Following through from the website of Filipinos in Hamilton, this is Part-2 of the series titled “The Day After-The Pandemic Game Changer”. Since the discovery of large underground deposits of hydrocarbons known as crude oil for fuel starting from the 1850s, the world leaped towards a new paradigm for rapid industrial and technolo gical progress up to the start of the 21st century. Reliance on this carbon-based fuel has become so that nearly all countries of the world and their economies depend on it to do all sorts and manner of things that most of us take for granted. Threaten or deny access to its supply and countries go to war. Remove it and the world virtually comes to a screeching halt. The fact of the matter is that conventional crude oil production (or those having Net Energy Gain above 10) stopped growing in 2005 at about 74-million barrels per day. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2010 World Energy Outlook Report estimated that conventional crude oil production has already peaked and is depleting at 6.8% per year. What is even scarier is that a report from the US Joint Forces Command’s Joint Operating Environment 2010 Assessment issued this warning to all US military commands: “By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10-million barrels per day.” Yet, the world’s appetite for energy based on crude oil grows incessantly day by day.
PANDEMIC GAME CHANGER
All these four countries had agreed in principle to become prime transmission points to the rest of the world because of their relative proximity to the Philip pines. But also, it was because incentives found under commercial arrangements with each of these countries would go a long way to significantly benefit their own economies as energy redistribution parties that would last for generations to come.
In that fashion, China would link its grid north- and eastward to Russia and to wards various countries of Europe. Japan would link the whole of the Americas (north, central and south) through the Bering Strait. Even the State of Hawaii would be included. Thailand, for its part, would connect it to all countries along the alignment of India and the Middle East countries and then southwards through Egypt towards the whole of Africa. Finally, Australia would act as re distribution centre of this cheap energy to all other island nations situated in parts of the Indian and the Pacific oceans, including New Zealand. It would be come the new world wide web of clean inexpensive energy.
Providing this bonanza, however, came with a few strings attached. These were nevertheless not like jagged-edged rocks they had to swallow. For one, it re quired all countries connected to power supplied by the Philippines to adopt aggressive and measurable programmes for the conservation and sustainability of their respective natural environments.
Countries immediately realised that it wasn’t a form of payback, but a pay-forward arrangement. For example, countries like the United States and Austra lia agreed to transform most of their vast interior barren desert lands into diver sified forests, watersheds, productive agricultural land and also manage their fisheries more sustainably using part of the vast savings in costs achieved using the new energy source.
Brazil signed up to begin reforesting large swaths of the Amazon Basin that were denuded. Indonesia began a massive replanting effort in Borneo as did Mada gascar for its own naked mountain ranges stripped of wood. Other countries with dessertified areas followed suit in respect to rejuvenating their own lands. Not only was the Earth to be known as the blue planet, it would also start getting greener again – the colour of life!
It was the beginning of a pandemic game change. It would spell the end of an age for the human race but the start of a new era for even more rapid human pro gress but keeping the health and vitality of Spaceship Earth now always in mind.
THE OUTWARD MARCH
Months before his announcement, sitting atop the President’s desk was a 512-page report detailing the current state of OFWs – Overseas Filipino Workers, and their effect on the Philippine economy. It revealed a frightening picture.
The Diaspora of Filipinos over the last few decades – an aggregate of about 12-million of them all told and the mounting exodus of talent and skills from the Philippines, was now adversely affecting its overall international competitive ness. The confidential report highlighted human capital, rather than natural-resource endowments, was now becoming the key to further economic devel opment and national survival.
Since the end of World War Two, only lower-paying jobs in both the private and public sectors were being affected if at all because departing workers seeking higher wages were easily replaced given the growing population in the rural areas. But a growing global search for English-speaking talent propelled by cur rent competition for the highly-skilled had raised alarms that developing coun tries like the Philippines would very soon find difficulty in creating a critical mass of professionals and technical workers needed to raise and sustain pro ductivity.
This disturbing trend was beginning to seriously hurt local Philippine companies and the domestic economy because those who were leaving were growing in numbers. The report went on to reveal that:
“Official statistics from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administra tion corroborate those statistics. Since 2000, the Philippines on average have seen 79,000 professional and technical workers, most of them college or university graduates trained in Philippine educational institutions, take positions overseas each year”;
“Over the past 6-years, 10,000 trained nurses have left the country annually for Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other destin ations. Close to 13,000 medical caregivers, many also with nursing back grounds, have likewise left each year for higher-paying jobs in destinations as far flung as Taiwan and Israel”;
“The Philippines is sending an increasingly growing number of highly-trained information technology (IT) workers to such countries as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Malaysia, Singapore and the US, undermining, even pos sibly crippling the crucial local electronics industry”;
“In just 12-months, we lost about a dozen human-resource officers to other companies abroad”, said a senior corporate-affairs manager of Unilab – the largest producer and exporter of prescription and consumer-health pro ducts”;
“Filipino journalists are even moving to Singapore, Saudi Arabia and the UAE; engineers and oil-rig workers to Nigeria, Russia, and the Persian Gulf states; speech and physical therapists to the US; and mining engineers and geologists to Australia and China”;
“According to the Personnel Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP), high-value-added Philippine industries are being hit by higher staff turnover rates, including pharmaceuticals, banking, consumer goods, hotels, electronics, semiconductors, telecommunications, and IT. Any where between 33% and 59% of employees who recently left their jobs in these industries pursued new opportunities abroad”;
“The state-run Weather Bureau and Mines and Geosciences Bureau have increasingly lost its trained forecasters and geologists to better pay offers from abroad. The Department of Science and Technology recently re vealed that out of almost 3,000 national scientists with PhD degrees in various scientific disciplines, nearly 500 have left the Philippines in recent years”;
“Even the Armed Forces of the Philippines have not been spared foreign poaching. Army sources who spoke with Asia Times Online said Australia has started to aggressively recruit Filipino soldiers trained in asymmetrical warfare and counterinsurgency operations, sometimes luring them with the offer of citizenship. The Australians know that “Filipino soldiers are well-trained in the different occupational specialties which make them com petent and efficient and they can communicate and verbalize [in Eng lish] very well”, a senior Australian army officer said in an interview”;
“Despite PAL (the country’s flag airline carrier) raising salaries by some 40% and padding fringe benefits, its best pilots keep jumping ship for better-paid jobs at foreign carriers. Between 2003 and 2005, it lost more than 80 pilots, or 20% of the airline’s total number. Airlines in Hong Kong, South Korea, the Middle East and even Sri Lanka have all poached their highest-flying pilots – particularly ones trained on wide-body aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A340. At least 15 more pilots have de parted PAL so far this year, most lured by the prospect of receiving salaries two to three times the amount PAL offers”;
“A study conducted in 2010 by Grant Thornton International and Phil ippine accounting firm Punongbayan & Araullo found that 43% of Philip pine companies rated the scarcity of skilled labour as the major impediment to their business-expansion plans. A year earlier in 2009, only 15% of Philippine companies surveyed complained about a chronic lack of skilled labour”;
“The country manager of Mercer Consulting, a human-resources company with clients in 42 countries, attributes the fierce global com petition for Filipino talent to demographic change in the US and the Asia-Pacific region.”Anywhere between 50% and 77% of companies in Japan, South Korea, mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thai land, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand had expressed in tentions to hire more English-speaking staff, even as many of them are ex periencing high local worker attrition rates. And where are they going to get new talents? Naturally, many of them will recruit from the Philippines,” he said.;
Finally, “Global economic trends show that demand for skilled Filipinos across the spectrum will grow before it diminishes”, according to Manolo Abella, a Bangkok-based labour-migration expert who formerly has worked for the International Labour Organisation. The intensifying battle for Fili pino talent results from “the growth of global supply chains brought about by trade and investment liberalization”, he added.”
Realizing the gravity of the matter and an urgent need to act sooner rather than later, deuterium had now given the President an enormous lever to reverse gear.