About Per SE

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

Taking stock

To satisfy the almost universal urge at this time of the year to take stock of output or performance no matter in what field, I decided to browse my byline in the Inquirer website.

Reforming labor policies

A major challenge for development policy is to provide more jobs, especially to the poor and the young entrants to the labor force. Job creation in the country is a festering problem, and it needs to move at a faster pace. The escape from poverty begins with a good job.

Politics only in the talk

Did the Aquino administration play favorites during “Yolanda”? Did the residents of Tacloban and Leyte suffer because the President is surnamed Aquino, and the political leaders of Leyte are Romualdezes? Was Mar Roxas used by President Aquino to do the dirty work?

‘Hindi mo ba ako kilala?’

(Don’t you know who I am?) was the threat issued and bodyguards brandished firearms to drive home the point.

Folly of government subsidy

President Aquino III got it right when he proposed to increase the fares for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 and Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 and 2 in his fourth State of the Nation Address. The proposal though unpopular makes good economic sense.

High cost of power plus the shocking Meralco bill

A recent electric shock jolted all customers of the Meralco franchise area. Their bills would rise by P4.15 per kilowatt-hour of consumption. The normal electric bills that we pay are already among the highest in East Asia. When Meralco’s surprise additions are added, we have a truly high cost of electricity.

Who’s responsible for power price spike?

My knowledge of the electricity market amounting to not much, I decided to bone up on it before adding my voice to the cacophony of opinions, and recommendations. Here’s what I found...

How misdirected labor policies led to high unemployment and underemployment

Labor policies have muddied the road toward progress in improving wages and living standards for all workers. As a result, the escape from poverty has become more difficult.

Shocks to Philippine households: Incidence, idiosyncrasy and impact

[With Carlos Antonio Tan, Jr.] Using a nationally representative sample of households, we assess the overall incidence of different shocks, the extent to which they simultaneously affect households in the same area, and their impact.

Poverty unchanged

The UN report said the proportion of people living on extreme poverty -- less than $1.25 a day -- was halved in 2010, five years before the deadline. Where does the Philippines stand vis-a-vis the rest of the world on the goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015?

‘Double flip-flop’ by high court

Here’s the case in a nutshell: Regina O. Reyes filed her candidacy as representative of the lone district of Marinduque in the last elections. Her candidacy was questioned by Tan, a voter and resident of the district. On what grounds?

Unemployment, ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’ underemployment, and poverty

The age group that suffers most from unemployment is the young, those in the ages of 15 to 24 years. They account for half of all unemployed workers in the labor force. In actual terms, 16 percent of them are unemployed compared to the average unemployment rate of 10 percent of the labor force.