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Philippines Mid-January 2023 Selected Updates: Onions cost more than Meat! Net Zero. SIM Card Registration and Smart Cities. WHO Davos Attendance List. China loses 850,000 population in 2022.
There being no updates on 2021 (final report pending) or 2022 vital statistics yet released by the PSA, and no Pharmacovigilance Report released for December (due on 16th January 2023, 10 working days after the end of the December), I will provide other miscellaneous local news that may be of interest to my readers.
Inflation Soaring to 14-Year High
Soaring inflation has raised the cost of most basic commodities. This affects the ability of people to feed and clothe themselves, let alone purchase non-essentials.
Exorbitant Onion Cost Blamed on Climate Change
Eggs and onions, two staples, have been affected. Rising egg prices are said to be due to shortages resulting from claimed avian flu impacts (where producing birds die and/or are culled).
However, the price of eggs have nothing over onions, which are commonly used in many Filipino dishes, with about 17 metric tonnes consumed nationally a month. Philippines has been having onion shortages since late December 2022. The price of onions in 2023 per kg is more than the minimum legal daily wage (minimum in National Capital Region is PHP570/day). More than the price of meat! Recently, when I can even find onions in the markets, they are costing in the range of PHP500 to PHP800/kg, for tiny ratty little red onions.
Philippines has always imported onions, not growing sufficient for its own consumption (planning shortfall?). Curiously the article blames ‘climate change’ and inflation!
I suppose the lack of onions will be used to push Philippines compliance with net 0 emission policies, to which it has not yet committed.
Why would a country commit to net zero when it means interrupting development and sentencing much of the population to continued poverty.
The Philippines is recognized as having mass reserves of untapped oil and gas.
These will also not be permitted to be accessed under renewable energy policies.
The article commented: -
However, there is little benefit to industrialization if the population cannot be fed. If the Philippines, an agricultural country, is not self-sufficient even in basics like rice, eggs, and onions!
Compulsory Registration of Phone SIM Cards
Late in 2021, a law was passed in Philippines requiring compulsory registration of all phone SIM cards. This means no more “burner’ phones. All phones used must be traceable back to a registered owner. SIM Registration started on 27 December 2022, and all SIM holders must be registered by April 26, 2023.
Smart phones can never be totally switched off, even when they are off. They certainly monitor locations, conversations and browsing history: at times I have simply looked at a single add for seconds, then my phone was full of similar adds at next browsing. Sometimes it seems I only think of something, to miraculously have that topic then start appearing on my phone.
One acronym applicable to SMART phones, applies to SMART cities too, which depend on SMART phones for their data collection: -
Tracking / Technology
The 15-minute smart city currently being pushed. Everything some government official has determined that the residents need to be provided within a 15-minute radius, which sounds idyllic, except that it is also being proposed that residents will not be permitted to go outside that 15-minute radius without specific permission. They may not have choice in which services they can access. Too bad if their friends or family live in a different zone! A completely new definition of home detention, though not so different from what many of us have lived through for the past 3 years!
The 15-minute city aims to reorganize urban space around work, home, community and amenities – the idea is that every need is fulfilled within a 15-minute walk or short bike ride.
Various cities around the world have begun to embrace the 15-minute city approach.
But urban life is about more than access to amenities and the 15-minute model risks excluding disadvantaged communities.
Even if there’s a 15-minute baseline, great city centres with world class experiences should remain accessible to all.
Melbourne, Australia, trialed this system with residents not allowed to go further than 5 km from their homes during lockdowns. Philippines essentially did the same during peak lockdowns when “non-essential” people were required to stay home except to attend to essentials like food and health assistance (one person / household, and with permit only), and not allowed to work.
Digital Economy for Philippines
Philippines Government is committed to growing the digital economy! Electronic payment systems such as the very popular G-Cash, the Philippines mobile wallet, contribute to this; payments, donations, receipt of moneys, bank transfers may all be effected via this smart phone-based system. Never mind that a good portion of the population which cannot afford SMART phones, may be left behind.
DAVOS and the Future of the Philippines (and the World)
This year’s WEF Meeting in Davos Theme is “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”. This where the high fliers of the world meet to discuss and plan the future of everyone else.
The Philippines has a delegation from Government leaders attending the WHO summit in DAVOS. The list includes two representatives of Migrant workers, whose service greatly contributes to supporting families left in the Philippines and thus the Philippines economy.
Attendees include: -
H.E. Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., President
First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos, First Lady
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Former President, Deputy Speaker of the House
Hon. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Speaker of the House of Representatives
Sec. Benjamin Diokno, Secretary of Finance
Sec. Alfredo E. Pascual, Secretary of Trade and Industry
Sec. Jaime J. Bautista, Secretary of Transportation
Sec. Arsenio M. Balisacan, Secretary, National Economic Development Authority
Sec. Maria Susana V. Ople, Secretary of Migrant workers
Sec. Cheloy E. Velicaria-Garafil, Secretary, Presidential Communications Office
Sec. Antonio Ernesto F. Lagdameo Jr., Special Assistant to the President
Sec. Adelio Angelito S. Cruz, Pres Adviser on Foreign Affairs & Chief of Presidential Protocol
Senator Mark A. Villar, Senator
Rep. Ferdinand A. Marcos III, Senior Deputy Majority Floor Leader, House of Representatives
Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez, Representative
Carlos D. Sorreta, Undersecretary, Department of Foreign Affairs
Zeno Ronald Abenoja, Undersecretary, Department of Finance
Patricia Yvonne M. Caunan, Undersecretary, Department of Migrant workers.
Alarm is Raised Over China’s Population Drop of 850,000 in 2022. Birth rate is 6.77/1000 population and Lower than their Death Rate of 7.37/1000 population. Likely Non-Recoverable. This Poses Pending Population Collapse for China.
An alarm is being raised with regards to China’s population contraction.
For the first time since the famines of the Great Leap Forward in the 1950s, as reported in the NZ Herald here, China has reported a drop in population attributed to both dropping birthrates and aging population. There were also nearly 33 million more men than women.
Also discussed by CNBC was that new births in China in 2020 fell by 22% and by an additional 13% in 2021.
Compare this with the Philippines. In 2020 new births fell by 8.7%, and in 2021 they fell by an additional10.7%, giving a total drop in live births from 2019 to 2021 of 18.5%. If China is in trouble with dropping birth rates, why would Philippines also not be in the similar trouble?
From Reuters, the birth rate in China in 2022 was 6.77 / 1000 people, while the death rate was 7.37 / 1000 people. Compare this to Philippines 2021 preliminary data which showed a birth rate of 12.41/1000 persons (nearly double Chinese birth rates, incomplete 2022 data available), and a death rate of 7.99 persons/1000 persons (8.5% higher than Chinese Death Rates), in preliminary data and assuming a total population of 110 million.
However, Philippines has also identified 2022 fertility rates to be at 1.9 / woman, which is below replacement level. This is being praised as a boon to reducing poverty. However, doesn’t it also pose a coming population collapse for the Philippines. Shouldn’t the alarm already be raised here as well?