Friday, May 15, 2015

Mexico's Folly, China's Glory: Lessons Philippines could Learn


Have you wondered why Mexico, a spit distance to the USA, is not as rich and powerful as Mainland China which is too far away to the No.1 economic power America?

The influx of U.S businesses from the U.S mainland became the linchpin of what is the Chinese economy today - No.2 economic juggernaut of the world.

Here’s my favourite book author and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman who explained in a pedestrian manner why Mexico has been sluggish economically, and why the Chinese enjoyed its leapfrogging growth for several years.

“Mexico’s ranking in the Global Competitiveness Report actually fell while China’s rose. And this was not just about cheap wages, said (Neil) Rosen. It was about China’s advantages in education, privatization, infrastructure, quality control, mid level management, and the introduction of new technology.”

“So China is eating Mexico’s lunch,” concluded Rosen, “but more due to the Mexican inability to capitalize on success and induce broader reform than to China’s lower wage workers per se, ” stressed by Friedman.

According to the Doing Business Report, it takes, Filipinos listen, an average of fifty-eight days to start a business in Mexico, compared with eight in Singapore and nine in Turkey. It takes seventy four days to register a property in Mexico, but only twelve in the United States. Mexico’s corporate income tax rate of 34 percent is twice as high as China’s.

In terms of the length of starting a corporate business and the income tax rate, Mexico and the Philippines are almost the same.

Rich Chinese

Here’s what the Philippines could learn from China and India and avoid the folly of Mexico vis-a-avis education:

“India and China both have long tradition of parents telling their children that the greatest thing they can be in life is an engineer or a doctor. But building the schools to make that happen in Mexico simply has not been done. India and China each have more than fifty thousand students studying in the United States today. They come from about twelve zones away. Mexico, which is smaller but right next door, has only about ten thousand. Mexico is also right next to the world’s biggest economy, which speaks English. But Mexico has not launched any crash program in English education or invested in scholarships to send large numbers of Mexican students to the United States to study.

There is a “disconnect,” said President (Ernesto) Zedillo, among Mexico’s political establishment, the challenges of globalization, and the degree to which anyone is educating ad harnessing the Mexican public to this task. You would have to look a long time for a graduate science or math program at an American university that is dominated by Mexican students the way most are dominated by Chinese and Indian students.

For the fans of Singapore strongman Lee Kuan Yew and South Korea’s Authoritarian Leader Park Chung Hee, listen!

Here are some facts for those who want an autocratic government to replace our democracy that seems to tailspin our country to the abyss. 

“It would be easy to conclude from just looking at Mexico and China that democracy may be a hindrance to reform retail. I think it is premature to conclude that. I think the real issue is leadership. There are democracies that are blessed with leaders who are able to make the sale and get their people focused on reform retail – Margaret Thatcher in England comes to mind – and there are democracies that drift for a long time without biting the bullet- modern Germany, for example. There are autocracies that really get focused - modern China – and there are others that just drift aimlessly, unwilling to summon their people because the leaders are so illegitimate they are afraid of inflicting any pain – Zimbabwe.

That book “The World is Flat” written by Friedman lauds the mentality of China in becoming a great country. 

“China does not just want to get rich. It wants to get powerful. China doesn’t just want to learn how to make GM (General Motors) cars. It wants to be GM and put GM out of business. Anyone who doubts that should spend time with young Chinese”.


When I saw at the Face Book account of MaxDefense several weeks ago the open house of American aircraft at the former U.S base Clark Airport, I rode shotgun the following day to see up close and personal the ballyhooed American airplanes I romanticized, when I was a boy, reading at  military magazines collected by my air force father.

I was told, however, by a Philippine Air Force public information office (PIO) officer a certain Lieutenant Romero that I have to get a clearance first at the General Head Quarter at Camp Aguinaldo before I could start interviewing the Filipino and American forces who participate in the Balikatan 2015 or military exercise after I introduced myself and showed my I.D that I am a member of the Fourth Estate.

As I left the PIO, I bumped into a retired Air Force General who is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1977.

I told him I worked before at the PIO of the PMA and told him PMA alumni members in Pangasinan like Congressman Pol Bataoil and Governor Amado T. Espino.

“I’m from San Jacinto, Pangasinan, too,” he said.

“So you heard about that retired general near your town whose house was raided by the National Bureau of Investigation?” I posed.

He was amused about the information I gave him.

He told the guards at the checkpoint of the joint HQs of the Filipinos and Americans to allow me to see the U.S and Philippine air assets that were open to the public the weekend before.

“I’ll call your commander (a general), just allow him to see those planes,” he told the guards.

If the Philippine Air Force is 90% Air and 10% Force, the U.S is 60% Force and 40% Air what with the absence of its F-16 Falcons, F/A-18 Hornets, and Stealth fighter-bombers being displayed on the tarmac there.

I saw there the  U.S giant C-17 Globe Master, AV-8A Harrier Jump Jets, three C-130, Black Hawk helicopters those messengers of death you saw on the flick “Black Hawk Down” and those two stealth choppers used by the Yanks on bringing the SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) Team-6 who killed NO. 1 global terrorist Osama bin Laden at the 3rd floor of the building in  Abbottabad , Pakistan, Chinook, Bell AH-1 Cobra Helicopter, some A-10 Thunderbolt “tank killer” or Whartogs, while the PAF displayed its camouflage Italian made turbo power SF 260 Marchetti training planes, couple of Italian made jets S-211 while inside the PAF hangar I saw two dark green Poland made  W-3A Sokol combat utility helicopter, two four blades S-76 Sikorsky helicopters that were purchased during the last year of the government of ousted Strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

On that day, I saw, too, a platoon of the elite Special Action Force and their American counterparts prepared themselves to enter the C-17 for parachute jump, while American officers and enlisted personnel billet themselves in style at 5-Star Hotels there like Holiday Inn, Stotsenberg, Oxford, to name a few.

I heard that a Filipino restaurant owner billed a P50 order of chicken aobo for P100 or more for American servicemen who relished the delicacy despite of the catered American food at their air-conditioned huge tents cum mess hall.

I learned from a source there that even without the Balikatan, once in awhile a squadron of F-16 Falcons or F/A-18 Hornet jets landed at Clark and stayed there for a while unknown to the Philippine media.


With the Pentagon alarmed by the construction of China of an air base at Fiery Cross Reef, and its  plan to send a U.S aircraft carrier and frigates there to protect the freedom of navigation of tankers and ships going to and from progressive countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, it would be worth watching with bated breath how the Americans would fill up the tarmac of Clark and the harbour of Subic Naval Base with modern combat armada to neutralize the Sinos who warned the U.S of consequences in case it pushes through its plan to put naval assets at Spratly anytime from now.

For several weeks or months from now and before this year’s end, the development at the Spratly group’s of islands is worth watching as the Chinese reclamation and construction of a runway for its jets and bombers at Fiery Cross Reef would be operational before this year’s end.

Wall Street Journal reported last Tuesday U.S Defense Secretary Ash Carter requested options that include sending aircraft and ships within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of reefs that China has been building up in the Spratly island chain.

Such a move would directly challenge Chinese efforts to expand its influence in the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.

Son of a gun, this is déjà vu Cuban Missiles Crisis in 1962!

The vast land reclamation project in Fiery Cross Reef is one of several pursued by China but the first that could accommodate an airstrip, says US military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Poole.

With an airbase there, Chinese made Chengdu J-10, Russian made Sukhoi Su-30MKK , Russian made Sukhoi Su-27 Air Superiority Fighter, China made Shenyang J-8 Interceptor Fighter, China made, Chengdu J-7 Fighter/Interceptor, China made Xian JH-7 Fighter bomber, and Nanchang Q-5 close air support would no longer fly 1000 miles from Mainland China to the Spratly groups of islets just to harass claimant countries Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

These modern air assets could be at the Spratly and even its bombers could saber rattle to the Australians who live down under the globe.

Here’s Australia’s\

“If China truly is building an air base — and Janes (Defense) says land 3km long and 200 to 300m wide has been reclaimed since August is “large enough to construct a runway and apron” — it even has implications for Australia. Despite being some 3200km distant, Taiwanese media has pointed out that China’s long range bomber — the Xian H-6K — can deploy with cruise missiles capable of striking “all US military facilities in Australia”.

Gee whiz, now that is not only chilling but worth watching as the U.S ships gear to sail and surround some of the islets there at the Spratly before the Chinese could finish an airbase at the Fiery Cross Reef before the year’s end.

(You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at

No comments:

Post a Comment