filipino mother's right to breastfeed." He cited the Milk Code or Executive Order 51, signed by then-President Corazon Aquino in 1986, which ensures that breastfeeding is protected and women are given clear information on the benefits of breastfeeding without undue influence of infant formula companies.
Sleep problems affect people in Asia and Africa, too: study
A new study published in the Aug. 2012 issue of SLEEP shows that sleep problems like insomnia affect 16.6% of adults in Africa and Asia --nearly as high as the 20% experienced in the United States and Canada, the Huffington Post reported on August 3. The study, which involved more than 40,000 adults aged 50 and above from eight countries across Africa and Asia —Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Vietnam -- found a link between depression and sleep problems, as well as sleep problems being more common among women and older people. "This new study suggests sleep disturbances might also represent a significant and unrecognized public health issue among older people, especially women, in low-income settings," said study researcher Dr. Saverio Stranges of the United Kingdom-based Warwick Medical School in a statement. Insomnia and other sleep problems have been linked to a number of health risks, including depression, diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the report.
Chemotherapy can boost cancer growth: study
Chemotherapy can actually boost the growth of cancer cells, making the disease harder to fight, based on a US study published in the journal Nature Medicine, as reported in an Aug. 5 Agence France-Presse story posted on Yahoo.com. Scientists from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle
U.N. agencies hail Philippines’ remarkable rise in breastfeeding rates
Several United Nations agencies have lauded the Philippine government for the significant increase in breastfeeding rates in the country, based on an August 2 report in Interaksyon, the online news portal of TV5. Figures recently released by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute showed that exclusive breastfeeding rates have risen from 36% in 2008 to 47% in 2011. Likewise, the
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