Da Ekonomey

With a desire to establish a new career path, I will continue updating this blog hoping to focus on discussions of some key economic issues or events that matter in my side of the world.

I want to venture into communicating economics – issues, policies and events  – fusing my two worlds – journalism and communication AND economics.

I call this Da Ekonomey – focusing on the system, not on the body of knowledge (ekonomiks) with lots of *me* in between.

I will try to keep this podium grounded. I know that as an economics educator and communicator – I am also an economics student trying to expand and deepen my understanding of this field. I am also mindful of the importance of pursuing this discussion from where I am and to where it may be needed.

I want to take-off with the discussions from the point of view of being part of the economy – trying to make sense of decisions to perform better in the system. I do not want to land as someone who knows more than the readers. That is the desire.

Why write the Da Ekonomey? The citizens should pursue inquiry and discussions on economic issues that bear a lot on their lives.

Where do I want to go from here? To a state where there is wide understanding of the concepts and principles that compose the economic issues – which form part of the larger picture the world over.

I hope I interest your attention. I hope I can cope and pay attention to your interests and expectations.


A small, simple and good place to eat cheap and clean in Malaybalay City

That’s five adjectives in a headline. I think Dockie’s Place deserves it anyway. It is rare to find a place where you eat what you paid for, no pretensions.

After a day negotiating with the requirements of ISO 9000-2008 certification of our university, I had to rush out to meet my mechanic for a briefing of his work on my toy car. The hassles of repair work, and yes the shocking cost have added to the day’s stress. Since I was horseback riding on Lem’s motorized stallion, I thought we owe ourselves some perks.

I craved for the Ilonggo’s La Paz batchoy. I was into that quest when you won’t accept anything less. We drove through Fortich Street and came close to the gates of BukSU —but there was no batchoy on the food stops.

Out of instinct, or was it hunger, I had to convince my colleague to pass by Claro M.. Recto Street. He asked if we were going to this high-end French restaurant. In my mind i said “you wish” but reality bites! I can’t. I have a shoestring budget! I told him, I’m Bukidnon, Bol-anon and Ilonggo, above all – Mindanawon not European.

That’s how we found ourselves in Dockie’s Place for a P20-serve batchoy!  Of course you can’t compare the hot serve to a La Paz recipe but it was more than a lowly provincial-based journalism instructor can ask for. The owner, “Dockie” offered his “chili sauce” to spice it a bit as I sounded off my gusto to order the P30 per serve beef “halang-halang” instead.

Nothing beats the soup match, rice pudding (puto) for P6 apiece. I thought it was a perfect combination to be pushed by clean tap water from a shiny dispenser. Water is the universal solvent. He he, I’ll call it sour graping to drive away more carbon and sugar from the body.

Why does it merit the resurrection of my blog after a long hiatus? Like I said, this is a rare find in a time when media promotion in big and colorful billboards jacks up prices of food where you will look for it. Sometimes we feel we pay for all the ambiance and signage.

Of course, food stuff is a diversion from a voluminous reading and writing assignment. I will call it a break to “sharpen the saw”.

I know a lot of my imagined followers share my taste for food and my shoestring budget, so this gives me another reason to blog.

My bow to Dockie, a TESDA NC2 accreditation holder of hotel and restaurant management. He started cooking lugaw (Arroz caldo)  a year ago mainly for students. Another bow is for his decision to use beef in batchoy and other specialties: “We have Muslims and Adventists who look for food, too.”  It can really be a place for anybody, right?

So if you want to space out from our country’s “State of National Emergency” and the glaring debates on the extra-judicial killings or the Presidential Communication team’s “ooopssess” for President Digong’s first official trip abroad,  or you are just like me – a hungry bird – don’t think twice – eat, live.

If in Malaybalay or passing by, look for this place  and be yourself. Peace!

P.S. Also available in their menu of short orders: “RM” (Remember Me) at P15, Special Arroz Caldo (P20), (regular) Arroz Caldo (P10), Sizzling Sisig (P50), and Tapsilog/Longsilog/Hotsilog (P50)  





Guide to Crowdsourcing

Definition and Typologies
Source: http://towcenter.org/research/guide-to-crowdsourcing/

Our definition: Journalism crowdsourcing is the act of specifically inviting a group of people to participate in a reporting task—such as newsgathering, data collection, or analysis—through a targeted, open call for input; personal experiences; documents; or other contributions.


Using that definition, most crowdsourcing generally takes two forms:

  • An unstructured call-out, which is an open invitation to vote, email, call, or otherwise contact a journalist with information.
  • A structured call-out, which engages in targeted outreach to ask people to respond to a specific request. Responses can enter a newsroom via multiple channels, including email, SMS, a website, or Google form. Often, they are captured in a searchable database.

We argue that crowdsourcing requires a specific call-out. If a newsroom simply harvests information or content available on the social web, we don’t believe this constitutes crowdsourcing. For us, the people engaging in crowdsourcing need to feel they have agency in contributing to a news story.

We acknowledge that crowdsourcing efforts don’t fit neatly into discrete classification, but for the purpose of this report, we’ve organized our typologies into six different calls to action:

  • Voting—prioritizing which stories reporters should tackle.
  • Witnessing—sharing what you saw during a news event.
  • Sharing personal experiences—telling what you know about your life experience.
  • Tapping specialized expertise—contributing data or unique knowledge.
  • Completing a task—volunteering time or skills to help create a news story.
  • Engaging audiences—joining in call-outs that can range from informative to playful.



Principal Findings

  • The rise of crowdsourcing correlates with the rise of the Internet and web technologies that have made it easier for journalists to identify and cultivate communities; organize data; and follow real-time, breaking-news developments.
  • Crowdsourcing leaders, like The Guardianand ProPublica, believe in the practice and integrate it thoroughly.
  • Some stories involving specialized data or unique personal experiences can be told only via crowdsourcing.
  • Crowdsourcing allows newsrooms to build audience entry points at every stage of the journalistic process—from story assigning, to pre-data collection, to data mining, to sharing specialized expertise, to collecting personal experiences and continuing post-story conversations.
  • News organizations are taking different paths toward audience growth and engagement. Some are focusing on crowdsourcing; others are interested in mining non-solicited citizen contributions through social media.
  • Good crowdsourcing efforts are high-touch, labor-intensive efforts. Journalists must determine a type of call-out, the communities to target, the method for collecting responses, and the avenues for connecting and giving back to the community of contributors.
  • News organizations must demonstrate active engagement and reward the community during the crowdsourcing process, by actively participating in comments or updating contributors on a story’s progress, to encourage more contributions.
  • Some organizations have created additional venues, such as Facebook Groups, to continue the conversation.
  • Tension exists in some news organizations around whether crowdsourced contributions are trustworthy. Experienced practitioners say this is not a problem.
  • For digital-first startups, in particular, crowdsourcing provides a way to cultivate new audiences from scratch and produce unique journalism.
  • Some news organizations are situating crowdsourcing out of newsrooms and within communities.
  • Several crowdsourcing ventures are turning into bona fide businesses, offering B2B (business-to-business) crowdsourcing solutions to media companies.
  • News consumers clearly have stories to share, but they don’t necessarily want to write the news.
  • Ways of measuring the impact of engaging in crowdsourcing initiatives and analyzing its value to a newsroom are still in development. Such measures have not been institutionalized.


The research shows that crowdsourcing is credited with helping to create amazing acts of journalism. It has transformed newsgathering by introducing unprecedented opportunities for attracting sources with new voices and information, allowed news organizations to unlock stories that otherwise might not have surfaced, and created opportunities for news organizations to experiment with the possibilities of engagement just for the fun of it.

In short, it has done just what the pundits predicted a decade ago: helped turn journalism into more of a conversation, rather than a one-way megaphone.

Crowdsourcing also deserves credit for shaping journalism into more of an iterative process: as data or stories come in from contributors, reporters see new possibilities for their journalism—and news organizations see opportunities to incrementally publish those contributions in ways that tease out more.

Certainly, though, crowdsourcing can be high-touch and high-energy, and not all projects work the first time.

Farmers to presidential bets: Show us your concrete plans

By Walter Balane, Armando Fenequito, Rey Garcia and Julie Jubelag/Aspire 5 News



Francisco Matulac File photo by Walter Balane

SINAYAWAN, Valencia City – Francisco Matulac never got tired. At 68, he still farms rice like he did in 30 years. His neighbors would always see him as an able-bodied old man. He never runs out of anything to fix. Work in the farm and the household make him happy.

But not on this particular cropping season. In a backyard shed are 50 bags of organic fertilizers he bought but cannot use. For the past days, he has been cursing about it. He and the 38 members of the Lateral G-7 Bayanihan Irrigators Association here were unable to plant rice due to lack of water. Bukidnon, initially not in the  forecast, is among the 32 provinces affected by the El Niño.

He knew they cannot blame it all on the weather. The other problem, Matulac added, is that the government did not act swiftly to help farmers prepare for the dry spell.

“Wala na gani ulan, manhid pagihapon kaayo ang NIA (National Irrigation Administration) sa ilang mahal nga irrigation fee (While we have no rains, the National Irrigation Administration refuses to waive irrigation fees),” he said.

Bobo Narciso, head of the Abag Kalambuan (Support Development) peoples’ organization, one of the biggest associations of farmers in southern Bukidnon, said the concerns of small farmers like Matulac should be at the core of the 2016 national election candidates’ agenda for Mindanao – considered the country’s food basket.

“The problem is they are giving us motherhood statements about their plans,” he added in a telephone interview Thursday night.

Narciso cited the promises of presidential candidates to work for an increase of the budget for Mindanao to boost agriculture and the economy of the region as a whole.

During the presidential debate in Cagayan de Oro on February 21,  Sen. Grace Poe and Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte spoke of the need to increase the budget share, which at present is P380.9 billion or 22.2 percent of the P3 trillion national budget in 2016.[VIEW INFO-GRAPHICSRegional Share of Mindanao’s P380.9 billion budget (Source: MinDA)

“The electorate should push for the candidates to cite concrete examples. The devil is in the details,” he said.

narcisoNarciso speaks to farmers in a forum in Don Carlos, Bukidnon, Philippines
Narciso’s FB Account

Narciso said they wanted to check if candidates are with them on specific concerns.

Farmers feared the unknown about their fate in the economic integration brought by the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), he said. He explained that with zero tariff on agricultural products, among others, they cannot compete without sufficient and appropriate government support.

“We need price subsidies for major farming inputs such as fertilizer. We want to decrease irrigation service fees, among others. Are they in favor of that?” he asked.

He said pushing for an increase in the budget for Mindanao is not enough. The candidates should also reveal how they will use the budget, he added.

“If we have an increased budget, well and good. But if they will just use it to build airports and seaports in the urban centers, then it doesn’t directly help ,” he said.

Farmers in Mindanao needed more and longer farm to market roads, post harvest facilities, cold storage and other facilities.

“Is their bigger budget for Mindanao going to agriculture and is it intended for the small farmers or for the multinational corporations?” he asked.

Except for Senator Miriam Santiago, all four other presidential candidates, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Duterte, Poe and Manuel Roxas III have expressed more than one specific programs on agriculture as of February 25, based on an online research by Aspire 5 News.

All the four, except Roxas, pronounced making irrigation available for free. [VIEW INFO-GRAPHICSThe Presidential Bets and their Agriculture Agenda]

According to gov.ph, the over-all budget for the Department of Agriculture for the country in 2016 is at P93.4 billion. This is nothing compared to the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) at P766.5 billion with about P268.4 billion intended to pave all national roads by 2016 and construct access roads to airports, seaports, and tourist destinations.

In North Cotabato, the farmers’ group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the additional budget increase will not help the plight of the farmers.

Jerry Alborme, KMP spokesperson told Aspire 5 News via telephone the farmers are always left behind in the budget even this year with a 25.7 percent increase or about P78 billion additional allocation for Mindanao.

“Wala man gyud na (nila) matilawi sukad pa na sa una (They have never experienced any development),” he said.

Alborme said that until now farmers still face woes like lack of water system and farming assistance. LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW : Jerry Alborme, KMP-North Cotabato

“Kanunay gyud naga krisis ang kinabuhi sa mga mag-uuma nga mao man unta ang nagahimo og mga produkto sa atong nasod (The life of of the farmers are always in crisis even if they are the ones who made the food products),” he said.

Most farmers have been buried in debts especially that the province has experienced dry spell.

“Here in North Cotabato, the only response of our government is the P4 million cloud seeding,” he added.

Alborme said for the farmers, the dry spell is just a secondary concern.

The primary disaster, he added, is that their farm products are bought at a cheap price (in the market).

Romeo Montenegro, director for investments and public affairs of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), in a telephone interview said the issues raised by the farmers are valid.

But he clarified that while it appeared that the budget for farm to market roads is smaller compared to the budget for highways, airports, and seaports it doesn’t mean small farmers were neglected.

He said the cost of building airports and seaports is always higher than how much it would to build farm to market roads.

Montenegro said increasing the budget for Mindanao has always been the goal. But it should be viewed at per capita share. He argued that Mindanao’s per capita share of the budget is now higher compared to those of  Luzon and the Visayas.

“(This means Mindanao residents are better off compared to years ago),” he added. As of midnight, Montenegro was unable to send a copy of the report showing  the per capita figures.

The farmers are worried about another thing.

Alborme from KMU’s North Cotabato chapter said any additional budget might be diverted.

“It has been a tradition of our politics in the country that the candidate of the administration will use it to buy votes,” he said.

Armida Pajaron, a community officer of a non-government organization supporting farmers in Valencia City said agriculture is one of the sectors prone to corruption.

“I observed that most budgets for farmers implemented by DA (Department of Agriculture) go to whoever is close to their heart,” she added.
A farmer in Dabongdabong, Valencia City inspects a rice stalk
Photo courtesy of Masipag Mindanao

At the time it reaches the farm level, she said, it has already gone through a lot of cuts. She said the government should address this problem.

“You can have a big budget on paper high above, but it doesn’t mean that intended recipients at the grassroots get it all,” she said in the vernacular.

Some of DA’s projects on fertilizer and seed subsidies became controversial. VIEW RELATED STORY:  DA investigators find irregularities in P30M NIA organic fertilizer project.

Alborme said that the government should provide assistance to farmers for fertilizers and seedlings, especially in times of calamity.

The farmers, he said, are always short of money because calamities damaged their crops.

He urged that the next national government officials should pass the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill into law to address the issue of land distribution, one of the major factors of production.

Alborme said he also urged other farmer groups to exert pressure on Congress to pass the bill.

The problem with Congress, he added, is some of their members are also big landlords.

Abag Kalambuan’s Narciso said farmers want their government to listen to their needs.

“They can’t make plans addressing poverty and development here if the government don’t come and talk to us,” he said.

Bukidnon and North Cotabato were two of the 16 poorest provinces in the country in 2014.

Francisco Matulac, the farmer from Sinayawan, Valencia City, is cursing as he covered his bags of fertilizers with tarp late that afternoon.

He said it’s the government who earned his ire for its failure to act on the farmers’ needs.

“The El Nino is bad for us, but their slow response is the worse disaster,” Matulac said. (Walter Balane, Armando Fenequito, Rey Garcia and Julie Jubelag/Aspire 5 News)

ECON 102: Learning Guides for Modules 10 and 11 + Midterm Results

Click on the link below to download the word file on the learning guides of the two modules. Chapter 10 and 11 Learning Guide (Money and Output determination; International Trade and Exchange Rates) Econ 102 BC 501 Midterm results student number. Please post a comment here, with your name if you have already read and downloaded the files. Thanks. Best, Walter I. Balane

(Trying) to understand Mindanao

A personal essay


(A Personal Essay)

It’s still a world of instant coffee.

A friend from academia dropped a message in my inbox to ask for an online chat via Yahoo Messenger or Google Chat. I was surprised since the last contact we made was two years ago in a UP e-group.

He said as a journalist I could give him a quick explanation about Mindanao, its indigenous peoples, the issue of ancestral domain, the Mindanao conflict, why some IPs oppose mining, and also the peace process. He was trying to prepare a primer on Mindanao.

I knew it was an overview paper. It was an ambitious overview paper. It is doable I’m sure. I find preparing a primer on Mindanao, however, out of synch and possibly a waste of time. Such primer could be for anyone rushing. But I think one shouldn’t rush any attempt to understand Mindanao.

View original post 889 more words