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Officially hating September

The Chinese may not be fond of the month of August to the point of dubbing it the “Hungry Ghost month” but as far as I’m concerned September is a month I am beginning to dislike. Both my parents died and were buried in the month of September, 23 years apart. Then I learned from Facebook early yesterday morning that the legend of AM radio Mr. Joe Taruc also died on the last day of September. Joe Taruc and my dad co-hosted a radio talk show on DZRH and from time to time Manong Joe would be a guest analyst on my dad’s TV show: “Straight From The Shoulder.” Aside from being a pillar in Philippine Broadcasting, Joe Taruc was a good and decent fellow who continued to treat my family cordially and with respect.

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With most of his colleagues and contemporaries having gone “Off the Air,” Manong Joe’s passing, effectively signals the demise of a generation of legends and pioneers in broadcast radio. In a way it is also a sad reminder of the changing landscape of newsgathering and media in the Philippines since most experts now point to smart phones and the Internet as the new medium where people go to gather their news. Time was when having a battery operated transistor radio was common in most Philippine households. Nowadays my friends react with surprise and curiosity to mine as they treat such things as vintage collectibles.

Even the topics or content of TV and Radio programs now have gone from intelligent discourse to pure and absolute entertainment or pandering to listeners all for the sake of collecting income generating text messages and requests for greetings that media sellers and buyers translate into ratings that in turn are used to convince or guide advertisers where to put their money. During the era of Taruc – Beltran – Puno – Langit etc. the competition was all about getting the best and the brightest to guest on the show and provide listeners with useful information that helps in their decision making, planning and understanding of ongoing events or trends.

Today, top Network executives openly admit that they no longer provide room for intelligent talk shows or Current Affairs programs. It’s mostly entertainment or documentary programs that started out as very informative but have now started to sink down to the sole purpose of producing “Award Winning documentaries” because young Executive Producers believe that, these are the fastest way to fame and fortune or at least promotions. In exchange, truth and accuracy are not necessarily the guiding light of their piece.

My family and I would like to express our condolences to the entire Taruc family and pray that they will have their quiet and private moments to remember and say goodbye to Manong Joe. God Bless.

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I don’t know why the warnings of the Robot Character from “Lost In Space” replays in my mind, but I certainly sense serious danger up ahead with regards to property values and real estate investments in the Philippines. Two weeks ago, I picked up a news item that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas was strictly monitoring local banks specifically their investments in property development. That was reportedly as a result of foreign investment analysts warning that the Philippine economy was heating up.

Well, yesterday I once again picked up a small news item along the same lines where the BSP stated that the value of residential properties had gone down by 4.6 percent Year on Year for the second quarter of 2017. That of course can be a result of many things but my guess is that it is a result of over construction, over development or the non-stop construction of high-rise condominiums all over the Philippines particularly in key cities such as Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao and soon Clark in Pampanga. Just in the area where we live, I have seen at least 15 if not 20 actual buildings literally sprout up within the year and several more have dug deep – deep - deep parking levels to store hundreds if not a thousand cars all of which will get stuck in the small interior roads that were not designed for multiple High-Rise-Villages in one square block!

While the Duterte Administration is focused on the war on drugs, corruption at the BOC and their squabble with the Office of the Ombudsman, may we ask who if any, is actually studying or investigating if the property development bubble has finally burst and what would be the direct impact if the bottom fell out of the never ending construction of such? Aside from so called investors losing money or value for their money, how will such a situation affect our millions of OFWs who are the primary target buyers or owners of these. I’ve never liked being a prophet of doom but I’m willing to be Chicken Little if that’s what it takes to insure that we can minimize the damage or loss to potential buyers or actual property owners.

So if you’re looking to buy, do so only if the price and conditions are so low you have to be stupid not to buy. But if you’re buying for investment purposes you better take time out to study the worse case scenario if you get stuck with something that loses its value by 10 or 15 percent 2 years down the road. Unlike cars, condominium prices have been affected by the over supply as well as age factor. Today’s great locations will eventually be tomorrows old neighborhood. What you bought at 6.5 M 10 years ago may still be worth 6.5 M now, but today’s P6.5 million is worth a lot less than the money you had 10 years ago.

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com


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