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Commentary and research on current events and public policy by economists from the University of the Philippines
Monthly archive February 2013

‘Notoriously offensive’

Two issues stand out with regard to the recent Celdran conviction in the Manila Cathedral incident that merit analysis and discussion. One is the poor quality of the decision made by Metropolitan Trial Court; and the other is the seemingly Pontius Pilate-like stance of the Manila Archdiocese.

Expanding economy, disappearing jobs

Gross domestic product (GDP), the sum of the economy’s total output, grew by 6.6% in 2012. That’s strong growth compared to the country’s long-run growth potential, which I estimate to be slightly less than 5%. But is the 6.6% growth sustainable and inclusive? The answer is maybe and no, respectively.

That elusive ‘inclusive growth’

Exhilaration over the unexpectedly high 2012 growth rate has been dampened by the predictable tsk-tsking among head-shakers that growth, while impressive, has not really been “inclusive”. Particularly stinging has been the rebuke that rapid value-growth has not been accompanied by a rise in mass employment.

Get on with it, PCGG and OSG

What can the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) be thinking? For that matter, what can the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) be thinking? Why are they just sitting back and scratching their b–s as they wait for the merger of Allied Bank and Philippine National Bank to take place?

Budget rules for all (II): big spender

In a regime of fiscal austerity, it is extremely difficult to justify the creation of new departments or agencies. The name of the game is consolidation, rationalization, and retrenchment. But apparently the Senate operates under a different set of rules. The “authorizer” of the use of public funds has become a big and wasteful spender....

Auditing the government

With the Commission on Audit (COA) in the limelight because of the Senate brouhaha over the what, why, where, when and how of the Senate and Office of the Senate President’s “savings,” it is as good a time as any to revisit the COA’s Web site. A little more light and a little less heat...

Credit ratings and Philippine macroeconomic fundamentals

The government is keenly sensitive to the credit rating given to the Philippines as borrower in the world capital markets. Credit ratings are made by professional rating agencies to provide assessment on a particular borrower’s (corporate or government) likely ability to repay its debts.

Strict budget rules for all

As "authorizers" of the national budget, senators and congressmen, should be the paragon of openness, fiscal responsibility and accountability. Apparently they’re not. They’re guilty of fiscal profligacy. They have enlarged their own budgets, contrary to the intent of the Philippine Constitution, and disbursed public funds under a different set of rules than what applies...