• Rose gardens, dwarves, white space & sweet spot


    Been out for two weeks now and Zilch is resurrecting its oomph in the wings of a crazy summer with rains and high temperature mid-day and an erudite denial that the 2010 Aquino campaign did not promise the people a “rose garden.” Apart from the rose garden, buzz has been going around on who truly holds the reigns of government in the last 800 and so days of the Aquino administration. And yet another development is the breakthrough in Internet connectivity using the so-called TVWS technology and the creeping potential impact of the so-called sweet spot to the future of the country. The last two points have direct impact on May 2016.

    A presidential spokesman is the alter ego of his principal. He speaks when the President has a policy statement to make. He rarely talks but when he talks, its as if it’s the president talking. But then again, in this administration, much has been redefined. According to presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda and again, it seems that he still does not get what the role of a presidential spokesman is, the Aquino administration has promised to implement genuine reforms, it did not say that everything would come up roses. This remark was made due to the persistent complaints by light railway train commuters in Metro Manila who suffer daily from inefficient mass transportation since no action has been taken to respond to the issues related to the upgrade of the MRT system.

    To be frank about it, no Mr. Lacierda, the people were not expecting a rose garden, they were expecting a government that promised “kung walang korupt, walang mahirap.” Looking back, the same government promised “tuwid na daan.”

    What surrounds the MRT now is an issue precisely of corruption and not the infamous straight path. It is delayed action and not efficient management. But I also remember this government bragged at one time that it “under promises but over delivers.” So where is the over delivery on the issue of the MRT? How about Yolanda? The expansion of the MRT could have been a PPP but even that got derailed. Truly Mr. Lacierda, the people would do a chorus and rightfully start the song written by Joe South and sung by Lynne Anderson by saying, I beg your pardon.

    At the rate basic services are compromised because of non-decision or delayed decision, the rose garden can be transformed to a talipapa ably run by the six stooges assisting the inheritor of the iconic symbol. Now who are the six stooges? I would hasten, let’s get hold of the book entitled I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Interestingly, it is a 1964 semi-autobiographical novel of a teenage girl’s battle with schizophrenia by Joanne Greenberg.

    And so let’s talk about the TV White Space or TVWS, which could probably alter the Internet penetration rate in our country. Telephone companies will be obsolete while TV networks and holders of TV frequencies will rule the communications landscape. Spectrum lords would probably earn much more just by sitting on their frequencies. Using TV White Space (TVWS) technology for increasing Internet penetration in the Philippines would alter the political landscape. Imagine the rural areas being linked to the Internet? That’s a revolution of sorts and the balance of power would probably be fair and inclusive instead of power being with the cities and big municipalities or being solely defined by the National Capital Region.

    Gatekeepers will change, cable would have some degree of influence and manipulative “sharp political strategist” using push polls, releasing partial polls spinning the results to create a herd of support when there is none and dictating to and conditioning voters can be less intrusive. If there will be a burst of TVWS because of the shift from analog TV to digital then we can see the peripheries being exposed to the power of social media.

    If we can imagine the use of TVWS and attaining a 50% Internet penetration rate, campaigning will alter and gatekeepers will change. The demographic window, the so-called “demographic sweet spot,” basically refers to the period when a nation’s productive working age group (i.e., those 15-64 years old) is larger than its dependents group (i.e., children 0-14 years old and elderly 65 years old above). This “window of opportunity” typically lasts 30 to 40 years before the population begins to age. Bangko Sentral Governor Amado Tetangco announced to investors that the country is entering its “sweet spot” by 2015, making it ripe for business with its larger labor market.

    Based on latest census data, the average age of Filipinos is at 23.4 years old. The dependency ratio has also decreased to 61 dependents for every 100 working-age persons. Dependency is expected to decrease as the average-age population becomes bigger and the labor force larger. This sweet spot is expected to last up to year 2050, when the average age would have increased by 35 years old and the so-called “demographic winter” begins.

    The Philippines can take advantage of the expanding work force. This also implies that government should be able to provide jobs, and invest in the education of those in the enhanced labor force to help them get decent employment.

    So for those planning for 2016, youth and young professionals will constitute the majority of the voters’ pool. Put together, the formula of TVWS and the country’s sweet spot are potential game changers that a loaded PCOS may fail to understand. The terrain is changing, beware of people talking about promises and Rose Gardens to voters, they may just get a total rejection despite push surveys and elections conditioned by rankings in survey results.


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    1. Mr Lacierda has mastered the style of his boss in public speaking. When cornered, insult the people. His “rose garden non-promise” is akin to the government providing jobs but no salary. You are too demanding. We already gave you jobs and still you want salaries?

    2. victor m. hernandez on

      The delay in the MRT improvement lies in the workings of the Bids and Awards Committee in charge of selecting and approving the winning bidders. Once that’s done then delay can be pointed at someone else, and that is the approving authority on the recommendation of the Bids and Awards Committee. The process is clearly stated in the Government Procurement Act. One can read and analyze it to understand the process. Is there any delay? Why? Certainly, the ones not selected has the right to appeal if they feel they are unfairly not selected even if they are the most qualified to be the winner. The Chezck ambassador has a complain, which should be urgently investigated in a manner that is transparent, and the one responsible for delay, and malfeasance, if any, should be held accountable. Yes indeed, “kung walang corrupt, may efficient MRT”. Who cares about roses? We care only when the smell of which, can only be experienced in a spacious and efficient daily commute in MRT. Our message to the bureacrats: Just do your job, and be content with your salary rather than looking for undeserved largesse. Agian, kung walang corrupt, may efficient na MRT.