About Per SE

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

Inadequate response

During the World Economic Forum for East Asia, President Aquino and his economic men are expected to boast of the strong GDP growth in 2012 and 2013 and the recent S&P investment upgrade. The more discerning foreign guests won’t be fooled. They know that more needs to be done to sustain strong growth and make...

The people are the key

While the WEF on East Asia was going through its opening paces, there was a small group discussion taking place at the same time on a topic at least equally important: How ready are the relevant institutionsto handle the upcoming cases involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund?

Cebu is booming

Of the regions of the Philippines, Cebu island, its city – including Mactan – serves as the country’s alternate major metropolis. At a time when prospects for Philippine growth continues to improve, Cebu is in the lead pack among the regions.

Dante Canlas and Ruping Alonzo

It is bittersweet to mark the retirement of two of our dear colleagues—Dante Canlas and Ruping Alonzo—both of whom have done so much to shape the course and define the tone of the School of Economics through many decades.

Monetary policy for when spending is tight

The monetary authorities hiked the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) -- from 18% to 20% -- presumably to reduce the liquidity in the country’s financial system by some P120 billion. That’s a wrong move.

More trouble than they are worth

For one month, while I was on vacation in the United States, I refused to read or hear any news on the Philippines. It was only on the flight home last Wednesday that I read the news—and wham! I plunged right into the world of the Napolist, or should I say Napolists? What a welcome...

Reformist or traditional politician? III

Real budget reform needs congressional approval or, at the very least, concurrence. Otherwise, the reform will be faddish, short-lived and unsustainable.

On the road again! Luzon, Samar, Leyte

I am hitting the road again with my driver, Leo on the wheels while on the lookout and – as always – with notebook jotting down observations as the trip moves on.

Poor reporting

Public attention last week was riveted on the non-release of the Napoles list and its murky contents. By contrast, a release that was actually prompt and clearly significant was ignored—the release of poverty statistics for the first semester of 2013.

Enlightened thoughts on Labor Day

The commemoration of Labor Day last week brings to mind the question of what policies bring about rising standards of living for labor. In the course of decades of Philippine development, labor’s condition has not improved as much as that of some outstanding East Asian neighbors.

A reformist or a traditional politician? — 2

President Aquino III has embarked on a number of budget reforms. Some are serious and worthwhile though not too novel. Others are whimsical and clearly unworthy to be called reform. Still, others are politically motivated -- they make good politics but do not necessarily lead to better allocation of resources.

A reformist or a traditional politician — 1

There is near certainty that the executive abuses under the existing budget process that President Aquino inherited from his predecessor would be passed on to his successor. Paradoxically, these are the same abuses that Mr. Aquino and his LP mates lambasted, condemned and tried to correct when they were in Congress.