About Per SE

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

The world according to Enrile

I received a copy of Juan Ponce Enrile, A Memoir last Sunday afternoon, for "early review," whatever that means. And I must say that I got hooked from the very beginning.

Giving back to Congress the power of the purse

The 1987 Philippine Constitution has clearly delineated the assignment of functions in the budget process. Sadly, Congress has surrendered its power of the purse, allowing the President to slowly but steadily expand executive control of the budget process.

Great idea then, forgettable now

In 2011, President Benigno Aquino III did not implement the national budget as approved by Congress. Stung by criticisms that his administration was slow in implementing government programs and projects, he authorized the DBM to slice and dice the budget.

Remembering government service during the Marcos years

On July 10, 1970, at a young age of 34 years as a professor at the UP School of Economics I accepted the appointment of President Marcos to his Cabinet as chairman of the country’s economic planning agency. I was bound for a research appointment in an Ivy League university, but I chose to...

The return of cigarette smuggling

Congress should be extremely careful in redesigning the sin tax bill. With the proposed sharp rise in tax rates on, and hence the price of, cigarettes, the Philippine government might have to deal with the return of cigarette smuggling into the country.

2 “asecs”, 2 senators, and the tobacco lobby

The reader’s indulgence is begged, as yours truly cannot resist comment on three issues, two of which have made the headlines, and the third of which seems unfortunately to be underplayed in the news, thanks to a very strong lobby.

Overseas Filipino workers

Filipinos who hold jobs overseas on special work visa arrangements have an obligation to return home, unlike those who migrate. Philippine statistics on OFWs include all Filipinos who live abroad. In 2010, these statistics list 8.579 million Filipinos. But these numbers are an overestimate.

Abuse of authority, dereliction of duty

The Bureau of the Treasury is the official registry of scripless government securities (GS). The BTr function cannot be delegated to any other institution, especially a private one, since "the same is tantamount to abandonment by the government of its public function to safeguard the integrity of the information and data relative to public debts,"...

Filipino labor migration

What drives people to migrate to other countries? What makes a Filipino want to pull up stakes in his homeland and transport his whole family or his own future to a new life in another country? What overriding consideration makes him decide to seek a temporary job abroad as an OFW?

Separating fact from possible fiction

I am certain that the letter to Gerry Cao I reproduced in my column last week was an accurate, if necessarily concise, representation of what happened to Marla Endriga because at the time I wrote it, I had examined the documents relevant to her case.

Government failure

To engage in trading of government securities, one cannot avoid doing business with an amorphous organization called the Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corp. Is PDEx a private organization, a quasi-public institution, a private institution imbued with public interest, or what?

The folly of reverting to an oil regulated regime

Overwhelming evidence supports the view that oil deregulation works, that local pump prices behave in sync with world prices, and that oil firms’ profits are reasonable. Reverting to the old, unjust (oil companies made huge profits at consumers’ and taxpayers’ expense), and clearly inefficient, regime will be a monumental mistake.