Finalist-PhilBlogAwards 2010

Finalist-PhilBlogAwards 2010
Finalist for society, politics, history blogs



Saturday, December 31, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza / Guru Ra

31 December 2011

A Happy New Year to all spiritual seekers, freethinkers, aspirants, mystics & gurus!

The Planetary Ascension is just 50 weeks and couples of days away as of this writing. Terrans just celebrated the last Christmas (Dec. 24/25) for the 3rd dimension/density history of the planet. Tonight will witness the last New Year’s Eve celebration, last because there just may be no such celebration by the end of 2012. Post-2012, a new calendar system would most likely be instituted, replacing the Gregorian calendar imposed by the Europeans on the planet.

As far as Terra is concerned, the readiness for the big leap forward is already at a 99% level. The 1% remaining works for the planet are those nitty gritty specifications that will ensure the Divine Plan’s execution for the planet to full throttle.

Consider the following phenomena: (a) the Christ Grid niched at the EMF (electromagnetic frequency) has been fully erected, thus enabling the quantum leap in consciousness that is now going on; (b) major and minor energy centers of the planet were already activated, aiding a quickening in energy balancing for all regions and the globe; and, (c) major and minor hyperspace portals were already opened, thus ensuring greater access to the planet from other regions of the Solar system and galaxy.

Many years earlier than those phenomena mentioned, the preparatory steps were already being done at higher levels of intelligences: (a) energy releases from the being-essence of the Planetary Logos, at the spiritual center in Shamballah, accelerating the energy balance all over the planet, circa 1930s onwards; (b) energy releases from the being-essence of Highest Divine Beings in the Central Spiritual Sun, reinforcing the burning down of negative energies and catalyzing the initiation processes of evolved souls towards Atmic (soul) awakening.

To further ensure greater maneuverability and manageability of planetary changes, the Almighty Father began intervention from the 1970s onwards. Timeline changes began taking shape, such as to witness certain land formations (e.g. California) still standing up squarely, even way after they were prophesied to sink below the sea waters. The intervention has been mitigating the catastrophic changes, so that the discontinuous high-level turbulence (prior to intervention), inclusive of radical land form changes, can be slowed down a bit and distributed widely across a thousand years perhaps.

In other words, those changes that can compress themselves into a 25-year squeeze ‘time crucible’ (from 12-21-2012 through 2037), can be distributed across wide latitudes of time and space. Catastrophic damages can therefore be minimized, while the surviving Terrans will be given sufficient lead time to prepare for the next scenarios of radical changes.

Which means that, right after the planetary space-mass expansion post-polar shift and leap to 4th dimension space, the new cities and global polity can be erected pronto. Nations and old polities will melt away during the most rapid shifts to new realities, which will then permit a greater viability of a global polity led by Ascended Beings, a center where all the post-nation cities will gravitate to—magnificent cities that will mushroom in highly planned fashion across the globe.

Meantime, the target of the Divine Beings and spiritual masters of a 20% survival, with the service-for-others criterion serving as core yardstick for qualification to the new world, is optimistically achievable. Mass initiation is now taking place across the planet that is catalyzing the awareness-raising of the most prepared in the Path. From the personal unconscious, the effect will be felt more and more as the days pass in the months ahead, effects that will then be realized at the conscious level, which at the least will end the polarity within, break down the social antipathies and estrangements, and ensure global cooperation efforts among the survivors.

I need not belabor the point that the (a) Evolutionary Laggards and (b) Demoniacs (negative persons) will be swept off to oblivion as a denouement of the global change. Their transfer to worlds fit for their own awareness levels has been going on, as the mass transshipment of souls of the dead ones among them have already begun since 2008 yet.

The way to the New Age of Light is now even more traversable, and so the birthing-to-infancy of the New Terra is expected to be a highly successful surgical operation by the Divine life-givers of all sentient beings. Welcome to the New Age of Light!

Thursday, December 29, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Effective ocean governance, ocean & coastal sustainability, blue-green development seem to be among the new clichés formed by experts in the development circles notably the international organizations. Westerners are particularly prone to ‘fetishism of the concept’ as the late sociologist C.Wright Mills noted the phenomenon (in his critique of Talcott Parsons), so this fetishism finds manifestation in the eco-development terrain quite expectedly.

The efforts towards the blueprinting of ocean & coastal sustainability has become an interagency effort. The first blueprint was just recently launched, which the drafters hope will enlighten stakeholders in the forthcoming eco-summit to be held in Brazil next June. Just exactly how far this blueprint will make impact remains to be seen, more so that cash-strapped Western nations are in a panic situation to salve their own backyards’ economic downturns and mal-adaptive tailspins, thus rendering the green agenda as second fiddle.

Below is a report about the said blueprint coming from the UNESCO media office.

[Philippines, 18 December 2011]


Launch of an inter-agency blueprint for ocean and coastal sustainability

Cover, A blueprint for ocean and coastal sustainability: Interagency paper towards the preparation of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, launched the inter-agency report Blueprint for Ocean and Coastal Sustainability, prepared by the UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as a contribution to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) which will take place next June in Brazil.

The report contains 10 concrete proposals

  • (i) to reduce stressors & restore the structure and function of marine ecosystems,
  • (ii) that support the Blue-Green Economy,
  • (iii) leading to Policy, Legal and Institutional Reforms for effective Ocean Governance, and finally
  • (iv) supporting marine research, observation, technology and capacity transfer.

A number of delegates (Brazil, Australia, Monaco, India, France, Grenada on behalf of AOSIS, and Korea) delivered statements presenting their national priorities for Rio+20, stressing the need to provide political weight to ocean issues within the existing and future sustainable development agenda. The meeting was also addressed by H.E. M. Meetarbhan, Co-chair of UN Informal Process on Oceans (Mauritius) and Ms L. Inniss, Co-coordinator of the UN Group of Experts on the Regular Process for Reporting and Assessing the State of the Marine Environment.

Related links:

Source: Natural Sciences Sector


Friday, December 23, 2011



Erle Frayne Argonza


A Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone else!

That I started with a goodwill greeting associated with the Christmas occasion doesn’t make me a church devotee of which I definitely am not. I have departed a long time ago yet from Catholic Church, my childhood church, though I am still sympathetic to some of its key doctrines of faith notably Vatican II.

On the other hand, not being a church devotee doesn’t make me any less a disciple of Jesus the Christed One. I am very much a disciple of Jesus and his team-mates of Ascended Beings, and I’d categorically declare that I am, in this respect, a Christian. It is for this reason that I do attune myself to the rituals of the Christians who are largely fanatical devotees of the Cult of Jesus which was officially dubbed as Christian Church in the generic sense.

So many fallacies and lies were propagated by the Jesusian cults (i.e. churches) over the past two (2) millennia, one of which is the contention that Jesus was born on the night of 24th of December. Nobody knows about the exact date when Jesus, the World Teacher, embodied and was born as an infant a full Age ago (1 Age = 2,150 years approximately). There are mystics today who claim that Jesus was born around the end of March, but as to the exact day of his birth (using the Gregorian calendar) no mystic had made a precise claim.

In the first place, the devotional practice of giving so much importance to the exact day of birth of a founding Master in its literal sense is purely this: blind fanaticism. Even if we presume that Jesus was born on the 24th of December, there is a greater underlying meaning behind his birth that the ordinary devotees and cult hierarchs have no knowledge about. But if only the cult devotees would look to numerology for some answers regarding the question of meaning, they would find fruitful answers via this method.

But as everybody realizes, Jesusians are bent on declaring that any contention that lies outside the church/cult dogmas is a work of the Devil. You could just imagine how many freethinkers and esoteric seekers may have been labeled with the ad hominem Devil by the Jesusian cultists (church goers), and it is no surprise that this writer had earned the ire of many such fanatical cultists such as his former university students. Well, the bad luck for the fanatics is that this is no Medieval Period, and so I could make the boldest claims to unmasking church lies without being accosted or burned at stake by fanatics. Also, I reside inside the University of the Philippines (Diliman) which is the ultimate bastion of freedom in the whole of Southeast Asia. My big city, Manila, is also the citadel of freedom in Asia, so no one would stone me to death or burn me alive anywhere here for being an iconoclast.

Now, let me go straight to the question of meaning. This interpretive task is a matter of deep exegesis, likened to interpreting a dream. As one who had studied semiotics (science of signs) via the behavioral sciences and esoteric philosophy, the task is easy just the same. Humans normally resort to rituals or ceremonies, and often the cycles of seasons and weather patterns evoke ideas that then translate into ritualizing engagements. Social relations produce thought, as the sociology of knowledge (cognitive sociology) had so succinctly declared as a social law. This is our starting point for our recondite reflection.

In the ancient past, the production of rituals was the chief task of the Shaman (babaylan in ancient Philippines). The shaman was the priest (or priestess), medicine man (or woman) or healer, white magician/alchemist (taps energies for beneficial purposes), mystic (bridge to the Divine Beings), and philosopher, all rolled into a single functionary. It is important to cite the shaman here, as we can best understand the significance of the ‘December 24 event’ by putting ourselves in the position of the Roman high priests (Rome’s own equivalent of shamans) and see what this intersubjective process can reveal to us.

Remember that the Roman shamans were, in ancient parlance, pagans. In today’s anthropological language, they were animists. As such, they represented a people that was so close to nature, and knew well the cycles of seasons. Like the shamans from other cultures, they had designed rituals for every kind of human activity conceivable. A child, before being born, is prayed for using mantrams and ceremonial rites, and then receives another ritual upon birth, and another ritual upon reaching puberty, and so on till death. Likewise did the seasons of both hemispheres receive equal treatment in terms of ritualization. Ditto to the cycles of pre-cultivation, cultivation, and post-harvest for food production (agriculture, horticulture). The Romans were into such practices, to emphatically mark our point here, more so that they were already city-builders and were of advanced caliber in knowledge and technological pursuits of their time; their shamans, likewise of the highest caliber.

Culled from above is the idea of ritualizing for the end of the autumn season and the beginning of the winter season in the Northern hemisphere. The significance of Christmas, of Jesus’ birth being assigned to the 24th of December, has a great deal to do with the autumn-to-winter interface (to use current terminology). Officially, the equalization of the patterns of autumn and winter is cognized as the Winter solstice, which falls on the 21st of December in the North (winter solstice in the south falls on the 21st of June, which is summer solstice in the North).

Even before Christianity was declared an official religion, without doubt the Romans were already in the habit of ritualizing the coming of Winter. No further research is needed to establish this. All of the ethnic communities in the Mediterranean for that matter held rituals signifying the start of Winter, and the inter-permeation of cultural elements by dint of cultural diffusion is responsible for the degree of homogenization of Winter ritual patterns in the same area. Which means that the Latins (Romans), Etruscans, Greeks, Hamites, Semites, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Iberians shared more or less similar traits in their Winter rituals, the most focal being that they all celebrated Winter solstice in certain ways.

The question now is, what is the deeper significance of December the 24th other than that it marks the 3rd day after the Winter solstice? And why the 3rd day after the solstice was declared as the ‘birth of Jesus’ by the new rising religion, the Cult of Jesus (Christianity)? Why not simply assign the 21st of December as the day of his birth, which will make the birthday identical to the 1st day of winter (the 21st)?

As to the date, the 3rd day after the solstice, a note: 3 is the number of Trinity (Father, Son, Spirit) in Christology. In numerology (Indian and Pythagorean systems), 3 denotes creativity, productivity, motion, action, activity. The two semiotic sets do converge. Instead of copying the solstice day as D’ Day, the ancient shamans (who were the new bishops and priests of the Jesusian cult) decided that it would be more appropriate to indicate the Trinitarian power in the date, which makes the 24th rather than the 21st as the top candidate. For a numerologist, the day makes sense, in that declaring a creative-dynamic signification on a winter’s season, which is a season of rest or motionlessness, generates a sense of balance of the action-rest duality (yin-yang in the East).

Not only that. It would also make greater sense for the devotees or blind fanatics (a redundancy really, because devotee and fanatic are identical) if the date of birth would be on a day other than the 21st which most Mediterraneans and Northerners already celebrate. The ‘uniqueness criterion’ is an important element in decision-making, and by using this criterion means that the 24th of December made the Jesusians or Jesuits (church fanatics) a unique people who created rituals outside of the common ritual templates. That is, the 24th of December rendered the fanatics the illusion of uniqueness, which made them rest on solid psychological grounds: they need not defend any longer that they were copy-cat folks.

Now, that leads us to the next idea: converging the ‘uniqueness’ element with the ‘chosen people’ eschatological belief present in all religions and cultures. Supposedly, Jesus was the harbinger of the new idea that the ‘gentiles’ (literally the ‘outsiders’ of a chosen people who were the Jews) were themselves a ‘chosen people’ and not outsiders or outcaste. The Jesusian cult has now given the fanatics not only a sense of uniqueness, but also declared that such a uniqueness reclined in their being the ‘chosen ones’. The time for the old chosen ones has ended, and a new chosen one has begun in mandate.

You could just imagine the ecstatic impact that such a convergence of ideas could produce among the erstwhile herds of fanatics, who for many centuries were loathsome outsiders in the civilizational game. They were the barbarians & savages of the previous ages, the outsiders who were recognized best for their destructive propensities. Now they are the co-creators or co-producers of the Divine Spheres or God (co-creation signified by number 3), the next harbingers of civilization. And true indeed, the former barbarians, who were mainly Europeans, felt this mission so strongly in their psyche that for many centuries thereafter they scoured the earth for ‘heathens’ who would be converts to their idea of civility, of being cultured, progressive, rational, and humanist.

Of course, the psychological mood or theme evoked by the entire ritualizing of birth in the 24th is Hope: that Jesus was the embodiment of hope, that there was finally hope for the Europeans who for centuries were heathen slaves. Of course, it was the greatest psychological victory for the Latins (Romans & sister tribes) in as much as they were then the center of civilization world-wide. The 24th also gave the same Europeans the same sense of hope at a time of hopelessness and despair that were evoked by the cyclical winter season.

Cultivating the seed of creativity, activity, uniqueness and hope, all converging within a common seed-idea—the birthing of the Ascended Master Jesus and bestowing him with the role of Begotten Son of the Father God—and planting this in the psyche of Europeans is among the most profound developments in the genetic seeding and improvement of the Europeans themselves. True indeed, and humanity better accept this, no matter how destructive may have been the methods employed by European powers in their conquests, the Torch of Civility for the entire Piscean Age was vested in the European. Their time had come 2000+ years ago, and no force on Earth could stop that.

2000+ years ago, the seed of that historic mission of the Europeans was planted, concocted, congealed in thought, which then permeated right deep into their Collective Unconscious, which eventually got implanted in their genes. For the Collective Unconscious, which belongs to the Electromagnetic Field or EMF, interfaces directly with the biophysical, and that to induce changes in the EMF will likewise result to corresponding changes in the bio-physical dimension. The changes, in other words, will be planted as genetic traits that will govern the actions of the people concerned in the long run.

That, dearest readers, is the significance of the (night of) 24th of December. The mission of the Europeans has now been optimized, after the full Age of Pisces. Likewise the mission of Jesus: to carry on his shoulders for 2000+ years the collective karma of Earth’s humanity. The European-Jesusian missions are now over, and the Torch is now being passed on to the peoples of the East, particularly to the Pacific Asians. But this new development, which will be the definitive development of the Age of Aquarius, is another thing. Suffice me at this moment to say: I’ve shared my thoughts about the deep significance of the 24th of December, by resorting to an archeology of the psyche and soul.

A Merry Christmas again to you all! May my love for all Jesusian cultists be re-declared here, please accept my goodwill for you all. May you all evolve in spirit! Let’s all chant the mantram: Jesus is Love! Jesus is Love! Jesus is Love!

[Writ 14 December 2007, Quezon City, MetroManila]

Sunday, December 18, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

The United Nations Development Program had released the 2011 report on Human Development. Gladly, the peace-sponsoring nation of Norway topped the human development ranking worldwide. Sadly, the struggling republic of Congo was the last.

Let me express my own Big Kudos! to the people of Norway and all of the stakeholders involved that made possible the exemplary feat as the global model for human development. Improving health (longevity), literacy (education) and gender disparity (gender empowerment) are what makes a nation truly developed and great as the Norwegian case exemplifies.

Bullying other nations and encumbering them in debt peonage, as what the United States had steadfastly shown, can never make a country rank as tops, but only top for hegemonism. As the ranking has shown, the USA in fact fell from No. 4 to No. 23 due to yawning gap between rich and poor.

Sad and tragic for Congo, a nation that has a wonderful history of culture-building in antiquity. European domination shaved off everything great and grand that Congo built for centuries, nay rendered Congo into a basketcase of failed state. Let us hope that the developing countries of Africa and Asia would lend a hand for the DR Congo to help it salve its ailments of bad governance, fragmentary political culture and national identity, and radically solve poverty.

Below is a summary report from the UNDP about the 2011 human development assessment.

[Philippines, 17 December 2011]


2011 Human Development Index: Norway at top, DR Congo last

02 November 2011

(Photo: ©UNDP/Arantxa Cedillo)

Index covers record 187 countries and territories; inequalities lower HDI rankings for US, Republic of Korea, others

Copenhagen—Norway, Australia and the Netherlands lead the world in the 2011 Human Development Index (HDI), while the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger and Burundi are at the bottom of the Human Development Report’s annual rankings of national achievement in health, education and income, released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The United States, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Germany and Sweden round out the top 10 countries in the 2011 HDI, but when the Index is adjusted for internal inequalities in health, education and income, some of the wealthiest nations drop out of the HDI’s top 20: the United States falls from #4 to #23, the Republic of Korea from #15 to #32, and Israel from #17 to #25.

The United States and Israel drop in the Report’s Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI) mainly because of income inequality, though health care is also a factor in the US ranking change, while wide education gaps between generations detract from the Republic of Korea’s IHDI performance.

Other top national achievers rise in the IHDI due to greater relative internal equalities in health, education and income: Sweden jumps from #10 to #5, Denmark climbs from #16 to #12, and Slovenia rises from #21 to #14.

The IHDI and two other composite indices—the Multidimensional Poverty Index and the Gender Inequality Index—were designed to complement the Human Development Report’s HDI, which is based on national averages in schooling, life expectancy, and per capita income. The 2011 HDI covers a record 187 countries and territories, up from 169 in 2010, reflecting in part improved data availability for many small island states of the Caribbean and the Pacific. The 2011 country rankings are therefore not comparable to the 2010 Report’s HDI figures, the authors note.

“The Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index helps us assess better the levels of development for all segments of society, rather than for just the mythical ‘average’ person,” said Milorad Kovacevic, chief statistician for the Human Development Report. “We consider health and education distribution to be just as important in this equation as income, and the data show great inequities in many countries.”

The 2011 Report—Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All—notes that income distribution has worsened in most of the world, with Latin America remaining the most unequal region in income terms, even though several countries including Brazil and Chile are narrowing internal income gaps. Yet in overall IHDI terms, including life expectancy and schooling, Latin America is more equitable than sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia, the Report shows.

To assess income distribution, as well as varying levels of life expectancy and schooling within national populations, the IHDI uses methodology developed by the renowned British economist Sir Anthony Barnes Atkinson. “We use the Atkinson approach to measure inequalities in health, education and income, because it is more sensitive to changes at the lower end of the scale than the more familiar Gini coefficient,” Kovacevic said.

Average HDI levels have risen greatly since 1970—41 percent globally and 61 percent in today’s low-HDI countries—reflecting major overall gains in health, education and income. The 2011 HDI charts progress over five years to show recent national trends: 72 nations moved up in rank from 2006 to 2011, led by Cuba (+10 to #51), Venezuela and Tanzania (+7 each to #73 and #152, respectively), while another 72 fell in rank, including
Kuwait (-8 to #63) and Finland (-7 to #22).

The 10 countries that place last in the 2011 HDI are all in sub-Saharan Africa: Guinea, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Chad, Mozambique, Burundi, Niger, and the Democratic Republic of
the Congo.

Despite recent progress, these low-HDI nations still suffer from inadequate incomes, limited schooling opportunities, and life expectancies far below world averages due in great part to deaths from preventable and treatable diseases such as malaria and AIDS. In many, these problems are compounded by the destructive legacy of armed conflict. In the lowest-ranking country in the 2011 HDI, the Democratic Republic of
the Congo, more than three million people died from warfare and conflict-linked illness in recent years, prompting the largest peacekeeping operation in UN history.

Gender Inequality Index
The Gender Inequality Index (GII) shows that Sweden leads the world in gender equality, as measured by this composite index of reproduce-tive health, years of schooling, parliamentary representation, and participation in the labour market. Sweden is followed in the gender inequality rankings by the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Germany, Singapore, Iceland and France.

Yemen ranks as the least equitable of the 146 countries in the GII, followed by Chad, Niger, Mali, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, Liberia, Central African Republic and Sierra Leone. In Yemen, just 7.6 percent of women have a secondary education, compared to 24.4 percent for men; women hold
just 0.7 percent of seats in the legislature; and only 20 percent of working-age women are in the paid work force, compared to 74 percent of men.

“In sub-Saharan Africa the biggest losses arise from gender disparities in education and from high maternal mortality and adolescent fertility rates,” the Report’s authors write. “In South Asia, women lag behind men in each dimension of the GII, most notably in education, national parliamentary representation and labour force participation. Women in Arab states are affected by unequal labour force participation (around half the global average) and low educational attainment.”

Multidimensional Poverty Index
The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) examines factors at the family level—such as access to clean water and cooking fuel and health services, as well as basic household goods and home construction standards—that together provide a fuller portrait of poverty than income measurements alone.

Some 1.7 billion people in 109 countries lived in ‘multidimensional’ poverty in the decade ending in 2010, by the MPI calculus, or almost a third of the countries’ entire combined population of 5.5 billion. That compares to the
1.3 billion people estimated to live on US$1.25 a day or less, the measure used in the UN Millennium Development Goals, which seeks to eradicate “extreme” poverty by 2015.

Niger has the highest share of multidimensionally poor, at 92 percent of the population, the Report says, followed by Ethiopia and Mali, with 89 percent and 87 percent, respectively. The 10 poorest nations as measured by the MPI are all in sub-Saharan Africa. But the largest group of multidimensionally poor is South Asian: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have some of the highest absolute numbers of MPI poor.

The MPI provides insight into environmental problems in the poorest households, including indoor air pollution and disease from contaminated water supplies. The Report notes that in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, more than 90 percent of the multidimensionally poor cannot afford clean cooking fuel, relying principally on firewood, while some 85 percent lack basic sanitation services.

ABOUT THE Human Development Index (HDI): The HDI has been published annually since the first Human Development Report in 1990 as an alternative measurement of national development, challenging purely economic assessments of progress such as Gross Domestic Product. HDI rankings are recalculated annually using the latest internationally comparable data for health, education and income. The Inequality adjusted HDI (IHDI) was introduced along with the Gender Inequality Index (GII) and Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) in last year’s Human Development Report to complement the original HDI, which as a composite measure of national averages does not reflect internal inequalities. Due to data limitations these composite indexes do not gauge other factors considered equally essential elements of human development, such as civic engagement, environmental sustainability or the quality of education and health standards.

ABOUT THIS REPORT: The annual Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the United Nations Development Programme. For free downloads of the 2011 Human Development Report in ten languages, plus additional reference materials on its indices and specific regional implications, please visit:

ABOUT UNDP: UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. Please visit:

UNDP Contacts

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Saturday, December 17, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Does G20 protect people? If so, up to what extent do people matter to the aggrupation of the world’s wealthiest nations? If in case the G20 does protect its own people, does such protection apply to the people of its aid clientele countries?

People not things matter most, says a famous line from the legendary Mao Tsetung of China’s revolutionaries. A populist line, it has been refined today in more technical terms as ‘human development’ index. Aid agencies have seemed to lag behind in capturing the populist fever that has been engulfing the planet over the last seven (7) decades, but they do make adjustments as their very own relevance determines their survival chances.

Below is a reportage from the World Bank about what its president Robert Zoellick had said about the subject.

[Philippines, 16 December 2011]


Robert Zoellick: G20 Should Protect People Too, Not Just Systems

Posted by Ivy Mungcal on 02 November 2011 07:59:57 AM

The G-20 summit in France this week should focus on identifying measures to make the world safer for people and not just financial systems, said World Bank President Robert Zoellick, who is expected to attend the Nov. 3 and 4 meeting of officials from the world’s top 20 economies and representatives from leading international organizations.

“They need to recognize that developing countries are now a key source of solutions to the world and then opportunity with the right investments and policies,” Zoellick said at a Nov. 1 teleconference with reporters.

This is one of three calls to actions Zoellick made during the teleconference. He also urged G-20 countries to follow through on the latest European plan to solve the debt crisis in the region and to channel more into job and growth strategies.

On protecting the most vulnerable people in developing countries while maximizing these economies’ potential to lift the global economy, Zoellick identified three areas the G-20 can focus their support on: food security, infrastructure development and policy reform.

“These are not peripheral issues and especially in a fragile and crisis-prone world where–needs of human safety nets as well as financial safety nets,” Zoellick stressed.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Latin America’s population growth has been slowing down. This could be part of the broad trend of demographic transition, where population growth finally slows down as economic growth moves up.

The bad news though is that Latin America’s peoples don’t seem to get access to services as quickly as one gets in economically growing countries. Which means that, in the short run, there will still be many folks mired in the hovels of poverty, thus delaying the achievement of the Millenium Development Goal for poverty alleviation.

Below is a World Bank report on the subject.

[Philippines, 14 December 2011]


Latin America's population growth slows but region's services still insufficient

WASHINGTON, October 31, 2011 – Will the planet be able to sustain more than 7 billion people? The answer will begin to become apparent today with the birth of Danica May Camacho in the Philippines. She was named the world’s seven billionth inhabitant by the United Nations.

Health, environmental and urban planning experts took advantage of the global event to warn about the challenges of a growing, aging population, which can have different consequences in each country.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, fertility rates have been declining since the 1960s –when women had an average of six children– although, paradoxically, the population has tripled. Among other factors, this increase is due to improved health care services and rising life expectancy in the region.

“The population continues to grow, but at a much slower pace than it did a century ago. By 2050, the growth rate is expected to approach zero and the population will stabilize at 800 million, 8 percent of the projected global population,” said Joana Godinho, the World Bank’s human development sector manager for Latin America.

For Godinho, the region is still experiencing a demographic benefit since most of the population is economically active. However, the population will rapidly age given the declining fertility and death rates, just as has occurred in developed countries. “This has an impact on public spending in health and pensions, as well as on poverty, inequality and economic growth,” said the expert, who stressed that the level of impact will depend on government actions to address the change.

Some measures to prepare for the region’s new demographics include the promotion of healthy lifestyles and lifelong learning for a long, productive life.

A dangerous concentration

Currently, more than 75 per cent of Latin America’s 590 million inhabitants live in cities, a record for the developing world.

This trend is global: in 1950, just 730 million people lived in cities; by 2009, the figure had risen to over 3 billion. In the region, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires each have populations of over 10 million. In Argentina, according to the most recent census, nine of every 10 inhabitants live in cities.

“The population not only grew, it also became more concentrated, often in areas without sufficient capacity to manage this increase,” said Niels Holm-Nielsen, World Bank risk-management specialist. This aspect of population growth involves risks. For Holm-Nielsen, two disturbing trends have emerged in Latin America over the past two decades: a change in land use and the settlement of millions of people –in many cases as a result of migration— in areas unsuitable for large populations, such as hillsides.

“People living in poverty have fewer possibilities for managing risks and are more likely to be victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and landslides,” added Holm-Nielsen. In response, the World Bank is providing assistance to prepare for and recover from these types of disasters, applying a broader risk-management approach and incorporating projects for disaster prevention, mitigation and reduction of vulnerability.

“The region has made advances in recent years in managing risks of natural disasters. Yet Colombia, one of the countries that has most improved its risk monitoring systems and integrated risk in its land use planning, recently experienced the worst flood in its history,” said the specialist. In the region, the World Bank also works to strengthen urban development through 59 projects in cities and towns.

These projects seek to reduce poverty, increase access to basic services and promote economically-productive and environmentally-sustainable cities.


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Tuesday, December 13, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

It seems that Egypt has become a catch basin for expatriates who were chased by the ghosts of the conflicts in Tunisia and Libya. The latter conflict has been particularly traumatizing, so a little empathy from any observer will lead to the conclusion that any migrant that sought shelter in neighboring countries wouldn’t eye going back to the source of that trauma.

Many migrants who escaped from the Libya crisis were actually Eqyptians, and so it pays to know the consequences of the conflict on them. They left Egypt for greener pastures, and were then unexpectedly yanked out of their productive pursuits in their host country to return empty-handed aside from tagging along the spectre of traumas that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Below is a briefer on the subject from the IOM.

[Philippines, 29 November 2011]


IOM Survey Finds Egyptian Migrants Returning from Libya in Need of Assistance to Start New Life

Posted on Tuesday, 01-11-2011

Egypt - An IOM survey on the socio-economic profile and needs of Egyptian migrants who have returned home because of the crisis in Libya reveals that most of them require support to restart their lives in Egypt.

The survey is based on a questionnaire distributed randomly to 1,283 Egyptian migrant workers during their evacuation from Tunisia and Misurata to Egypt and on focus group discussions organized by IOM in the Upper Egypt Governorate of Fayoum from where many of the migrants came and have returned to. Additional data from this survey was also obtained from the Egyptian Ministry of Manpower and Emigration.

The study confirms that the crisis in Libya, which triggered the return of an estimated 200,000 Egyptian migrant workers, continues to have a negative impact on poor and vulnerable families and communities, especially in chronically food insecure areas such as the Fayoum Governorate. Most respondents were semi-skilled adult males who said they had been supporting dependants through remittances, which have now dried up.

When asked about the future, 75% of respondents said they intended to remain in Egypt and seek work or start-up businesses. In some cases, the decision to remain in Egypt was linked to hopes that socio-economic development will take place alongside Egypt's political transition. In other cases, returnees said that the trauma and suffering they had experienced or witnessed as they fled Libya influenced their decisions to remain in Egypt.

Despite different motivations, the majority of those who preferred to remain in Egypt said they needed assistance to access financial services and assistance to start-up or reactivate their businesses. The survey found that financial assistance to start private enterprises was largely preferred over additional education and training because of the need for immediate access to income.

Prior to the crisis, Libya was an important source of employment for between 1 and 1.5 million Egyptians who remitted an estimated 33 million USD every year.

The survey is available online at:

For further information please contact:

Mathieu Luciano
IOM Egypt
Tel: +202 273 651 40/1 Ext. 391
+20 101 62 555 00


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Monday, December 12, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Do people’s choices count at all in the setting of development goals, whether these be the broadest compass of change or the typical short-term palliatives by erstwhile technocrats? This is a big question in today’s globalizing context where over 7 billion people are spread out across a rapidly urbanizing planet.

Expanding people’s choices is a matter of human capacitation, just to make this real clear. It isn’t just letting them line up during poll day and choose leaders as well as political parties on the basis of the convincing power of campaign ads and bylines, which is old hat choice-making.

Expanding people’s choices is a matter of increasing individuation, while hauling them to poll stations is a matter of cowherd-reinforcing manipulative behavior. The former is emancipatory in nature, while the latter is encumbering.

Let us review the subject from the reportage of the UNDP below.

[Philippines, 28 November 2011]


Ultimate goal of development? Expand peoples’ choices

02 Nov 2011

Finding ways to make human development progress truly sustainable for the seven billion people who now live on our planet and for generations to come is a central challenge of the 21st century. The international community must find pathways to development which maintain ecosystem balance and reduce inequalities.

This year’s Human Development Report asks whether we can expect the positive trends of the last forty years to continue and improvements to be sustained for the people who will live on this planet over the next four decades. The report warns that some 1.7 billion people in 109 countries are living in ‘multidimensional’ poverty. According to the report, escalating environmental hazards threaten to slow or reverse the notable progress in human development of previous decades.

The impact in the worst case scenario is projected to be worse for countries which are low on the Human Development Index (HDI), leading to widening inequalities between high HDI and low HDI countries.

Key Messages of the Human Development Report

1 The most vulnerable suffer a double burden: They are more affected by environmental degradation and are less resilient towards its resulting threats such as unclean water, indoor air pollution from unhealthy cooking and poor sanitation.

2 Patterns of inequity and unsustainability are shaped by disparities in power at the global and national levels. For example, at the global level the voice of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) must work hard to be heard in climate change negotiations even though they are among the most affected.

3 Financing for environmental and social protection needs to increase. New public financing mechanisms such as a currency transaction tax could generate substantial revenues for development – just 0.005 per cent imposed on currency trading would yield some $40 billion annually.

This year’s Report offers new insights on how to move human development forward and overcome the inequity and unsustainability which currently constrain its advance. It highlights the positive synergies which exist between greater equity and sustainability and which offer win-win-win solutions for achieving both. For example, investments in access to renewable energy, clean water, and improved sanitation will advance equity, sustainability, and human development. Stronger accountability and democratic processes can also improve outcomes. Successful approaches rely on community management of natural resources, inclusive institutions which pay attention to disadvantaged groups, and cross-cutting approaches which co-ordinate budgets and mechanisms across government agencies and development partners.

It also reminds us again that tackling poverty and advancing human development is about more than lifting income.

Talk to us: How can we make human development more sustainable & equal for everyone?


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Sunday, December 11, 2011



Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Tunisia is a showcase country in terms of the governance change waged via the Arab Spring. The turbulence that saw the overthrow of the authoritarian regime there surely had some dislocating effects on certain sectors.

Needless to say, the event was so tumultuous as to have put to a near-catastrophic halt the development thrusts of the nation. Gargantuan amounts of monies were siphoned off from the public purse by the corrupt regime’s top leaders, thus disabling the poorer sectors from moving up the ladder.

Also badly affected by the corruption was the science & technology of the country as a whole. It seems that Tunisia has to start all over again as far as S&T is concerned, which rationalizes the attention showed unto this sector by the new government.

Below is a special report on the subject.

[Philippines, 27 November 2011]


Tunisia to boost its S&T with US$16.5 million project

Nébil Zaghdoud

2 November 2011 | EN

[TUNIS] The Tunisian government has launched a US$16.5 million project to support the country's scientific research and innovation systems.

The three-year project, funded by the European Union, will aim to improve governance of the country's research and innovation sector, revitalise research and develop new national and international collaborations, according to Abdelaziz Rassaa, minister for industry and technology.

"The Support Project to Research and Innovative System (SPRIS) is an excellent opportunity to boost the National Research and Innovation System in Tunisia, which needs to be efficient to successfully carry out any economic development strategy," said Rassaa at the launch of the project last month (12 October).

By 2016, Tunisia aims to increase its exports of technological products from 30 per cent to 50 per cent by developing industrial sectors, such as electronics, through research and innovation, said the minister.

The steering committee for the project met for the first time last month (12 October) and is still to develop a strategy document and assign funds to individual projects.

Rachid Ghrir, director of research at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research told SciDev.Net that the focus is to "improve the contribution of research and innovation to socioeconomic development and generate new jobs in Tunisia, while strengthening ties between the research and production systems and helping the country integrate into European research programmes".

MohamedMaalej, a member of the National Advisory Council for Scientific and Technological Research, told SciDev.Net: "Although Tunisiahas an integrated systemof scientific research and innovation in terms of legislation and institutions, the economic return of research resultsis still weak, especially in the field of industry".

The country allocates 1.25 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to research and development and plans to reach 1.5 per cent of GDP by 2014, but the effect on the economy s of such investment are largely still to be seen, according to Maalej.

Maalej added that "this new project should adopt a cost-effective strategy to ensure the best use of research results, especially in the industrial field" and that it should "make use of international cooperation for supporting national research and industrial projects".

"The implementation of such an ambitious project is the main challenge," said Souheib Oueslati, a biotechnology researcher at the Center of Biotechnology.

Project leaders should ensure they stick to the key targets outlined in the project, "so the scientific research system, the economy, and society as a whole benefit".

The Tunisian National Research and Innovation System is made up of 33 research centers and almost 16,000 researchers, according to UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).


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