This is a follow up to last week’s piece, https://www.bworldonline.com/economic-forum-and-covid-summit/, with special reference to the BusinessWorld Virtual Economic Forum 2021 last week, Nov. 24-25, with important speakers from the multilaterals, government, and corporate sectors. The keynote address was given by IMF Director for Asia and Pacific Department Changyong Rhee.
TWEETS ON ECONOMY AND ENERGY
Below are some of my tweets in the hashtag #BWVEF2021 on Nov. 24:
IMF official Changyong Rhee identified policies for countries to have #RecoveryRoadmapPH as growth crawls while inflation and govt. debt/GDP ratio increase. Absent in his proposals is to limit spending, rein in borrowings to control future high taxes.
PH GDP size or level at constant 2018 prices: P17.53 trillion in 2020, P19.38 trillion in 2019, P18.26 trillion in 2018. To reach 2019 level would be around 3rd Qtr 2022, but might be constrained by high inflation, higher taxes.
Jose Limcauco of BPI mentioned Ayala conglomerate focus on sustainability, clean energy. But core Ayala business is real estate — malls, office-resid’l condos, hotels, that require 24/7 electricity. Thermal power saves Ayala core business.
Jaime Azurin of MGen is not supportive of carbon tax unless government can show clear path to power supply stability. Good point because #RecoveryRoadmapPH is not possible if power prices are high, or there’s frequent blackout.
Joseph Sigelman of AG&P Group said that LNG is transition fuel towards RE. Please avoid that path, sir. Europe experiencing huge gas prices, bordering on blackouts bec wind power low, calm weather. They embrace coal again to avoid blackout.
BORROWINGS AND DEBT PAYMENT
The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) released the cash operations report for January-October 2021 last week and the numbers remain bad. The averages per month: Revenues P249 billion, expenditures P369 billion, deficit P120 billion, borrowings P247 billion, debt amortization P68 billion, interest payment P37 billion (see Table 1).
Huge public debt will require huge and high taxes because government does not know how or intend to cut spending and subsidies, especially to its many government corporations. Philippine taxpayers are doomed in the next few years.
COVID SUMMIT 2021
The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC Ph) held a very successful COVID Summit last week, on Nov. 25, at Vivere Hotel in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. About 120 people, mostly doctors, came in probably the biggest in-person conference in the Philippines this year. They either had vaccination cards or negative antigen test results to show before joining the full day conference.
The welcome speech was given by Dr. Homer Lim, President of CDC Ph. The opening remarks were given by broadcast personality Cory Quirino, and the keynote speech was given by Dr. Allan Landrito. The previous night, CDC Ph also held a fund-raising dinner called “Igniting Courage,” also at Vivere Hotel, and Doc Allan was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for the sacrifices he has made to save tens of thousands of Filipino lives with his actual and online consultations on early and home-based treatment. Vivere gave good discounts for the two-days event and PCCI-Muntinlupa donated many drinks for the dinner — thanks heaps.
Five live medical and technical lectures were delivered during the Summit: 1.) Early aggressive management of COVID in the hospital by US critical care specialist Dr. Pierre Kory (a virtual talk); 2.) Early treatment home-based protocols by US cardiologist, Dr. Peter McCullough (again, a virtual lecture); 3.) COVID and the microbiome by Morocco-US gastroenterologist, Dr. Sabine Hazan (a virtual lecture); 4.) Natural immunity vs. vaccine immunity by Filipino cardiologist Dr. Rafael Castillo; and, 5.) Early outpatient management of high-risk COVID patients by Fil-Am pulmonologist, Dr. Marivic Villa who flew in from Florida.
Then a panel discussion of experts followed, with four doctor speakers — Allan Landrito, Rafael Castillo, Marivic Villa, and Romeo Quijano. At the fund-raising dinner the previous night, Doc Marivic was given the Gabriela Silang Award for her bravery, passionate and irrepressible energy in educating doctors and patients here in the country.
VACCINATION RATES AND COVID CASES
There is a disturbing trend worldwide where many countries with high vaccination rates — of 60% and above of their population — have very high active COVID cases. Europe and several Asian countries showed this trend.
In contrast, many African countries with very low vaccination rates, from 0.2% to 8% of total population, have very low COVID cases (see Table 2).
The Philippines’ rush to more vaccination, especially the on-going National Vaccination Days on Nov. 29 and Dec. 1 with these experimental vaccines is dangerous. Instead of rushing, we should pause as natural immunity has been explicitly ignored if not demonized in the altar of supposedly vaccine immunity.
PUSHBACK AGAINST IATF RESOLUTION 148B
In the CDC Ph Weekly Huddle last Saturday, Nov. 27, entitled “IATF Resolution: Hindi Solusyon!,” there were three lawyer speakers: Tanya Lat of COVID Call for Humanity (CCH) and Prof. of Legal Ethics at UP Law and Ateneo Law, Aaron Soguilon of the Juan Dakila Movement (JDM), and Lyman Manzanares of the CDC Ph Legal Volunteer Corps.
Atty. Tanya argued that IATF Resolution No. 148-B is immoral, illegal, and unconstitutional and she discussed the adverse implications of this order that has been copied and implemented by many local government units (LGUs) already.
Atty. Aaron discussed the hierarchy of laws — Constitution at the top, laws by Congress, Executive issuances, and LGU ordinances — and when to file cases of grave coercion regarding forced vaccination and other remedies on Adverse events following immunization (AEFI).
Atty. Lyman gave an update on a case he is filing by Dec. 1 — a still undisclosed court and complainant, —but he gave this short summary:
“We are filing a special civil action and praying for a TRO and preliminary injunction from the courts against IATF Resolution No. 148-B s. 2021. We have reviewed its legality and we have come to the conclusion that it is patently illegal and unconstitutional. The resolution is a measure beyond the scope of IATF’s functions. Sections A, B, C, D, F and G violate the 1987 Constitution and/or contrary to enacted legislation. In sum, we are now constrained to seek redress from the courts because the resolution openly violates all fundamental tenets of liberty, right to due process, and right to equal protection of the laws.”
Amen, Atty. Lyman and team. Hats off and my support to this important legal recourse, my support to the rule of law, not the rule by authoritarianism.
Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr. is the president of Minimal Government Thinkers.