A paper by  U.P. School of Economics assistant professor Desiree Desierto was featured at length by veteran columnist Amando Doronila of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Doronila featured the paper in two successive columns, Analysis, dated 15 and 16 October 2012:

“Daang matuwid strategy scrutinized” (read Doronila’s first column here)

“The flip side of anti-corruption reforms” (read Doronila second column here)

Desierto presented her paper, titled “Reforming institutions and building trust to achieve sustained economic development”  at the 2012 Philippines Update Conference at the Australian National University’s (ANU) School of International, Political and Strategic Studies.

Doronila noted Desierto’s statement that “The Philippines may … finally be on the cusp of what other scholars call ‘critical juncture’ that can push its trajectory toward the development of more ‘inclusive’ institutions, enabling  continued increases in productivity and sustaining economic growth.”

At the same time, Doronila highlighted Desierto’s caution about an exclusive focus on anti-corruption : “However, she argued that ‘focusing solely on anticorruption for its own sake may also undermine lasting institutional reform, if property rights, credibility and stability are weakened in the course of enforcing against anomalous transactions. What may be an optimal strategy is to treat anticorruption as part of a larger framework of building trust in society’.”

Doronila clarified that neither he (nor Desierto) should be understood as writing “a brief for tolerance or endorsement of corruption”.  Rather, he said, “the contribution of the paper and the ANU Philippines Update project is that it has illuminated the issues of corruption vs. growth. It has also provoked a healthy informed debate, lifting it above the scum of scurrilous name-calling by the fanatical Yellow Army, which regards its Great Leader as untouchable”.