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Changing the Countryside

Ph bukidnon sumilao alalumfallscould be a job for incoming VP Robredo. Never mind that Duterte does not want her in the Cabinet. She is planning to save money by not using the Coconut Palace, set up Branch Offices and use the Vice Presidential funds for projects of her own. It could be a continuation of the grassroots work she has done before, would not grab any existing work from any Cabinet members or local officials. In fact her being in a central role now could help her coordinate things needed from Manila by the countryside.

People often prefer to live where their roots are, not to have to leave for the city or even abroad to make a proper living for themselves or their families. Germany prospers because none of its cities are too big – Berlin has only around 3,5 million people as opposed to the over 15 million in Metro Manila. Too big cities tend to become hard to manage, especially in poorer countries. Nowadays one does not have to be cut off from basic amenities anymore if transport and communications are there, as well as a certain livelihood. How can Leni Robredo help in this?

The Sumilao farmers come to mind (link) – who were helped by Leni Robredo, and supported her in return. A simple but good life can be preferable to the stress of urban life and hypermodernity. Around 1/5 of Filipinos live in Metro Manila. A city facing rising sea levels, potential water scarcity and enormous traffic problems. And some who are frustrated, living in slums next to hypermodern luxury, may add to problems like crime and drugs.

Some industrial zones already exist outside Manila like Sto. Tomas, Batangas (link) – Duterte wants to do more to build zones of that kind which is a good thing. Maybe spread them around other urban centers, not only the already congested areas around Manila, which for me even include Calabarzon and the Clark/Subic areas. There are cities like Cebu, Iloilo, General Santos, Davao etc.

Real countryside development could be exemplified by Albay, which was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve (link). The balance of urban and rural is important for any country. For so many things – food security, preserving some traditions inspite of inevitable modernity, and even providing a refuge from the madding crowds of the cities once in a while. I have seen how Germany has managed this balance while progressing. This is where incoming VP Robredo is well-suited to play a major role – together with the civic society organizations she has worked with before.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 2 June 2016

15 comments to Changing the Countryside

  • karlgarcia

    After Ramos,Estrada,Arroyo and Aquino will the Pacific Coast Cities finally push trough?

  • karlgarcia

    Gordon commends Duterte’s plans for railways systems
    by Freddie G. Lazaro
    May 31, 2016 (updated)

    Laoag City, Ilocos Norte — Newly- elected senator Richard J. Gordon has commended President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement that railway system sin Luzon and Mindanao arethe first big projects of his administration.

    “There’s a need for the next administration to prioritize a railway system in the country in order to usher in much-needed development in the whole country,” Gordon said in a phone interview.

    “I have long been moving for the development of our railway systems. Having railway systems that would connect Manila-Nueva Vizcaya in Central Luzon, Manila-Sorsogon, Manila-Batangas and for the whole of Mindanao, like President Duterte’s reported plan, would really spur development in the whole country since it would facilitate the movement of people and freight, such as raw materials, crops, supplies or finished goods,” he added.

    He pointed out that in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Korea, India, efficient train systems contributed largely to their economic development.

    “It would even decongest Metro Manila since the train would make the nearby provinces more accessible. Even other congested highly-urbanized cities would also be decongested,” he noted.

    Gordon recalled that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took a step in the right direction when she started the North Rail project, an 80-kilometer railroad that was supposed to link Caloocan with Clark in Pampanga through a train system.

    “President Arroyo’s railway project should have been completed instead of stopped. It could have been extended to Subic for cargo and to transport goods from the piers. Railways should complement ports. The project should have been finished first and if there were anomalies, they should have been investigated afterwards. Look at America’s first transcontinental railroad, Steven Ambrose described it as the most corrupt project. But the project was allowed to be finished and it spurred America’s growth,” he said.


    • Mariano Renato Pacifico

      Philippines need railway system. I wonder what ever happened to Philippine Railways that runs from Davao City to Surigao a ferry ride to Southern Leyte all the way to Northern Samar and another ferry ride to Bicol region all the way to Manila and Aparri.

      • Maybe more small ports would also be a solution – because roads and railways through tropical and rugged terrain are hard to build, easily get destroyed by nature there and are hard to maintain.

        After all, boats were the main mode of transport during the time of Lapu-Lapu – it could be part of a revival of maritime awareness which I think Visayans have never quite lost…

        • sonny

          A maritime transportation infrastructure is imperative for Philippine development. Much like the US Interstate System, we must design for this movement of domestic commerce. Goods, people must move: land, air, water; domestic markets, supply, demand must all come together.

          • Maritime transport is slower but cheaper and better for high volumes than any trains or trucks.

            German canals and rivers have been used to transport for example iron ore and coal since industrialization began over here.

            Having lived in Bonn for some time, the barges along the Rhine river with their huge loads always fascinated me – some went all the way to Rotterdam port.

          • sonny

            PiE, way back 2003, I bought me a huge map of the PH from National Bookstore. The wonderful feature of this map was the clear-as-daylight network of proven maritime charts of the ports in current use, interisland and international. You called this right on the nose. When I see this map, all I can think of and imagine are products, goods, services being exchanged in commerce to and from these ports north, south, east, west: businesses in volume radiating from the ports circumventing the limitations of their overland and air counterparts; each mode nevertheless teeming with economic vigor for the Philippines and all Filipinos at heart. Imagine, for example, minerals from Mindanao feeding manufacturing concerns in other parts of the country.

  • karlgarcia

    Duterte eyes ecozones outside Metro Manila
    Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) – May 28, 2016 – 12:00am
    MANILA, Philippines – Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte is planning to establish economic zones outside Metro Manila to create jobs for the poor and to promote development outside the capital.

    The economic zones would serve as trading centers as well as relocation sites for poor people in congested Manila.

    “I intend to spend most of the money for this year to alleviate hunger and poverty. Then I will ask the engineers, I will look for land, we will build ecozones,” Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City Wednesday night.

    Duterte said residents of the economic zones would be assured of employment and access to basic services like health care and education.

    “I have to build a new environment for the people. I will place them in ecozones and provide them assistance. I will build hospitals there. There will be economic activity,” the incoming president said.

    “Once they arrive there, they will have jobs,” he added.

    Duterte said he would no longer permit the building of new factories in Manila, which he described as a “dead city.”

    “I have to create more jobs but Manila is already saturated… I have to relocate them (poor people) but before that, I have to establish economic activity,” he said.

    Last March, the government reported that poverty incidence among Filipinos went down to 26.3 percent in the first semester of 2015 due to higher incomes. Subsistence incidence or the proportion of Filipinos in extreme poverty, was pegged at 12.1 percent in the same period.

    The Philippine economy, on the other hand, grew by a higher-than-expected 6.9 percent in the first quarter, the fastest among major Asian economies.

    Critics, however, said the growth has failed to generate enough jobs and has yet to benefit the poorest sectors.

    The country’s rich-poor divide is on vivid display in the metropolis, where slums are just a few kilometers from gated villages with luxury homes for the rich, as well as glittering skyscrapers and billion-dollar casino complexes.

    Duterte expressed dismay at the sight of Metro Manila’s polluted canals, which are surrounded by shantytowns. He said he wanted to create opportunities elsewhere so people would not have to live in such squalid conditions.

    • karlgarcia

      Duterte asked to build industries, not eco-zones

      Sunday, February 14, 2016
      CLARK FREEPORT — The Anakpawis Partylist criticized Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for favoring the setting up of economic zones like Clark.
      The group instead asked the presidential candidate to work for the establishment of national industries to generate jobs.
      The partylist issued the statement after Duterte threatened to kill workers under the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) during his proclamation rally in Tondo, Manila.
      “Though we respect Duterte as he is supportive of the farmers and workers in Mindanao, we are compelled to criticize him for siding with foreign businesses in eco-zones, than promote respect of Filipino labor rights such as wage hikes, form unions and strikes,” Anakpawis Representative Fernando Hicap said in a statement.
      Hicap said that foreign capitalists take advantage of low wages and repression of workers’ rights as eco-zones implement “no union, no strike” policy.
      In Central Luzon, workers earn as low as P350 daily, while their produced foreign branded bags were priced from P12,000 to as high as P80,000 per piece.
      Many of the workers want to demand wage increases and form unions but are hesitant as the industrial estate where they are located is on guard against labor demands.
      In Clark special economic zone, workers who attempt to form unions are immediately retrenched, according to Hicap.
      He added that in Subic, many workers have died and suffer the worst conditions inside Hanjin shipbuilding plant, but the government is exempting the Korean firm from accountability.
      In Calabarzon, workers are usually retrenched and demoted to contractual as what happened in Tanduay plant, Hicap said.
      In another foreign company, the Office of Presidential Legal Counsel even got involved in repressing the workers to form a union, at their certification election.
      “Eco-zones that claim ‘industrial peace’ are actually zones of plunder of surplus value of Filipino labor, we actually demand the dismantling of these establishments as they enjoy tax holidays, labor repression, even sovereign guarantees,” Hicap said.
      The partylist asserted that eco-zones is part of the third of triad plunder of the national economy, plunder of surplus value of labor, accompanied by plunder of natural resources and surplus product of agriculture.
      “Duterte’s declaration of his bias to foreign businesses is detrimental to his candidacy, it exposes that he has no concrete plans for genuine national development, but replicating ‘Daang Matuwid’s puppetry to foreign monopoly,” Hicap said.
      The Anakpawis is also frustrated of Duterte’s announcement of allowing majority ownership of businesses to 70 percent by foreign investors.
      The group said that it would affect the vast population of farmers, as it would lead to foreign ownership of land.
      “It is puzzling to see Duterte to rely on foreign investors for capital when they are actually here to profit, we urge him to promote the perfect combination of nationalist industrialization and genuine land reform as key to development,” Hicap said.
      The group affirmed that nationalist industrialization would lead to generation of jobs for Filipinos, curbing mass unemployment, while genuine land reform is causal to food sufficiency and supply to the requirements of the domestic industry.
      Aside from this, it would lessen if not wipe out the country’s dependence to foreign imports and even produce the much needed machineries and technological advances, Hicap said.
      “We have the natural resources, the skilled labor, the talented intelligentsia, the food supply, we have what we majorly need, the foreign monopoly is actually stealing our social product we need for development, there is no condition to allow them to dictate the country’s future,” he added.
      Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on February 15, 2016.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico

        Filipinos do not need eco-zones. What Filipinos need are jobs. Jobs that feeds family. Jobs with dignity. Filipinos do not care about ecology. Filipinos would rather have food on the table and sniff pollution. Manila is so polluted that if Filipinos care about pollution they would have left Manila but they stayed. Because they’d rather die of pollution than die of hunger.

        All 1stworld country defies eco-zones. After they progressed that is the time they took care of ecology.

        It is not the time for Filipinos. Feed tummy first before ecology. What good is ecology if they are dead of hunger.

        Take Tanon Strait for example, there is a potential for oil but the government of Benigno Aquino refuse to oil exploration to SAVE THE HABITAT OF BOTTLED NOSE DOLPHIN over hungry unemployed Filipinos. This is sick. Total absolute illness.

        • Not fully true, because none of the developed countries were as overpopulated in relation to land area when they developed as the Philippines is now.

          Too much destruction of nature can be DEADLY for Filipinos – many flash floods are for example due to deforestation, the balance of nature/progress counts.

          Besides nice nature is a major selling point for the tourism industry which feeds a lot of people, and intact nature is needed for agriculture/fishery/farming = FOOD.

        • karlgarcia

          nice points on ecology ,but ecozones are economic zones,not ecology zones.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico

      Since Leni Robredo has no cabinet position, it is best she resigns to save Philippines 400,000/month at Coconut Palace and her monthly salary. Leni Robredo is a square pig in a round hole. If she loves the Philippines she should resign. She has nothing to do. If she resigns she will save the Philippines salary from her do-nothing coterie of hangers-on.

      The money save is the money for the poor to alleviate their condition.

  • karlgarcia

    It all begins with paved roads.Some roads have a few meters of rough then smooth.
    So many land available,most of them idle,NALUA should finally see the day of light.

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