Joke TyM

20 05 2008

An elderly Filipino went to confession and said to the priest, “Father, during World War II, a beautiful young American girl knocked on my door and asked me to hide her from the Japanese. So I hid her in my attic.” The priest replied, “That was a wonderful thing you did. There is no need to confess.” “It’s worse than that, Father. She started to repay me with sexual favors every day.” The priest replied, “You were both in great danger. Under the circumstances, she was just showing her gratitude. You are indeed forgiven.” “Thank you, Father but I have one more question.” “What is that?” asked the priest. “Should I tell her the war is over?”


During a visit to a mental asylum, a visitor asked the director how they determined who should be institutionalized. “Well, we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.” “Oh, I understand,” said the visitor. “A normal person would use the bucket because it is bigger than the cap or the teaspoon.” “No,” said the director, “A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?”


Pinoy teen’s ‘fish mucus’ speech wows London judges

17 05 2008

MANILA, Philippines -The title of Gian Carlo Dapul’s speech not only sounded odd to London judges in the recently concluded English Speaking Union’s (ESU) International Public Speaking Competition, but it also made sense.

The sixteen-year-old incoming Philippine Science High School senior didn’t falter in his curiously-titled speech, ‘Fish mucus and Foot Fungus,’ a five minute-speech that dished out scientific researches that have helped mankind live better.

“They noticed how natural I was while I was talking. I [talked about how] research is a tool in unlocking new frontiers and new horizons which is basically the theme of the competition,” Dapul told GMANews Friday when he arrived at the airport.

Greeted by his banner-waving relatives, Dapul’s nonchalant swagger at the airport emphasizes the fact that he bested 57 participants from 35 countries in the annual speaking competition last May 9.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Dapul, the second Filipino to have won the ESU competition, confessed about his win.

TV host and columnist, Patricia Evangelista was the first Filipino to have won the contest in 2004. Evangelista was a college student at the University of the Philippines when she received competed in London.

Dapul will formally receive his award on November at the Buckingham Palace.

During the question and answer portion following each of the delegates’ speeches, Dapul was asked about his stand on the morality of genetic research particularly stem cell.

He replied: “I believe that the challenges that morality presents is a bit dubious depending on your point of view. For example, what is better to not conduct stem cell research which would save lives or to conduct stem cell research which can cure cancer, Parkinson’s and many other diseases.”

“Controversy is caused by differing opinions it depends on where those opinions can meet in the middle because there is such a thing as ethical research. And this research can be pursued if ethics dictates that other types of research should not be pursued,” he added.

Dapul’s father, Santi beamed how his son was able to beat other countries in the competition.

“His success in London was really his [own] success. In the end it was his ability to convince the judges that made him win,” Santi said.

Despite detailing the scientific breakthroughs over the decades which have marked a new frontier in the world, Dapul’s speech hardly bored the judges with his humorous banters.

“If only we could make science fairs and contests as popular as the thriving ‘Pop Idol’ franchise. Although I’m not sure if Simon Cowell’s sardonic comments will sit well with my peers,” he said in his speech. -Mark Joseph Ubalde, GMANews.TV

Creating a Happy World

15 05 2008

Investing urban legend

8 05 2008

Money Smarts, by Salve Duplito


Posted under Investing

Quote for the day:

People think they can invest P20,000 and grow that to a million if they are smart enough. That’s an urban legend. Truth is, you need money to attract money. Capital formation is very important.

– Augustus J.V. Ferreria, senior executive vide-president of Generali Pilipinas, in a MoneyMakeover session May 5, 2008.

The idea of investing is sexy. We are all in a hurry to do it. The more technical and highfaluting, the better. Stocks, bonds, forex, real estate – bring them on!


The wisdom of the wise tells us to make sure we have the “pisi” (rope) to invest and make money even during market fluctuations. Yes, even for supposedly–dummy-proof instruments like mutual funds. We must consider worst-case scenarios before we let excitement push us to jump without a chute.

Dr. Noet’s column today explains for example that even for assets we are planning to hold to maturity, we cannot just be fixated on the specific date in the future when we will get our principal plus the discount or minus the premium. We must also think about what will happen if worse comes to worst, we need to liquidate before that time.

A high income or extensive wealth will allow a select few the option of holding onto assets irrespective of market swings. Indifference is a clear clue that they have judged themselves to be liquid enough to either withstand the market spikes or remain focused only on the maturity date. This is the privilege of having a “mahabang pisi”.

For most retail investors though, our pisi is much shorter. We are much more prone to a liquidity squeeze and more likely to react when the day-to-day value of our long-term assets are fluctuating. The irony is that when investors sell when prices are already falling, values drop even further. Panic begets large losses and large losses beget further losses.

“But this opportunity comes only once!” the thought reverberates in my head.

“Nah,” reason sets in. That’s greed talking.

Conserve financial strength, build up capital, choose tradeable investments and only then invest. Breathe in, breathe out. -)

IP and technological development

8 05 2008

WHAT’s IN A NAME, by Atty. Adrian S. Cristobal


The Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008 will be signed into law any day now by President Arroyo. The original bills from both houses of Congress were focused on amending Republic Act 8293, known as the Intellectual Property (IP) Code. The premise was that the intellectual-property system is crucial to promote creativity and innovation, and with a bit of tinkering, it can be made more responsive to the needs of a developing country and, in this instance, public health.

Although provisions on price regulation and amending the generics law took center stage in the debate as the compromise bill entered its final stages, the impact of the IP system on our development goals and our daily lives is not lost to policymakers and the public. The Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act is a landmark law that will address the country’s requirements for public health, one of the eight priority areas of the Philippine Intellectual-Property Policy Strategy (PIPPS).

Now, we move on to another strategic area of public policy, where the IP system also plays a critical role: technological development and competitiveness. Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya of the First District of Cavite has filed House Bill No. 3270 that aims to build up the technological base of the Philippine economy by encouraging technology transfer and commercialization.

In his explanatory note, Representative Abaya correctly observes that technology transfer and innovation have been “very much at the center of policies on economic development” of developed countries, which explains their economic growth and productivity. Technological innovations emanating from high-quality scientific research institutions are the key factors that sustain their economic growth.

Representative Abaya, citing the 2006-2007 Global Competitiveness Report, laments that “the Philippines is ranked 71st out of 125 countries in terms of technological readiness or ability to adopt technologies from home or abroad to enhance the productivity of its industries. This is in contrast with the high rankings of our Asian neighbors like Singapore [2nd], Hong Kong [13th], Korea [18th], Japan [19th], Malaysia [28th] and Thailand [48th]. In the area of innovation or the ability to produce brand-new technologies, the country ranks a dismal 79th. Compared to emerging innovation powerhouses in the Asean like Singapore [9th], Malaysia [21st], Indonesia [37th] and Thailand [33rd], the Philippines has a lot of catching up to do in terms of innovation.”

House Bill 3270 aims to foster a “conducive policy environment with strong support from public and private sectors” and address the “weakest link in the country’s innovation system…the process of transferring and commercializing the results of R&D, particularly those undertaken by government-funded R&D institutions [RDIs].”

One of the crucial elements in successful technology transfer and commercialization is, in the words of Representative Abaya, “a well-defined intellectual-property regime.” HB 3270, drawing lessons from legislation in the United States and the United Kingdom, will allow publicly funded RDIs to commercialize their innovations, which will generate not only economic but also social benefits.

Like the Access to Affordable Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, this law on IP and technology transfer and commercialization will, if passed, be another landmark piece of legislation. It may not have the drama of the former, with its powerful interest groups against public-interest advocates, but this law will have the same strategic impact on our society and can change the face of the Philippine economy in the near future. 

The author is the director general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines. Comments may be sent to e-mail address:


Why P100 gasoline might be good

8 05 2008



Yesterday the international investment house Goldman Sachs forecast that crude oil will reach as high as $200 per barrel within the next 24 months.

This might be dismissed as typical investment-market chatter if not for the fact that these same oil analysts at Goldman predicted in 2005 that oil would breach $100 a barrel. That would put the price of a liter of gasoline at P100 just in time for the 2010 presidential election.

And having to pay P100 for a liter of gasoline might just be good thing for the Philippines.

When, two years ago, oil was $50 and Goldman forecast $100, the Philippines’ political leaders did nothing to prepare for $100. Now they have the opportunity to prepare for $200 a barrel.

Who wants to be the next president? Raise your hand. I have the guaranteed political strategy for making you the overwhelming landslide choice in 2010. Tell the people what you are doing today to handle a doubling of oil prices in two years. Because all the other contenders are going to tell the people what they will do after they take office and after gasoline doubles in price. It will be too late, then, to take action, just as it is now.

Here’s another thing to consider for your political campaign. If conditions continue unchanged, you may not be able to afford to give away that T-shirt and can of sardines to win a few extra votes. And your provincial political sortie might have to be on the back of a carabao instead of a Ford Expedition.

People worry about how much it costs for a tank of gas while Dubai, using our Filipino workers, is spending billions of dollars, some of it ours, to build artificial islands as playgrounds for the rich and famous.

However, no one is confident that solutions will be sought until the problem grows bigger. And that is why P100 gasoline might be good for the country. At P50, the pain is still bearable. When the situation deteriorates and the pain hurts badly enough, then the leaders might finally take some constructive action. We have seen this happen before.

Eight-hour brownouts apparently were not a major problem for the government to solve. Just declare every Monday a nonworking holiday. Only when there wasn’t any electricity for 12 hours or more (and Fidel Ramos became President) was substantive action taken.

Look at the current situation and certain political leaders’ responses to it. It would be funny if it were not so tragic for the country. One politician demands that the government increase the rice-price subsidy now that rice is nearly P50 a kilo. Does that idea keep us from importing even one extra grain of rice? No. Another wants to stop charging the expanded value-added tax, or EVAT, on gasoline. Does that increase the Philippines’ oil production by one drop? Of course not.

There must be something in the air inside government offices and legislative halls around the world that causes political leaders to lose their common sense. Ideas and policies they would never apply in their own occupation—be it in commerce, education, medicine and media—are often the standard when they enter politics.

Virtually every government leader has, directly or indirectly, engaged in wealth creation in the private sector. They built something, taught others to build or found the capital and noncapital resources to create wealth. But when they join the government, they suddenly forget how to create national wealth.

Sure, some of our leaders come from wealthy families, but in every one of these families, someone sometime started with very little and created wealth that survived and thrived through generations. Others not born into such rich families began with very little but went on to succeed financially.

We should be fortunate in the Philippines because we do not have professional politicians like in the United States, for example. Al Gore worked four years outside of politics as a part-time newspaper reporter. Barack Obama worked two years of his life in the private sector and as a part-time college lecturer and part-time lawyer. Hillary Clinton worked a total of four years as an attorney.

You want more and cheaper rice? Grow it. You need domestic oil so as not to be hostage to the Middle East oil sheiks? Dig it up.

No nation taxed, untaxed, subsidized, politicized or legislated itself to prosperity. They created wealth. Why is Vietnam now a net rice exporter? When I last visited it in 1990, this was the only national rice policy: “Everybody grow rice!” Every square meter of usable land in rice-friendly areas was planted. The monthly salary of the hotel night manager was $5.

We have huge mineral wealth. Do we dig it up? No. We may have enough oil for self-sufficiency. Do we exploit it? No.

Find a leader who applies the same wealth-creation techniques and policies in government that they do in the real world. Maybe P100-a-liter gasoline will bring that person to the top and something might be accomplished. 

Overseas Employment Scams

6 05 2008

Job seekers, interested in overseas employment that promises high pay, good benefits, free traveled adventure, should be aware that there are unscrupulous operators who have devised elaborate and very convincing scams to bilk unwitting, and often desperate applicants.

Before getting swept away with promises of exotic job opportunities, make sure you have thoroughly investigated the matter and know the potential risks involved in obtaining overseas employment.

Typical Overseas Employment Scams

Unlike legitimate employment firms that have permanent addresses, many unscrupulous operators run their so-called job placement firms from out-of-state, and may provide only a post office or mail drop address. Although there are legitimate firms with post office or mail drop addresses, job applicants should be aware that this practice, when used by unscrupulous operators, makes it easier for the operators to avoid scrutiny by their clients.

In many instances, law enforcement officials investigating a suspicious firm have found a “fly-by-night” operation. The scam headquarters, with little more than a desk and a telephone, may be based in one state, but operate out of other states, making it more difficult for the officials to track the operation.

Typical overseas job scams, include:

  • Firms that charge advance fees. These operations usually advertise in newspapers and magazines. The ads most frequently offer construction jobs, one of the industries hardest hit by a weak economy. Consumers who call the number, provided in the ad, are generally told that there are immediate openings available for which they are perfectly suited. But to lock in the job, they are told, they must pay a placement fee in advance. These up-front charges can range from $50 to several thousand dollars. Firms that charge these advance fees often are so eager to get the money in their hands and avoid using the U.S. mail service that they may send a courier to pick up the deposit, or require that it be sent via overnight delivery, at the applicant’s expense.

    However, more often than not, these firms actually have little, or no, contacts with employers and can offer minimal assistance, despite their service charges.

    Job seekers should not be duped by a firm’s promise of a refund, if no job or lead materializes. Most of these firms that require payment in advance do not stay around long enough for dissatisfied customers to get their money back.

  • Firms that charge a fee once they provide a job lead. A disreputable firm may fabricate job leads, or bring in a third-party to impersonate a potential employer, in order to get an applicant’s fee.
  • “900” number operators. A “900” number connected with employment opportunities may charge a high flat fee, or per-minute rate. In some instances,”900″ number operators may fail to disclose the cost of each call or, if printed, display it in fine print. As a result, callers may not be aware of how much they are spending. Some unscrupulous operators may even increase their fees by creating delays while the caller is on the line. In one case, for example, a consumer answered an advertisement instructing job applicants to call an”800″ toll-free number for more information. The message on that number directed the caller to dial a”900″ number to find out about job openings. The”900″ number, however, merely directed the caller to send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to have a job application mailed out. The consumer complied; received only a one-page generic job application, and was billed $39 for the phone call.

    The FTC now requires, among other things, that operators of “900” numbers provide information on the cost of the call up front. When calling a “900” number, be sure you understand the charges before continuing with the call.

  • Job listing services. There are many firms that make no promises to place you in a job. They merely sell a list of job opportunities, providing little assurance about the accuracy of the information. For instance, the information may be sold via a newsletter that features photocopied help-wanted ads from newspapers around the world. Many of the ads may be months old, soliciting jobs that already have been filled. In addition, the ads may not have been verified to ensure that the jobs actually exist.

    Some ads may be from countries with strict quotas that discourage the hiring of foreign citizens. Other publications may promise access to information on job opportunities, but provide nothing more than a listing of employers in various regions.

How to Avoid Employment Scams

Many job seekers have lost money to disreputable advance-fee placement firms. If you decide to use an overseas job placement firm, the best way to avoid being scammed is to learn as much as you can about the operation:

  • Ask for references. Request both names of employers and employees the company has actually found jobs for. Scam artists will typically defend their refusal to provide the information, claiming it is a” trade secret.” Or, they frequently claim that if they told you where the openings are, you would circumvent their services. These schemers may also cite privacy concerns as the reason for refusing to provide the names of people they have placed.
  • Check out reliability. Contact the local Better Business Bureau, as well as the state’s consumer protection agency, to find out if any complaints have been filed against the firm.
  • Avoid firms that operate solely via telephone or mail. Any reputable placement firm will almost certainly need to meet you before it can market you effectively to an employer. Be suspicious of any operation that claims it can place you with an employer, without meeting and interviewing you. Be particularly wary of firms that operate outside of the state where they advertise. In many instances, unscrupulous operators purposefully seek to distance themselves from their clients in order to avoid closer scrutiny. If they are ultimately challenged, the distance complicates an investigation by law enforcement authorities.
  • Find out how long the employment company has been in business. Also, ask what is the firm’s present financial condition. Compare the company, and the services offered, with other similar firms before you pay a fee.
  • Get  all promises in writing. Before you pay for anything, request and obtain a written contract that describes the services the firm intends to provide. Determine whether the firm is simply going to forward your resume to a company that publicly advertised a listing, or if it will actually seek to place you with an employer. Make sure that any promise you receive in writing is the same as what was stated in the initial sales pitch.
  • Research any information the firm provides to you before you make a commitment. Make certain the job actually exists before you pay a firm to “hold” a slot for you, and definitely before you make plans to relocate. Some unfortunate job seekers have been instructed to meet at a particular place to fly to their new jobs, only to find no airline tickets, no job, and often, no more company.
  • Check with the embassy of the country where the job is supposed to be located. Make certain that, as a citizen of another country, you are eligible to work there.
  • Ask if you will be eligible for a refund, if the leads the firm provides you are unacceptable, or do not work out for any other reason. If the firm has a refund policy, ask for specific written details that spell out whether you can expect a full refund, and if there are any time limits for receiving your refund. Even if you are promised a refund in a written agreement, read the fine print. A disreputable firm may include “red tape” that protects its interests, not yours.

    For example, one common scam is to include a requirement that job seekers check in regularly with the firm, at their own expense. Clients who unwittingly fail to make the required contact may forfeit their opportunity for a refund. However, they are not told this until they ask for the refund.

If You Are Scammed

If you have been victimized by an employment scam, you can help prevent these types of incidents from recurring by reporting it to the proper law enforcement authorities. They may be able to put the unscrupulous operator out of business and, in extreme cases, fine them heavily or even put them in jail.

Tips To Remember

  • Be very skeptical of overseas employment opportunities that sound “too good to be true.”
  • Never send cash in the mail, and be extremely cautious with firms that require a money order. This could indicate that the firm is attempting to avoid a traceable record of its transactions.
  • Do not be fooled by official-sounding names. Many scam artists operate under names that sound like those of long-standing, reputable firms.
  • Avoid working with firms that require payment in advance.
  • Do not give your credit card or bank account number to telephone solicitors.
  • Read the contract very carefully. Have an attorney look over any documents you are asked to sign.
  • Beware of an agency that is unwilling to give you a written contract.
  • Do not hesitate to ask questions. You have a right to know what services to expect and the costs involved.
  • Do not make a hasty decision. Instead, take time to weigh all the pros and cons of the situation. Be wary of demands that “you must act now.”
  • Keep a copy of all agreements you sign, as well as copies of checks you forward to the company.

Overseas Job Scams © 1995
Copyright 1995 by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.