Tuesday, October 24, 2023

1997 to 2023 APEC's strategies then and now in terms of cooperation

 During the APEC Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Fourth Ministerial Meeting (Ottawa, Canada, Sept 18-19, 1997) where about 32 of us youth leaders then attended, we were all so excited and proud when the joint statement was released, 19. Ministers also heard from young entrepreneurs who actively participated in the Business Forum. Ministers welcomed the recommendations from the young entrepreneurs at their "Business 5 Leaders of Tomorrow" meeting. The Ministers supported their objective to promote a culture of entrepreneurial spirit, economic growth and to encourage greater cross-cultural understanding among youth to meet the needs of a globally competitive economy. Ministers directed the PLG to assist the young entrepreneur associations to achieve their objectives . Ministers noted that several of the key initiatives being undertaken in the next year would actively promote the growth and development of young entrepreneurs in Asia-Pacific. Ministers underlined the strong contribution of SMEs to economic activity within the APEC region, and their impact on intra-regional trade and investment. SMEs comprise over 90 percent of all enterprises in the region; contribute between 30-60 percent of GDP of APEC economies; generate about 35 percent of the region’s exports; and account for between 32-84 percent of employment in APEC economies (Courtesy of the APEC.org)

I have to state though this was prior to the internet boom age so a lot of the priorities were of course more basic then for small and medium industries in the region especially for developing countries.  Frameworks were on access to markets, technology, capital, financing, human resources, and information. 

During that time my belief was the challenge lay mostly on access to markets, " Ministers welcomed the progress made in reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, and encouraged action on harmonization of customs procedures, better protection for intellectual property, and improvement of the investment environment. They encouraged the work undertaken to establish best practices studies and seminars on market development." (Courtesy of apec.org) 

Decades later of course a lot has happen to the world in terms of global change, economic change, leadership change and the like. As I read the Detroit meeting in May 2023, Statement of the Chair - Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting 2023, I still believe access to market still continues, " We reiterate our strong commitment towards the achievement of the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040, including through the implementation of the Aotearoa Plan of Action, to realize an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040, for the prosperity of all our people and future generations. We reaffirm our determination to deliver a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, inclusive and predictable trade and investment environment. We also reaffirm the importance of and commit to upholding and further strengthening the rules-based multilateral trading system, with the WTO at its core. We will continue to work to ensure a level playing field to foster a favorable trade and investment environment and reaffirm our commitment to keep markets open and to address supply chain disruptions" (Courtesy of apec.org)

Access to Technology then is now Digital Technology. " Digital technology and innovation have a greater role to play in advancing inclusive and sustainable growth. We reaffirm our call to accelerate the implementation of the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap, which prioritizes actions that support inclusive, sustainable and innovative economic growth, including the facilitation of e-commerce and advancing cooperation on digital trade. We welcome the ‘Principles for the Interoperability of Electronic Invoicing Systems in the APEC Region’ (Annex 1), which promote interoperable approaches and the use of digital technologies to facilitate trade and investment. We will accelerate digital transformation and cooperate on facilitating the flow of data and strengthening business and consumer trust in digital transactions, including through cooperation on regulatory approaches regarding the internet and digital economy as well as consumer protection in the digital environment. We also stress the importance of bridging all forms of digital divides by strengthening digital infrastructure and facilitating access to information and communication technology goods and services, and ensuring that no one is left behind by equipping all people with the necessary skills needed to thrive in the digital economy." (Courtesy or apec.org)

And of course, Climate and Environment is a big focus today, "We remain actively engaged in overcoming shared challenges related to the environment, including climate change, food security, supply chain disruptions, and impacts of the global pandemic, and recognize the positive role that trade can play in building greater resilience to confront these and future challenges. We encourage the promotion of trade and investment in products that lead to positive environmental outcomes, such as those which are energy- and resource-efficient and reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, including through circular economy approaches. We instruct officials to begin work to develop a Framework of Discussions for Producing an APEC Reference List of Environmental Goods in support of developing a new, voluntary, non-binding APEC Reference List of Environmental Goods in accordance with the agreed recommendations. We welcome continued implementation of the APEC Work Plan on Environmental Goods and cooperation in the area of environmental goods. As a means to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, building on our previous work, we are also committed to promoting intellectual property rights through policies and programs that advance innovation and creativity. We recalled our commitment to rationalize and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, while providing those in need with essential energy services." (Courtesy of apec.org)

So as the mission from 1997 to 2023 continues trade and industry towards economic stabilization especially for the SME's is what I would like to remind our leaders of APEC. Yes, there are global big political matters on hand which as you notice I did not touch base. As I would like to go back to the basic on the small and medium enterprises, economies, women, youth, businesses the original concept then.

As we near the coming APEC 2023 CEO Summit in San Francisco, CA a lot of big issues with the leaders will come up again. What is it that want to achieve in APEC 2024 and beyond?

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Pnoy Joins Cory at 61. Remembering The Fight to Democracy of the Aquino's in the Philipines


Former President of the Philippines Benigno Noynoy Aquino III died Thursday at the age of 61 after being hospitalized in Quezon City, Philippines. He was the Philippines 15th President from 2010 to 2016 following the footsteps of his mother then Former Philippine President Corazon C. Aquino, an icon of democracy known after the EDSA Revolution of whom of I had the the opportunity of having work with during the early years of her presidency. 

I remember President Noynoy still carried a bullet wound from a 1987 attempted military coup against President Cory's administration, during which he was shot five times and three of his bodyguards were killed.

President Noynoy  died at the Capitol Medical Center near the capital Manila, Philippine News Agency reported, adding that his family will release a statement soon after suffering kidney disease. He had an an background as an Economist working at the Conjuangco Sugar plantation in 1998 and later on serve as a Congressman for Tarlac.  His father, Senator Benigno Aquino Sr. was assassinated at the Tarmac of the then Manila International Airport upon returning from the United States from exile in 1983. This then led to the EDSA Revolution of 1986 which toppled the Marcos dictatorship and for the Marcoses to exile in Honululu leaving behind the 5,000 pairs of shoes in the Malacanang Palace, the ill-gotten wealth un-resolved globally while the the slums in Manila are still starving on daily basis and today still shut down due to the covid-19 pandemic.

His 6 year term had a steady economy in a way has some economist say. Yet one the controversies that was unpopular was when He also approved a controversial government operation that left 44 commandos dead while pursuing a wanted Malaysian armed leader in the southern island of Mindanao.

That incident derailed the peace agreement with Muslim rebels that Aquino spearheaded during his time in office.

Aquino, whose family went into exile in the U.S. during Marcos’s rule, had turbulent ties with China as president. After China effectively seized a disputed shoal in 2012 following a tense standoff between Chinese and Philippine ships in the South China Sea, Aquino authorized the filing of a complaint before an international arbitration tribunal that questioned the validity of China’s sweeping claims in the strategic waterway on historical grounds.

“We do not wish to increase tensions with anyone, but we must let the world know that we are ready to protect what is ours,” Aquino said in his State of the Nation Address to Congress in 2011.

The Philippines largely won. China refused to join in the arbitration and dismissed as a sham the tribunal’s 2016 ruling, which invalidated Beijing’s claims to virtually the entire South China Sea based on a 1982 U.N. maritime treaty and continues to defy it. Aquino’s legal challenge and the eventual ruling plunged the relations between Beijing and Manila to an all-time low. -- quoted from the Houston news. 

One of the legacies of the President Aquino's presidency was the signing of a 2014 peace deal with the largest Muslim separatist rebel group in the country, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in 2014 that eased decades of sporadic fighting in the country’s south, homeland of minority Muslims in the largely Roman Catholic nation.

May Noynoy rest in peace as he joins his mom and dad,

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Anything that is strange or foreign towards inherent superiority, political adaptive terms one learns through the years

 In the Asian culture, anything that is strange or foreign is actually very educational and for some even privilege as it means you get to meet or experience something from the ordinary upbringing or culture, Yet, as the most talked about term nowadays, Xenophobia is “fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.”  This where the cultures divide the definition as explained by Merriam and Webster  I Started with this remembering my years both the global community that you meet various people from the public and private sectors from different cultures and countries,

One of the things I've learned is to carefully listened to touchy questions when it pertains to race related issues, have them repeat it in case it wasn't clear. This is especially true if your in a position that can influence a lot of issues. Hence is what happened in today's Asian American Violence in the United States implied simply from the words implied from the words of it's former 45th President.

America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States Hardcover – November 26, 2019 by Erika Lee (Author) An award-winning historian reframes our continuing debate over immigration with a compelling history of xenophobia in the United States and its devastating impact The United States is known as a nation of immigrants. But it is also a nation of xenophobia. In America for Americans, Erika Lee shows that an irrational fear, hatred, and hostility toward immigrants has been a defining feature of our nation from the colonial era to the Trump era. Benjamin Franklin ridiculed Germans for their "strange and foreign ways." Americans' anxiety over Irish Catholics turned xenophobia into a national political movement. Chinese immigrants were excluded, Japanese incarcerated, and Mexicans deported. 

Lee writes, “Asian immigrants, once so despised that they had been largely excluded from the United States, were slowly being remade into supposed ‘model minorities,’ racial minorities who worked hard to overcome obstacles and achieve the American dream .. displaying the attributes most prized by American capitalism and its emphasis on achievement”. The model minority myth advanced a racist/xenophobic attribution of Asian success to a combination of their upbringing and genetics.

Former President Donald Trump, had repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the "China virus," among other offensive terms, during his presidency, the recent events in Atlanta, GA cause the lives of 8 people where 6 of them where Asian American women.  The Stop AAPI Hate Coalition received nearly 3,800 hate incidents from March 19 to Feb 28 of this year. Among them were 68% women victims as target according to ABC news.  Asian Women, the elderly, from San Francisco, New York abuse and violence have spike tremendously this year. 

For now the Asian American community is grieving the lives lost in the shooting with the hope for a better tomorrow.

Thursday, January 07, 2021

A review of the "Sedition Act of 1798" in context

 Signed into law by Adams on July 14, the law proved immensely unpopular with the public and the President lost re-election to Thomas Jefferson in 1800. Under the incoming Republican administration, the Sedition Act eventually expired on March 3, 1801; however, arguments made for and against it shaped subsequent debate about constitutional protections of free speech.

In 1798, In an era when newspapers served as political parties' chief organs, the Republican press was particularly vicious in its attacks on Federalists and the Adams administration. “Liberty of the press and of opinion is calculated to destroy all confidence between man and man,” noted one of the bill’s supporters, John Allen of Connecticut. “It leads to the dissolution of every bond of union.” Republicans defended the First Amendment protecting free speech and press.

2021, decades after technological era, newspapers is still there but social media and the the cable/tv media has been weaponized in the disenfranchised  of the democratic principles of the greatest, most powerful nation in the world. It further got syndicated with conspiracy theories and innuendos with no facts. January 6 will be written as another continuance of 1798 In one of the first tests of freedom of speech, the House passed the Sedition Act, permitting the deportation, fine, or imprisonment of anyone deemed a threat or publishing “false, scandalous, or malicious writing” against the government of the United States.

Although it's commendable that Facebook and Twitter has suspended the account of the motivator, the question lies on what happens next. The 5th Congress (1797–1799), narrowly divided between the majority Federalists and minority Jeffersonian Republicans, voted 44 to 41 in favor of the Senate-passed bill. Federalists championed the legislation fearing impending war with France and out of the desire to hold the majority in Congress and to retain the White House, then occupied by Federalist John Adams.

The impossible long way of the talked about 25th Amendment requires  two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Oct 12, 2020 — Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Pelosi wants legislation that would create a future ... The Constitution's 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967, governs ..the risk that loyalty to the president could override necessary action, Goldstein said. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., unveiled a bill Oct. 9 to establish a commission that could be tasked with determining if a president is no longer fit for office.

Many in Congress at the time of the amendment’s writing if ever had misgivings about the idea of a medical commission, Goldstein said. They thought a decision involving the Cabinet would carry more legitimacy, and they worried an independent body could be used to harass the president.

“Congress has a constitutional duty under the 25th Amendment to define the process by which a judgment of presidential incapacity can be made if circumstances render such a judgment necessary, in this administration or any other,” Raskin explained two years ago, when he observed that getting clarity with regard to the amendment was of “pressing and enduring importance to the security of our nation.” in 2018.

The only thing this 25th Amendment is again on discussion has many meanings to many people. The fact is American democracy was attack and is very volatile. It's now Jan. 7 and the Presidential elections has now been certified by Congress. What happens now between January 7 to the inauguration in January 20.

President Trump was impeached on December 18, 2019 on two articles—abuse of power and obstruction of justice. January 6, 2021 he incited an insurrection, this is his legacy when the history books are written about the 45th President of the United States,

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Filibuster, Cloture, Majority, Policy Actions and A Minimum of Half a Billion to Georgia's Run Off Senate Election Battle in January 2021

 With over an unprecedented 77 million and counting popular vote in history for President Elect Joe Biden, We expect President-Elect Biden, upon swearing in, to immediately use his executive authority to address a further COVID-19 stimulus, reengagement in the Paris Climate accord, immigration, and DACA, and roll back Trump administration actions related to the environment and healthcare.

Nevertheless, with a gloomy transition on hand with a defiant non conceding one term President Trump supported by a lame duck majority Senate Republican led it is unpredictable if this majority leader will be the same apparent destructive instincts as the last democratic 44th President.  Hence, it why both the Democratic and Republican parties are all focus on Georgia's Senate run off elections coming up that will have fate on the balance of power in the US Senate. As of now with the votes counted, the Republicans has 50 seats and the Democrats only has 48 which is why the Republicans still has majority in this lame duck session. If the 2 Senate democratic candidates wins in Georgia, that would give both parties 50 even Since Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris is the President of the Senate, she will be the tie breaker giving the democratic party the 51 votes to claim majority of the US Senate.

Why is the is important in terms of policy for any executive actions and laws that needs to be enacted by any sitting President of the United States? 

Defending the Filibuster

In both Senate races, however, the Republicans ran ahead of the president, suggesting that many traditional Republican voters in the state did not have an issue with Republicans but rather an issue with the president specifically.

The filibuster is a tactic used to defeat bills and motions by prolonging debate indefinitely. A filibuster may entail long speeches, dilatory motions, and an extensive series of proposed amendments. The Senate may end a filibuster by invoking cloture. In most cases, cloture requires the support of three-fifths of the Senate; however, if the matter before the Senate involves changing the rules of the body – this includes amending provisions regarding the filibuster – a two-thirds majority is required. In current practice, the threat of filibuster is more important than its use; almost any motion that does not have the support of three-fifths of the Senate effectively fails. This means that 41 senators can make a filibuster happen. Historically, cloture has rarely been invoked because bipartisan support is usually necessary to obtain the required supermajority, so a bill that already has bipartisan support is rarely subject to threats of filibuster. However, motions for cloture have increased significantly in recent years.

If the Senate invokes cloture, debate does not necessarily end immediately; instead, it is limited to up to 30 additional hours unless increased by another three-fifths vote. The longest filibuster speech in the Senate's history was delivered by Strom Thurmond (D-SC), who spoke for over 24 hours in an unsuccessful attempt to block the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957.[41]

Under certain circumstances, the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 provides for a process called "reconciliation" by which Congress can pass bills related to the budget without those bills being subject to a filibuster. This is accomplished by limiting all Senate floor debate to 20 hours.[42]

Quoted from Wikipedia

Likewise on this historic ascension of Kamala Harris of being President of the Senate leaves current only 2 out of the 3  Asian American Senators in the US Senate namely:

Tammy Duckworth

Kamala D. Harris 

Mazie K. Hirono

The major unknowns in these races will be how President Trump handles the next 60 days with respect to the election results, the amount of money that will pour into the state, and whether the two Democratic nominees can carry over the disapproval of President Trump and tag their opponents to him (and, perhaps, a desire to complement President-Elect Biden's agenda with an effective Democratic majority in the Senate).

Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Trauma and Assault on Unprecedented Family Immigration for Immigrants on America's White 45th President "America First" - NEVER AGAIN"!

 It started out in 2016'speech saying " Trump commenced his 2016 campaign claiming Mexico was sending rapists and murderers to the U.S., promising to build a “great wall” across our southern border — one that Mexico would pay for. In fact, only five miles of new border wall has been constructed, with the rest replacing existing border barriers. And, of course, Mexico did not pay for it".

President Trump's administration has waged an all-out assault on the very few options available to foreign nationals to legally immigrate the United States.  Trump in early 2017 banned immigration from 13 countries on dubious national security grounds, and has subsequently banned the issuance of temporary work visas, banned the issuance of employment- and most family-based immigrant visas, urged the abolishment of birthright citizenship, gutted our legal asylum system, slashed our refugee program to virtually zero, abolished DACA, cancelled TPS, implemented punitive policies separating children from their parents, reduced the number of foreign students in the US, increased processing times and denied applications for legal status that are approvable under existing law and previous interpretations.--Courtesy of the AZ Mirror

In April 2018, the Administration announced their “zero-tolerance” policy, which resulted in the separation of thousands of children from their families. Two months later, a court mandated the immediate reunification of the 2,737 children the Administration had identified as separated. However, an OIG report released in January 2019 said that “thousands” more children than previously recognized had been taken away from their parents. https://americasvoice.org/blog/2019-mid-year-review/

Then in 2019, in limited H1B visas and announced later that he now going to cut visa lotteries and family based immigration visas. So that meant that in the future if you have a loved one overseas that you want to petition to come legally to America your bet on it. For generations and years this was how our ancestors came in through being petition by family. The sad reality was this was that this immigration system is so broken a family based petition from the time it is approved to the time you can get an actual consular interview takes years or decades of waiting For an immigrant to be  legal permanent resident green holder to finally arrive at the United States with this Immigration broken system takes ages. Sadly, it is a known fact that sometimes when the USCIS finally sends the notice of interview to the applicant or petitioner the person might already be deceased as it is already too late. 

There are so many realities attached to  this discussion on non-documented immigrants, the reasons of, the policies but it boils down that this President is not pro immigration but nationalism. Nationalism is a system created by people who believe their nation is superior to all others. Most often, this sense of superiority has its roots in a shared ethnicity.

Nationalists demand to be independent of other countries. They don't join global organizations or collaborate with other countries on joint efforts. If the people are part of another nation, then they will want freedom and their own state. This also explains a lot about Foreign Policy from the Paris Climate, NAFTA, etc.., I have to touch a little on this a bit to explain my little knowledge on my own background with Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Relations. 

Nationalists believe their shared interests supersede all other individual or group interests. They oppose globalism and empires. They also rally against any philosophy, such as religion, that supersedes national loyalties. They are not necessarily militaristic but quickly become so if threatened.

So the case on immigration is that unfortunately Immigration falls on "Patriotism".  As such, having a second term with this President is almost like a complete halt to US Immigration. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Realities of Covid 19 Today Pre-Vaccine Amidst Testing and Common Laymen Infection

 One of the things that I personally can compare is the experience of being involved in public policy then closed to the pillars of government then back to private life. Moreover, the travails of living the challenges of life with limited resources, income, disability and now middle age life.

The last few months of this pandemic in the West had my own, my family, friends and saw other people lives change drastically. Some of these changes unfortunately has forever changed people lives and sadly I can count the number of friends and acquaintances that were lost directly or indirectly related due to this in these last months.

Let me start in March, my 91 year old US Army World War II Filipino Veteran father  recovering from a Heart Surgery at the VA hospital for a while was suddenly threatened be discharged even if did not agree a the hospital's administration need's to make room for the influx of Covid-19 veteran patients. The explanation was my father was susceptible to be infected. But they were prepared let a 91 year old heart patient with a pacemaker, stage 2 chronic liver disease, gout, hypertension, Alzheimer's loose to a nursing facility where the covid-19 is death trap. Anyway, I'm not going to make a long story on this. My father was tested Covid-19 negative on March 31 and he was transferred to Contra Costa, CA in a Nursing facility on April 1 and on August25 was infected with Covid-19 with other residents from a staff outbreak. This is one example of the scenario of how this pandemic has been handled from early on in the absence of no guidance.  As you can see how the specifics of he demographics in this case.

In June to July regardless how much you try to go online for example and try to get a city testing online in California it was impossible unless you answered you exhibited one of the symptoms of Covid-19. As we also, once you get tested the other issue was the back log on getting the results will take days or even weeks which takes the test useless. If you come to think of if even you get tested but you are exposed on daily basis to unknown individuals you really never know unless you are regularly tested.

Although it's a good thing that there are more places doing Rapid Testing today and Antigen testing there are still challenges. The CDC 2 days change their guidelines again about having anyone get tested if they exposed to those asymptomatic individuals. I'll give one example, On a visit to a testing site, there were a family of family of 5 from El Salvador. The people doing registration had N95 mask and gloves but no body PPE were taking ID's and Insurance cards. After which they go to the next area for the tester who takes the swabs who had the the complete PPE from mask, gloves and body,  After 45 minutes the 5 individuals goes back to the testers and given the information they are Covid-19 positive. So going back to the individuals that took the registration, was the CDC guideline necessary?

The other issue is happening is on this testing is various realities. These 5 individuals live in 2 bedroom apartment together. The mother did not almost take the test as she did not have ID and insurance. We all know this opens up another issue. But for the purposes this pandemic discussion, without the credentials needed you need at least $150  get the Covid-19 Rapid test

200,000 Americans now dead from Covid-19, The Honorable Ruth Ginsberg just passed yesterday, with the flu around the fall, the best would be time to get your flu shot. Anyone with pre-existing conditions like myself have the fear on this Covid-19 and we never what can happen. Do I want a vaccine? Of course, but it has be not misleading like what when they told my father he can infected when the patients starts to come in when after all they only admitted less than 10 when when got rid of him.

1997 to 2023 APEC's strategies then and now in terms of cooperation

 During the APEC Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Fourth Ministerial Meeting (Ottawa, Canada, Sept 18-19, 1997) where about 32 of us youth ...