[America] Wonder Girls’ US Debut MV “Nobody”

Here is thre official debut MV of the Wonder Girls in America. It’s the English version of their Asian hit “Nobody.”

Seriously, can JYP get any cheaper than this? I mean, come on, SM and YG managed to, at least, bring something new to the table with BoA and Se7en.  And what irritates me is that this MV is just dubbed in English T_T  They didn’t create a new one.  And the girls’ accent is just horrible. T_T

  1. What is Cha-cha?
  • Cha-cha, or charter change, is a conglomeration of processes that are involved in the revising and amending of the current 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.

A. History of Cha-cha in the Philippines

  • The issue was first presented to the Filipinos by former president Fidel V. Ramos. Back then, Cha-cha was vying for a shift in the form of government, from presidential to parliamentary. According to Ramos, Cha-cha will reduce if not prevent, the lags that the country experiences when it comes to legislative matters because it promotes “cooperative relationship between the executive and the legislative bodies.”
  • When Joseph Estrada came into position, Cha-cha focused on a different aspect – this time, it seeks to further liberalize the economic relations of the Philippines with other countries by discouraging protectionism, which he referred to as the “formula for failure in the global economy.”
  • The Macapagal-Arroyo proposal is the latest proposal for Cha-cha, and is the most outright and the most persisting attempt to change the constitution. The following are the proposed amendments which shall be done on the 1987 Constitution:
  1. The presidential government is deemed dysfunctional due to the inherent conflicts between the President, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. Cha-cha seeks to replace this with a unified parliamentary government and, along with it, reforming our electoral and political party system.
  2. Our highly centralized and ineffective unitary system should be changed into a federal system which will promote local and regional development and will bring the government closer to the people.
  3. Remove investment restrictions to foreign investors to encourage economic development, raise more revenues, create more jobs, and provide better infrastructure and public services.

B. The Process of Cha-cha

  • In accordance with the Article XVII, Section I and II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the only possible way to amend the present constitution is to assemble a body for the expressed purpose of framing a Constitution, or revising the Constitution, or formulating amendments to it for the approval of the electorate (constitutional convention), and through people’s initiative. The assembly must be proposed by at least three-fourths of the representatives from the lower house (Congress). By virtue of the Article VII, Section 4 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, “any amendments or revision of the Constitution will only be valid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite.”

II. What is Neo-liberalism?

  • The main idea in neoliberalism is free trade, which points out that “competitive free trade” would automatically benefit all the nations concerned.

  1. Arguments for Neo-liberalism
  • The neo-liberals basically defend their argument by saying that international trade expands the market for goods and services (beneficial on the part of the consumers), aids in the creation of more jobs, and supports the dissemination of new technological advancements. Trade is integral to development and thus, getting rid of economic trade barriers will speed up economic development. Trade liberalization is after all, inevitable, perhaps due to globalization.

B. Arguments Against Neo-liberalism

  • The last three decades of continuous economic liberalization efforts has proved to be a failure. It has only created a more segmented, work and job short, debt-ridden national economy that is dependent only on the informal sector and the overseas labor market. Moreover, trade unions like the WTO have only been working on the interests of the developed countries by implicitly taking advantage of the developing countries who are no longer employing protectionism to their own economy (the end result on the part of the developing countries is exploitation).

III. The “Cha-cha Economic Initiative” and the Perpetuation of Neo-liberalism

  1. Facts
  1. During the Spanish colonial rule, the Philippines served as an “entrepot” for the free trade of goods between Spain and other Asian countries like China. It  remained as a colonial free trade center until the American regime.
  2. After the second World War (specifically in 1957), the Philippines was commended by the World Bank as the second best-performing economy in East Asia (after Japan).
  3. In the 1960s, there was a policy confusion: the Diosdado Macapagal regime was implementing an import substitution strategy which resulted to a $ 300M-debt from the International Monetary Fund to cover up for the budget deficits.
  4. The Martial Law was declared in 1972. It favored a labor-intensive, export oriented strategy over import substitution. The said strategy failed to industrialize the Philippines.
  5. The existing economic strategy was not enough according to the World Bank. In the 1980s, the structural adjustment program (SAP) was called for. The program seeks to implement trade and investment liberalization, privatization, and deregulation in the finance and agricultural sectors.
  6. The SAP was deepened and was propelled by the following administrations up to the present. The Cory Aquino regime passed Proclamation No. 50 (Asset Privatization Trust) which lessens the legal hassles of privatization of government-owned assets. The Ramos command opened up the financial and energy sectors in line with globalization. The Estrada rule put into action the Tariff Reform Program (TRP) which reduces tariffs and phases out import barriers.
  7. The Macapagal-Arroyo government is now pushing for a “Cha-cha economic initiative” which is working towards the full liberalization of the ownership of land and of foreign investments in the country.
  8. As of 2006, the total national debt is about 4 Trillion Php. If we include the public sector debt (local government borrowings, government corporations debts), the sum will be as much as 7 Trillion Php, which is 130% of the total GNP.
  9. The annual fiscal deficit is 200 Million Php. To cover up for these, the government borrows money weekly.

IV. Hypothesis: Cha-cha is a perpetuation of Neo-liberalism in the Philippines

  • Neo-liberalism, in its very essence, encourages the free movement of capital goods and services across countries through the elimination of trade barriers and import restrictions (II.A). The explicit economic side of cha-cha (Fact 7) basically states the same thing – trade liberalization is integral to economic development. Looking at the issue from this perspective, it can be said that Cha-cha is a perpetuation of neo-liberalism in the Philippines.
  • For many decades, neo-liberalism has taken on different forms, using different names (Facts 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6), under different administrations. Whether the proposed version of the Cha-cha of the Arroyo administration is persistent due to personal political reasons or whatever, the fact still remains that Cha-cha seeks full trade and investment liberalization of the Philippines (literally) and that in itself is a proof that Cha-cha is yet another attempt to  keep the neo-liberal spirit alive.
  • If we look at Fact 2, we can be led to wonder why the Philippines did not develop into a newly industrialized country when in fact it had a promising future in the 1950s. Considering the steps taken by the country in the past decades, we can then conclude that economic liberalization is not enough to propel an economy up to being developed (Fact 6). The Philippine economy has prioritized trade with other economies so much so that it has become dependent to external entities to survive (Fact 9). It did not learn how to stand on its own feet and now its government is clinging to what they profess as the last string that can pull us out of poverty, that is Cha-cha.

Sources:

Abueva, Jose Veloso (2005). The Right Timing and Mode of Charter Change: Call a Constitutional Convention and elect its delegates in 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2009, from http://www.up-ncpag.org/pdf/Dr_%20Abueva.pdf

Abueva, Jose Veloso (2005). Charter Change for Good Governance (Towards a Federal Republic of the Philippines with a Parliamentary Government. Marikina City, Philippines: Citizen’s Movement for a Federal Philippines (CMFP) and KC Institute of Federal- Parliamentary Democracy.

Congressional Planning and Budget Department (2003, February). A Reader on Charter Change. Retrieved 29 June 2009, from http://philsol.nl/L-ChaCha.htm

De Leon, H.S, (1997), Textbook on the Philippine Constitution, Quezon City Rex Printing Company

Delong, Bradford (2002). Globalization and Neoliberalism. Retrieved 29 June 2009, from http://www.j_bradford_delong.net/delong@econ.berkeley.com

Reject Cha-cha Organizing Committee (1999, June 23). Reject Pro-Foreign and Pro-Elite Agenda, Reject the Estrada Charter. Retrieved 30 June 2009, from http://philsol.nl/A99b/Reject-chacha-june99.htm

Shaikh, Anwar (2004, February). Neoliberalism. Retrieved 29 June 2009, from http://sanhati.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/

Tañada, Wigberto (2006). Nationalist Development Agenda: A Roadmap for Economic Revival, Growth and Sustainability, Fair Trade Alliance

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