About Per SE

Commentary and research on current events and public policy by economists from the University of the Philippines
Author archive for Benjamin E Diokno

Secretary Diokno addresses the UP graduates of 2017

The presence of a strong and competent technical staff in government is a strong buffer against corruption, inefficiency, and ineffectiveness in the government. When you have enough people in the government who are competent and confident in their skills and knowledge, it’s much more difficult for illegal and unethical transactions to pass through.

6.9% economic growth in an election year is no big deal

The Philippines’ GDP grew by 6.9% in the first quarter of 2016, a presidential election year. That’s nothing to brag about. Strong growth in a presidential election year is not surprising.

Duterte’s economic agenda: doable, inclusive, and comprehensive

One can argue that Duterte won the presidency largely due to his reputation as a punisher and, at the same time, as a compassionate mayor -- an indirect repudiation of the supposed ineptitude and indifference of the Aquino administration. Overall, Mr. Duterte’s economic road map is doable, inclusive, and comprehensive.

Is the budget a tool for development, political patronage, or political vindictiveness?

The national budget is a tool for development. But as the saying goes: the test of the pudding is in the eating. What President Aquino did and didn’t do, and their policy consequences, will define his budget performance.

Aquino government caught in the inaction zone

On the eve of Mr. Aquino’s exit from Malacañang, it can now be told: the contribution of government to the economic expansion in the last 5 years is nil if not negative.

Underspending: a bad habit that’s hard to break

The recently released budget numbers showed an administration that’s having a hard time breaking a bad habit: underspending. Not surprisingly, the release of the 2015 fiscal numbers was delayed.

The next President should reform the tax system

Without question, it is the economically smart thing to do. Any presidential candidate who promises not to reform the Philippine tax structure does not understand the enormity of the country’s economic problems and is not getting honest and competent advice from his or her economic experts.

Large-scale smuggling of agricultural products is anti-poor

The level of smuggling in the Philippines has reached horrendous heights. Large-scale smuggling of agricultural products retards farm output production, limits manufacturing, and increases income inequality.

The ABCs of budget preparation and execution

The recent case of Grace Poe ripped the Supreme Court into two camps. Though the court had decided to let her run for president, it was a close call.

No brainer: Aquino should have invested more heavily in public infrastructure

The overall state of public infrastructure in the Philippines is dismal. The World Bank and the World Economic Forum ranked the Philippines as the worst among ASEAN-5 economies in terms of overall state of public infrastructure -- road network, airports, seaports, railroads, telecommunications, power, and others.

Where has the P260-billion government spending for agriculture gone?

Citizens have the right to know where the P260 billion the Aquino III administration spent for agriculture between 2011 and 2015 went. With that kind of money, what has the administration done for the agriculture sector in general and for the farmers and Filipino consumers in particular?

Efficient and effective government is a public good

The management of the government is one of the most important public goods. We all benefit from an efficient, effective, and responsive government. But we all suffer, if the government is inept, ineffective, and unresponsive.