About Per SE

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

Welcome remarks 2013

Through integrity, we gain respect and higher levels of respect from the rest of society. By getting just what belongs to you, you can produce the greatest wealth you can accumulate: your good name in society.

Electronic fraud and Comelec preparedness

Brillantes stated categorically that because we had an automated election system (AES), the only forms of cheating that could take place were the traditional ones like vote-buying and intimidation. No cheating at the polls itself, or in the canvassing, can take place. This is, of course, the exact opposite of what AES Watch has been...

Thoughtful heroes

More than heroes, the country needs thoughtful heroes. For it is not enough to have a heart. We have more than we need of sentimental heroism. For far too many crimes are perpetrated in the name of the poor by sentimental heroes.

Neglecting Mindanao

The cat is out of the bag: the strong economic growth in 2010 and 2012 failed to pull many poor Filipinos from the poverty trap. Poverty incidence at the national level has remained unchanged. And that’s the good news! The bad news is that, by island territories, poverty reduction has been largely uneven.

Poverty incidence

NEDA Director-General Arsi Balisacan and the Philippine Statistical System, particularly the NSCB and the National Statistics Office, are to be congratulated for a more timely release of the country’s poverty statistics. That is no mean feat.

Rice and the nation

How is the price of rice? If we ask farmers – those who grow it for commerce – they will tell us that it is too low. If we ask the common urban resident, it is too high.

Catching up is hard to do

To catch up with its ASEAN-5 peers, the Philippines needs to ramp up investments in public infrastructure. But catching up is extremely hard to do if the administration’s focus is on keeping the deficit low and it cannot move projects already been authorized by Congress.

Sequel to ‘A (common) horror story’

The Reader may recall that I began my 29 December 2012 column by expressing hope that I would be narrating a horror story with a happy ending—an all’s-well-that-ends-well type.

Intelligent voting

The Movement for Good Governance held its Timbangan 2013 on Tuesday evening. The top 24 senatorial candidates were subjected to an evaluation based on the so-called MGG Scorecard. The audience cast their votes twice: before the forum and after the panel discussions had taken place. Interesting, yes?

Nike in Indonesia — employing more than a hundred thousand workers

Indonesia is the most populous country of ASEAN with 243 million people. This is 2.4 times the Philippines’ population. Nike – the shoe company that produces those famous athletic shoes – set up factories in Indonesia because of the low wages there.

BIR versus BoC

[with Loreli Cataylo-de Dios] Until recently, there was a tendency to throw the government’s two main revenue-collecting agencies into a single (rotten) pile. The slow but steady gains in credibility, policy, and ultimately revenue at BIR, however, have cast a long shadow on its Customs cousin.

Let’s stop playing ostrich

The results of the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey on leaving the Church (for Catholics) and church attendance (for both Catholics and non-Catholics) seem to have elicited misguided and, for me, dismaying responses from some clergy.