Wednesday, October 27, 2010

China, India, and Asian Countries Face Challenges over the Next Decade

Blogger's Notes:
Commentary of an Academic 
(Copyright @ 2010 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved).

by Chester B. Cabalza

Two longest geographical centers in Asia survived by the Indus (Indian) and Sinitic (Chinese) civilizations are now re-emerging in the 21st century, reversing the tide and centrifugal force in trade and commerce, power and wealth, and leveling off the playing field in a fast globalizing world (Cabalza, 2010).

I steadfastly deem that the “Asian century” has arrived; with my thought that Asia’s future role in the world is brighter. Thus, now is the time we teach our children about the greatness of this vast continent.

In fact, when the world was recovering from the devastation of the recent global economic crisis in 2008, Agence France-Presse (AFP) noted that, explosive growth in China and India, coupled with Japan's clout as the world's No. 2 economy, has long been expected to shift economic power from the United States to Asia as this century progresses. However in 2010, China has now replaced Japan as the second largest economy in the world, and only behind the still "sick man" of the world, the United States.

China, in particular, is seen as the leader of the developing world that has largely weathered and resuscitated the global economy from the recent economic crisis that had gripped it. Albeit, western doomsayers poked at Asians that we could not recover from the mess of the fiscal crisis, still we reversed the tide. While western powers were reeling from that depression, Asian economies only suffered some minor bruises and jumpstarted the global economy to be vibrant again.

The Re-emergence of Two Asian Giants

Chindia is the portmanteau word that refers to China and India together in general. They are the “new Asian drivers of global change" becoming global players that can forcefully alter the relationship between industrialized and developing countries. The rise of China and India as both economic and political actors is having, and will have, significant and far-reaching impacts, over the next decade.

As a Chinese poet had written: “All people have their day, and the new generation will invariably succeed the old.”

China is the world’s oldest continuous civilization but its official policy on peaceful rise must be inferential. However, too few detailed case studies exist of specific interactive situations involving the People’ Republic of China (PRC) to lay foundation for systematic generalization, Macridis observed (1998), until lately when it opened up to the world.

While India is carving a niche and prominence in the dotcom era, most countries in the world today are looking up to Indian geniuses whose traditional mathematical and scientific thinking had been legendary to launch its lucrative and sophisticated business services in information technology, information technology enabled services, and business process outsourcing. In 2009 alone, seven Indian firms were listed among the top 15 technology outsourcing companies in the world.

China has shown sustained growth for two decades and has good prospects for sustained growth over the next decade, claimed by Rodrik and Subramanian (2004) and the Deutsche Bank Research (2005). Furthermore, by 2020, both Asian giants will likely to become two of the world's largest economies.

Thus far, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised in his speech during a multilateral engagement with the ten-member countries of Southeast Asia that, “I reiterate India’s commitment to work with ASEAN and other East Asian countries to make the 21st century truly an Asian century.”

Cleavages and Problems Facing China and India

During the visit of Prime Minister Hu Jintao of People’s Republic of China to India in 2006, he proclaimed in his speech that, “Let us work together to enhance China-India strategic and cooperative partnership, build a world of enduring peace and common prosperity and create a bright future for our two countries and peoples.”

Since China and India are vastly populated it comprised about 40 percent of humanity. Both countries boast economies that are becoming visible at present. They also represent two of the world's fastest-growing militaries, armed with nuclear weapons, and are expanding their spheres of influence across oceans, stated Ishaan Tharoor (2010).

In fact, China and India are building up their interests in conflict-prone and unstable states on their borders like Nepal and Burma which are important sources of natural resources. If something goes wrong in these countries, an emergence of proxy wars in Asia might erupt. Distrust and enmity between India and China will grow and so too security concerns in a number of arenas. It is an important scenario that strategic planners for these two emerging countries are looking at.

Arguably, pessimists see the future is likely to be shaped by “turbulent multilateralism.” One major question is, whether this multipolar world will emerge, shaped politically and based on cooperative attitudes, an all sides or characterized by sharp conflicts between the old and the new global players.

Security and Strategic Challenges Affecting Asian Countries

Historical experience demonstrates two things that multipolar international structures are often very unstable and tend to be conflictual, wrote Kupchan (2002); and the rise and decline of global political players (hegemonic powers or empires) are normally characterized by conflict, turbulence and even war, pronounced by Kennedy (1989) and Münkler (2005).

In Asia, decolonization replaced a world of empires and unequal political relations with one of the national states, sovereign equality, and at least the legal acceptance of all peoples and races as possessing equal human rights. In effect, decolonization completed the remaking of the global political system into European (Westphalian) form of sovereign territorial states that had begun with the revolutions in the Americas.

As an offshoot from the increasing strategic and economic powers of the two giant countries in the world’s largest continent, China and India are now playing as major actors in many bilateral and multilateral engagements in the Asia-Pacific region.

Nuclear Weapons and Uranium Enrichment Programs

One of the key issues that caused turbulence in China-India relations was the Indian nuclear explosion in 1998. Nevertheless, China has targeted India since 1970s, and currently has 66 nuclear missiles that can reach all of India’s major cities and military bases. Chinese feelings toward India soured temporarily after India’s 1998 nuclear testing, though China insists it was not the tests themselves that they perceived as a threat. However, China asserts that India is not a major security concern to China today. But Chinese analysts feel that China should handle the requirements posed by India on a similar platform as they would for other countries also looking for nuclear power.

There are evidences of Pyongyang’s highly enriched uranium (HEU) program and Tehran’s nuclear technology program. It fact, there were reports of traces of North Korea’s HEU on documents submitted to the United States (US) as part of its nuclear declaration. However, there has been no confirmation of the source of these traces. In April 2009, North Korea quit the talks and announced that it would reverse the disablement process called for under the Six-Party agreements and restart its Yongbyon nuclear facilities but some experts are pessimistic the talks can achieve anything beyond managing the North Korean threat.

On the other hand, Iran has increased risk of nuclear proliferation in the West Asia region and the possibility of military confrontation with Israel and its ally, the US. However, it undermines the authority of the US with its defiance of the order to halt its uranium enrichment activities. Imposition of threats and sanction has not, in any way, deter Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambition.

Status quo of China–Pakistan Relations

The last war fought between India and China was in 1962 and since then, both sides have been extremely cautious and suspicious of each other. There has been no resolution to the border issue over remote, heavily militarized territories in the Himalayas in spite of numerous rounds of negotiations and tensions that have flared recently. It is a kind of historic scar that impedes progress.

However, Rajeshwar (2008) deemed that China’s relations with India’s neighboring countries have always concerned India.

One consideration is the China-Pakistan relations, that is not recent. The intention of China’s policy is to befriend all its neighbors. However, India and Pakistan have acquired nuclear weapons capability, which extremely worries China that any escalation of conflicts over Kashmir could precipitate nuclear exchange with horrifying consequences. But Indian analysts see it the other way around when China behaves differently by building strategic vantage points to India’s neighbors. Hence, China founded several naval projects from Pakistan to Bangladesh to Sri Lanka to Maldives, seen as China’s quiet encirclement of India.

The United States Factor

The current rise of China and India means that two non-Western countries are becoming substantial actors in the global system. Charles Kupchan, a member of the US Council on Foreign Relations and an important policy advisor of the Clinton administration, may have asserted that “Globalization is Americanization”. For the development policies of the advanced nations, based on a consensus of Western nations, China and India henceforth pose big challenges.

India has been facing terrorism for quite some time and has acquired a lot of expertise from the US on this matter. However, the US has placed both China and India as key partners in achieving regional stability and harmony. It engages both nations now at a higher level. The relations between India and China are naturally bound to be affected by such rigorous engagement.

The Use of Soft Power Diplomacy in Divided Koreas

Ambassador Sung-oh Shin (1999) is disconcerted that in reality Korea is a divided country. Now that Germany and Vietnam are unified, Korea remains the sole nation divided as the victim of the Cold War. He confesses that [South] Koreans were indoctrinated through the bitter experience of the Korean War that the other Korea is the foremost enemy. At the same time, however, there remains a strong sense of brotherhood between South and North Koreans. Therefore, the dilemma of South Korea’s [defense] diplomacy has always been how to contain the dangerous North Korea without jeopardizing the prospect of eventual peaceful unification.

In its relation with North Korea, Ambassador Sung-oh Shin still deems that security-related agreements or understanding between two Koreas are quite rare. Yet, there exist a few of such understandings, which also contribute to the mitigation of tension on the Korean Peninsula. The Declaration of Nuclear-free Korean Peninsula is a case in point.

However in 2010, The two Koreas' temper and cold relations are upsetting the world, again. The military exercises done by South Korea near Yeonpyeong Island irritated the senses of North Korea which carried over conflicts back in 1999, 2002 and 2009.

Although, only this year, the South Korean delegation from the Korea National Defense University to the National Defense College of the Philippines, is praying for lasting peace with the fellow Korean brethren.

I still deem that the use of [South] Korea’s soft power diplomacy through the Korean Wave on how to confront strains and tensions between former enemies in Northeast Asia would solve political reconciliation with North Korea since the inception of the Sunshine Policy to contain North Korea’s Cold War-style confrontation. The success of Korean wave is emanating through cultural domains around Asia from China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, and also conquering the vastness of Hollywood and Europe.

But in reality, Asean and South Korea, Hernandez wrote (2007), are the weakest of the four players within the Asean plus Three process, including China and Japan. But given Korea’s status, Prasetyono opined (2007) that, as an economic power, its lack of political ambitions, and its situation between Japan and China, mediation from it would be more acceptable to other Asian countries.

Environmental Issues and Climate Change

There are a number of issues that concern Asian countries which, in a flat world, are becoming important. Natural resources such as water and energy needs, including nuclear energy, are vital in sustaining growth and development.

The developments of various forms of multilateral initiatives have been a major feature in every regional organization in the past decade. The current silent crisis that the entire human race has to deal with is how to adapt, mitigate, and reduce the impacts of climate change and global warming.

The climate is changing and the earth is warming up.

Despite worldwide efforts to address this transborder issue of climate change following the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which led to the creation of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the initiation of the Copenhagen Accord in 2009, this global anxiety must also be dealt locally, by every countries concerned, especially China and India, that have stronger voice and power to converge for multilateral approaches in combating climate change relying on its own resources and cooperation.

Ethnic Conflicts and Separatism

The issue on ethnic conflict and secessionism or separatism, together boil up the issue of creating “imagined” nation-states, based from the arguments of Benedict Anderson. It is an extension of colonialism in many Asian countries, in which in a “nation,” people resist foreign and outside powers from their own territory, thus, insinuating their own independence and sovereignty.

Lifting Thackrah’s definition of the term “nationalism” that is, “the sentiment founded on common cultural characteristics that unites a population, usually producing a desire for separatism and sometimes resort to terrorism.” Such perception definitely has bearing to what a ‘nation’ is. Apparently, religious affiliation, ethnic identity and territorial expansionism are root causes of conflicts in the region.

According to Ernest Renan’s entitled book “Qu’est-ce qu’une nation?” or “What is a Nation?”, he stated that a nation, being a spiritual principle, is not born out of commonality especially in ethnicity, language, and religion. To quote him, “a nation is a spiritual principle, the outcome of the profound complications of history; it is a spiritual family not a group determined by the shape of the earth.

I deem that things are not adequate for the creation of such spiritual principle, namely race, language, material interests, religious affinities, geography and military necessity.” The otherwise general peace and security being experienced by the Asian nations is punctuated by the threats or tensions arising from ethnic tensions, separatist insurgencies, and terrorism.

However, there are bright prospects to enhance security in the region: one is the increased cooperation and aggressive dialogue between and within concerned parties through negotiations to resolve issues. Second, several peace processes to end conflicts are moving forward to possible successful conclusion. Lastly, there must be a concerted international cooperation and efforts to fight secessionism in the continent.

Cyberterrorism and Cyberwar

Believe me, I for one have been addicted and enslaved by mushrooming cutting-edged technologies and the Internet. It is a fact that today, we are all functioning in a world fundamentally characterized by objects in motion. There is a tremendous mobility brought about by globalization where immense flood of capital, ideas, labor, profits and technology are rapidly moving across the four bounds of the earth.

The explosive growth of cyber cafés in the so-called new economy and wisdom market affirm the internet’s comfy uses and trendy functions that permit dissemination of any kind of data through images, music, speech, text and video. It surmounts distance and pays scant regard to territorial boundaries. But sad to say, with cheap accessibility to Internet, cyberterrorists can now gauge the opportunities to wave and secure publicity. Asian nationals have superior aptitude for technologies that offer them advanced prospects to shape and control the content of their websites and manipulate the images and texts of their foes.

Beyond all these perks for cyber attackers in the countenance of Internet’s viability to merge together comrades in brotherhood - be it ethnic, political and religious in nature; it has also created a new forum for worldwide information warfare and a novel force in transforming today’s geopolitics in a globalizing transborder universe.

Indeed, this ‘virtual global community’ has an appeal to younger generations who may have entrée and exposure to seditious information through the Internet, cable or satellite TV where images and texts are potent sources for propaganda and wiles to spread out terror. This gives them various options to post and spread prisms of terrorism and cyberwarfare.

Hence, the fluidity of cyberspace absorbed by the ‘virtual global community’ could succumb further tension and deepen international debate due to escalating schism and difference among conflicting groups. At the end, it would be graceful gain for a terrorist as he espouses the objectives of the group; especially if the group he wants to belong to suffers extreme profiling and marginalization against the ‘Others’.

The Importance of Asean Charter and Asean Regional Forum

The Asean Charter is succinctly captured in its preamble, the history, evolution and vision, and aspiration of Asean, its member-states, and its people. It shall confer a legal personality on Asean. Furthermore, it is expected that the Asean Charter will enhance the role and functions of the Asean Chair; provide for the establishment of an appropriate dispute settlement mechanism; promote Asean identity and symbols; and strengthen Asean’s external relations to enhance Asean centrality in the processes and for that Asean has initiated dialogues and cooperation.

However, the New regionalism strategy that cling to western form of neo-liberalism encompassing the idea of Hobbesian and Kantian cooperation today has played a major role especially in the age of globalization. Many theories have sprung in the discourse of alleviating the role of regionalism in economics and trade, security, environment, and socio-cultural issues and concerns.

For instance, the Asean Regional Forum (ARF) is built upon the structures of Asean. The reason why China engaged in multilateral forum like the ARF (its first involvement) is to shift its perception from a threat neighborhood to a friendly Big Brother after realizing the process of participating is not to isolate itself in the region. On the other hand, India has become a member of ARF in 1996. There has been the growing cooperation on security issues between India and Asean countries through dialogue and practical measures, as well as through the establishment of legal frameworks under the ARF.

In short, copying it from the ASEAN model and operationalized on the basis of “ASEAN Way”, ARF features in the forms of informal, wide consultative, consensus and incremental approach.

Reading the Mind of Thomas Friedman

Friedman, Thomas L., The World is Flat: A Brief History
of the Twenty-first Century. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.

In Thomas Firiedman’s book on the World Is Flat, at the end of the book’s chapter, he tries to link globalization and terrorism. This is what he has to say: Globalization in general has been al-Qaeda’s friend in that it has helped to solidify the revival of Muslim identity and solidarity, with Muslims in one country much able to see and sympathize with the struggles of their brethren in another country – thanks to the Internet and satellite television.

He believes that the Internet is an enormously useful tool for the dissemination of propaganda, conspiracy theories and plain old untruths, because it combines a huge reach with a patina of technology that makes anything on the Internet somehow more believable.

While the danger that cyber terrorism poses to the Internet is frequently debated, surprisingly little is known about the threat posed by terrorist’ use of the Internet. A recent six year-long study shows that terrorist organizations and their supporters have been using all of the tools that the Internet offers to recruit supporters, raise funds, and launch a worldwide campaign of fear. It is also clear that to combat terrorism effectively, more suppression of their tools is not enough.

According to Friedman’s research, in 2004-2005 revealed that the existence of hundreds of websites serving terrorists in different, albeit sometimes overlapping way. There are countless examples of how terrorists use this uncensored medium to spread disinformation, to deliver threats intended to instill fear and helplessness, and to disseminate horrific images of recent actions.

The Internet has significantly expanded the opportunities for terrorists to secure publicity. Until the advent of the Internet, terrorists’ hopes of winning publicity for their causes and activities depended on attracting the attention of television, radio or the print media.

The fact that terrorists themselves have direct control over the content of their websites offers further opportunities to shape how they are perceived by different target audiences and to manipulate their image and the images of their enemies. Most terrorist sites do not celebrate their violent activities. Instead – regardless of their nature, motives, or location – most terrorist sites emphasize two issues: the restrictions placed on freedom of expression; and the plight of their comrades who are now political prisoners. These issues resonate powerfully with their own supporters and are also calculated to elicit sympathy from Western audiences that cherish freedom of expression and frown on measures to silence political opposition.

Terrorists have proven not only skillful at online marketing but also adept at mining the data offered by the billion-some pages of the World Wide Web. They can learn from the Internet about the schedules and locations of targets such as transportation facilities, nuclear power plants, public buildings, airports and ports, and even counter terrorism measures

In his book, he cited examples where cyber terrorism has been used in previous years. One captured al-Qaeda computer contained engineering and structural architecture features of dam, which had been downloaded from the Internet and which would enable al-Qaeda engineers and planners to stimulate catastrophic failures. In other captured computers, US investigators found evidence that al-Qaeda operators spent time on sites that offer software and programming instructions for the digital switches that run power, water, transportation, and communications grids.

Like many other political organizations, terrorist groups use the Internet to raise funds. Al-Qaeda, for example, has always depended heavily on donations, and its global fundraising network is built upon a foundation of charities, NGOs, and other financial institutions that use websites and Internet-based chat rooms and forums. In addition to soliciting financial aid online, terrorist recruit converts by using the full panopoly of website technologies (audio, digital video, etc.)

Recruiters may also use more interactive Internet technology to roam online chat rooms and cyber cafes, looking for receptive members of the public, particularly young people. Hence, the Internet also grants terrorist a cheap and efficient means of networking. Through the Internet, these loosely interconnected groups are able to maintain contact with another – and with members of other terrorist groups. For instance, dozens of sites supporting terrorism in the name of jihad permit terrorists in places as far-removed from one another as Chechnya and Malaysia to exchange ideas and practical information about how to build bombs, establish terror cells, and carry out attacks.

IMAGINATION (for imagined virtual community)

Friedman cited this adage from Albert Einstein “Imagination is more important than knowledge “. He also cited this in a New Yorker cartoon by Peter Steiner, July 5, 1993On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog – Two dogs talking to each other.

He feels that societies that have more memories than dreams, too many people are spending too many days looking backward. They see dignity, affirmation, and self-worth not by mining present but by chewing on the past. Indeed, such societies focus all their imagination on making that imagined past even more beautiful than it ever was, and then they cling to it like a rosary or a strand of worry beads, rather than imagining a better future and acting on that.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What about the Six Thinking Hats of Edward De Bono?

Goodness! Every training workshops I am attending lately at the defense and security establishments are using the famed SIX THINKING HATS!

According to workshop designers, the Six Thinking Hats is intended to gain knowledge of the Six Thinking Hats Framework; learn to maximize the power of each of the Six Hats; practice focused parallel thinking; and gain insight into the skill of lateral thinking.

Edward de Bono is the proponent of the Six Thinking Hats who is a leading international authority on creative thinking. He has written over 67 books and worked in major corporations and governments in more than 50 countries over the last 30 years. Such an impressive resume that he invented the term, "lateral thinking".

The six thinking hats are colored blue, white, red, yellow, black, and green, in that order.

The Blue Hat is called the "Managing Hat" - he has characteristics as the "Control" hat; he organizes the thinking; sets and focus agenda; summarizes and concludes; and ensures that the rules are observed.

The White Hat is deemed as "Information" - these are information we know; information we need; what information are missing; how are we going to get that information; facts and figures presented in a neutral and objective manner; determines accuracy and relevance; and looks at Other People's Views (O.P.V).

The Red Hat is clothed with "Feelings, Intuition, and Gut Instinct" - there is the permission to express feelings or emotions; no need to justify; represents feelings right now; keep it short; and a key ingredient in decision-making.

The Yellow Hat is blessed with "Benefits, Opportunities, and Feasibility" - he has optimistic view; reasons must be given; needs more effort than the black hat; finds the benefits and values; and considers both short-and long-term perspectives.

The Black Hat is bedeviled with "Risks, Difficulties, and Problems" - he has skeptical view; critical and logical; reasons must be given; points out thinking that does not fit the facts, experience, regulations, strategy, and values; points out potential problems; and is a devil's advocate.

The Green Hat is endowed with "New Ideas, Possibilities and Solutions" - he has a creative thinking; seeks alternative and possibilities; removes faults; doesn't have to be logical; and generates new concepts.

So, what kind of thinking hat are you?

Acknowledgment: Armed Forces of the Philippines for using this revolutionary decision-making framework in different training workshops!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Comments on Paternity Leave of 1996

By Chester B. Cabalza

“An Act Granting Leave of 7 days with Full Pay to all Married Male employees in the Private and Public Sectors in First Four Deliveries of the Legitimate Spouse whom He is Cohabiting and for other Purpose”


“All employers are obligated by law to grant paternity benefit to all married employees whose spouse is about to or has given birth…”

Under Section 3 of Republic Act No. 8187, it defines paternity leave as, “benefits granted to a married male employee allowing him not to report for work for seven 97) days but continues to earn the compensation therefor, on the condition that his spouse has delivered a child or suffered a miscarriage for purposes of enabling him to effectively lend support to his wife in her period of recovery and/or in the nursing of the newly-born child.”

Herein, Parental leave is an employee benefit that provides paid or unpaid time off work to care for a child or make arrangements for the child's welfare. Often the minimum benefits are stipulated by law.

Section 2 of the said RA stipulates that the Paternity leave shall be paid in full, equivalent to seven (7) days, up to the first four deliveries of the legitimate spouse with whom he is cohabiting.

Married male employees are encouraged to file for paternity leave with the following condition to entitlement that: (1) the claimant, a married male employee, is employed at the time of delivery of his child; (2) he is cohabiting with his spouse at the time she gives birth or suffers a miscarriage; (3) he has applied for paternity leave; and (4) the wife has given birth or has suffered miscarriage. Thus, wife herein is the lawful wife or woman legally married to male employee concerned.

The purpose is for the father to help take good care of the newborn child while his wife is still recuperating. When on paternity leave, male employees whose wife just went through childbirth are allowed not to report to work for seven days, but would receive payment equivalent to such number of days of leave.

In RA 8187, a delivery means a childbirth (normal of by caesarian section) or miscarriage.

The payee would be the Social Security System (SSS) in the Philippines for the private sector, and the GSIS for the public sector. Herein, corporations, trusts, firms, partnerships, associations, and other employing agencies that remit contributions to SSS and the GSIS are obligated to grant paternity leave benefits according to what are described by RA 8187. In private companies, the male employee must be cognizant if they have separate policies on paternity benefits.

Those qualified for the paternity leave entitlement, under the Paternity Leave Act of 1996, are all married male employees as soon as the legitimate spouse has given birth. However, unlike maternity leave benefits, only those husbands who are living with their wives under the same roof may be granted this benefit. If there are no existing policies, the male employee is recommended to discuss it either with his manager or the human resources head on making a special arrangement that both parties can agree on.

For violators of the said law, as stipulated in Section 5, paragraph 1, “any person, corporation, trust, firm, partnership, association or entity found violating this Act or the rules and regulations promulgated there under shall be punished by a fine not exceeding twenty-five thousand pesos (P25,000) or imprisonment of not less than thirty (30) days nor more than six (6) months.

Paragraph 2 provides that, “if the violation is committed by a corporation, trust or firm, partnership, association or any other entity, the penalty of imprisonment shall be imposed on the entity’s responsible officers, including, but not limited to, the president, vice-president, chief executive officer, general manager, managing director or partner directly responsible therefor.”

Accordingly, paternity leave benefits are an excellent help to families expecting a newborn child in the coming months. However, like maternity leave, eligible male employees, take advantage of this benefit and should be able to notify their employers and the SSS about their spouse’s pregnancy and the expected date of delivery.

This Act, which was consolidated through Senate Bill No. 1032 and House Bill No. 7134 was finally passed by Congress on June 8, 1996 and was approved by then President Fidel V. Ramos on June 11, 1996.

Comments on Solo Parents' Welfare Act of 2000

By Chester B. Cabalza


“An Act Providing for Benefits and Privileges to Solo Parents and their Children, Appropriating Funds Therefor and For Other Purposes ”


“Raising a family is difficult enough. But it’s even more difficult for single parents struggling to make ends meet. They don’t need more obstacles. They need more opportunities…”

Republic Act No. 8972, also known as the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000 was enacted on November 7, 2000 to promote the family as the foundation of the nation, strengthen its solidarity and ensure its total development. Towards this end, it shall develop a comprehensive program of services for solo parents and their children.

Section 3 (a) of RA 8972 enumerates any individual who falls under the “solo parent” of the following categories:

(1) A woman who gives birth as a result of rape and other crimes against chastity even without a final conviction of the offender: Provided, That the mother keeps and raises the child;

(2) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to death of spouse;

(3) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood while the spouse is detained or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one (1) year;

(4) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner;

(5) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least one (1) year, as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children;

(6) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or by a church as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children;

(7) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to abandonment of spouse for at least one (1) year;

(8) Unmarried mother/father who has preferred to keep and rear her/his child/children instead of having others care for them or give them up to a welfare institution;

(9) Any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children;

(10) Any family member who assumes the responsibility of head of family as a result of the death, abandonment, disappearance or prolonged absence of the parents or solo parent.

The Act also provides the Comprehensive Package of Social Development and Welfare Services for solo parents and their families which will be developed by the DSWD, DOH, DECS, CHED, TESDA, DOLE, NHA and DILG, in coordination with local government units and a nongovernmental organization with proven track record in providing services for solo parents.

The employment-related benefits available to all “solo parents” are found in Sections 6, 7 and 8 or RA 8972.

However, there shall be Flexible Work Schedule that the employer shall provide for a flexible working schedule for solo parents: provided that the same shall not affect individual and company productivity and that any employer may request exemption from the above requirements from the DOLE on certain meritorious grounds.

Flexible Work Schedule refers to the right of a solo parent employee to vary his/her arrival and departure time without affecting the core work hours as defined by the employer. The employer shall provide for a flexible working schedule for solo parents, as long as it shall not affect individual and company productivity. In case of certain meritorious grounds, the employer may request exemption from DOLE.

There shall be Non-Work Discrimination where no employer shall discriminate against solo parent employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status.

Herein, employers are prohibited from discriminating against any solo parent employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status.

Solo Parents can also claim Parental Leave, in addition to leave privileges under existing laws, of not more than seven (7) working days every year who has rendered at least one (1) year. However, said leave is non-convertible as per Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). If there is an existing or similar benefit under a company policy, or a collective bargaining agreement or collective negotiation agreement the same shall be credited as such. If the same is greater than the 7 days provided for in the Act, the greater benefit shall prevail.

“Parental leave” means leave benefits granted to a solo parent to enable him/her to perform parental duties and responsibilities where physical presence is required.

Subject to income thresholds (“poverty threshold”) set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and subject to the assessment of the DSWD worker in the area. Other benefits available to solo parents are found in Sections 9, 10 and 11 of RA 8972.

Educational benefits, including scholarship programs for qualified solo parents and their children in institutions of basic, tertiary and technical/skills education, and non-formal education programs appropriate for solo parents and their children.

Housing benefits, including allocation in government low-cost housing projects, with liberal terms of payment

Medical assistance, with comprehensive health care programs for solo parents and their children to be implemented by the DOH through their retained hospitals and medical centers and the local government units (LGUs) through their provincial/district/city/municipal hospitals and rural health units (RHUs).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Comments on National Health Insurance Act of 1995

Blogger's Notes:
Commentary of an Academic 
(Copyright @ 2010 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved).

By Chester Cabalza


“An Act Instituting A National Health Insurance Program for all Filipinos and Establishing the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation for the Purpose”


“The poor are being left out, that means, around 60 percent of the population, while only 40 percent is being served by the health system at present, in the Philippines…”

The National Insurance Act of 1995 was approved by then President Fidel V. Ramos on February 14, 1995 with 13 Articles consisting of guiding principles, definition of terms, the national health insurance program, the Philippine health insurance corporation, local health insurance office, the national health insurance fund, financing, health care providers, grievance and appeal, penalties, appropriations, transitory provisions, and miscellaneous provisions.

Based from the study of Llaneta (2010) on “Universal Health Care for Filipinos,” she found out that eight out of 10 Filipinos deem that they wanted our country to have better health services.

The bleak health care conditions prevailing today, in terms of average life expectancy at birth, infant mortality rate, maternal mortality ratio and all other indicators, well-off urban communities such as those in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao have numbers comparable to those developed countries, while poor rural and urban communities have indicators dipping below the national average.

Important provisions in Republic Act No. 7875 include Section 2 on Declaration of Principles and Policies, which in Section 11, Article XIII, 1987 Constitution, declares that, “the State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost. Priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women, and children shall be recognized. Likewise, it shall be the policy of the State to provide free medical care to paupers.”

Definition of Terms are found therewith in Section 4, Article II, RA 7875 that thoroughly enumerates terms with corresponding legal definitions of (a) Beneficiary, (b) Benefit Package, (c) Capitation, (d) Contribution, (e) Coverage, (f) Dependent, (g) Diagnostic Procedure, (h) Emergency, (i) Employee; (j) Employer; (k) Enrollment; (l) Fee for Service; (m) Global Budget; (n) Government Service Insurance System; (o) Health Care Provider; (p) Health Insurance Identification Card; (q) Indigent; (r) Inpatient Education Package; (s) Member; (t) Means Test; (u) Medicare; (v) National health Insurance Program; (w) Pensioner; (x) Personal Health Services; (y) Philippine Medical Care Commission; (z) Philippine National Drug Formulary; (aa) Portability; (bb) Prescription Drug; (cc) Public Health Services; (dd) Quality Assurance; (ee) Residence; (ff) Retiree; (gg) Self-employed; (hh) Social Security System; (ii) Treatment Procedure; and (jj) Utilization Review.

Whereas, Article III, is focused on “The National Health Insurance Program.” Sections 5 to 13 cover significant provisions which guarantees that it will, “ensure affordable, acceptable, available and accessible health case services for all citizens of the country, in accordance with policies and specific provisions of this Act.”

But as a critique, Dr. Galvez Tan cites problems within the components of the Philippine health case system that have contributed to inequity. For instance, total government expenditure for health, which is around 3.3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), falls short of the World Health Organization’s recommended five (5) percent.

Section 10, provides for the Benefit Package, subject to the limitations specified in this Act as may be determined by the Corporation, the following categories of personal health services granted to the member or his dependents as medically necessary or appropriate, shall include:

a)In patient hospital care:

1)room and board;
2)services of health care professionals;
3)diagnostic, laboratory, and other medical examination services;
4)use of surgical or medical equipment and facilities;
5)prescription drugs and biologicals; subject to the limitations stated in Section 37 of this Act;
6)inpatient education packages

b)Outpatient care:

1)services of health care professionals;
2)diagnostic, laboratory, and other medical examination services;
3)personal preventive services; and
4)prescription drugs and biological, subject to the limitations described in Section 37 of this Act;

c) Emergency and transfer services.

Article IV covers “The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation” creation and nature of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, which in Section 14, shall have the status of a tax-exempt government corporation attached to the Department of Health (DOH) for policy coordination and guidance.

In this Article, it covers exemptions from taxes and duties, powers and functions of the Corporation. Whereas, Article V examines the “Local Health Insurance Office” which mandates that in every province or chartered city, it must bring its services closer to members of the program. The following functions are enumerated in Section 23, Article V, RA 7876.

As a comment to this Act, PhilHealth was established through the passage of the National Health Insurance Act of 1995 (RA 7875), which states that the national health insurance program should, “provide all citizens with the mechanism to gain financial access to health services,” and “provide for uniform basic benefits based on a person’s health needs rather than his ability to pay,” and “enhance risk-sharing among income groups, age groups and persons of different health status and residing in different geographic areas.” Hence, health sector has been prodding PhilHealth to expand its coverage.

Article VI provides the funding for the National Health Insurance, consisting of: (a) contributions from Program members; (b) current balances of the health Insurance Fund of the SSS and GSIS collected under the Philippine Medical Care Act of 1969, as amended, including arrearages of the Government of the Philippines with the GSIS for the said Fund; (c) other appropriations earmarked by the national and local governments purposely for the implementation of the program; (d) subsequent appropriations provided for under Sections 46 and 47 of this Act; (e) donations and grants-in-aid; and (f) all accruals thereof.

Furthermore as a comment, experts point out that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) can be earmarked as possible alternative funding sources.

The group has recommended that to make this Act effective, nonetheless, the government should gauge more programs based on the following:

1.Establish a “core package” of health services to be guaranteed by the government, starting with the most essential, cost-effective, and evidence-based health services. The initial package includes immunization and dental services for infants and children; reproductive services including contraceptives, self-breast examination education and mammography, cervical cancer and prostate cancer screening; prenatal check-ups, health worker-assisted deliveries, post-natal care, and breastfeeding counseling; screening and treatment of hypertension and diabetes, and pneumonia and influenza immunization for the elderly; a program of lifestyle modification, including smoking cessation, proper diet, exercise and personal and community hygiene and sanitation; and control of tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria and emerging infectious diseases;

2.Substantially improve the implementation of the National Health Insurance Act of 1995 by refocusing commitment to the social mandate of universal insurance coverage and guaranteed access for the poor through the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth);

3.Work closely with local government units to assist them in meeting their responsibilities for health care delivery, including ensuring universal PhilHealth coverage in their localities, improving access to hospital services, implementing holistic socio-economic and environmental programs covering nutrition, food and health services, and establishing floating clinics to reach far-flung islands;

4.Introduce programs to improve health human resource development to meet the needs of the local health system. Such measures could include a special labor/migration policy for the health care workforce going abroad; incentives such as realistic salary scales, non-wage benefits and full implementation of the Magna Carta for Health Workers; and a return¬-of-service contract for graduates of state colleges and universities, among other things;

5.Ensure universal access to essential medicines, particularly the 25—or at least the 12—most critical and lifesaving generic drugs, by making these available in all health facilities and barangays. In addition, compliance with the Cheaper Medicines Act of 2008 and the Generics Law of 1988 must be ensured.

Comments on RA 9231

By Chester Cabalza


“An Act Providing for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Affording Stronger Protection for the Working Child, Amending for this Purpose Republic Act No. 7610, As Amended, Otherwise known as the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act ”


“All the problems of the world – child labor, corruption – are symptoms of a spiritual disease: lack of compassion…”

A study of Child Labor in the Philippines found out that exploitation of child workers continues in the country due to inefficiency of the policies promulgated by the government to eradicate child labor.

Obviously, it has become a rigid social problem the world over, specifically in poor countries, where child labor is widespread. Hence, historical background of industrial child labor first appeared with the development of the domestic system. This permitted a division of labor and a degree of specialization among various families. Pay was by piece and children were extensively used at whatever task they could perform.

Because of this, our lawmakers legislated for the protection of children against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination. Thus, the state expressly declares as a State policy, that:

Section 1. Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7610, as amended, otherwise known as the "Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act", is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Sec. 2. Declaration of State Policy and Principles. - It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State to provide special protection to children from all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation and discrimination, and other conditions prejudicial to their development including child labor and its worst forms; provide sanctions for their commission and carry out a program for prevention and deterrence of and crisis intervention in situations of child abuse, exploitation and discrimination. The State shall intervene on behalf of the child when the parent, guardian, teacher or person having care or custody of the child fails or is unable to protect the child against abuse, exploitation and discrimination or when such acts against the child are committed by the said parent, guardian, teacher or person having care and custody of the same.

"It shall be the policy of the State to protect and rehabilitate children gravely threatened or endangered by circumstances which affect or will affect their survival and normal development and over which they have no control.

"The best interests of children shall be the paramount consideration in all actions concerning them, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities, and legislative bodies, consistent with the principle of First Call for Children as enunciated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Every effort shall be exerted to promote the welfare of children and enhance their opportunities for a useful and happy life."

Another important provision in this special and relevant social legislation for the protection of children is found in Section 2, to wit:
Section 2. Section 12 of the same Act, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows:

"Sec. 2. Employment of Children - Children below fifteen (15) years of age shall not be employed except:

"1) When a child works directly under the sole responsibility of his/her parents or legal guardian and where only members of his/her family are employed: Provided, however, That his/her employment neither endangers his/her life, safety, health, and morals, nor impairs his/her normal development: Provided, further, That the parent or legal guardian shall provide the said child with the prescribed primary and/or secondary education; or

"2) Where a child's employment or participation in public entertainment or information through cinema, theater, radio, television or other forms of media is essential: Provided, That the employment contract is concluded by the child's parents or legal guardian, with the express agreement of the child concerned, if possible, and the approval of the Department of Labor and Employment: Provided, further, That the following requirements in all instances are strictly complied with:

"(a) The employer shall ensure the protection, health, safety, morals and normal development of the child;

"(b) The employer shall institute measures to prevent the child's exploitation or discrimination taking into account the system and level of remuneration, and the duration and arrangement of working time; and

"(c) The employer shall formulate and implement, subject to the approval and supervision of competent authorities, a continuing program for training and skills acquisition of the child.

"In the above-exceptional cases where any such child may be employed, the employer shall first secure, before engaging such child, a work permit from the Department of Labor and Employment which shall ensure observance of the above requirements.

"For purposes of this Article, the term "child" shall apply to all persons under eighteen (18) years of age."

They shall be accorded with EDUCATION No child shall be deprived of formal or non-formal education. In all cases of employment allowed in this Act, the employer shall provide a working child with access to at least primary and secondary education.

To ensure and guarantee the access of the working child to education and training, the Department of Education (DEPED) shall: (1) formulate, promulgate, and implement relevant and effective course designs and educational programs; (2) conduct the necessary training for the implementation of the appropriate curriculum for the purpose; (3) ensure the availability of the needed educational facilities and materials; and (4) conduct continuing research and development program for the necessary and relevant alternative education of the working child.

The DEPED shall promulgate a course design under its non-formal education program aimed at promoting the intellectual, moral and vocational efficiency of working children who have not undergone or finished elementary or secondary education. Such course design shall integrate the learning process deemed most effective under given circumstances."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Philosophy in a Nutshell

Research by Chester Cabalza

I. What is Philosophy?

a) Philosophy – is derived from the Greek word ‘philla’ meaning ‘love’ and ‘sophia’ that means ‘wisdom’. If we merged the two words together, generally, it means ‘love of wisdom’.

b)It is a complex intellectual undertaking and is as old as the human civilization.

c)‘Parent science’ – it has given birth to natural, physical and social sciences.

d) It is perhaps the most abstruse and abstract of all disciplines that may seem apart from the affairs of ordinary life.

Philosophy as a science

- It deals with the study of the processes governing thought and conduct.

- It investigates the principles and laws that regulate the universe and underlie all knowledge, which satisfies the requisites of a scientific state of knowing.

- It carefully examines and criticizes the premises and conclusions of all sciences.

II. Branches of Philosophy

a)Epistemology – it deals with the study of the origins, structures, methods, nature, limit and veracity (truth, reliability, validity) of human knowledge.

- Derived from Greek word ‘episteme’ meaning ‘knowledge’ and ‘logos’ meaning to study’.

- Epistemology as a theory of thought asks fundamental questions about knowledge in all its forms and application of how it is formulated and expressed and communicated.
- It includes logic and a variety of linguistic concerns and the philosophy of science.

Logic – it deals with the nature of thinking and reasoning using empirical support that are objective, valid, reliable, quantifiable, and defensible to establish the truth.

Two types:

 Deductive logic – process whereby the reasoning proceeds from a more universal truth to a less universal truth.

 Inductive logic – proceeds from particular to general truth.

Syllogism – an argument whose conclusion is supported by two premises. Or it has two premises and a conclusion.

Example: Affirmative

1. All cats are vertebrates
(Syllogistic arguments)
2. All vertebrates are animals
3. All cats are animals (Conclusion)

b)Metaphysics – it deals with questions of reality, its nature, meaning and existence.

- Greek word ‘meta’ meaning ‘beyond’ and physikon’ meaning ‘nature’ from which physics was derived from.

- Concerned about the nature of the mind, self and consciousness, nature of religion, existence of God, the destiny of the universe. It examines time, space, cause and chance.

c)Axiology – it deals with the study of values of ethics

- It analyzes the origin, types and characteristics, criteria and knowledge of values.

- It includes values of human conduct, the nature and justification of social structures and political system and the nature of art and its meaning in human experience.

Ethics – Derived from Greek word ‘ethos’ meaning ‘customs’

- Study of what is right or wrong in man’s behavior in the pursuit of goodness in life.

III. Philosophical Methods

1.Induction – drawing general conclusions

2. Deduction – from general data to specific terms

3. Dialectic – process of arriving at knowledge (thesis + antithesis = synthesis)

4. Analytic – using theoretical frameworks

5. Romantic – tendency to use feelings and instincts

6. Synoptic – grasping a comprehensive view

IV. Philosophy in relation to Education

Field Area of Inquiry

Epistemology Inquiries about the nature, presupposition and scope of

Metaphysics Studies the nature of reality and being

Logic Studies correct thinking of rules of inference to arguments

Ethics Inquiries into morally right conduct and the morally good l

Aesthetics Analyzes standards and values in art and aesthetic

Axiology Studies the nature, status and types of values

V. Who are Philosophers?

- Perhaps they contemplated about issues and problems in a most abstract manner and had arrived at views and theories that may sound splendid. In other words, they try to prescribe solutions on the nature of natural, physical and social sciences.

- Concepts of philosopher-king and priest-kings

A. Oriental Teachers

Confucius - he was the founder of one of the most successful philosophical, moral and ethical system in human history. Confucianism is a western term but it’s Chinese and oriental term is Ru Chow or Ru philosophy that means a great intellectual tradition.

- Analects of Confucius, these are records of words and acts of the central Chinese philosopher and thinker. This is a short collection of his discussions with disciples, compiled posthumously. These contain an overview of his teachings.

- He stressed the vital importance of education as the only true assurance of morality or ‘virtuous behavior’

Mencius – a student of Confucius and a famous Confucian after Confucius himself.
- Mencius asserted more teachings on human nature that there is innate goodness in every individual, believing that it was society’s influence.

Lao Tzu – literally means ‘Old Master’

- He founded Taoism spreading the message of ‘The Way’ through his book ‘Tao te Ching’ or ‘classic of the Way’.

B. Ancient Greek Philosophers

Socrates – Socratic method – teaching will effective if the teacher doesn’t confine himself inside the classroom but use the community as an extension of the teaching-learning process.

- A true knowledge is applied through meaningful experiences

- Knowledge is a virtue and ignorance is a vice.

Plato – Platonic Doctrine – physical objects aren’t permanent representations of unchanging ideas and that ideas alone give true knowledge as they are known by the world.

- The use of intellect and reason

- Who should rule? Group of aristocrats or ‘aristocrats’

Aristotle – He built a Lyceum – teaching math, logic and political philosophy.

- One of the great metaphysicians.

- Doctrine of the Mean – “Golden Mean” – In order to achieve happiness people must act moderately. Supremacy of rational capacities to achieve happiness.

Q: What is the good life for man?
A: The good life of a man is a life of happiness.
Q: how should men behave?
A: Men ought to behave so as to achieve happiness.

C. Medieval Christian Theologians

St. Thomas Aquinas
– the greatest theologian of the Roman Catholic Church

- He followed basically the teachings of Aristotle who relied on human reason and experience in search for goodness and truth.

St. Augustine – Happiness as the finest virtues that can be found in God.

- His teachings considered virtue, moral excellence, goodness and conformity in life, conduct to moral and ethical principles – “The Order of Love”

D. Social Contracts and Revolutionary Thinkers

Rousseau – General Will – illustrates the common will of the whole community for the interest of the common good of every individual. Hence believed that the ‘Voice of the people is the voice of God’ (Vox Populi, Vox Dei)

- Social Contract – Every individual in the community entered into an agreement and submitted themselves collectively to the general will of society. The state itself was a natural society but the result of the social contract, a purely conventional agreement whereby men give up part of their natural rights in order to preserve the rest.

Hobbes – His theory hinges on the psychological constitution of man, which is dominated by three major drives: 1. Competition (work hard for excellence), 2. diffidence (distrust to seek security), 3. glory (desire for fame, honor and superiority).

Locke – Second Treaties on Second Government – theoretical architect of democracy.

- Law of Nature – ‘no one ought to harm another life, health, liberty and his possessions’.

Other Rules in Statutory Construction

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full texts of the cases cited. Xie xie!

Chapter IX: Statute Construed as a Whole and in Relation to Other Statutes

1. Lozano v. Yorac

Issues and Ruling: Whether the denial of voluntary inhibition of Yorac in the disqualification of the case of Lozano v. Mayor Binay; and reversal of the en banc resolution promulgated by COMELEC dismissing the disqualification and criminal complaint against Binay on vote buying. Yorac has not been mooted and Binay won the case and not proven guilty of vote buying.

Chapter X: Special over General

Rule regarding conflicting provisions of the same statute

1. Manila Railroad Co. v. Collector of Customs

Issue and Ruling: Whether the lower court is favor of MRR. Where there is in the same statute a particular enactment and also a general one what is embraced in the former, the particular enactment must be operative and the general enactment must be taken to affect only such cases within its general language as are not within the provision of the particular enactment.

2. Almeda v. Florentino

Issue and Ruling: In the Charter of Pasay, RA No. 183 changed the composition of the Municipal Board. What provision of law should govern? The court ruled that where there is specific law and a general law dealing with the same subject, the specific law should prevail over the general one.

Rule regarding conflicting provisions of different statutes

1. Laxamana v. Baltazar

Issue and Ruling: The mayor of Pampanga was suspended by virtue of Revised Admin Code and the Laxamana was appointed by virtue of Revised election Code. Whether Revised Admin Code should prevail over Revised Election Code? The exceptional case is the suspension of mayors where the Revised Admin Code prevails. In case of conflict between two provisions of law, it is well-settled principle of statutory construction that a special provision is paramount to a general provision.

2. Butuan Sawmill v. City of Butuan

Issue and Ruling: Whether the existing laws include the franchise business of petitioners within the coverage of the taxing ordinance is beyond the city’s power of taxation. The inclusion of franchise business of Butuan Sawmill is beyond the broad power of taxation of the city under its charter. Where there are two statutes – the earlier special and the latter general – the special is considered as remaining an exception to the general as a general law of the land, the other as the law of a particular case.

Rule in case of conflict between a special provision of a general law and a general provision of a special law

1. City of Manila v. Teotico

Issue and Ruling: Teotico a manager, sustained a laceration on his left eyelid and contusions on his left thigh, sued Manila city for negligence citing Art. 2189 of the Civil Code. In defense, Manila City cited RA 409, its Charter. Which provision of law should prevail? In terms of territorial RA 409 applies but with regards to subject matter for negligence in general, Art. 2189 prevails making cities liable for injuries sustained due to “defective streets” in particular.

2. David v. Comelec

Issue and Ruling: Alex David, a Brgy Captain in Caloocan City, questioned Comelec’s scheduling of barangay elections. How long is the term of barangay officials. RA 6653 provides that term of office of barangay officials shall be for five years, however RA 7160 when it was enacted reduced the term of “all local elective officials to three years.

Amendment, Revision, Codification and Repeal

1. Tac-an v. CA

Issue and Ruling: Tac-an, a lawyer of Acopiado brothers, whose services was terminated and his payment of services by a land title was annulled by the brothers. Whether repealing of Admin Code of Mindanao and Sulu, should be given retroactivity; and whether the transfer of land to Tac-an was valid. Tac-an argued that such provisions in Admin Code of Mindanao and Sulu was repealed, but since the Admin Code were substantive in nature, the repealing statute cannot be given retroactive effect.

2. Villegas v. Subido

Issue and Ruling: The Supreme Court ruled that repeals by implication are not favored and will not be so declared unless it be manifest that the legislature so intended.

Two requisites: 1) It must be shown that the statute deal with the same subject matter; and, 2) the latter is inconsistent with the former, or irreconcilable with what had been formerly enacted, and what is needed is a manifest indication of the legislative purpose to repeal.

Statutory Construction in Agrarian, Rules of Court, Expopriation, Election, and Wills Lawss

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full texts of the cases cited. Xie xie!

Statutory Construction Reviewer by Chester Cabalza


1. Guerrero v. CA

Whether Benitez is a tenant within the meaning of the tenancy law to warrant reinstatement to the plantation. Longstanding possession is an essential distinction between a mere agricultural laborer and a real tenant within the meaning of the tenancy law, a tenant being one who has the temporary use and occupation of land or tenements belonging to another for the purpose of production. A hired laborer who built his own house at his expense at the risk of losing the same upon his dismissal or termination any time, is more consistent with that of an agricultural tenant who enjoys security of tenure under the law. The Supreme Court dismissed the petition for lack of merit, and affirmed the CA decision.


1. Bello v. CA

Whether the formal impleading of the Court of First Instance is indispensable and the procedural infirmity of misdirecting the appeal to Court of First Instance are fatal to the appellees’ cause. The construction of statutes is always cautioned against narrowly interpreting a statute as to defeat the purpose of the legislator and it is of the essence of judicial duty to construe statutes so as to avoid such a deplorable result (of injustice or absurdity” and therefore a literal interpretation is to be rejected if it would be unjust or lead to absurd results. Thus, in the construction of its own Rules of Court, the Court is all the more so bound to liberally construe them to avoid injustice, discrimination and unfairness and to supply the void by holding that Courts of First Instance are equally bound as the higher courts not to dismiss misdirected appeals timely made but to certify them to the proper appellate court.


1. City of Manila v. Chinese Community of Manila

Whether the Chinese cemetery may be validly expropriated by the City of Manila. he exercise of the right of eminent domain, whether directly by the State, or by its authorized agents, is necessarily in derogation of private rights, and the rule in that case is that the authority must be strictly construed. No species of property is held by individuals with greater tenacity, and none is guarded by the constitution and laws more sedulously, than the right to the freehold of inhabitants. When the legislature interferes with that right, and, for greater public purposes, appropriates the land of an individual without his consent, the plain meaning of the law should not be enlarged by doubtly interpretation. The right of expropriation is not an inherent power in a municipal corporation, and before it can exercise the right some law must exist conferring the power upon it.


1. Villanueva v. COMELEC

Whether the informal withdrawal of Mendoza invalidates the election of Villanueva as vice mayor. Section 28 of the 1978 Election Code provides for such substitute candidates in case of death, withdrawal or disqualification up to mid-day of the very day of the elections. Mendoza’s withdrawal was filed on the last hour of the last day for regular filing of candidacies, which he had filed earlier that same day. Further, the will of the electorate should be respected, it should not be defeated through the invocation of formal or technical defects. The will of the people cannot be frustrated by a technicality that the certificate of candidacy had not been properly sworn to.


1. In RE: Tampoy

Whether the absence of the testator’s thumbmark in the first page is fatal to render the will void. Statutes prescribing the formalities to be observed in the execution of wills are very strictly construed. A will must be executed in accordance with the statutory requirements; otherwise it is entirely void. Since the will suffers the fatal defect, as it does not bear the thumbmark of the testatrix on its first page even if it bears the signature of the three instrumental witnesses, the same fails to comply with the law and therefore cannot be admitted to probate.

Construction in Corporate and Naturalization Laws

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full texts of the cases cited. Xie xie!

Statutory Construction Reviewer by Chester Cabalza


Rule in the interpretation corporate law provisions

1. Home Insurance vs. Eastern Shipping Lines

Whether a foreign corporation doing business in the Philippines initially without a license can claim indemnity through Philippine Courts. The objective of the law was to subject the foreign corporation to the jurisdiction of our courts. The Corporation Law must be given a reasonable, not an unduly harsh, interpretation which does not hamper the development of trade relations and which fosters friendly commercial intercourse among countries. The Supreme Court consolidated and granted the petitions, reversed and set aside the CFI decisions. In L-34382 (Civil Case 71923), Eastern Shipping Lines and Angel Jose Transportation Inc. are ordered to pay the Home Insurance Company.


1. Co v. Republic

Whether petitioner failed to comply with the requirements prescribed by law in order to qualify him to become a Filipino citizen. Philippine law requires that an alien to conduct himself in a proper and irreproachable manner during the entire period of his residence in the Philippines in his relation with the constituted government as well as with the community in which he is living. In the present case, in so stating that he believes merely in our laws, he did not necessarily refer to those principles embodied in our constitution which are referred to in the law; the belief in democracy or in a democratic form of government is not sufficient to comply with the requirement of the law that one must believe in the principles underlying our constitution. Further, petitioner failed to show that he has complied with his obligation to register his wife and child with the Bureau of Immigration as required by the Alien Registration Act; and further failed to file his income tax return.

2. Lee Cho v. Republic

Whether petitioner was able to comply with the requirements for naturalization. The provisions of the Naturalization Law should be strictly construed in order that its laudable and nationalistic purpose may be fully fulfilled. In the present case, the petitioner has not filed any declaration of intention to become a Filipino citizen because, as he claims, he has resided continuously in the Philippines for a period of more than 30 years and has given primary and secondary education to all his children in private schools recognized by the government. This circumstance betrays the sincerity of petitioner to become a Filipino citizen for if his motive were proper he should not have tolerated such deviation from the educational requirement of the law. The petitioner, thus, has failed to qualify to become a Filipino citizen.

Construction in Insurance

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full texts of the cases cited. Xie xie!

Reviewer for Statutory Construction on Insurance by Chester Cabalza


Rule in the interpretation of insurance provisions

1. Ty v. First National Surety

Whether Diosdado Ty is entitled to indemnity under the insurance policy for the disability of his left hand. While the Court sympathizes with the plaintiff or his employer, for whose benefit the policies were issued, it can not go beyond the clear and express conditions of the insurance policies, all of which define partial disability as loss of either hand by an amputation through the bones of the wrist.” There was no such amputation in the case at bar.

2. De la Cruz v. Capital Insurance

Eduardo de la Cruz was the holder of an accident insurance policy. Eduardo slipped and was hit by his opponent on the left part of the back of the head, causing Eduardo to fall and death in a non-pro boxing bout. Whether the death of the insured is covered by the policy. The terms “accident” and “accidental” have not acquired any technical meaning, and are construed by the courts in their ordinary and common acceptation. In the present case, while the participation of the insured in the boxing contest is voluntary, if without the unintentional slipping of the deceased, perhaps he could not have received that blow in the head and would not have died.

Ambiguous provision interpreted against insurer

1. Qua Chee Gan v. Law Union Insurer

Whether gasoline may be construed as oil to warrant the forfeiture of claims under the insurance policy. By reason of the exclusive control of the insurance company over the terms and phraseology of the contract, the ambiguity must be held strictly against the insurer and liberally in favor of the insured, especially to avoid forfeiture. There is no reason why the prohibition of keeping gasoline in the premises could not be expressed clearly and unmistakably, in the language and terms that the general public can readily understand, without resort to obscure esoteric expression.

Construction in Labor Laws

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full texts of the cases cited. Xie xie!

Reviewer for Statutory Construction by Chester Cabalza

Rule on the construction of labor laws

1. Manahan v. ECC

This Court applied the provisions of the Workmen’s Compensation Act, as amended, on passing upon petitioner’s claim. The illness that claimed the life of the deceased may have its onset before 10 December 1974, thus, his action accrued before 10 December 1974. Still, in any case, and in case of doubt, the same should be resolved in favor of the worker, and that social legislations — like the Workmen’s Compensation Act and the Labor Code — should be liberally construed to attain their laudable objective, i.e., to give relief to the workman and/or his dependents in the event that the former should die or sustain an injury. Pursuant to such doctrine and applying now the provisions of the Workmen’s Compensation Act in this case, the presumption of compensability subsists in favor of the claimant.

2. Villavert v. ECC

From the foregoing facts of record, it is clear that Marcelino N. Villavert died of acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis which was directly caused or at least aggravated by the duties he performed as code verifier, computer operator and clerk typist of the Philippine Constabulary. Further, Article 4 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended, provides that “all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of this Code, including its implementing rules and regulations shall be resolved in favor of labor.”

3. Del Rosario & Sons v. NLRC

Articles 106 of the Labor Code provides that “in the event that the contractor or subcontractor fails to pay the wages of his employees in accordance with this Code, the employer shall be jointly and severally liable with his contractor or subcontractor to such employees to the extent of the work performed under the contract, in the same manner and extent that he is liable to employees directly employed by him,” and Article 107 provides that “the provisions of the immediately preceding Article shall likewise apply to any person, partnership, association or corporation which, not being an employer, contracts with an independent contractor for the performance of any work, task, job or project.” The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment under review, without prejudice to petitioner’s right to seek reimbursement from Calmar Security Agency for such amounts as petitioner may have to pay to complainants.

Construction in Tax Laws

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full texts of the cases cited. Xie xie!

Reviewer by Chester Cabalza

Chapter VI: Interpretation of Specific Types of Statutes


How are tax refunds construed?
1. La Carlota Sugar Central v. Jimenez

When the issue is whether or not the exemption from a tax imposed by law is applicable, the rule is that the exempting provision is to be construed liberally in favor of the taxing authority and strictly against exemption from tax liability, the result being that statutory provisions for the refund of taxes are strictly construed in favor of the State and against the taxpayer. Exempting from the 17% tax all fertilizers imported by planters or farmers through any agent other than their cooperatives, this would be rendering useless the only exception expressly established in the case of fertilizers imported by planters or farmers through their cooperatives.

Who has the burden of proof?

1. CIR v. CA – Ateneo case

The Commissioner erred in applying the principles of tax exemption without first applying the well-settled doctrine of strict interpretation in the imposition of taxes. he Court ruled that the private respondent is not a contractor selling its services for a fee but an academic institution conducting these researches pursuant to its commitments to education and, ultimately, to public service. For the institute to have tenaciously continued operating for so long despite its accumulation of significant losses, we can only agree with both the Court of Tax Appeals and the Court of Appeals that “education and not profit is motive for undertaking the research projects.

2. Mactan Cebu v. Marcos

Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) is a “taxable person” under its Charter (RA 6958), and was only exempted from the payment of real property taxes. The grant of the privilege only in respect of this tax is conclusive proof of the legislative intent to make it a taxable person subject to all taxes, except real property tax. Therefore, MCIAA has to pay the assessed realty tax of its properties effective after January 1, 1992 until the present.

Tax sales construed?

1. Serefino v. CA

The Court assailed decision of the appellate court declares that the prescribed procedure in auction sales of property for tax delinquency being in derogation of property rights should be followed punctiliously. Strict adherence to the statutes governing tax sales is imperative not only for the protection of the tax payers, but also to allay any possible suspicion of collusion between the buyer and the public officials called upon to enforce such laws. Notice of sale to the delinquent land owners and to the public in general is an essential and indispensable requirement of law, the non-fulfillment of which vitiates the sale. The inability of the Register of Deeds to notify the actual owner or Lopez Sugar Central of the scheduled public auction sale was partly due to the failure of Lopez Sugar Central to declare the land in its name for a number of years and to pay the complete taxes thereon.

Executive Construction and Subjects of Construction

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full texts of the cases cited. Xie xie!

Reviewer by Chester Cabalza

Chapter IV: Executive Construction

What is the rule on executive construction?

1. PAFLU v. Bureau of Labor Relations

The court still and should respect the contemporaneous construction placed upon a statute by the executive officers whose duty is to enforce it, and unless such interpretation is clearly erroneous will ordinarily be controlled thereby.

When is Executive construction not given weight?

1. Phil. Apparel Workers’ Union v. NLRC

There was no grant of said increases yet, despite the contrary opinion expressed in the letter of the Undersecretary of Labor. It must be noted that the letter was based on a wrong premise or representation on the part of the company. The construction or explanation of Labor Undersecretary is not only wrong as it was purely based on a misapprehension of facts, but also unlawful because it goes beyond the scope of the law. The Supreme Court set aside the decision of the commission, and ordered the company to pay, in addition to the increased allowance provided for in PD 1123.

2. IBAA Employees Union v. Inciong

Whether the Ministry of Labor is correct in determining that monthly paid employees are excluded from the benefits of holiday pay. From Article 92 of the Labor Code, as amended by Presidential Decree 850, and Article 82 of the same Code, it is clear that monthly paid employees are not excluded from the benefits of holiday pay. So long, as the regulations relate solely to carrying into effect the provisions of the law, they are valid. Where an administrative order betrays inconsistency or repugnancy to the provisions of the Act, the mandate of the Act must prevail and must be followed.

3. Chartered Bank Employees’ Union v. Ople

Whether the Ministry of Labor is correct in maintaining that monthly paid employees are not entitled to the holiday pay nor all employees who rendered work during said legal holidays are entitled to the premium or overtime pay differentials. When the language of the law is clear and unequivocal the law must be taken to mean exactly what it says. An administrative interpretation, which diminishes the benefits of labor more than what the statute delimits or withholds, is obviously ultra vires. In the present case, the provisions of the Labor Code on the entitlement to the benefits of holiday pay are clear and explicit, it provides for both the coverage of and exclusion from the benefit.

Difference of a rule and an opinion?

1. Victorias Milling v. SSC

When an administrative agency promulgates rules and regulations, it ‘makes; a new law with the force and effect of a valid law, while when it renders an opinion or gives a statement of policy, it merely interprets pre-existing law.

Chapter V: Subjects of Construction

How should the Constitution be construed?

1. Sarmiento v. Mison

The fundamental principle of constitutional construction is to give effect to the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it. The intention to which force is to be given is that which is embodied and expressed in the constitutional provisions themselves.

2. Perfecto v. Meer

Whether the imposition of an income tax upon the salary of a member of the Judiciary amount to a diminution thereof., and thus violate the Constitution. The 1935 Constitution provides in its Article VIII, Section 9, that the members of the Supreme Court and all judges of inferior courts “shall receive such compensation as may be fixed by law, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office”.

3. Endencia v. David

Whether the Legislature may lawfully declare the collection of income tax on the salary of a public official, specially a judicial officer, not a decrease of his salary, after the Supreme Court has found and decided otherwise. Therefore, the doctrine laid down in the case of Perfecto vs. Meer to the effect that the collection of income tax on the salary of a judicial officer is a diminution thereof and so violates the Constitution, is reiterated.

4. Nitafan v. CIR

Whether the intention of the framers of the 1987 Constitution is to exempt justices and judges from taxes as it was in the 1935 Constitution. In the present case, Section 10, Article VIII is plain that the Constitution authorizes Congress to pass a law fixing another rate of compensation of Justices and Judges but such rate must be higher than that which they are receiving at the time of enactment, or if lower, it would be applicable only to those appointed after its approval. The constitutional provision in question until it was finally approved by the Commission disclosed that the true intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, in adopting it, was to make the salaries of members of the Judiciary taxable.

May the preamble be referred to in the construction of Constitutional Provisions?

1. Aglipay v. Ruiz

Religious freedom as a constitutional mandate is not inhibition of profound reverence for religion and is not a denial of its influence in human affairs. When the Filipino people, in the preamble of their Constitution, implored “the aid of Divine Providence, in order to establish a government that shall embody their ideals, conserve and develop the patrimony of the nation, promote the general welfare, and secure to themselves and their posterity the blessings of independence under a regime of justice, liberty and democracy,” they thereby manifested their intense religious nature and placed unfaltering reliance upon Him who guides the destinies of men and nations. The elevating influence of religion in human society is recognized here as elsewhere. In the present case, the purpose of the issuing of the stamps was to take advantage of an event considered of international importance to give publicity to the Philippines and its people and attract more tourists to the country.

Are the provisions of the Constitution self-executing?

1. Manila Prince Hotel v. GSIS

A constitutional provision is self-executing if the nature and extent of the right conferred and the liability imposed are fixed by the constitution itself, so that they can be determined by an examination and construction of its terms, and there is no language indicating that the subject is referred to the legislature for action. In self-executing constitutional provisions, the legislature may still enact legislation to facilitate the exercise of powers directly granted by the constitution, further the operation of such a provision, prescribe a practice to be used for its enforcement, provide a convenient remedy for the protection of the rights secured or the determination thereof, or place reasonable safeguards around the exercise of the right. Hence, unless it is expressly provided that a legislative act is necessary to enforce a constitutional mandate, the presumption now is that all provisions of the constitution are self-executing.

Requirements for the publication of laws?

1. Tanada v. Tuvera, 1985

Publication in the Official Gazette is necessary in those cases where the legislation itself does not provide for its effectivity date — for then the date of publication is material for determining its date of effectivity, which is the fifteenth day following its publication — but not when the law itself provides for the date when it goes into effect. The clear object Art. 2 is to give the general public adequate notice of the various laws which are to regulate their actions and conduct as citizens. Without such notice and publication, there would be no basis for the application of the maxim “ignorantia legis non excusat.”

2. Tanada v. Tuvera, 1986

The clause “unless it is otherwise provided,” in Article 2 of the Civil Code, refers to the date of effectivity and not to the requirement of publication itself, which cannot in any event be omitted. This clause does not mean that the legislature may make the law effective immediately upon approval, or on any other date, without its previous publication. The legislature may in its discretion provide that the usual fifteen-day period shall be shortened or extended.

Rule on construction of ordinances vis-à-vis Statute

1. Primicias v. Urdaneta

The general rule is that a later law prevails over an earlier law. The ordinance’s validity should be determined vis-a-vis RA 4136, the “mother statute” (not Act 3992), which was in force at the time the criminal case was brought against Primicias.

Aids in Construction and Interpretation of Statutes

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full texts of the cases cited. Xie xie!

Reviewer by Chester Cabalza

IV. Aids in Construction

1. Archbishop of Manila v. SSC
Extrinsic Aids

In this appeal from an order of the Social Security Commission, we uphold the Commission's Order dismissing the petition before it, on the ground that in the absence of an express provision in the Social Security Act1 vesting in the Commission the power to condone penalties, it has no legal authority to condone, waive or relinquish the penalty for late premium remittances mandatorily imposed under the Social Security Act.

When Literal Construction is not Favored

1. Paras v. Comelec

Petitioner Danilo E. Paras is the incumbent Punong Barangay of Pula, Cabanatuan City who won during the last regular barangay election in 1994. A petition for his recall as Punong Barangay was filed by the registered voters of the barangay. Acting on the petition for recall, public respondent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) resolved to approve the petition, scheduled the petition signing on October 14, 1995, and set the recall election on November 13, 1995. Petitioner's argument is simple and to the point. Citing Section 74 (b) of Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code, which states that "no recall shall take place within one (1) year from the date of the official's assumption to office or one (1) year immediately preceding a regular local election". It is likewise a basic precept in statutory construction that a statute should be interpreted in harmony with the Constitution. Thus, the interpretation of Section 74 of the Local Government Code, specifically paragraph (b) thereof, should not be in conflict with the Constitutional mandate of Section 3 of Article X of the Constitution to "enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanism of recall, initiative, and referendum . . . ."