Boom Time

MANILA, Philippines - Looking around, one cannot deny there is a construction boom in the country, especially in Southern Luzon. Added to that is the continued increase in remittances from our overseas workers. There was an increase of 5% over last year's remittances in the first quarter of this year, bringing the remittances to close to the level of 20 billion US dollars on an annual basis. As you drive along Cavite and Laguna, the new homes and structures look like New Jersey or Shanghai. With all of this new wealth, what are we supposed to do? First of all we have to thank the Lord. We make holy what we are grateful for. We are still far from Singapore that provides for housing for every one of its citizens. But we are getting there. I remember the five-story housing complexes flying the Singapore flag in the 1970's now replaced or backed up with 25-story luxury housing. We have to keep this ideal for our urban dwellers. One problem is that it may depopulate our rural areas too rapidly.

Housing development and job availability mutual reinforce each other. We need good paying jobs so our workers can afford to pay for the new housing and erase the blight of squatter areas. Without the job creation, the building boom will fizzle out and bring us back to recession. For the present, it is the overseas workers coming home buying housing condominiums for their families or parents. These housing units or condominiums are a big improvement over the tenements in Tondo or Paco.

After this construction boom, what will sustain the good times? We have to do some manufacturing for our consumption. We probably do not have to go through the smokestack type of industrialization to get to a modicum of prosperity. This type of manufacturing we may be able to skip. What we will need is cheap and available power.

A good supply of energy is what will push the country to another level of prosperity. We now have almost all of our big boys steeped in energy production. And this can only result in lowering cost of power. Power from imported hydro-carbons has kept us a second-class nation economically. And yet we have tremendous untapped power sources. We have not yet really put our shoulders to the development of our geothermal resources and ignored the tremendous hydro resources. By the time we have fully harnessed these two, photovoltaic power would have come down in price to make them affordable. Once we have abundant cheap energy available there is no way we can be left behind.

As policy we cannot subscribe to the precautionary principle. In life there has to be some risk-taking. Without some risk-taking we cannot go forward. As the Exxon president said, a precautionary policy can only lead us back to the cave. On the level of implementation we need to take precaution seriously but as a policy it will spell ruin, as it has done in the past. We cannot sit on our hands or prohibit risk-taking even of the environment. We cannot risk becoming lily pure because we have done nothing. Life is filled with normal risks. <emeterio_barcelon@yahoo.com>

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • 'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait
    'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait

    Kuwaiti authorities are closely monitoring several relatives of "Jihadi John" who live and work in the Gulf emirate where the Islamic State executioner was born, press reports said on Sunday. A number of relatives of Mohammed Emwazi, named as the militant who has beheaded at least five Western hostages, are working in Kuwait and like him hold British citizenship, Al-Qabas newspaper reported. "Security agencies have taken the necessary measures to monitor them round the clock," the paper said, …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon
    Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon

    By Matt Siegel CANBERRA (Reuters) - The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cannot go on forever, Australia's deputy prime minister said, and discussions are already under way between Australia, China and Malaysia as to whether to call off the hunt within weeks. No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which disappeared a year ago this week carrying 239 passengers and crew, in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. The search of a rugged …

  • Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano
    Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano

    Government troops captured Sunday a bomb and weapons factory of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced yesterday. Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said the captured bomb and weapons factory is located inside an area controlled by radical Muslim cleric Ustadz Mohammad Ali Tambako at Barangay Dasikil in Mamasapano. …

  • Bong wants to see son in hospital
    Bong wants to see son in hospital

    Detained Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. will ask the Sandiganbayan to allow him to visit his son, Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla, confined at the intensive care unit of the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa for a gunshot wound in the chest. Lawyer Raymond Fortun, spokesman for the Revilla family, said the senator would ask for a 24- to 48-hour furlough. Sen. Revilla’s legal counsel Ramon Esguerra said doctors removed a half liter of blood. Fortun said he was able to talk to Jolo …

  • Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf
    Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has ordered the sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the successive offensives against the armed groups last week. A total of 24 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in recent clashes in Sulu last week. The Joint Task Group Sulu has received information that Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron was wounded during one of the encounters but this is …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options