About Per SE

Commentary and research on current events and public policy by economists from the University of the Philippines
Monthly archive July 2017

Duterte’s 2nd SONA

The second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte departs from the typical formula. Instead of the heavy recounting of the previous year’s developments and achievements with a plethora of statistics, he zeroes in on actions being undertaken.

An anti-poor tax package

So the question is: How can a 95-5 split of the direct benefits of the TsT in any way represent a “the poor will benefit the most” situation, between the “middle” and “low” income groups? Ask any child: If candies are split 19 and 1 between two children, is that fair? Is it most beneficial...

Made in Bataan – The tennis balls of Wimbledon

Few Filipinos, including those who play the sport, know that the tennis balls of Wimbledon have been made in a Dunlop Slazenger factory in Mariveles, Bataan for some 20 years now.


We should have seen it coming. President Duterte’s behavior now is no different from his behavior throughout the episode.

Challenges triggered by absorptive capacity limitations

In our country, the capacity to implement projects already well-conceived on the drawing board often gets waylaid by problems that occur prior to or during the construction stage.

Just take it, it’s good for you

Not all who take sugar-sweetened beverages will indulge to excess. And not even all who over-indulge will become obese or diabetic. Yet, the proposal would penalise all these people in the same way. I hate to say it: just like the war on drugs.

The term is ‘abdication’

Abdication. As when Prince Edward VIII abdicated his throne (as king of the United Kingdom and its dominions, and emperor of India) for love of the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. That’s what the Supreme Court did in its recent decision on President Duterte’s martial law.

Economic challenges in the 2nd year of the Duterte government

In Duterte’s time, and reading into plans to spend more for infrastructure and other social programs, the fiscal deficit is likely to worsen.

Our transport system, communal pride, and united future

I allowed myself a moment of elation at the announcement of the railway link between Clark and Metro Manila. Such moments are rare in the desert of “sombriety.”

Did Duterte live up to his oath?

I thought I would go back to the basics, and judge him according to what he swore, before God, that he would do. The Constitution actually gave him an alternative: he could have omitted its last sentence. That he chose to swear “So help me God” was his choice.

External and new internal pressures on the BOP?

The Philippine balance of payments is healthy. But in recent months, there have been signs of weakening.