About Per SE

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

Clear case of ‘lutong makaw’

My colleague Conrad de Quiros points out that in all that has been written regarding the Sabah issue, “You will not find in them a single, solitary, teeny-weeny mention of the Sabah people themselves." I beg to disagree.

New policy needed to create more jobs

The conventional wisdom is that as the economy expands, more jobs are created; the faster the economic expansion, the higher the rate of job creation. But last year, the President and his economic men were shocked with an inconvenient reality: the economy grew by 6.6%, yet fewer jobs were created. In fact, close to a...

Infrastructure and logistics: deficient but critically needed

Economic development necessarily means the accumulation of infrastructure with ever-rising levels of quantity, quality and networks. Infrastructure development is critical to the growth process. Proper and adequate infrastructure facilitates economic activity to take place at lower cost.

Manila’s changing skyline

During this decade – more dramatically in the last five years – Manila’s skyline has been going higher and wider in geographic spread. This property development in Metro Manila has been private sector driven. The changing skyline is riding high on a building boom that has been made possible by improving macro-fundamentals.

Why is manufacturing being neglected?

In his speech at the Euromoney Philippine Investment Forum on Monday, President Aquino unveiled three priorities of his administration: agriculture, tourism, and infrastructure. I agree with the priorities, but why is manufacturing not mentioned? Manufacturing, whose share to total economic output is almost twice that of agriculture, is and could be a major contributor to...

Lutong makaw

I have had three very long conversations on the Sabah issue with historian Samuel K. Tan who taught at UP for 30 years and was at one point the chairman of the History Department. His interest in the Sabah issue may be because he himself was born and raised in Sulu, but he is...

School infrastructure crisis

In 2001 Education Secretary Armin Luistro said that the Department of Education (DepEd) lacks 66,800 classrooms. He and our nation’s leaders promised that the classrooms shortage in the Philippines would be solved by 2014. At the rate, the present administration is moving, I have a nagging feeling that the school infrastructure crisis won’t be solved...

Investment questions

Largely unnoticed in the back-and-forth over last year’s glowing growth figures was a curious statistic: investment actually fell as a proportion of GDP, 19.4 percent versus 21.6 percent in 2011. What gives?

No. 1 and No. 2 villains

The more I read up on the subject and talk to people I consider experts on it, the more I get incensed at the perfidy of Great Britain with respect to Sabah. I consider it the No. 1 villain in the Sabah issue. Tying for second place are the Philippines and Malaysia.

Another underwhelming year

But isn’t a lower deficit better than a higher one? Not necessarily and sometimes it depends on where one sits. From the viewpoint of an economist, we need to spend more to make up for epic infrastructure deficiencies and to spur development which would create a lot of jobs.

Monitoring progress of Arangkada recommendations

Arangkada Philippines is an initiative of the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines. Rising economic growth helps them increase their business in the country but also raises everyone’s income and well-being. A rising tide raises all boats.

Of policy-makers and joblessness

Thus far, the Aquino III administration is losing the war against unemployment. Employment growth which averaged 2.8% in 2010, when Aquino took power, was significantly down, to 1.2% in 2012.