About Per SE

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

Poor offense, poor defense

“The best defense is a good offense” is tried and tested advice. Apparently, the idea is that by going on the attack, one keeps one’s opponent so busy warding it off that he has no time to go on the attack himself.

On Blue Ribbon Committees and ethics

Calling a spade Business World, 25 September 2013   Its formal name is Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations of the Senate of the Philippines, but nobody calls it that. It is known to us as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, currently chaired by Teofisto Guingona III. And it has jurisdiction over “All...

Redux: undermining congressional authority*

Under the Constitution the assignment of power with respect to public finances is as clear as water: the President proposes, Congress authorizes, and the President executes the budget.

The 14th month pay proposal: a crazy idea!

Some legislators and labor advocates think that all it takes to improve everybody’s wages is for the government to step in and pass a law that raises pay.

Who financed the Zamboanga caper?

In all the discussions, analyses, and reports on the Zamboanga crisis that I have read or watched, I have yet to hear the following question asked or issue raised: Who financed this Misuari-organized caper that has led to such tragic consequences?

‘Pork’, the Mindanao crisis, and joblessness

While the entire nation is horrified by the pork barrel scandal and the ongoing Mindanao crisis, a recent World Bank report has reminded us of an old, persistent, and “dehumanizing” problem: joblessness.

Tensions that unsettle the economy

Political tensions – both domestic and international – create added uncertainties to our economic world. They often bring about new dimensions to the problems and circumstances that we face. In particular, I refer to factors that are hardly economic but which sometimes affect the way we perform or work.

A story of greed and abuse of power

Numbers can tell the most fascinating stories, and this one has to do with greed and abuse of power: the servants of the people conspiring with each other to steal from their masters in even greater, mind-boggling magnitudes.

Don’t add underemployment to unemployment

I mean literally.

Philippine global competitiveness ranking: improving but low

Good news for the country was recently received with the release of the 2013-2014 “Global Competitiveness Index.” The Philippines ranked 59th out of 148 among the countries for which the index was calculated.

Old tricks

One sees where the mining industry is up to its old tricks again, holding the prospect of decreasing investments in the mining sector like a sword of Damocles presumably over the economy.The head of the Philippine Chamber of Mines says he warned government already last year that investments in the next three years will certainly...

PNoy’s budget: spending plan or political tool?

In Philippine politics, one needs a lead time of at least two years to adequately prepare for a presidential run. Some prepare for it for most of their adult life. This lesson was not missed by Budget Secretary Butch Abad. A reading of the 2014 President’s Budget unmistakably shows that the party in power is...