About Per SE

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

How to sustain our 7-percent growth rate

Studwell has this to say: “Nowhere in Asia has produced more plans for land reform than the Philippines. But equally, no ruling elite in Asia has come up with as many ways to avoid implementing genuine land reform as the Filipino one.” I have to agree.

In the wake of the SONA…

...And the Reader is assured that there truly is no pun intended in this title, one of the very few I supply (usually the title of my column is in the editor’s hands).

A cure worse than the (PDAF) problem

The Department of Social Welfare and Development as gatekeeper to congressional pork? That was Budgetary Secretary Butch Abad’s solution to the grand misuse and abuse of the PDAF. Don’t you smell a rat here? I do.

President Aquino’s inadequate record on foreign direct investment attraction

The fourth State of the Nation address of President Aquino delivered two days ago was a big let-down for me. After one hour and a half of listening, I got only a discussion of problems and details that I would expect from my town mayor, but not from my president.

What is a public utility? Defense and opulence

One never knows what will arise in conversations between economists and lawyers. A casual dinner with Popo Lotilla and other colleagues brought up topics far and wide: Popo repeated his lawyerly observation that the idea of a “public utility” was not fixed in the law but a changing one. His favourite example is ice plants....

Pork barrel: costs and benefits

Institutionalized corruption. Grand conspiracy to steal taxpayers’ money. Trapo at its lowest point. That’s the pork barrel system in the Philippines. And it continues to flourish. Why? Simply because those who benefit are the ones who decide whether the system should continue or not.

‘Hot money’ exit inevitable

It would be a mistake to assume that the equity markets and currency markets will be sailing smoothly from hereon. I see the present situation as more of a lull before the storm. I expect more volatility in the next few months. When the Fed starts to tighten the tapering process will be sustained for...

Project delays are costly

Remember Ondoy? Who can forget that devastating tropical cyclone, the second most damaging in the 2009 Pacific typhoon season, with damage of $1.09 billion and 747 deaths. Politicians have short memories. Nothing has been done to date to make the metropolis stronger and better prepared to face another Ondoy.

Indifference, fear, greed

How could a scam go on for ten years with no one the wiser? How could 10 billion of the taxpayers’ money find its way into pockets of private individuals and bank accounts of legislators, under the noses of other government employees/officials, and in spite of what appear to be the strictest and most painstaking...

Four presidents and the record of foreign direct investment attraction

It has been more than 20 years since the end of the Cory Aquino era when the country was restored to the pre-martial law political institutions. Four presidents have roosted over the nation, each with some varying degree of performance according to the promises they took with them when they entered office.

Screwing the customer?

Had not MWSS figuratively blown a whistle, customers of Maynilad and Manila Water (Concessionaires of MWSS) would not have known that they were being billed for the corporate income taxes being paid by the corporations. Not surprisingly, the reaction was outrage.

Asking the right questions

Why can't business editors and reporters write about more noteworthy and analytical articles? They write and fret about small, unimportant things, and totally miss the big picture. For example, why don’t they write about the reasons for, and consequences of, implementation delays of transport projects?