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

MDGs and PH: What’s the score?

Most of the Millennium Development Goals have quantitative targets to be achieved by 2015 from baseline indicators as of the early 1990s. With barely three years to go before the milestone, it is timely – nay, urgent – that we check how much progress our country has made toward these goals.

A matter of justice — and courtesy

I personally delivered the following letter to, and had it officially received by, the office of the Secretary of the UP Board of Regents on Oct. 4. Public officials are by law required to respond within 15 working days from receipt. I have received no reply—not even a note saying that a reply would be...

Columnist Doronila quotes Desierto

A paper by UPSE assistant professor Desiree Desierto was featured at length by veteran columnist Amando Doronila of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Domestic industry: how nationalism with blinders failed us

More than any country at the beginning of political independence in 1946, the Philippines was poised to become one of the most likely economic success stories in East Asia. Although it suffered immensely from World War II, no country had an instant economic recovery program readily available under sound financing.

Rewriting the changes in the sin taxes

Core Business World, 23 October 2012   If I were to rewrite the changes in the taxes on cigarettes and liquor, I would do the following: simplify the law; impose equal if not higher taxes on liquor and distilled spirits than on cigarettes; and reduce the deadweight loss (the loss in efficiency associated with any...

Why is PH experience with LPG so different?

Check it out on the Internet, folks. Liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG, is a favored motor vehicle fuel. Countries like the US, the UK, Australia, and Israel, provide incentives for its use, and the Philippines encourages it.

Domestic industry: problems, hopes, reforms, and the future

Two newsworthy events in industry took place last week. The PCCI had its yearly convention and presented its list of problems that it wants the government to do to help industry in the country. The second is the inauguration of a new five billion peso manufacturing plant of Nestle in Batangas .

Costs and benefits of earmarking

One of the disturbing aspects of the Senate committee on ways and mean’s Committee Report is its proposal to earmark the total proceeds of the sin tax on cigarettes and liquor. The House bill, on the other hand, proposes to earmark the incremental proceeds of the tax. This penchant of legislators to earmark proceeds of...

Hollow and shallow

A comparison of growth numbers with key social indicators suggests that the quality of economic growth in the Philippines has been hollow and shallow. While the economy grew 6.1% in the first half of 2012, unemployment and underemployment rose while hunger incidence deepened. For those who were left behind in the growth process, the better-than-expected...

History repeating itself

Two quotes -- more than two thousand five hundred years apart -- came to mind with the release of the Recto Report, which is my shorthand for the report of the Senate ways and means committee, chaired by Ralph Recto, on the sin tax bill.

Gloomier, riskier world economy

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that it is cutting its global economic forecasts once more. The IMF called the risks of a slowdown “alarmingly high,” primarily because of policy uncertainty in the United States and Europe.

Sold down the river

Last month—Sept. 6 at 7:01 p.m., to be precise—I received the following text message: “Recto called a secret meeting today with the tobacco companies. He’s rallying them to support the Philip Morris reco (recommendation-SCM) of 3-tiers or something close. And they were sworn to secrecy.”