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RP wasting $30-billion fund DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 07/01/2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

RP wasting $30-billion fund

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
07/01/2011
What could be more important than writing about a key bit of information that will make the Filipino people realize they don’t need foreign funds in the national economy anymore to enable them to throw the yoke of economic colonialism immediately? All the BS that cause the inferiority complex and mendicancy of Filipinos (BS such as “we need foreign investors”; “we don’t have the funds”; “we can’t run the country without debt”; or “we can’t escape the debt trap”) will simply have to go down the toilet drain.

Several times before, we have written about this idle fund that can free us of foreign dependency right away. We placed the figure at $28 billion or P1.3 trillion and identified that fund as the Special Deposit Account (SDA) with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which was pointed out to us by economist Hiro Vaswani of KME (Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya). Recently, we got another confirmation of the existence and availability of this “disposable” fund kept idle only because of the treasonous streak of our BSP officials.

In a guest column by Mario Antonio Lopez in one business daily, it was reported that former Neda Chief Romulo Neri was of the opinion that “our dollar reserves of $65 billion (are) substantially above what the IMF (International Monetary Fund) considers adequate for a nation of our size and needs.”

In fact, Neri was said to believe that “we can, if we wish to, use perfectly legal means to liberate half of the fund ($30 billion) to jump-start a number of badly needed initiatives in education, agriculture, and health over and above the money currently available,” stressing that the “P40 billion requested, indeed needed, by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is a small amount compared to what can be made available to the three other programs which, in the process of providing the needed services, also means increased employment and livelihood opportunities.”

In other words, we don’t need the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) projects of PeNoy because this $30-billion fund is already larger than all the funding requirements for the 83 “flagship” projects under his entire term.

One report even placed the relatively miniscule “investment” requirement at “P739.78 billion under the Private-Public Partnership, 10 of which with investment requirements of P127 billion have been shortlisted and readied for rollout in 2011.”

Besides this, another reason for tapping the idle SDA is that PPP partners get unconscionable “sweeteners” such as TRO-free operations which, like in past BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) projects, effectively bar people from resorting to the courts no matter the inimical nature of these projects to public welfare or how financially abusive the project owners become. Of course, this is on top of the fact that “investor-partners” of government also get “sovereign guarantees” for their profits, which only means that they get to secure their loans risk free and their profits at exorbitant rates of return.

One of our fellow columnists in another paper, Romeo Lim, sums up the flawed logic of the PPP program (and the BOT law that preceded it): “Government (does) not have money to fund the huge investment requirements of our infrastructures program. Revenue collection (is) never enough… Government assets for sale (are) not inexhaustible, and there (are) limits to government borrowings.”

Unfortunately, that rationale, despite never being valid nor true, has gotten even the most intelligent and well-informed of our leaders either totally or partially ignorant of the existence of the huge fund that the country can use, perhaps out of a reluctance to exercise a modicum of mental or political independence.

Actually, the BSP and the country’s bankers know that this gargantuan fund is readily available for the nation’s benefit. But why is everybody silent about it? Is it because of certain shenanigans in the BSP, where officials are in cahoots with foreign fund managers to take advantage of it?

A recent news item (“BSP’s outsourced funds reach $9.8B”) reveals that a huge chunk of our reserves continues to yield management commissions or fees to almost a dozen foreign fund managers, stating, “The central bank’s externally-managed portfolios as of the end of last year totaled $9.89 billion, up by $5.94 billion from $3.95 billion third quarter of 2010 due to a shift in portfolios. (The BSP’s treasury department)… said the amount of almost $6 billion were cash infusions from the BSP’s internally-managed portfolios. The move was to shift this much amount from the internally-managed funds to externally-managed portfolios, which are funds outsourced to external managers and invested in longer-dated maturity securities, to preserve the country’s foreign currency capital. The BSP’s external fund management program started in 1997 (FVR’s time), when a portion of the gross international reserves was invested in long-term instruments. The BSP currently has 10 external fund managers including JP Morgan Chase.”

So who are the other “fund managers?” Do BSP officials receive fat commissions for subcontracting this, too?
In addition, it was revealed that “about 42 percent of Philippine funds which are US dollar hedged portfolios — are invested in the US, 33 percent in the Eurozone, 11 percent in Japan and nine percent in the United Kingdom.” BSP insiders tell us that commissions are paid out for such “investments” as well.

The Filipino people should thus wake up to the big scam that is going on with the country’s huge financial reserves. We are not as poor as those opportunistic elements in our ruling elite and financial cabals make us to be.

We, the people, should take charge of our nation’s financial resources through a People’s Bank run by our knowledgeable representatives — not by gofers of the international and local banking cartel.

(Tune in to Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m., and Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8, on “Supreme Court: Supreme Injustices” with Lauro Vizconde, Dante Jimenez and Rasti Delizo of PMJ; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)
(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110701com6.html

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