About Per SE

Commentary and research on current events and public policy by economists from the University of the Philippines
Monthly archive January 2014

Why hasn’t Japan’s massive government debt wreaked havoc (yet)?

[with Takaaki Nomoto and Akiko Terada-Hagiwara] The potential sovereign debt crisis in Japan looks even grimmer than those in the Eurozone economies if one looks only at the gross general government debt-to-GDP ratio. Japan’s gross general government debt-to-GDP ratio is more than twice the OECD-wide average (109 percent) and by far the highest in the...

Questions for Revilla and Aquino

Barely into the New Year, the first salvos for the 2016 election have been fired. Presidential candidates are already being attacked and, of course, the President himself is not immune (belying the “lame duck” label).

Tough ASEAN and international competition in Philippine home market for consumer and industrial goods

In consumer goods, Philippine products should be dominant but they are not! Where Philippine brands appear to be well represented, products made in other ASEAN countries sometimes appear even cheaper.

Who’s afraid of a weak peso?

In recent days, the peso has dipped to a three-year low at P45 to a dollar. Should government authorities panic? I hope not. Overall, its effect on economic growth, employment, the government’s fiscal position, and the Bangko Sentral’s financial position is positive.

Growth, joblessness and poverty

The Philippines’ above normal growth during the last two years has been the highest in ASEAN-5. Yet it, too, has the highest unemployment rate and poverty incidence. With its economic expansion showing some sign of weakness, what kind of future can Filipinos expect?

Turnoff from ‘fun in the Philippines’

The slew of holidays during the Christmas season is often an enticing opportunity for leisurely travel around the country. And so it was particularly during the dry and cool weeks just past.

Speed and even-handedness

There are two noteworthy aspects of the case of Vilma Bautista, a former personal aide of Imelda Marcos that should be pointed out. The first is that insofar as memory serves, she is the only member of the “entourage” of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos who is going to jail.

Challenging year ahead

Even before the man-made and natural calamities hit the Philippines in the final trimester of 2013, the Philippine economy has shown signs of slowing down. The third-quarter GDP grew much slower than the first two quarters, and the economy is expected to significantly slow further in the fourth quarter.

Improving and cultivating technical skills and competence in government

Last week , my business column colleague, Boo Chanco, wrote that a local expert familiar with DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communication) operations told him, not surprisingly, “Boo, not only is the DOTC full of lawyers trying to believe they understand the technical concerns, it is also full of incompetent technical personnel.”

Growth by force of hobbit

Adventure and fantasy -- not to mention Peter Jackson’s fabulous visual effects -- explain much of the recent popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels and characters, especially their movie incarnations. If one only looks very closely, however, one may also find a small parable relevant to Philippine society.

Flawed rationale for proposed academic calendar

The move to change the academic calendar of the University of the Philippines, as well as other schools like Ateneo de Manila University, from the present June-March cycle to a late August-May cycle should be examined with a fine-toothed comb.

Enabling industries to contribute more to employment

There is much talk about manufacturing resurgence in the country. The strengthening of the industrial sector is desirable in order to reverse the relative decline of industry to total output, a development observed over the last two decades.