Tuesday, January 16, 2018

IPR and innovation 40, WHO health alarmism and IPR tinkering

Seven years ago, I briefly surveyed the various offices under the UN and I was surprised to see about 100+ different agencies. See UN bureaucracies -- too many! (December 20, 2010).

Among the huge and wide UN offices and bureaucracies is the World Health Organization (WHO). On its website, Media Center, News Releases 2017, these stories seem like we are still in the 90s or even the 80s, or the 70s -- there are many scary and alarmist stories in public health around the world until now.


It is already 2018 -- when illiteracy is already zero in many developing countries, when smoke signal and animal whistles are no longer used to communicate as hundreds of millions of poor people in developing and emerging countries now use smart phones with access to emails, facebook, twitter, youtube and other social media.

And the WHO and WB still declare that "half the world lack access to essential health services"? That measles "still kills 90,000 per year"?

Going back a few decades ago, the WHO was known for various health alarmism worldwide. Like the HIV/AIDS alarmism in the 80s to 90s and more recently, about NCDs (non-communicable diseases) alarmism.

Then the usual fare of the WHO -- blame directly or indirectly IPR and drug patents by innovator pharma and biotech R&D. Also blame free trade and FTAs for expensive medicines.

And I was surprised to see this.


http://www.who.int/medicines/EB142_13_shortage_and_access_medicines_vaccines.pdf?ua=1

"Global shortage of medicines and vaccines", wow. Since about 95-99% of WHO's essential medicines list (EML) are already off-patent, what stops the WHO and member-governments from mass-producing these drugs, directly or indirectly?

The WHO needs to shrink, both in size of bureaucracy and governments' funding. It has lots of health and economic global central planners that they want to plan-and-control many things and policies, forgetting that it was the private sectors and corporations' risk-taking that gave the world plenty of life-saving medicines since many decades ago.
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Monday, January 15, 2018

BWorld 179, Federalism dream vs centralized government

* This is my article in BusinessWorld last January 5.


Repeated calls for federalism by the Duterte administration actually point to more centralization of the national government — the complete opposite of what they’re advocating.

Here are some examples.

1. National taxes have been rising, instead of declining, which could have helped prepare federal states to have their own income and value-added taxes, etc. Instead of lowering the top marginal income tax rate of 32%, it was even raised to 35%. Instead of reducing the VAT to 10% or 8% with few exemptions, the 12% was retained but many sectors were also exempted.

2. Expanding the number of departments and bureaus instead of reducing them. The Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC) has become two departments — the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). Then there are proposals to create a Department of Housing, Department of Fisheries. A good federal set up is to abolish many existing departments (like NEDA, DA, DENR, DoH, DoT, etc.) and allow the state governments to create their own departments as they see fit, create, or expand local or state revenues to finance these state departments.

3. Forcing national legislative franchising like buses and taxi, instead of decentralized regional or provincial franchising. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and other House leaders are behind the proposal.

4. Reversing integrated public private partnerships (PPP) where government fiscal exposure is very limited to hybrid PPP where national government budget and foreign borrowings (especially China ODA) is much bigger. A meaningful federal set up will empower the state governments to deal with local infrastructure like airports, seaports, provincial tollways and inter-city MRT/LRT.

5. Centralized declaration of class suspensions. During the anti-martial law rallies in Sept. 21, 2017, MalacaƱang declared a Luzon-wide or nationwide class suspensions even if many provinces and cities did not even have scheduled rallies. Then during the PISTON jeepney strike in Oct. 16-17, 2017, MalacaƱang declared nationwide class suspensions, even if many provinces and cities did not even have planned jeep strike. President Duterte should have allowed the mayors and governors to decide, saying something like “the national government will step back from these decisions and it is up to the local governments to decide what’s best for their people.”

Beyond federalism plans contradicted by more centralization of powers and taxation, a long-term alternative would be for the Philippines to split into many new countries and allow these new countries to compete with one another in the field of taxation, governance, infrastructure, trade, and tourism to attract more investors and visitors from around the world. Peace and diplomacy will be retained as fellow ASEAN member-states as well as various multilateral formations and the United Nations.

Many existing Philippine island-provinces are actually comparable in size to existing countries and/or big territories (see table).


This is a far out view and may not be considered in the current decade but would appear more viable through time. Singapore will not be as dynamic and developed as it is now if it was just one of many states of Malaysia.

Under the current activities of the Duterte administration, there lies a danger that when federalism is finally enacted, local entrepreneurs and job creators will be walloped with both high national and high local taxes, fees, royalties and various mandatory spending. This will be a good formula to encourage more corruption and black market business operation, or get out of the country and do business elsewhere.

For the federalism plan to be more attractive to the people, the national government should learn to step back, to tax less, regulate less, bureaucratize less, build confidence among the people and investors in the provinces that indeed they will be given more leeway, more opportunities to craft their own political and economic identity.
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See also:
BWorld 115, Centralization and federalism, March 23, 2017
BWorld 171, Global vs national tax reforms, December 29, 2017 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Pol Ideology 72, You love capitalism

I am reposting this good article in Manila Standard by a friend, Eric.
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You love capitalism
posted January 05, 2018 at 12:01 am
By Eric Jurado

You love capitalism.  Really, you do.

And you can’t stand big government. Really, you can’t

Don’t believe me? Then I’ll just have to prove it to you.

Do you use an iPhone? Android?  Macbook?  PC?

Read on a Kindle?

Watch TV and movies on Netflix? Videos on YouTube?

Shop on Amazon? Zalora?

Listen to Spotify?

Search on Google?

Send money on GCash? Coins?

Grab a ride with Uber?

Drive with Waze?

Book a room with Airbnb?

Are you on Facebook? Or Instagram? Or Snapchat?

You probably use many, if not all, of these things, and, if you’re like me, you love them. In today’s world, they’re practically necessities.

Where do you think they came from?

From entrepreneurs with great ideas and the freedom to test them in the marketplace. That is what is known as . . . capitalism.

Now consider some other things you probably do:

Have you been to the LTO?

Gone through security at Naia?

Mailed a package at the Post Office?

Called the BIR customer service line?

Or called any government office, for that matter?

What’s the difference?

Why is going to Uniqlo so fun but going to the LTO so painful? Because one has nothing to do with government, and the other is the government. One needs to satisfy its customers to survive and grow. The other doesn’t.

The purpose of government is not to create products. And we don’t expect it to. But if you thought about it for a few moments, you’d realize you don’t want the government involved in just about anything private business can do.  That’s because profit-motivated individuals have to work hard to please their customers—you. Government agencies don’t have to please anyone.

Call that BIR service line or any government service line, if you doubt me.

Can you imagine if Steve Jobs had to seek government approval for every new design of the iPhone? We’d have been lucky to get to iPhone 3G.

Look at Uber. Just a few years ago, summoning a private car and driver in a few minutes that would take you where you wanted to go was truly a service available only to the wealthiest people. But now, thanks to capitalism, private rides are an affordable option for ordinary people all over the world.  Until Uber came around, if it started to rain in Manila and you wanted to grab a cab, good luck. Too many rain-drenched people and too few cabs available. Uber had a better idea. Rain falls. Demand for rides spikes. Raise prices to give more Uber drivers an incentive to hit the road. Ride-in-the-rain problem solved.

Airbnb is another example. Only a few years ago, if you were going on vacation with your friends or family, hotels were just about your only option. But hotels are expensive and often don’t provide all that much in terms of space, amenities or interesting neighborhoods.

If you wanted to find out if individual homeowners were making their homes or condos available for a few nights, you’d have to scour internet postings.

But then Airbnb came along, giving anyone with a computer or smartphone access to over two million homes in 190 countries. You can find places with hot tubs and pools; or, if you’re on a tighter budget, you can rent a room, or even just a couch.

Government never could have done this. What motivation would it have? How would it even know we wanted services like Uber or Airbnb?  We didn’t know it, until risk-taking entrepreneurs made it possible. Thanks to capitalism. And no thanks to government which, more often than not, just gets in the way.

Why?

Because the government’s knee-jerk reaction is to regulate and control everything it can regulate and control. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of many government agencies and all those bureaucrats?

Cities across the globe are putting up barriers to slow down or shut down services like Uber and Airbnb. Making rules may be the only area where the government shows creativity. Economic growth has the best chance of happening in the absence of that rulemaking.

According to economist Adam Thierer, the internet, to use just one important example, was able to develop in a regulatory climate that embraced what he calls “permissionless innovation.” This approach to regulating allows entrepreneurs to meet their customers’ needs without first seeking government approval.

In sum, almost everything you enjoy using is a product of capitalism; almost everything you can’t stand is a product of big government.

So, do you love capitalism? Of course you do. You practice it every day. It’s time to preach it.


Eric Jurado is an independent investment banker and economist.
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See also:

BWorld 178, Top 8 energy news of 2017

* This is my article in BusinessWorld last January 2.


This should have been a “Top 10” list but due to space constraints, I limited it to only eight, divided into four news stories each for global and national.

GLOBAL
1 “Non-news” to many media outlets but good and big news to me: NO major energy catastrophes in 2017. No major oil spill, no gas blowouts, no reactor meltdowns, no major infrastructure destroyed by natural disasters, and energy prices did not rebound to their 2014-2015 levels.

2 In June 2017, the British Petroleum (BP) Statistical Review of World Energy 2017 was released and among the highlights of that report are: (a) China and US remain the planet’s biggest energy consumers, (b) increases in oil, natural gas, nuclear and renewable energies (REs) but decline in coal use, (c) for big Asian economies, coal use remain very high especially in China, India, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia (see chart).



3 In September 2017, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its “International Energy Outlook 2017” and among its projections are (a) In 2040, fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal) and nuclear will supply about 83% of global total energy consumption; 8% from hydro and 9% combined from wind, solar, geothermal, other REs, and (b) coal use is projected to be stable until 2040 and declines in China to be offset by increased use in India.

4 In November 2017, the “America First Energy Conference” was organized by the Heartland Institute in Houston Texas to analyze US President Trump’s pronouncement of US global “energy dominance”. “Energy dominance” is defined on two key goals: (a) meet all US domestic demand and (b) export to markets around the world at a level where they can “influence the market.” The important lessons from the papers presented are that (i) the US can have energy dominance in oil, natural gas and coal, but (ii) US cannot and should not aspire to have dominance in nuclear and REs. It was a very educational conference and I was the only Asian in the conference hall.

NATIONAL
5 Hike in excise tax for oil products and coal under TRAIN but zero excise tax for natural gas even if it is also a fossil fuel. Diesel tax will increase from zero in 2017 to P2.50/liter in 2018, P4.50 in 2019, and P6.00 in 2020. Gasoline tax will increase from P4.35/liter in 2017 to P7 in 2018, P9 in 2019, and P10 in 2020. Coal tax will increase from P10/ton in 2017 to P50 in 2018, P100 in 2019, P150 in 2020. There was successful maneuver by some senators, a known economist and some leftist organizations to spare natural gas from higher taxation, benefitting a big energy gas firm.

6 The feed-in-tariff (FiT) or guaranteed high price for 20 years for wind-solar and other renewables keeps rising, from only 4 centavos/kWh in 2015, became 12.40 centavos in 2016, 18 centavos in mid-2017 and petition for 22 centavos by late 2017 not granted. A pending 29 to 32 centavos/kWh by early 2018 is awaiting approval by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

7 Continued exemptions from VAT of the energy output of intermittent wind-solar and other renewables but stable fossil fuel sources were still slapped with 12% VAT under TRAIN. Government continues its multiple treatment of energy pricing: High favoritism for wind-solar, medium-favoritism for natgas, and zero favor for oil and coal.

8 Supreme Court issuance of TRO in the implementation of Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) provision of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001. In particular, the SC TRO covered five ERC Resolutions from June 2015 to November 2016, affecting the voluntary participation of contestable customers (CCs) for 750-999 kW and many Retail Electricity Suppliers (RES) with expiring licenses cannot get new ones yet, reducing potential competition. Data from the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) show that as of Nov. 26, 2017, there were 28 RES, 12 local RES, 862 CCs for 1 MW and higher, and only 78 CCs for 750-999 KW. There should be thousands of CCs in the lower threshold, there should be several dozens of RES nationwide to spur tight competition in electricity supply and distribution.

Overall, EPIRA of 2001 was a good law that introduced competition, broke government monopoly in power generation, broke private geographical monopolies in power distribution. The RE law of 2008, SC TRO 2017 and TRAIN 2017 are partly reversing the gains of EPIRA.
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See also:

Energy 105, When both world oil prices and domestic oil taxes are rising

Dutertenomics' tax-tax-tax implementation is off to bad timing. Raising oil taxes on already high and rising global oil prices -- $64 a barrel for WTI, nearly $70 for Brent -- is insensitive. But then again, even if the tax hike is P20 or P50/liter, the "money will go to the poor" naman daw is always a convenient, hollow, cavalier and opportunistic alibi.



"Diesel tax will increase from zero in 2017 to P2.50/liter in 2018, P4.50 in 2019, and P6.00 in 2020. Gasoline tax will increase from P4.35/liter in 2017 to P7 in 2018, P9 in 2019, and P10 in 2020. Coal tax will increase from P10/ton in 2017 to P50 in 2018, P100 in 2019, P150 in 2020." http://bworldonline.com/top-eight-energy-news-2017/

"the DoF is often quoted as saying that “two million richest Filipino families consume 50% of oil products in the country.” This is one of the reasons why they pushed for high tax hike for oil products.

There are about 25 million Filipino families now. The DoF refers to the richest 2 million families, so the other 23 million middle class and poorer class Filipinos consume the other 50% of oil products.... I think the DoF displayed dishonesty and deception in making that claim to further justify the high oil tax hikes." http://bworldonline.com/energy-favoritism-train/

Among the lousy supporters of "more taxes for oil please" and among the chief rah-rah cheerleaders of tax-tax-tax is the Action for Economic Reforms (AER). See for instance,

"Excise taxes on fuel products will be justifiably raised after 20 years of non-adjustment to inflation except for fuel that is primarily used for air travel, which can only be maximized by those who have more disposable income." http://bworldonline.com/public-interest-vested-interest/

Yes, poor farmers moving away from cow de carabao and using oil-guzzling tractors, moving away from manual harvest to oil-guzzling harvester-thresher combine machines should be penalized with higher oil taxes. Fisherfolks moving away from banka de sagwan and using motorboats to increase their fish harvest should be penalized with higher oil taxes. Great NGOs.

In one Senate comm. Hearing by Sen. Sonny Angara where I was also invited, the domestic shipping lines, airlines, bus lines, truckers, etc were saying the same thing -- if govt will push the high oil taxes, they will follow and obey the law but they will pass any price hike to the public. So even vegetables, fish, chicken, rice, etc consumed by the poor will experience price hikes. And DOF, AER, etc think this is fine and pro-poor daw.

LPG, from zero to P3/kilo. So the 11 kg LPG tank will experience P33/tank increase. The original DOF proposal was increase to P10/kilo or P110/tank. Even carinderias will also increase their food prices, or the less visible option -- serve smaller viand for the same price.
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Sunday, January 07, 2018

BWorld 177, On MMDA car towing and impounding

* This is my column in BusinessWorld last December 29, 2017.


“Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest bring about by the natural course of things.”

— Adam Smith, lecture in 1755; author of The Wealth of Nations (1776)

This is the continuation of my article, “The MMDA towed my car even with my kids inside” published here on Dec. 21.

Through a mutual friend, I was able to talk to Mr. Mike Salalima, Deputy Chief of Staff of MMDA Chairman Danny Lim, last Dec. 20, a day after my car was towed by MMDA-accredited Fighter Towing Co. (not Tiger as I’ve previously written and for that I apologize.)

Mike said that my case was not a case of an “unattended vehicle” and hence, the penalty should have been a simple violation ticket of anti-illegal parking. Thus, the towing from Makati City to Tumana, Marikina City (which took three hours) and impounding of my car was wrong. So he arranged for the release of my car that day and canceled my towing fee, which I estimated would cost about P6,000 (P1,500 first 4 kilometers for light vehicles plus P200/km thereafter).

Mike asked me if I wanted Fighter Co. to tow my car back to Makati City but I refused since they caused my troubles in the first place and that they might damage my car on the way back.

After the meeting with Mike, I then took a long commute from the MMDA main office in Edsa Guadalupe to Marikina City. I saw the impounding area the day before and when I saw it again that day to get my car, I was aghast at hundreds of impounded vehicles — cars, vans, taxi, jeepneys, delivery trucks, tricycles, motorcycles. Those vehicles should be transporting people and goods, not gathering rust. Private properties, many of which were the result of years of savings and sacrifices such as working abroad for several years, were impounded for months and even years on end, wasting away.

Why would the state through an agency like the MMDA have the power to confiscate private property? And in large numbers at that? Is it not the protection and respect of private property an important function and purpose why governments were created in the first place?

As the quote from Adam Smith suggested, the state can rise from barbarism to opulence and wealth via peace not violence, few taxes, and permits, not more, confiscatory justice administration, however tolerable.

For sure, not all of those hundreds of confiscated vehicles were impounded during the time of Chairman Danny Lim. They have accumulated since many years ago as evidenced by the amount of rust, degree of physical deterioration and height of grasses and vines that have engulfed many vehicles. A number of those vehicles though looked like some of their parts have been removed or stolen.

The purpose of towing and impounding is to help reduce traffic congestion in Metro Manila by removing temporary or permanent obstructions in selected roads. But the act of towing a briefly parked vehicle with the driver just nearby and bring it to a place many kilometers away is already creating traffic in more areas of the metropolis.

I was inside my car while it was being towed and I saw the towing truck made several traffic violations, such as (a) counter-flowing traffic in a section of Makati Avenue towards Buendia and (b) beating the red light from the Green Meadows area turning left towards C5. It was a regular case of government-accredited vehicles to correct traffic violations being traffic violators themselves. Those trucks were rushing to tow and impound as many cars as possible in a day because of the big money involved collecting the towing fee.

Drastic changes need to be instituted by the current MMDA leadership on the system of towing and impounding of vehicles. Two of possible moves would be: (1) Stop the towing and impounding scheme unless vehicles were used in committing crimes like murder and robbery. Violations of anti-illegal parking should be slapped with fines, higher fines if they want, and/or clamping of unattended vehicles. Or (2) allow the process of towing to be subject to challenge by vehicle owners and when the MMDA personnel and private towing companies are found to be wrong in their judgment, they must pay the vehicle owner/s two to three times the estimated towing fee plus any damages to the vehicles.

Governments should go back to their classical raison d’etre or reason for existence — protect the people’s right to life, right to private property, and right to liberty. It is not government function to create many restrictions and prohibitions in society like so many “No Parking” areas, so many requirements and costly permits before people can do business like operating a van to transport people and goods. Having many restrictions and prohibitions means many violations, fines and penalties; many opportunities for harassment and extortion of often helpless and less-informed citizens.
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Saturday, January 06, 2018

Climate tricks 64, Bitter cold and snow are caused by AGW

Al Gore the planet saviour. Less rain or lots of rain, less snow or more snow, less cold or bitter cold, the planet is in danger from anthropogenic (man-made) global warming (AGW) so we should send him and the UN more money. :-)


Reposting this, from Dr. Roy W. Spencer:
My imagined conversation with Al Gore:
MR. GORE: This cold wave and snowstorm are just what global warming predicted!
ME: And what if the weather had been unusually warm and snow-free?
MR. GORE: That would also be consistent with global warming theory.
ME: So warm winters, cold winters, snowy winters, and no-snow winters are all predictions of global warming?
MR. GORE: Yes, that is correct.
ME: Are you aware how foolish that sounds to many people?
MR. GORE: I am aware that there are deniers of the current climate crisis we are in, yes.
ME: Ugh.

Meanwhile, in December 2008, Al Gore announced this:

Al Gore: "North Pole Will Disappear in 5 Years" (Video)
December 13, 2008 by Jim Hoft 14 Comments

The Goracle spoke to an audience in Germany this week where he told them that “the entire North Polarized cap will disappear in 5 years.”

Global messengers of fake climate news and predictions have no shame. They have to continue the dishonesty and deception, non-stop, even if nature does not obey or conform with their ever-warming-predictions.
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See also:
Climate Tricks 61, Hysteria and tantrums over Trump's withrawal from Paris Agreement, June 02, 2017 

Climate Tricks 62, Climate religionism of Arcy Garcia, July 02, 2017 

Climate Tricks 63, The search for huge climate money in COP 23, November 26, 2017 
La Nina and flooding in the PH, other countries, December 30, 2017

BWorld 176, Road trips and PPP projects

* This is my column in BusinessWorld last December 28, 2017.


For the third straight year, I drove my family from Makati City to Iloilo City via roll-on roll-off (RoRo) vessels during the holidays.

The road trip came with its own set of inconveniences that were nevertheless offset by several benefits: It allowed my family to carry more cargo (compared to flying) and also allowed my two daughters to enjoy boat rides.

In December 2015 and 2016, I drove days before Christmas, to avoid the long queues of vehicles at the ports of Batangas and Roxas or Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro. This year, I drove early morning of Dec. 25 and I noticed two improvements.

First, toll fees were no longer collected that day (or at least in early morning) in the three tollways — South Luzon Expressway (SLEx), the SLEx extension, and the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) and I wish to thank the tollway operators for that Christmas gift.

As expected, travel was smooth and safe on these tollways, indicating once more the beauty of privately operated infrastructure and user-pay principle.

Last but not the least, only a few cars queued at the Batangas and Roxas ports although there were also fewer boats that day.

Roads from Calapan to Roxas in Oriental Mindoro are generally good although motorcycles and tricycles — especially in big municipalities like Calapan, Naujan, and Pinamalayan — delayed travel.

Likewise, the highways in Aklan province were smooth. In Capiz, roads have generally improved but several portions have remained bumpy. Motorcycles and tricycles on these roads have also increased significantly, extending travel time.

These bring up two important subjects.

First, the need to expand and modernize our roads via tollways, constructed and operated by the private sector through the public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.

Existing roads will remain and will be maintained by the DPWH and local governments but there should be an alternative thoroughfares for motorists who are willing to pay for faster and safer travel.

Here is a list of potential new tollways that currently have big vehicle traffic volume. I am not sure if there are already unsolicited proposals for these tollways.

1. Calapan-Roxas, Oriental Mindoro. This covers 126 kilometers with additional entry/exit in larger municipalities such as Naujan and Pinamalayan. Vehicle volume has practically exploded with the 24/7 operations of RoRo boats between Batangas-Calapan and Roxas-Caticlan. Many tourists and visitors from Metro Manila and nearby provinces are travelling to the islands of Mindoro (Oriental and Occidental provinces) and Panay (Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo provinces).

2. Caticlan or Kalibo, Aklan-Iloilo City. Caticlan hosts the main seaport and airport for hundreds of thousands of yearly visitors who go to Boracay. Panay island has many tourist attractions besides its already substantial population.

3. Escalante-Bacolod-Dumaguete, Negros island. The Escalante-Bacolod route connects the two provincial capitals of Negros Occidental and Cebu while the Bacolod-Dumaguete route connects the two provinces’ capitals. There are four sea connections from Negros to Cebu with rising commerce and investments between the two islands. Escalante-Tabuelan, San Carlos-Toledo, Guihulngan-Tangil, and Dumaguete-Bogo or Oslob.

Second, the Duterte government shouldn’t have reversed the previous policy of integrated PPP (building/construction + operation and maintenance, O&M are under a single entity) and change to hybrid PPP (building/construction and O&M done by two separate entities, the former usually China-owned firms via China ODA).

Many Philippine-based construction companies need more experience and infrastructure portfolio that further strengthen their technical and financial capability to do more PPP nationwide and regionwide. Our emerging economic neighbors Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar have started some large projects in the past and will soon undertake even bigger developments — provincial tollways, city skyways, big airports, and seaports, water, and power projects, school buildings and other civil structures.

ASEAN-based infrastructure and construction firms will have the advantage compared to those outside the region.

And pretty soon, fast-developing countries outside the region like India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan will also embark on large-scale infrastructure development via PPP as the scheme will significantly free their fiscal resources while having big, capital-intensive projects at the same time.

Philippine-based construction firms with large portfolio of finished and on-going projects in the Philippines and ASEAN neighbors will have some advantage because of evolving trade and investment partnerships among Asian countries.

It may have been wrong for the Duterte government to reverse previously planned integrated PPP and change to hybrid PPP just to accommodate China ODA and firms.

After all, there should be less government intervention in sectors and activities where market competition and innovation is present and can be further strengthened. Bigger government is reserved for promoting the rule of law and respecting and enforcing contracts and obligations between and among competing and regulated entities.
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