About Per SE

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

The Twain meeting

At the lobby of Berkeley’s Doe Library is a wonderful life-size bronze of a seated Mark Twain reading a book on a park bench. Visitors cannot resist seating themselves beside the figure and hamming it up for a photo-op, as if conversing with the famous literary icon.

Monday morning quarterbacking

The Monday morning quarterbacks are now out in full force, some pointing out Mitt Romney’s fatal mistakes (why he lost), others perorating on why Barack Obama won—analyses that, while coming from different perspectives, had tremendous overlaps.

Domestic industry: lessons from ‘exclusive’ economic nationalism

All nations exercise some form of economic nationalism. The economic nationalism that is practiced in our country and implemented even to this day in our economic policies is a form of “exclusive” nationalism in which foreign enterprises are essentially seen as competitors rather than as partners in development.

Elections in the U.S.

I was in New York during the US presidential elections in 2008, and now I am in Washington, D. C. during the current presidential elections. Had I been an American citizen, I would have voted for Barack Obama, as, apparently would other non-Americans all over the world

Exporters hurting badly

"Hunker down," that’s what President Aquino told exporters last Tuesday, during the 20th anniversary of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. He assured them that they can count on his administration’s support when the world recovers from the recession. But how much longer would exporters have to suffer? And what should the government do in the...

Inquirer quotes Fabella on the exchange rate

The 5 November 2012 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer features the views of Raul V. Fabella on the urgent need for government action on the appreciation of the peso.

Collective impotence and the peso

The resolution submitted by the PCCI to Pres. Aquino at the closing of the just-concluded Philippine Business Conference is notable. It called for the arrest of the continuing appreciation of the Philippine peso to safeguard our dollar earning industries.

Your move, Supreme Court

Well, Bully, for P-Noy’s Presidential Commission on Good Government and its head, Andy Bautista. It has brought up to the Supreme Court for review the decision of the Sandiganbayan (SB) throwing out government's 25-year-old case against Lucio Tan (LT) et al.

Domestic industry: Philippine-owned industries follow a ‘narrow’ nationalist path

The early outcome of the nationalistic program of industrialization appeared triumphant. It could not otherwise be, coming as the country was from the destruction of the war. But the system was faulty.

Failure masquerading as success

Delays in the implementation of government programs and projects, not higher revenues, explain the lower-than-planned budget deficit. From January to September 2012, the programmed deficit is 183.3 billion. Yet, the Aquino administration underachieves once more, as its realized deficit was sharply lower at 106.1 billion.


A little bit of gratuitous advice to Senator Ralph Recto: he should not use words he is not familiar with. It is not only pretentious, but it boomerangs and may cause him embarrassment.

Rewriting the changes in the sin taxes — II

I have written extensively on why earmarking of funds is a bad idea. Earmarking has not worked, here and abroad. Hence, if I were to rewrite the proposed changes in the sin tax system, I would delete the section on the Disposition of Excise Tax Collections from Alcohol and Tobacco Products.