About Per SE

Commentary and research on current events and public policy by economists from the University of the Philippines
Monthly archive March 2012

John Nye on new taxes

‘‘Some analysts seem to believe that giving the government more money to spend would fundamentally make the Philippines better off,’’ he said. ‘‘Since current spending and regulatory rules already indicate distorted priorities, I don’t believe that a sudden jump in revenues would necessarily move the Philippines onto a higher growth path.’’

Kudos, brickbats

There really is no basis for praising Palawan RTC Judge Angelo R. Arizala. After all, he was only doing his job when two days ago he issued orders of arrest against former Palawan governor Joel T. Reyes, his Coron Mayor brother Mario, and former provincial administrator Romeo Seratubias.

The power crisis in Mindanao

The electricity problem in Mindanao has been a crisis waiting to happen. The signs had been known by all concerned for years, especially by the national government. Inaction on the required policy front meant that the day of reckoning would simply arrive and blow up the picture. That has now become a reality.

Is there reason for optimism?

In recent weeks, Filipino leaders, starting with President Aquino III, have gone into an aggressive PR offensive announcing to the world that the Philippine economy is doing well. The stock market is booming and the peso is strengthening. ... The country’s credit ratings have been upgraded. ,,, But what about the stubbornly high poverty rate...

Magic tricks and contortions

I thought that the Supreme Court decision that justified the midnight appointment of Renato Corona as Chief Justice was a breathtaking exercise in judicial legerdemain. But it has been put to the blush by the arguments forwarded by the majority in its recent decision involving the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines...

The Philippine economy (III) – a historical peep into foreign direct investments policy and economic reality

Recent international economic developments seem to favor the flow of more foreign investments to the Philippines. We have always possessed the propitious factors that could make us a home to foreign direct investment. Through some fault in national outlook, however, we have not realized it fully.

Family living wage

It is with great relief that I report to the Reader that there is one recent issue with which I am in complete agreement with the President: his refusal to consider the P125-a-day across-the-board wage hike proposed by party list organizations such as Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Kabataan, and ACT

Whose child is it anyway? Differential parental investments in education and children under kinship care in the Philippines

(with Xylee J. Javier) While education is universally held to enhance a child human development, policies must still contend with parental biases. Here, we investigate if school attendance of young household members aged 6-12 years old varies with their kinship ties to the household heads in the Philippines.

When the right thing is doing nothing

The clamour from public-transport groups, mass organizations, a few politicians, media columnists, and—surprisingly—even some academics to reduce the VAT on oil products has now become so insistent that the government may just be tempted to cave in. Doing so would be a big mistake.

Why is Brillantes ticked off by facts?

Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes “scolded lawmakers for badgering him about the lapses in the 2010 computerized elections committed by Smartmatic International Corp., that the government plans to tap again in the 2013 elections.” He apparently immediately apologized, saying: “Please excuse me for being hotheaded… I hope you will be more understanding of the Comelec,...

Get real

I’d like to put into juxtaposition two ongoing criminal cases, if only to compare and contrast how they have been or are being handled by the government. The first case has to do with the murder of broadcaster/commentator/environmentalist Gerry Ortega, and the second case has to do with election sabotage in 2007 in the ARMM....

Altered budget priorities

Stung by criticisms of serious public underspending which contributed to the economy’s anemic growth, the Aquino III administration desperately tried to show faster disbursement of the 2011 budget. From a budget deficit of P96.3 billion from January to November, it soared to P197.8 billion at year’s end. For December alone, expenditures outstrip revenues by an...