About Per SE

Commentary and research on current events and public policy by economists from the University of the Philippines
Monthly archive August 2015

Congress shouldn’t squander its rare opportunity to reassert its power of the purse

The Supreme Court (SC) decision on the Development Acceleration Program (DAP) is now part of the laws of the land. As duly elected officials, it is the responsibility of President Benigno S. C. Aquino III and his officials to respect and embrace, rather than resist, this path-changing decision.

Solving the slum problem

If a city's wealth is to be judged by its skyline, then Metro Manila, Cebu and other major cities must be rapidly getting rich. And yet, poverty has barely budged in recent years and the housing deprivations of millions of Filipinos fester and grow even worse.

How SC decision on Enrile came about

I got to see Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile up close and personal yesterday morning at his residence. For only a short while, mind you, but it helps that he lives right across the street from our house...

Manuel L. Quezon: How he secured the independence law from the United States

I write about Manuel L. Quezon (the president of the Philippine Commonwealth) for two reasons. First, it is a good introduction to our political season as we commit to choose a new leader next year. Second, and more important, August 19 marks his birthday anniversary.

What the next administration can do to reduce chronic poverty

One should be unhappy with the government’s fiscal performance. During the last five years, from 2010 to 2014, actual government spending has been below planned spending. Yet, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima is elated that actual budget deficit is much smaller than planned deficit.

Solar Power’s Rise and Promise

Time was when solar energy was facilely dismissed as impractical, inefficient, and pricey. In recent years, however, innovations in technology, regulation, and financing have resulted in remarkable efficiency improvements and price reductions, thereby reversing the skepticism about this renewable energy (RE) source.

‘At least he shares with us’

It seems the strongest argument used by supporters of Vice President Jejomar Binay when asked why they still want to vote for him in spite of his alleged corruption is: “Most politicians are corrupt anyway, and Binay at least shares with us.”

Rise and fall of PICOP – Mindanao’s timber plantations (Part II)

PICOP was to become the first company whose pulp and paper operations would be fully integrated with its raw material source, which is the forest concession. In conception, it was a bold new venture. Today, PICOP is essentially dead.

I have no excuse but my commentaries are intact

Professor Noel de Dios, my colleague at the UP School of Economics, correctly pointed out some errors in my article, “We’re losing the war against unemployment.” I have no excuse for the obvious misreading of some labor numbers. However, my commentaries are intact.

We lost 17 years of development

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs flew in earlier this week to give a lecture on sustainable development and launch the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a UN initiative. Sachs was Kofi Annan’s special advisor on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and retains the same position under Ban Ki-moon.

Sustainable development through community engagement: the case for the SDGs

The Philippines’ experience demonstrates that poverty alleviation and development cannot be left in the hands of mining companies alone.

Northeastern Mindanao’s timber plantations

Today, those who drive the highways of northeastern Mindanao (Caraga Region) will occasionally encounter trucks loaded with uniformly cut lumber of diameter size no more than a foot.