CIELITO F. HABITO
NO FREE LUNCH: Social bonding, not distancing
August 25, 2020
I know I'm not the only one who feels uncomfortable with the phrase "social distancing," which suddenly became part of our daily vocabulary since the COVID-19 pandemic hit us, even though it's actually an unfortunate misnomer. "Physical distancing" is actually the better way to refer to the prescription to keep a distance of at least 1-2 meters (or six feet) from other persons in order to prevent spreading the virus through person-to-person contact. How "social distancing" became the phrase of choice somewhat puzzles me, but I guess people liked the more peculiar ring to it after someone first coined it.
Now, more than ever, I would argue that we need the exact opposite, that is, more social bridging and social bonding, if we are to get through this unprecedented crisis of global proportions with the least harm possible. Yes, we should distance ourselves physically from one another to keep healthy and safe, but we would also do well to reach out to one another in a stronger spirit of caring and sharing at this time that the needed solutions call for coordinated collective actions.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/132993/social-bonding-not-distancing
NO FREE LUNCH: Overstated decline?
August 18, 2020
While the Philippine Statistics Authority reported a 16.5 percent economic contraction in the second quarter, could things actually have been better than what those numbers suggest? In a recent group chat with my Ateneo Economics faculty colleagues, someone mused that perhaps the reported decline in the economy partly reflects how most of our purchases are now being made in the informal sector.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/132795/overstated-decline
NO FREE LUNCH: Anatomy of a recession
August 11, 2020
The Philippine economy is now officially in recession, the first time in nearly three decades. To be in recession, the economy must have contracted over two consecutive quarters. The earlier reported -0.2 percent GDP year-on-year growth (contraction) posted for the first quarter (Q1) has been revised with fuller data, and turns out to have been more than three times worse, at -0.7 percent. The second quarter (Q2) figure is a much deeper dive of -16.5 percent. Various data feeding into the national income accounts would have been much more difficult to obtain under the community quarantines, so I'd expect the Q2 figures to be even less precise than usual. We will know whether the reported -16.5 percent was an under- or overestimate only in November, when the third quarter data will come out with revised and updated Q2 figures.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/132593/anatomy-of-a-recession
EDILBERTO C. DE JESUS
[OPINION] Heel as one
August 08, 2020
Evolving in close proximity with human beings since prehistoric times, dogs supposedly developed the habit of subordination to their masters. But some dogs, still influenced by ancient instincts, display more independence and must be disciplined and trained to quick and unquestioning obedience. They must learn to attend to the master and stand motionless on the command to "heel."
The sound of the two words is the same, so maybe the legislators just misspelled their bill. The prescription, perhaps, was not really to "Heal as One." Placing at the top of the campaign against the pandemic the best trained and the most experienced people in the sciences and medicine, as South Korea did, would have delivered this message. Like the master of a pack of dogs, perhaps, what they really wanted was for the people to "Heel as One."
Read more: https://rappler.com/voices/thought-leaders/opinion-heel-as-one
JUAN MIGUEL LUZ
[ANALYSIS] How ready are our basic education schools for the 2020 school opening?
August 06, 2020
The Philippines is the last of the ASEAN countries to reopen its basic education schools. This reflects both extraordinary caution on the part of the national leadership but also indecision on their part.
Being slow to move, however, does have its positive points. It allows the Department of Education to study how other ministries of education have acted and pick up key learnings from their experiences.
How have our ASEAN neighbors reopened their schools? For the most part, not in all grade levels at once but in phases. This prevents a surge when schools open that may be difficult to control. It also allows schools to adjust to the health protocols and get students attuned to new behaviors expected of them.
One major learning: Have a plan for what to do with schools and areas when there is a resurgence of cases. A more local lockdown appears to be the answer. This requires foresight and planning, not "seat of the pants" midnight speculation.
Read more: https://rappler.com/voices/thought-leaders/school-reopening-during-pandemic-lessons-from-asean
NO FREE LUNCH: Hunger: Our bigger crisis
August 04, 2020
The coronavirus had claimed 2,059 Filipino lives as of last weekend. Every year in recent years, more than 31,000 Filipino children have died due to undernutrition, as estimated by Save the Children. The organization linked 838,000 additional Filipino deaths in 2013 to hunger and malnutrition. These numbers tell us that we've had a far bigger public health crisis long before COVID-19 came, yet has not caused nearly as much concern or gained as much attention. Worse, the measures put in place to manage the coronavirus have dramatically worsened the bigger and wider problem of hunger.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/132384/hunger-our-bigger-crisis
BUSINESS MATTERS: Social capital against COVID-19
August 01, 2020
This time, at least the rhetoric was right: "Heal as One," instead of "War against COVID-19." The Bayanihan Act itself fixed its provisions on constitutional anchors. And the initial response of a former mayor turned president looked to the level of government closest to the community, the barangay heads, to take the initiative in mobilizing the people against the pandemic.
The reality quickly proved different from the rhetoric. Faced with an unfamiliar problem, President Duterte immediately reverted to the default mode: Mobilize police and military elements against the enemy. To direct the Cabinet-level National Task Force Against COVID-19, he appointed, as on earlier occasions, a retired general, who already had a critical job as head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/132297/social-capital-against-covid-19
NO FREE LUNCH: In search of economic boosters
July 31, 2020
Someone asked me the other day what I see to be the "bright spots" that could carry our economy through the difficult way out of the pandemic-induced recession. Where can we look to for hope of recovering jobs and incomes lost by millions of Filipinos? In which sectors and industries can revitalization happen sooner?
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/132187/lost-momentum
NO FREE LUNCH: Lost momentumopening?
July 28, 2020
Sayang. Too bad. We've come a long way building up the momentum for our economy since the latter part of the Marcos martial law years, when the economy was flattened by political turmoil and capital flight. In the troubled 1980s decade, the Philippines' annual GDP growth rate averaged a mere 1.8 percent. In the following decade that began with the closing years of the presidency of Cory Aquino, dominated by that of Fidel V. Ramos, and ended under Joseph Estrada, annual GDP growth averaged 2.9 percent. Average GDP growth in the Ramos years was a more impressive 4.4 percent, but was pulled down by the disaster-marked final years of Aquino, and the Asian financial crisis-hit early years of Estrada. The first decade of the new millennium saw a 4.8 percent average annual GDP growth rate, and in this last decade since 2011, we had already been averaging 6.2 percent. For the first time in our modern economic history, we've managed to sustain relatively rapid economic growth for that long. And then COVID-19 came.
July 27, 2020
Basic education schools in the Philippines are scheduled to open no later than August 24, 2020 with a major difference - there will be no face-to-face classes in areas where the COVID-19 pandemic infection rate is high and limited face-to-face classes elsewhere.
That means that education services will take place in one of 4 ways: (a) Face-to-face; (b) Distance learning; (c) Blended learning; and (d) Homeschooling.
There are a number of daunting challenges that need to be addressed and overcome for distance education to be efficiently and effectively delivered
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/132070/when-work-from-home-wont-work
NO FREE LUNCH: When work from home won't work
July 24, 2020
A new study in the growing economic literature on WFH suggests so. This is because the occupations that lend themselves to WFH, hence less affected by the lockdowns imposed in most pandemic-hit countries, are not the occupations of the more disadvantaged groups in society.
That is, white-collar jobs are more likely to persist under WFH arrangements, but blue-collar or menial jobs-jobs held mostly by the poorer segments of society-cannot.
With 7.25 million Filipino workers rendered jobless as of April and unemployment hitting close to one in every five workers (17.7 percent), the already dire employment situation could take a long while to return to what we've been accustomed to. And the less workers are able to continue their jobs working from home, the more difficult it would be for them to restore normalcy in their lives.
[ANALYSIS] School opening 2020: Immediate concerns, longer-term structural reforms
July 21, 2020
We are preparing for school opening in late August 2020. We know there will be a major disruption in the education system. But in fact, we will need to prepare for 3 disruptions in basic education (K-12) over 3 time periods.
Read more: https://rappler.com/voices/thought-leaders/analysis-school-opening-immediate-concerns-longer-term-st
NO FREE LUNCH: A fake democracy?
Are we truly a democratic country? The Democracy Index compiled by the UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit classifies the Philippines as a "flawed democracy," defined as states scoring between 6 and 8 on a scale of 0 to 10. The index combines five categories of democratic attributes: (1) electoral process and pluralism, (2) functioning of government, (3) political participation, (4) political culture, and (5) civil liberties. We scored highest (9.17) in the first attribute (although I question this below) and lowest in the fourth (4.38). We also scored low (5.36) in functioning of government.
Numerical scores aside, and knowing that any index based on perception surveys can be subject to question from either side, it is perhaps more interesting to examine more qualitative indicators of how well we hew to the form of government we claim to have. I do not claim to be a political expert myself, but we can look at what the political scientists have to say on what it takes to be a democracy, and see how we measure up.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131964/a-fake-democracy
COVID-19 and our 'Blue Economy'
July 17, 2020
With water making up the bulk of Philippine territory-four-fifths, counting our exclusive economic zones as defined by the United Nations-why is very little of our gross domestic product contributed by our water-based economy (the
"Blue Economy")? Fisheries and water transport contribute a mere 1.5 percent of incomes in our economy, measured as GDP.
Adding water-based recreation, offshore natural gas and other miscellaneous economic activities based or dependent on our waters won't bring the share much beyond that. And yet I've always maintained that a square kilometer of our inland or marine waters could well contain at least as much if not more potential economic wealth than a similar area of our undeveloped lands.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131839/covid-19-and-our-blue-economy
Future-proofing the Philippines
July 14, 2020
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most difficult challenges facing us as a nation is how to resume the education of our children and youth when gathering them in their classrooms remains very risky. The Department of Education (DepEd) is planning on the use of online platforms, blended learning, and televisions and radios. But serious questions hound the feasibility and effectiveness of these delivery modes for learning. How ready are we to implement these modes of delivery? How ready is the DepEd with the substance and content for online, television, or radio-transmitted learning modules needed for all levels of basic education from Grades K to 12? But a more prior question is: How sure are we that we could reach all school-aged children around the country with these modes of delivery, and ensure that no student is left behind?
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131743/no-one-left-behind-3
July 09, 2020
A picture making the rounds in the internet shows a diver about to be devoured from below by a shark, jaws wide open, labeled "COVID-19." Directly under it is a bigger shark labeled "The Upcoming Economic Crisis," poised to eat the first shark and its prey. Underneath them all is a huge shark, similarly with jaws wide open, poised to take them all in. That giant shark is labeled "Climate Change."
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131611/future-proofing-the-philippines
The specter of a worse normal
July 07, 2020
"Never let a serious crisis go to waste" is a quote we hear repeated so often lately. The underlying message in current usage is that the drastic upheaval the COVID-19 crisis has brought upon us provides a great opportunity for drastic reforms otherwise difficult to pursue in more normal times. Everyone would like to see a better "new normal" emerge in the aftermath of the pandemic, and now is our best chance to make some fundamental changes to achieve it.
But change is a double-edged sword. Some would also use the upheaval to pursue less than noble ends. A dangerous example that has come to my attention is an apparently last-minute insertion into Section 12 of the House of Representatives' approved version of the economic stimulus bill (House Bill No. 6815) dubbed ARISE (Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy).
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131515/the-specter-of-a-worse-normal
RONALD U. MENDOZA AND DION L. ROMANO
The Philippines Anti-Terrorism Act: Who Guards the Guardians?
July 06, 2020
In a move that surprised many, in early June 2020 amid the Philippines' COVID-19 pandemic challenges, President Rodrigo Duterte certified as "urgent" the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. In just a matter of days, the House of Representatives dispensed with any further review process and accepted the Senate version of the bill, then promptly sent it to the president for signature. On July 3, Duterte signed this bill into law, notwithstanding calls for him to veto it.
Early on, the bill generated extensive backlash and critique from different sectors across youth groups, academia, church, business, and civil society. Critics had a number of objections: ill timing; credibility issues among the implementing agencies; the risk of abuse; and potentially unconstitutional provisions. The law created division when it should have unified the country against the rising threat of terrorism. This article provides a sober review of terrorism issues in the Philippines, and hopefully helps promote a better understanding toward a unified way forward.
Read more: https://thediplomat.com/2020/07/the-philippines-anti-terrorism-act-who-guards-the-guardians/
LUIS ABAD, JC PUNONGBAYAN, ZY-ZA SUZARA, AND RUPERT MANGILIT
[ANALYSIS] How the Senate can save us from Duterte's ailing pandemic response
July 03, 2020
Filipinos today are desperate for decisive leadership. Millions of lives and livelihoods are at stake.
But Duterte's incompetence is more manifest than ever. Even if granted special powers and much discretion by Congress, he has failed to demonstrate decisive leadership. (READ: Pandemic unravels Duterte's 2016 promise of decisive leadership)
With the Executive severely lacking in energy, imagination, and compassion - and the House too eager to pass an ill-conceived economic rescue package - it's now up to the Senate to come up with a solid, sound supplemental budget that will force Duterte and his economic managers to change their ways and rethink their priorities.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/265575-analysis-how-senate-save-duterte-ailing-pandemic-resp
People and planet in peril
Five C's-Carbon, Celsius, Congestion, Contagion, and Consumption-underpin the events transpiring today, as argued in a new white paper (https://braintrustinc.org/the-final-decade/) released by Brain Trust Inc., a multidisciplinary think tank that I lead.
The paper maintains that the shakeup the entire world is now undergoing could have been mitigated, if not prevented, had we all paid closer attention to these five interlinked challenges manifesting in climate change over time, and right now, in the raging pandemic.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131392/people-and-planet-in-peril
Lockdown costs and benefits
Addressing Asean heads of state last week, President Duterte called for a "reboot of the anti-virus plan" in the context of the need for a concerted regional approach against COVID-19. A review of the national COVID-19 strategy might also be timely to consider perspectives from the six-month struggle with the pandemic.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131417/lockdown-costs-and-benefits
Will the birds stay?
June 30, 2020
Everyone talks about the "new normal" and how we should all make sure it will be a "better normal." But there's a real tension between the urgent need to revive the economy and people's livelihoods as quickly as possible, versus making sure we "build back better." Some actually believe that the way to bring economies back on their feet is to set aside, at least temporarily, environmental and social standards that are seen to raise the cost of doing business, hence get in the way of restarting them as quickly as possible.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131301/will-the-birds-stay
NO FREE LUNCH: The problem with shotguns
June 26, 2020
The problem with having a large informal sector-estimated in the Philippines to account for around 40 percent of GDP-is that those firms and workers are by definition not registered with, and therefore invisible, to government. Thus, remedial measures and assistance put together by government to help firms and their workers in times of need are not likely to reach participants therein.
The World Bank, with its unique access to economic data across almost all countries spanning the globe, has documented the close association between informality and underdevelopment, seen in a wide range of attributes. These include widespread poverty, lack of access to formal finance, inadequate public health systems, and weak social safety nets.
These vulnerabilities magnify the direct and indirect impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on people's livelihoods and overall welfare, and threaten to throw large numbers of people into extreme poverty. What is sad is that impressive gains had already been made around the globe in the last three decades to bring down the scourge of poverty; now it's all unraveling again, all because of a microscopic enemy no one saw coming.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131165/informal-sector-bane-and-boon
June 19, 2020
After three months of immobilizing the economy to flatten the COVID-19 curve, we have nothing to show for it but a battered economy and a pandemic curve that's anything but flat.
Perhaps thinking that lockdown was enough, crucial testing and tracing received less attention than our more successful neighbors gave.
A reader described it as a shotgun solution that harmed too many people, when we could have used more focused rifle approaches like other countries used with far better results, and without choking their economies the way we did.
The problem with shotgun solutions is that they make governments complacent and lazy, as it's far easier than figuring out and pursuing creative and effective rifle-focused cures.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/130933/the-problem-with-shotguns
[ANALYSIS] Balancing education risks during this pandemic
June 18, 2020
During the period of a pandemic, unhampered by vaccine, the resumption of normal classes exposes the school community to the risk of infection. Experts do not expect a vaccine to be widely available before 18 to 24 months. We need, therefore, to weigh the potential risks of a vaccine-less school reopening against the certain harm that will follow from a lengthy school lockdown.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/264150-analysis-balancing-education-risks-coronavirus
NO FREE LUNCH: Burdensome government
June 16, 2020
It's hard not to conclude that the lack of definitive progress in the national fight against the pandemic traces mostly to government ineptness. We can't pin the blame on people for lacking the discipline of physical distancing, when top enforcers of that discipline are seen to defy it. It's also impossible to enforce such distancing in crowded poor settlements where high population densities preclude it - unless we provide refugee centers, as when natural calamities call for it. Why not now?
The numbers are already out showing how the tradeoff between the lockdowns and people's economic welfare has hit hard on our economy, and more importantly, on ordinary Filipinos' lives. It's an outrage that we hardly have anything to show for incurring this tremendous cost, by way of significant progress in containing the virus.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/130840/burdensome-government
NO FREE LUNCH: A digital new normal
June 12, 2020
As constantly pointed out by government economic managers, the Philippines entered the COVID-19 crisis in a position of relative economic strength. But there's one crucial matter in which we came in falling short: our digital connectivity. This has impacted on our ability to respond to and manage the pandemic, and will affect how we will come out of it and rise from the economic decline that the virus brought upon us.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/130714/a-digital-new-normal
NO FREE LUNCH: Boosting our farm co-ops
June 09, 2020
The biggest challenge in Philippine agriculture could well be the highly fragmented structure of our farms. Recently, I wrote of how nearly 9 out of 10 farms are under 3 hectares, and those less than a hectare account for the majority (57 percent). The 2012 Census of Agriculture counted 5.56 million farmholdings spanning 7.19 million hectares, averaging a mere 1.29 hectares each.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/130603/boosting-our-farm-co-ops
NO FREE LUNCH: Revisiting our debt penalty
June 05, 2020
Did you know that 15 years ago, about 9 out of every 10 pesos of revenues received by the Philippine national government just went to its debt payments?
At that time, I likened our government to a wageworker whose friendly neighborhood moneylender comes on payday to take away 9 out of every 10 pesos in his pay envelope.
Fast forward to 2020, and that "debt penalty" is no longer a prominent concern for our fiscal managers. Government is in fact proposing to lose money by lowering corporate income tax rates from 30 to 25 percent immediately, in the hope that this would help stimulate business recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic-never mind that this would mean losing an estimated P42 billion immediately, and P625 billion over the next three years. Why this seeming bravado?
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/130472/revisiting-our-debt-penalty
NO FREE LUNCH: Tracking poverty
June 02, 2020
Who should get the government's "ayuda" cash grants and who need not? The need to target assistance for households severely affected by the economic standstill during the COVID-19 crisis highlights the importance of having local governments possess a good information base on their residents' state of well-being. But its importance goes well beyond unusual times like this. An accurate socio-economic profile of a barangay, municipality, or city is the essential starting point for local development planning. To be of meaningful consequence, the development plan must address all the important dimensions of individual and family well-being. Poverty, after all, is not just about income, but also about deprivation in the human, social, environmental, political, cultural, and spiritual needs of a person. So how do we keep track of all these?
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/130389/tracking-poverty
NO FREE LUNCH: Small farms, large farms
May 29, 2020
Of all food consumed worldwide, 70 percent comes from small family farmers, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
In the Philippines, 88 percent of all farm holdings are under 3 hectares, with those under one hectare comprising the bulk (57 percent), based on the last Agricultural Census in 2012.
What's remarkable is that our average farm size has shrunk from 2.84 hectares in 1980 to less than half of that (1.29 hectares) by 2012, as the number of farms jumped by 62.6 percent from 3.42 to 5.56 million.
Clearly, partitioning of farms among offspring as they are passed on to the next generation is leading to increased farm fragmentation through time.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/130246/small-farms-large-farms
[OPINION] Good policies, bad execution, worse timing
May 27, 2020
We economists could use some of the same philosophical grounding of medical practitioners: "First, do no harm." We often justify our policy interventions to respond to "market failures" which include those that weaken competition and hamper collective action. But there is also such a thing as "government failure," and Harvard economist Dani Rodrik once quipped that just because there's a market failure, it doesn't necessarily follow that we need to compound it with a government failure.
As experts who try to safeguard the economic health of countries, we economists have to make sure we don't end up creating even more distortions through failed government policies. This is how I see the conundrum faced by the Duterte administration's economic team (or more precisely, what's left of it) and its continued dalliance with TRAIN 2.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/261979-opinion-good-policies-bad-execution-worse-timing-coro
NO FREE LUNCH: Where do college grads go?
May 26, 2020
Our high school graduates appear to be making the wrong choices on their college courses, as they pursue degrees that do not lead to high-paying jobs - and yet earnings are their expressed primary motivation for getting further education or training. This contradiction is among the findings of the latest Graduate Tracer Survey, the fourth done in the Philippines on record. Covering college graduates who completed their studies within 2009 to 2011, the results are reported in a paper by Melba Tutor, Aniceto Orbeta Jr., and James Matthew Miraflor released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies last December.
The study further affirms the widely observed jobs-education mismatch in our labor market, usually examined from the point of view of employers and higher education institutions, this time from the perspective of the learners. This perspective is important, the authors argue, because it is the student who chooses the school, course program, and occupation s/he pursues, and the one who experiences the consequences of these choices. More than her/his school, it is s/he who can judge the adequacy and appropriateness of training received based on actual employment experience. And more than the employer, it is s/he who knows her/his level of job satisfaction, and whether expectations motivating their studies have indeed been met.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/130160/where-do-college-grads-go
[ANALYSIS] Don't confuse schooling with learning
News item: Deputy Speaker Aurelio 'Dong' Gonzales Jr. filed House Resolution 876 which seeks to postpone the reopening of classes in public and private schools until a vaccine against COVID-19 is developed and made available in the country.
In support of this, a partylist congressman said, "The Department of Education (DepED) should just postpone the entire school year without any exception. Our policy should apply to all to avoid any confusion. We are unprepared for this crisis."
Then, in the late night weekly report to the nation on the emergency Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the President said in a mix of English and Filipino: "It's useless to be talking about the opening of classes. Para sa akin, bakuna muna. Pag nandyan ang bakuna, okay na (For me, the vaccine first. If it's available, then it's OK [to open schools]). Remember that."
Before our leaders take such drastic measures such as postponing the start of the basic education school year, let us put this coronavirus in proper perspective.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/261961-analysis-do-not-confuse-schooling-with-learning
[OPINION] Balik Marawi, bago balik probinsiya
May 23, 2020
Keeping them in the relocation sites is the problem that has turned many such programs into wasteful, white elephants. Government would not have to risk this problem with a project to bring Marawi IDPs home. And it can serve as a pilot for BP2.
The government has yet to end the IDPs' now three-year exile. To give them priority over any group wishing to avail of the BP2 program would be both rational and just.
If the government cannot deliver on this project, what would be our basis to believe that it can effectively implement a much larger, more complex BP2 program?
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/261559-balik-marawi-bago-balik-probinsiya-marawi-siege-anniv
NO FREE LUNCH: Creative tax adjustments
May 22, 2020
Governments are now out to find ways to revive their ailing economies in the wake of the pandemic. It's already a foregone conclusion that the second quarter will show dire economic numbers on the incomes and jobs front. If government statisticians were able to proceed with the regular April round of the quarterly Labor Force Survey in the midst of lockdown, a drastic jump in unemployment (from 5.3 percent last January) up to the double digits is quite likely.
The sobering fact is that many of the local jobs frozen by the lockdown will not return beyond the pandemic. Restaurants are just one example where downscaling of the workforce will be inevitable. Many other types of business where physical distancing forces scaled-down operations will similarly let go of workers, if not close down altogether. On top of that, tens of thousands of our overseas workers are expected to return home, having lost their jobs in their similarly affected host economies. We need to protect existing jobs, but we must create even more for the substantial numbers of displaced workers as well.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/130062/creative-tax-adjustments
Toward sustained citizen-led aid-giving
May 20, 2020
The collective effort of citizen-led initiatives to make aid and support move faster and bring assistance to those disadvantaged by the COVID-19 pandemic has been critical in providing the first wave of support needed by communities and hospitals. Online donation platforms have become notably successful, encouraging participation in community building efforts while under quarantine. In the private sector, a synergy of various companies has produced Project Ugnayan, which has raised over P1.5 billion. The leadership organization Kaya Natin, in support of the Office of the Vice President, has raised P60 million. The arts community-led Bayanihan Musikahan, with the PBSP, has raised close to P62 million. Church, alumni, university, and community initiatives have also contributed to fund-raising efforts.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129989/toward-sustained-citizen-led-aid-giving
NO FREE LUNCH: The national ID saga
May 19, 2020
One of the many changes the COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth seems to be a shift in general public sentiment toward the idea of a national identification card. It's been nearly two years since the Philippine Identification System Act (Republic Act No. 11055) finally gave the national ID the legislative mandate that had eluded it for decades. Even so, the system remains unimplemented, when it could have been extremely useful in facilitating delivery of targeted government assistance to Filipinos adversely affected by the near economic standstill prompted by the pandemic. There were speculations that this led to the departure of former socioeconomic planning secretary Ernesto Pernia, who chaired the interagency council tasked to coordinate and implement the system.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129956/the-national-id-saga
Paying for it all
May 15, 2020
Governments the world over are fighting both the public health and economic costs of the COVID-19 pandemic by literally pouring money on the problem. It matters little whether or not the money is available. Under the circumstances, the question is not "can we afford it?" but rather, "can we afford not to?" It's like rushing a critically ill family member to the hospital; whether or not you have the money for the hospital bills is something to worry about later. Governments have had to spend much money on virus testing kits, hospital supplies and equipment, quarantine facilities, and more. They've also needed to spend for social protection to forestall possible social unrest and public breakdown. Further on, the economic shutdown necessitates funding to keep the economy afloat, including possible large subsidies for industries flattened by the pandemic, such as in travel and tourism. All these add up to a massive drain on government finances. How are we paying for all this?
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129834/paying-for-it-all
ZY-ZA SUZARA, RUPERT MANGILIT, JC PUNONGBAYAN, LUIS ABAD, AND LANI VILLANUEVA
[ANALYSIS] Why we can't Build, Build, Build our way out of this pandemic
May 14, 2020
This preference for infrastructure has invariably shaped the government's COVID-19 response. The economic managers are now cordoning off the infrastructure budget, saying it will be "the last item that we will touch."
But can Build, Build, Build really help the economy bounce back quickly?
We doubt it. Even before the pandemic, Build, Build, Build proceeded at a glacial pace and was not as growth-inducing as trumpeted by the economic managers.
If key agencies - notably the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) - can't deliver Build, Build, Build projects in normal times, what more in a pandemic?
We also fear that Build, Build, Build might end up as a patronage tool by local officials and become bloated by non-essential, non-strategic infrastructure projects.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/260734-analysis-costs-of-school-closures
RONALD U. MENDOZA
Fighting COVID-19 in the Philippines: The Scalpel vs the Axe
Early evidence suggests the world's leaders in fighting COVID-19 include countries like Taiwan, Vietnam, and South Korea, which effectively flattened the curve and managed to minimize the damage to their economies. The key ingredients to their success include agile test, trace, and treat systems to counter any flare ups; strong public-private partnerships in the health industry; effective application of technologies for information dissemination and contact tracing; and all this with less dependence on draconian lockdown measures. Some of these countries have also invested heavily in their respective health sectors, enabling them to rapidly realign and ramp up absorptive capacities should the need arise.
Meanwhile, in countries like the Philippines, social distancing and lockdown policies are not nuanced because of incomplete data, and health and social protection systems are still underdeveloped and not totally inclusive. Hence it is not possible to use a "scalpel" (i.e. nuanced social distancing, selective quarantine, and other health policy responses that allow for many economic activities to continue) and instead countries with weak systems turned to an "axe" (lockdown). Also, compared to a country like Vietnam, which was decisive from the start, the Philippines belatedly severed its link to the main source of the disease (China). So it seems the Philippines ended up having to resort to a stronger lockdown when compared to other countries.
Put differently, the economic cost of saving lives in the Philippines is high because it has weak systems and institutions, granting it little agility in its response options.
Read more: https://thediplomat.com/2020/05/fighting-covid-19-in-the-philippines-the-scalpel-vs-the-axe/
[ANALYSIS] The costs of school closures
May 13, 2020
When measuring education losses arising from COVID-19, countries like Australia, France and the UK calculate hard cash losses from the drop in foreign student enrollment. They also worry about the erosion in the international renown of their universities and the legacy of their global roster of graduates.
While we do earn revenue from foreign students, we cannot yet claim heavy losses from a decline in whatever "soft power" our universities contribute.
The looming OFW challenge
May 12, 2020
"Remittance flows from abroad are literally a major economic lifeline," assert professors Alvin Ang and Jeremaiah Opiniano in a recent policy brief from the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development. Disrupt this lifeline, and we're bound to have a major problem - and analysts have already warned of the danger to this lifeline that had been building up even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
"This lifelin... backstop(s) whatever public funds the Philippine government is now unloading to meet urgent survival and social protection needs of Filipinos," the authors point out.
The imminent drop in this vitally important inflow is but one of several factors that will shrink the country's resource picture this year, just when it has had to expend extraordinarily large sums to deal with the crisis.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129725/the-looming-ofw-challenge
Launching the ARK
May 09, 2020
Business leaders have stepped up in their individual and corporate capacity in the campaign against COVID-19. They responded quickly to cushion the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) impact on their employees, including contractuals compensated on a no-work-no-pay basis, suppliers, and customers. Acutely sensitive to business and economic signals, they recognized the resumption of "normal" life as urgent and began dealing more directly with the pandemic.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129634/launching-the-ark
Shaping the new normal
May 08, 2020
"New normal" is a phrase we're constantly hearing these days, it's beginning to sound like a cliche.
But it reflects how everyone is expecting lasting changes in various facets of our daily lives in the aftermath of the worldwide contagion-induced lockdown none of us has seen happen before.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129607/shaping-the-new-normal
Worst time for red tape
May 05, 2020
My daughter told me that her American in-laws received their government's COVID-19 cash assistance in their US bank accounts without doing anything. Her husband, who has been working and living here with her, received a check mailed to his permanent US address, as he did not register a bank account with the US Social Security System. The Philippines is not America, of course, but suffering Filipinos who are made to go through various hurdles to apply for (with no guarantee of receiving) whatever cash assistance government will give them, would be even more agitated to know this.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129505/worst-time-for-red-tape
CESAR V. PURISIMA
A promise to keep dreaming better
May 02, 2020
Former secretary of tourism Ramon "Mon" Jimenez Jr. was a titan of the Philippine advertising industry, a highly esteemed and successful Cabinet secretary, and a great friend and colleague to many. Above all, he was a loving and faithful husband to Abby whom he now joins in heaven, and a doting father to his daughters Nina and Sassa, as well as to his dogs.
I first met Mon at Better Dog, a behavioral school for dogs. Mon was an absolute joy to be around; he had a way with people (and dogs) that showed how a heart could be filled with so much love for others.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129417/a-promise-to-keep-dreaming-better
Is ECQ worth it?
May 01, 2020
Patience is beginning to wear thin, I'm sure, for most of us in areas where enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is further extended to May 15.
As the economic costs of ECQ promise to add up to astronomical levels on an economy-wide basis as days and weeks pass, one might ask if the benefits of the virtual lockdown have justified the costs.
Intrigued by this question, Dr. Antong Victorio, a long-time economist friend from Davao who established his professional career in the New Zealand academe, recently reached out to me. What benefits does the ECQ bring?
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129394/is-ecq-worth-it
[ANALYSIS] Going back to school - and the challenges ahead
After the premature end of school year 2019-20, schools wanted a June start for the incoming school year. UP's Institute of Resilience recommended December 2020. The Commission on Higher Education decided it would be September for face-to-face classes and August for those with "flexible" systems.
The decision, focused on health risks, has serious financial consequences. COCOPEA (Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations), representing about 2,500 institutions, estimates revenue losses at P55 billion by August and P142 billion by December. These are staggering figures, considering that a survey of the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU) reporting that only about 20% of its members can meet their payroll costs beyond mid-May probably reflects the state of the sector.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/259511-analysis-going-back-to-school-challenges-coronavirus
PH education and the new normal
April 28, 2020
If last year's enrollment figures are to be a basis, the Philippine education system will be expecting around 27 million students to enroll in the Basic Education System in the coming school year. With the early closure of the school year in March, the enhanced community quarantine in effect, and the still unclear future that the COVID-19 pandemic will bring, the Department of Education (DepEd) and our millions of learners are facing enormous challenges.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129286/ph-education-and-the-new-normal
Giveaway oil, giveaway loans?
Something strange happened last week. For the first time in history, crude oil actually traded at nearly -$40 per barrel. Yes, negative $40! That means that oil sellers actually paid someone to take a barrel (about 42 gallons, or 159 liters) of crude oil off their hands. And did you know that some central banks had already adopted a negative interest rate policy, meaning, you'd have to pay your bank to hold your deposits, rather than earn interest from the money you effectively lent them? With the world seeing negative oil prices and negative interest rates, we must be in rather unusual times - and indeed we are.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129296/giveaway-oil-giveaway-loans
LUV after COVID-19
April 24, 2020
Can the Philippine economy rebound quickly after we get over the COVID-19 pandemic, and achieve a V-shaped recovery (meaning, a quick bounce back to where we were before, or better)? Or will the scenario moving forward look more like a U curve, dwelling at or near the bottom for a while before economic activity picks up again? Or could it even look like an L, dwelling at or near the bottom indefinitely, implying no significant recovery and restoration in the foreseeable future?
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129181/luv-after-covid-19
ECQ vs economy
April 21, 2020
It has been said that containment policies like the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) now on its sixth week "flatten the medical curve, but steepen the recession curve." The implication is that there is a direct tradeoff between safeguarding public health and saving lives on one hand, and maintaining economic stability and protecting people's economic well-being on the other. That is, the more we try to save lives from the pandemic, the deeper we are driving the economy down to ruin - and some argue that the cost to human lives could be worse.Economies have indeed been brought to a virtual standstill as most economic activities have been suspended, except for essential goods and services, and people are confined to their homes, allowed only a minimum of movement. The International Monetary Fund swung from an upbeat global economic growth forecast of 3.3 percent in January, down to a dramatically scaled down 0.6 percent, and now to a rather grim -3 percent - all in a matter of weeks, and with a caveat that this may still be too optimistic.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129080/ecq-vs-economy
[OPINION] The Midnight Show
April 18, 2020
After so many appearances, I have to ask: What is the purpose of the Midnight Show? What is it achieving? It is not a press conference, as the first one was originally billed; no independent media were present. Some analysts suggest that the program enables Executive compliance with the Bayanihan Act requirement for a weekly report on the exercise of emergency powers and its results. I wonder if the show meets the accountability reporting requirements of the law.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/258356-the-midnight-show-duterte
CIELITO F. HABITO
No Free Lunch: Winning without lockdown
April 17, 2020
South Korea took rapid, intrusive measures against COVID-19 and they worked," bannered British newspaper The Guardian last March 20.
In late February, South Korea was tagged the new epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic, with the number of daily new cases doubling in less than two days at a time when China's numbers had already been easing, and lockdowns there being relaxed. Yet within three weeks, the Koreans had the virus convincingly under control. The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF), in a paper describing the Korean COVID-19 approach, declared: "So far, Korea is the only country with a population of over 50 million that has slowed the spread of the virus, and flattened the curve of new infections without shutting down the country nor the city at the epicenter of the outbreak..."
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128972/winning-without-lockdown#ixzz6JpOCtIyZ
No Free Lunch: Underused weapon
April 14, 2020
In interviews I've seen of officials from South Korea and Singapore on their handling of the COVID-19 crisis, I've been struck at the emphasis they gave to digital tools and apps as critical to how they managed the spread of the pandemic in their own countries. But from what I'm seeing, it looks like information and communication technology (ICT) and data science have been buried deep in the box of technology tools our government has so far deployed in the fight against COVID-19. Pharmacology and epidemiology are of course necessarily prominent, but as a potent weapon against the pandemic, ICT seems to have been relegated to the background.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128875/underused-weapon#ixzz6JpO3NsZJ
[ANALYSIS] People's health or economy? It's a false choice
Protecting lives protects the economy. That said, the issue of saving the economy remains. Here are some recommendations.
Key Philippine government officials and business leaders decided on the side of prudence in declining to risk the premature lifting of the COVID-19 lockdown. They thus rejected the false choice pushed by some of their counterparts in the United States: save the lives of the people or the life of the economy.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/257699-analysis-people-health-or-economy-false-choice
[OPINION] Acting local against COVID-19
April 09, 2020
With a government that is not exceptionally wise, just, and benevolent, one nationally mandated decision can cause damage to all
Covid-19 casts a fresh light on the merits of unitary and federal governance systems.
In the federalized United States, party affiliations tend to shape the orientation towards national or state power. Republicans prefer to limit federal powers over the states and intrusion into their affairs. Although now controlling the most populous and wealthiest states, like California and New York, Democrats see a greater need for Big Government.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/257377-opinion-acting-local-against-covid-19
No Free Lunch: Who can work from home?
April 07, 2020
The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that has been in place in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon has forced people, except those in essential industries, either to work from home, if that's possible for what they do, or to stop work altogether. Those who can work from home are more fortunate, as their incomes would have only been partially curtailed at most. But those for whom the feasibility of working from home is nil, very difficult, or only minimally productive have lost the ability to earn most or all of their usual incomes. They are the ones to whom government must target social amelioration assistance.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128687/who-can-work-from-home#ixzz6JpNu5wTI
No Free Lunch: Worst-hit
April 03, 2020
Dante, our plumber, and Dondon, our carpenter, who have been doing work for our household over the years, approached me separately last week, both on a desperate plea for help after weeks of idleness and absence of income due to the Luzon lockdown. They may not be the last to do so. I know there are great numbers of others like them now being pushed to the edge of desperation, for whom assistance from local governments on food and basic needs has been woefully inadequate, or even entirely absent. We're already seeing on TV news of local rallies by hungry residents turning violent. It seems that the specter of social unrest is becoming more real with each passing day. There are those who believe that these could be staged or instigated by "fear-mongers" out to embarrass the government, or for whatever other ulterior motive. Others suspect it could be the work of government operatives out to set the stage for imposition of much-dreaded martial rule. In this age of alternative truths and fake news, and especially under current circumstances, suspicions and conspiracy theories run high, and for the ordinary citizen, it's next to impossible to know what and who to believe anymore.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128578/worst-hit#ixzz6JpNgvv2O
No Free Lunch: A new normal
March 31, 2020
Much like the aftermath of the so-called 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City in 2001, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to lead to fundamental changes around the globe. Air travel changed worldwide after 9/11, and it seems everyone has already adapted to rigid airport security screenings as a fact of life.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128473/a-new-normal#ixzz6JpNW5qcz
[OPINION] A matter of mutual trust
March 28, 2020
The emphasis on enforcement suggests that government places little trust on its citizens or wants even more power over them
Pressure for quick action against Covid-19 should not prevent authorities from pausing to align strategies along the best practices discovered by frontline experts.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/views/imho/256106-opinion-matter-of-mutual-trust-coronavirus
No Free Lunch: Of sheep and goats
March 27, 2020
We've heard it said that disasters and crises have a way of bringing out the best in people. But there's another side to it as well: It can also bring out the worst in others. Times like this bring out people's basest instincts and true character, and reveal whether selfishness or true caring and sharing rules in their hearts and minds.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128358/of-sheep-and-goats#ixzz6JpNORO9d
RONALD U. MENDOZA, KENNETH HARTIGAN-GO AND MADELAIN ONG
Emergency Financing to Prevent the Collapse of the Healthcare Sector due to COVID-19: Is there a Case for a Health Sector Bailout?
This note briefly reviews the emerging evidence as well as develops the case for a possible health sector bailout that: a) benefits public and private hospitals already badly hit by the COVID-19 health crisis; and b) supports private hospitals "repurposed" to join the frontlines against COVID-19. The general argument is akin to a financial sector bailout for private banks during a financial crisis-these institutions cannot be allowed to fail given their broad positive externalities supporting the economy and society. A similar argument is possible for bailing out private hospitals to support their continued operations and provide access to universal healthcare as a national public good.
Read more: https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=17808500400212502601406911510901002406008206702006805009
No Free Lunch: Focused fiscal fix
March 24, 2020
Governments are now pursuing economic stimulus packages to meet the COVID-19 threat, as if preserving economic growth is paramount. But there's hardly any economic activity to stimulate under circumstances where "enhanced community quarantine" (a virtual lockdown) and suspension of nonessential activities are in place to prevent total catastrophe. The patient is sick, and the prior concern is survival and recovery, not growth. We in the Ateneo economics faculty have released a statement urging government to set aside its growth targets, and firms to do the same with this year's profit targets. It's not economic stimulus but an emergency fiscal response we need-a focused fiscal fix, I'd call it-to arrest the clear and present danger of twin disasters looming before us: a breakdown in public health, and breakdown of the social order.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128287/focused-fiscal-fix#ixzz6JpNDNLrb
MANUEL M. DAYRIT AND RONALD U. MENDOZA
COVID-19: Countering the Economic Contagion
At the rate it is spreading across the world, COVID-19 has become a global nightmare. Since China informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of a cluster of 41 patients with mysterious pneumonia on December 31, 2019, the world has seen COVID-19 cases balloon to 334,981 across 189 countries and territories, with 14,652 deaths, at the time of writing. In the Philippines, from the first case confirmed on January 30, 2020 (a 38-year-old Chinese national), COVID-19 cases have since shot up to 462 confirmed cases, with 33 deaths. Based on big data analysis, there is evidence of undertesting and under-reporting in the Philippines, raising concerns that undetected cases could number in the thousands.
COVID-19 produces two waves of contagion. The first is a disease-based contagion that can swamp domestic healthcare and social protection systems, as well as cripple workers and factories through adverse health outcomes. The second type of contagion refers to the "chilling effect" of COVID-19 on both the economic demand and supply sides of a growing number of countries, notably those in "factory Asia." Adequate and coherent policy responses on both fronts will be necessary to prevent this health crisis from turning into an even bigger economic crisis.
Read more: https://thediplomat.com/2020/03/covid-19-countering-the-economic-contagion/
[OPINION] Conflicting instincts during the coronavirus
March 21, 2020
One expert dismisses travel bans as 'a complete and utter waste of time,' while another says that 'restricting movement does not help'
Crafty and cruel, the coronavirus attacks people by exploiting intuitive human responses. How natural it is to visit loved ones who are sick and to greet them with a kiss, a hug, a touch. But contact spreads contamination; people must suppress this instinct to show love and concern through expected physical signs.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/255270-opinion-conflicting-instincts-coronavirus
No Free Lunch: A fragile world economy
March 20, 2020
Stock markets are plummeting, and the world economy is fast heading toward recession (translation: sustained decline in production and incomes). Is the fast-spreading COVID-19 mainly to blame? Pundits are saying no. Even before COVID-19 emerged, analysts already warned that the global economy and financial system were headed for another crisis similar to what we all saw in 2008. According to this view, COVID-19 has merely hastened it. One might ask: So what does it matter, when what's important is that economies are in a downspin and we need to find solutions fast? The answer, of course, is that we can only come up with the right solutions if we clearly understand the fundamental causes of our current economic troubles and these could lie well beyond the coronavirus we're all dreading now.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128188/a-fragile-world-economy#ixzz6JpN2sFlH
RONALD U. MENDOZA AND MANUEL DAYRIT
Social Cohesion vs COVID-19
March 18, 2020
The control of particularly virulent communicable diseases such as COVID-19 can be considered a global public good. Its benefits are non-rival and non-excludable. Stopping or at least slowing the spread of COVID-19 could better protect the health and lives of literally billions of people across the world who could be vulnerable to infection. More effective control could also prevent severe social and economic disruption. Controlling the spread of communicable diseases within and across borders requires strong social cohesion, or a unity of purpose around this collective action challenge. This article elaborates on some of the main elements of counter-COVID-19 responses, drawing on emerging international good practice. While a full evaluation of policy effectiveness is still forthcoming, it is critical to review and synthesize the emerging lessons even this early. In reviewing the emerging evidence and good practice, this paper also emphasizes areas for policymakers to consider in their evolving crisis response.
Read more: https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=16612108410108409601207511006401103103702003405201005002
No Free Lunch: Irrigation: We can do better
March 17, 2020
Did you know that funding for irrigation multiplied by more than five times between 2008 and 2018 (from P8 billion to P41.7 billion)? For 2018 alone, such appropriation accounted for over 40 percent of the total allocation for the agriculture sector, noted Drs. Arlene Inocencio and Roehlano Briones in a recent Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) Policy Note.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128084/irrigation-we-can-do-better#ixzz6JpMnpFHf
Irrigation: We can do betterA Girl from Marawi: The Sisterhood of Health and Ecology
In these confusing times with calamity and emergency one after the other, I would like to raise the value of continuing research and information. Our current environment of "self-quarantine" should not delimit us from reading up on the state of our eco-system and resources.
Read more: https://thephilbiznews.com/2020/03/17/a-girl-from-marawi-the-sisterhood-of-health-and-ecology/
Business Matters: Public well-being for public security
March 14, 2020
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic, as it was sweeping across 100 countries in six continents, infecting more than 120,000 and killing over 4,300 people. With commendable speed, President Duterte, surrounded by Cabinet, civilian, and police/military officials, announced over television on March 12 the intent of an executive order to deal with COVID-19. Although unnecessarily detouring to praise Xi Jinping, implicitly shading other world leaders, Mr. Duterte pitched some important messages. He stressed the seriousness of the pandemic but cautioned against panic and urged the public to look at the government and the military as dedicated to its safety. He appeared more in command, compared to an earlier press conference and the alarming incoherence of a rambling discourse on the bubonic plague, the Spanish flu, and the Spanish Inquisition's attack on witches.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128006/public-well-being-for-public-security#ixzz6JpCdhEah
No Free Lunch: More basic than cell phones
March 13, 2020
Nearly nine in every 10 Filipino families (87 percent) own a cellular phone, and yet only three in every four (74 percent) have their own sanitary toilet, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data tell us. Among the poorest 30 percent of families alone, barely over half have their own sanitary toilet, even as nearly eight in every 10 own a cell phone. At this time when a public health emergency seriously threatens lives and livelihoods, we ought to be going back to the basics and worry about our people's access to basic sanitation.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127989/more-basic-than-cell-phones#ixzz6JpMYD6AP
No Free Lunch: Men and machines
March 10, 2020
In January 2012, the Labor Force Survey counted 12.190 million employed Filipino agricultural workers. In January 2019, there were only 8.847 million. Within that seven-year period, the number had gone down successively to 11.049 million in January 2015, and 10.034 million in January 2017. There was, in short, a steady decline in agricultural workers in the country over the past seven years or so. If you've heard it said that people don't want to work in the farms anymore, there's the clear proof.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127927/men-and-machines#ixzz6JpMInJkp
RONALD U. MENDOZA, EMERALD JAY ILAC, ARIZA FRANCISCO AND JELO MICHAEL S. CASILAO
Diagnosing Factors behind Officers' Performance in the Philippine National Police
The Philippine National Police (PNP) faces myriad challenges, spanning governance, corruption and national security threats. Hence, securing a strong leadership pipeline equipped not only to face these challenges, but also to strengthen policing effectiveness and over-all security sector reforms is crucial. This study aims to map out some of the main factors that both build or erode key leadership qualities and performance in the PNP. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, the study examines four main factors, namely personality traits, organizational culture, demographic profile and professional history, as predictor of performance for officers in the National Capital Region.
Read more: https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=27411306406507407009206411607108210710503300307705503811
RONALD U. MENDOZA AND ARIZA T. FRANCISCO
Restoring trust in our 'Nation's Finest'
In his oathtaking as the 23rd chief of the Philippine National Police, Gen. Archie Gamboa, a lawyer, addressed his over 200,000-strong organization with the following challenge: "Simulan muna natin ang pagbabago sa ating mga sarili. We cannot implement the rule of law if we ourselves violate the law."
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127925/restoring-trust-in-our-nations-finest#ixzz6JpRLNZSw
Business Matters: Calamities and democracies
March 07, 2020
No famine has ever taken place in the history of the world in a functioning democracy." Amartya Sen's comment and the criticism it received from some academics apparently made little impact on the panel that awarded him the Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 1998 for his work on poverty, gender inequality, and the UN's Human Development Index. But it was this observation that caught the attention and assent of public intellectuals and the general public.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127858/calamities-and-democracies#ixzz6JpCSoVSU
No Free Lunch: Where have all the workers gone?
March 06, 2020
It's not easy anymore to find workers for our farm operations," I've been hearing many farmers tell me lately. I'm making the rounds again talking to various farmers in different parts of the country in the course of a research study. Whether they are tilling less than a hectare or operating hundreds of hectares of consolidated farms, a persistent clamor our research team keeps hearing is for easier access to farm machinery, because farmworkers are getting hard to find or costly to hire.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127843/where-have-all-the-workers-gone#ixzz6JpLgyyeJ
RONALD U. MENDOZA, SHEENA VALENZUELA AND MANUEL DAYRIT
A Crisis of Confidence: The Case of Dengvaxia in the Philippines
March 04, 2020
At the time of publishing this case, a "health crisis of confidence" was gripping the Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) immunization program in the Philippines. The series of events that led to this could be traced back at least to late 2017, when some government officials under the then newly installed Duterte administration along with a group of stakeholders began to publicly raise issues as to the health impact of the vaccine - with some raising alarms in media that the vaccine directly led to the deaths of children. This case tackles the governance issues surrounding this program, emphasizing the important role of public communication. As there indeed were governance issues surrounding a vaccine program, how best to address them given the potential public health implications? The primary sources of information for this case are key informant interviews with former officials of the Department of Health (DOH).
Read more: https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=42512411511202511601612701700111706405205104001103009206
No Free Lunch: Worsening virus prospects
March 03, 2020
In the less than four weeks since I first wrote about the COVID-19 virus ("The bigger virus damage," 2/7/20), confirmed cases worldwide have multiplied three and a half times as of this writing - that is, to 85,403 from 24,643 last month. What alarms many is that confirmed cases outside China have jumped nearly 25 times (from 243 to 6, 009), and now in nearly 60 countries, twice the 28 a month ago. Deaths from the illness have multiplied nearly six times, from 493 to 2,924. The numbers imply an average mortality rate of 3.4 percent worldwide, higher within China (3.5 percent) but much less outside of China so far (1.4 percent), although Iran records an alarming 7-percent death rate.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127768/worsening-virus-prospects#ixzz6JpLSXRpP
No Free Lunch: Examining Filipinos' happiness
February 28, 2020
I recently wrote about gross national happiness (GNH) and how it is now measured, noting that contrary to what many of us would probably expect, the Philippines is nowhere near the top of the list of happiest countries in the world. In the United Nations' World Happiness Report 2019, we rank 69th in a list of 156 countries, or just above the middle in the list. Still, we rank higher (thus happier) than most of our Southeast Asian neighbors like Malaysia (80th), Indonesia (92nd), Vietnam (94th), Laos (105th), Cambodia (109th), and Myanmar (131st). Singapore (34th) and Thailand (52nd) are our only Asean neighbors that outrank us in the Happiness Index (Brunei is not included in the UN listing). Bhutan, for all its pioneering of the GNH concept, is actually only 92nd in the list, well below halfway in the list. However, we are among the top (12th) countries with the greatest improvement in the Happiness Index between the 2005-2008 and 2016-2018 periods. In the index that measures happiness on a scale of 0 to 10, the Philippines gained 0.860, that is, from 4.771 to 5.631. The biggest improvement in happiness came in Benin (which improved by 1.390) and Nicaragua (by 1.264), while the worst decline in happiness was seen in Venezuela (whose index dropped by 1.944), followed Syria (by 1.861).
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127672/examining-filipinos-happiness#ixzz6JpKYJKDO
No Free Lunch: When engineers do good
February 25, 2020
Engineering is a profession I actually found myself seriously thinking I should have pursued instead, at a time I was about to complete my Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, major in Agricultural Economics, at the University of the Philippines-Los Baņos. Having studied at the Philippine Science High School, I was among those who strayed off from a career path in "hard" science, as our mentors apparently envisaged for us, going instead into the social sciences. An engineering course and career would have fulfilled that, but the pull in that direction came a bit too late for me to redirect my career without substantial cost and disruption.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127589/when-engineers-do-good#ixzz6JpKOFnDl
A Girl from Marawi: Prejudiced Profiling
February 23, 2020
Di ko maipagkakaila na malalim at matindi ang naramdaman kong kalungkutan noong nabasa ko ang memo ng Manila Police District na inuutusan ang iba't ibang mga station commanders sa Maynila na mag-sumite ng listahan ng mga mag-aaral na Muslim na naka-enrol sa mga paaralan, kolehyo, at unibersidad sa kanilang mga distrito.
Read more: https://thephilbiznews.com/2020/02/23/a-girl-from-marawi-prejudiced-profiling/
RONALD U. MENDOZA
A Better Credit Rating Alone Can't Overcome the Philippines' Foreign Investment Woes
February 22, 2020
As argued in my previous article, the improving credit rating enjoyed by the Philippines since achieving "investment grade" in 2013 was expected to boost financing for those firms and sectors that most needed it - yet small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the agricultural sector were still largely marginalized from financing despite the benign credit environment of the past few years. Another expected boon from improved risk ratings is the increase in net FDI into the country. Unfortunately, emerging data on approved investment pledges show a dramatic decline in recent years, signaling potentially weak actualized FDI figures to come. The possible roots of this poor investment performance include several self-inflicted wounds, such as growing concerns over human rights violations and the uncertainty in the investor environment due to political noise on government contracts. And if not addressed soon, these problems will likely undermine any boon from improved credit ratings, if that hasn't happened already.
Read more: https://thediplomat.com/2020/02/a-better-credit-rating-alone-cant-overcome-the-philippines-foreign-i
No Free Lunch: Drags and drivers in 2020
February 21, 2020
The year 2020 started with a series of jolts to weigh the Philippine economy down in the very first month. The US-instigated assassination of Iran's top military leader brought the specter of new volatility in the Middle East, and yet another episode of destabilizing oil price hikes. The British formalized their country's exit from the European Union, bringing renewed apprehensions on its international economic repercussions. Out of China has come the COVID-19 virus that is poised to crimp growth prospects in our own tourism and manufacturing sectors, among others.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127504/drags-and-drivers-in-2020#ixzz6JpKFmvD2
What Does an Improved Credit Rating Actually Mean for the Philippines?
February 20, 2020
In 2013, amid celebrations over reaching investment grade status for the Philippines under the Aquino administration, I wrote an article questioning whether and to what extent it really mattered for inclusive growth and development in the Philippines. I was roundly critiqued by administration supporters (notably Joe America, the anonymous social commentator), who among others chastised me for not knowing how to celebrate a reform accomplishment.
For the record, I believe reaching investment grade was clearly a major accomplishment for the country - a victory that took almost three decades to reach as the Philippines slowly recovered from the economic basket case and "sick-man-of-Asia" reputation left behind by the Marcos regime, which finally imploded in 1986.
Read more: https://thediplomat.com/2020/02/what-does-an-improved-credit-rating-actually-mean-for-the-philippine
RONALD U. MENDOZA, TRISTAN CANARE, LEONARDO M. JAMINOLA AND JUREL YAP
Unpacking Presidential Satisfaction: Insights from Survey Data on Philippine Presidents
February 19, 2020
Notwithstanding their widespread use in many modern democracies, surveys on leadership satisfaction have generated much debate, regarding the possible factors driving public opinion. As a contribution to the literature, this study empirically examines data on Philippine presidential net satisfaction generated by well-established survey firms in that country, as well as a unique survey commissioned by the authors of this study. Using both macro- and microlevel data, this study unpacks the links between survey results on citizens' satisfaction with leadership and policies in the Philippines to try and advance our understanding of the possible factors that may drive them. This study finds scant evidence that economic links are tied to presidential satisfaction, despite the primacy of the economy in Philippine surveys of key policy issues. Instead, there is evidence of herd behavior and partial evidence of disinformation possibly linked to presidential net satisfaction. The findings here suggest there should be more caution in interpreting presidential satisfaction indicators.
Read more: https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=12108312302110002809108112706910108604100306607202809210
No Free Lunch: Measuring happiness
February 18, 2020
We like to think that the Philippines must be among the happiest countries in the world. We pride ourselves on being a hospitable, fun-loving people, and point out how Filipinos manage to find contentment, hope, and even humor in adversity - just look at the many funny memes on social media made around disasters. Surely, we must rate highly on gross national happiness (GNH), right?
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127451/measuring-happiness#ixzz6JpK35EU8
A Girl from Marawi: Dreaming of a Muslim Education System for All
February 16, 2020
Soul, mind, heart and body, these are the four that compose a whole educational target for Muslim education.
In the Bangsamoro Education Code Consultation I attended in Iligan City, I was fortunate to see and hear the views of Islamic education administrators of the new BARMM Government.
Read more: https://thephilbiznews.com/2020/02/16/a-girl-from-marawi-dreaming-of-a-muslim-education-system-for-a
Business Matters: Crisis response
February 15, 2020
On Dec. 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted in China a new, SARS-like virus, later labeled COVID-19. By the week of Jan. 20, 2020, Philippine media began covering the contagion that had already spread from Hubei beyond China's borders. Netizens called for quick action, including a ban on tourists from China, arriving since January at around 4,800 a day and promising to exceed the 1.6 million visitors in 2019. The WHO warning on Jan. 26 of a high-risk global epidemic reinforced public alarm.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127382/crisis-response#ixzz6JpC9PSXA
No Free Lunch: The wisdom in GNH
February 14, 2020
Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product," declared King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan in 1972, when he first coined the phrase. The ultimate purpose of government, he proclaimed, is to promote the people's happiness, which must take precedence over economic prosperity. He and the people of Bhutan believed in a proper balance between materialism and spirituality, and in their culture, inner spiritual development counts as much as external material development. The problem with GNP is that it is focused entirely on the latter, thus is highly inadequate as a policy goal. Some 15 years ago, I was privileged to be with a small group granted an audience with then King Jigme Singye in picturesque Thimphu, capital of the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan, a tiny country nestled high in the Himalayas between China's Tibet province and India. The meeting unexpectedly got rather extended and was very rich and substantive, with us hearing firsthand about this novel concept of GNH from the very mouth of its original proponent. The economists among us acknowledged that most socioeconomic indicators merely measure means, and not ends. GNP and GDP do not and should not be taken as indicators of well-being, as these merely measure the level of economic production of goods and services and the associated income generated. But increased income does not directly imply increased happiness or improved well-being.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127348/the-wisdom-in-gnh#ixzz6JpJprHmQ
No Free Lunch: Sustaining steam
February 11, 2020
As we look to the year ahead, our main challenge on the economic front is to regain the momentum our economy had begun to build after 2012, a momentum that appears to have slowly dissipated in the last three years. We've seen this shift in momentum in terms of my usual PiTiK test of presyo, trabaho and kita-price stability, job generation, and incomes.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127292/sustaining-steam#ixzz6JpJbyJi5
A Girl from Marawi: 4Ps, People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace
February 09, 2020
Racial discrimination should be fought against. This is the advocacy of Muslim communities who have suffered more intense profiling post 9-11. Now sadly it is the Chinese who are suffering the brunt with the NCov scare.
Read more: https://thephilbiznews.com/2020/02/09/a-girl-from-marawi-4ps-people-planet-prosperity-peace/
No Free Lunch: The bigger virus damage
February 07, 2020
From what we're seeing, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) could well hit the global economy far more severely than global public health itself. As of this writing, deaths directly attributed to the disease have been tallied at 493, all but two of them in China (the Philippines and Hong Kong have one each), out of 24,643 confirmed cases now in 28 countries. But less than 1 percent (243) of these are outside of China. Based on these numbers, the mortality rate is 2 percent. Critical cases number 3,223 (13 percent), while 1,039 (4.2 percent) have so far recovered.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127210/the-bigger-virus-damage#ixzz6JpJRUa3I
No Free Lunch: Cloudy crystal balls
February 04, 2020
With the January 2020 update of its World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) officially downgraded its original global economic growth forecast for 2019 for the sixth time in as many quarters. From its original bullish forecast of 3.9 percent for 2019 global GDP growth issued in early 2018, IMF had lowered this to 3.7 percent by October 2018, to 3.5 percent by the start of last year, further down to 3.3 percent in April, 3.2 percent by July and 3.0 percent by October. Now they say it will be only 2.9 percent, a full percentage point below their original forecast - and the jury is still out. It won't be until April when the actual final figure based on complete 2019 data will come out. If it's any indication, the final growth figure for 2018 released in April 2019 ended up still lower than their last revised projection in January 2019.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127125/cloudy-crystal-balls#ixzz6JpJEP8aZ
Business Matters: Wasting opportunities
February 01, 2020
Media reports and independent research, using government and police records, had earlier flagged many of the key issues raised in Vice President Leni Robredo's Icad (Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs) Report on the Drug War. They bear repeating. Still unsettled after three years, they explain why a task initially promised for completion in six months cannot be delivered, as President Duterte has admitted, even after six years.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127066/wasting-opportunities#ixzz6JpBXpRFF
A Girl from Marawi: Anti-coronavirus effort in Mindanao
Public exposure is a way of life for me and so extra precautionary measures are necessary for this time of coronavirus threat.
Airports and terminals among others must have more information education and communication (IEC) mechanisms ie billboards, infomercials.
Read more: https://thephilbiznews.com/2020/02/02/a-girl-from-marawi-anti-coronavirus-effort-in-mindanao/
No Free Lunch: Marcoeconomic Policy 101
January 31, 2020
Should government keep its hands off the economy and leave economic players and the markets alone, as conservatives (notably Republicans in the United States) tend to uphold? This traditional laissez-faire philosophy, from that French phrase that means "leave alone," argues that economies and businesses function best with no government intervention.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/127044/macroeconomic-policy-101#ixzz6JpIdIEck
RONALD U. MENDOZA AND TRISTAN CANARE
Herd Behavior and Approval Bubbles: A Closer Look at Duterte's Popularity
January 29, 2020
According to data released in January 2020, the Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte received a record-high satisfaction rating in the fourth quarter of 2019 - an "excellent" net satisfaction rating of +7, much higher than his +65 rating in September 2019, and eclipsing his previous high of +68 recorded in the second quarter of 2019. The survey results immediately generated much punditry on what this means for government policy - divisive and controversial as some of these policies may be.
And yet, based on our empirical examination of potential drivers of net presidential satisfaction, we found very little correlation between economic policy outcomes and presidential approval, despite economic outcomes like inflation and wages topping the concerns of citizens consistently across different surveys.
Read more: https://thediplomat.com/2020/01/herd-behavior-and-approval-bubbles-a-closer-look-at-dutertes-popular
No Free Lunch: Thunberg vs Trump
January 28, 2020
With the theme "Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World," billionaires, world leaders and other movers and shakers gathered last week at the ski resort town of Davos, Switzerland, for the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF). The annual meeting has been described as the place where billionaires tell millionaires how the middle classes should live their lives. It is remarkable that WEF's organizers chose to focus this year's discussions on cohesion and sustainability, even as its participants tend to be seen as the very impediments to the chosen themes. They even invited Greta Thunberg, the now-famous Swedish youngster who has gained worldwide prominence for scolding world leaders in various forums for lack of meaningful action on climate change.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/126968/thunberg-vs-trump#ixzz6JpINOHM5
A Girl from Marawi: Job-Hunting is an Art
January 26, 2020
Cash is hard up for many this January, start of the year after December shopping and parties. Incoming graduation ceremonies in Mindanao such as Mindanao State University- Main campus are sending off many youngblood anew to the jungle of job-hunting and joblessness. To compound the hardship for those affected by calamity like Taal, there are no more documents or anything to help one recover financially.
Read more: https://thephilbiznews.com/2020/01/26/a-girl-from-marawi-job-hunting-is-an-art/
No Free Lunch: Think local, act gobal?
January 24, 2020
The global economy, which is characterized by an integration of market economies, is facing fragmentation," observes the government think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in its "Understanding the New Globalization" report. It further notes that disenchantment with globalization has led many large countries to turn inward. But this seeming tendency is undermining the world's ability to provide for global public goods, or counteract global public "bads," now so essential in the contemporary world that is the product of the "old" globalization and rapid technological change. What are global public goods, and what are examples of them? We must first distinguish between "public goods" and regular or "private" goods. Two attributes are critical in this distinction: nonrivalness and nonexcludability. A good is "rival" when those consuming it prevent others from doing so. That is, consumers are "rivals" in consuming the same specific good or service. When you buy and enjoy a hamburger or a massage, no one else can consume that same hamburger or massage. But for nonrival goods and services-like street lighting, a nice scenery or national defense-one can enjoy them without keeping others from simultaneously enjoying them as well.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/126858/think-local-act-global#ixzz6JpIG0a6l
No Free Lunch: Trust and social cohesion
January 21, 2020
"Much of the economic backwardness in the world can be explained by the lack of mutual confidence," once wrote the late Nobel laureate economist Kenneth Arrow. This would imply that countries where the level of trust is low are likely to have low economic performance. This is in fact upheld by data for 100 countries compiled by the World Values Survey (WVS), a global network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life. Among the values the group examines is trust, which they have found to be correlated with cultural, social and economic dimensions of human well-being.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/126769/trust-and-social-cohesion#ixzz6JpI73AtU
No Free Lunch: The new globalization
January 20, 2020
As we enter a new year and a new decade, is our country equipped and prepared for the challenges of a rapidly transforming world under a new and different phase of globalization now transpiring?
Last year's World Economic Forum dubbed it Globalization 4.0, or the fourth wave of globalization, noting peculiar circumstances and trends surrounding it quite unlike the previous waves the world has seen.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/126356/the-new-globalization#ixzz6JpGveRao
A Girl from Marawi: We are one in crisis
January 19, 2020
As a volunteer in humanitarian responses for calamities such as Sendong and Yolanda, as well as conflicts such as Zamboanga and Marawi, I see the valuable need for stakeholder collaboration in disaster response. We can never be ready without learning lessons from the past.
Read more: https://thephilbiznews.com/2020/01/19/a-girl-from-marawi-we-are-one-in-crisis/
No Free Lunch: Taal's fury and the economy
January 17, 2020
So early in the year, we are beset with a major natural disaster yet again. Two major typhoons just ruined the Christmas season for large numbers of our fellow Filipinos, and now this-and the disaster isn't even over. A major explosive eruption is still anticipated from Mt. Taal as of this writing, and based on the nature of the expected "magmatic" versus the recent "phreatic" or steam-induced eruption, it could well be that the worst is yet to come. What do all this hold for Filipinos in general?
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/126674/taals-fury-and-the-economy#ixzz6JpHybe5A
No Free Lunch: Widening and narrowing gaps
January 14, 2020
Good news: Inequality among countries has improved, as poor countries have managed to narrow their gap with the rich ones in recent decades. Bad news: Income inequality within individual countries has generally worsened. Good news (for us): The Philippines has been an exception to this, with evidence showing income gaps to have narrowed since 2000. Poverty incidence has also lately declined faster than it has in decades, especially after it actually increased in the last.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/126592/widening-and-narrowing-gaps#ixzz6JpHPvJRR
A Girl from Marawi: Why War is a Waste
January 12, 2020
When I was in Saudi Arabia as a child, I experienced the Gulf War. We at the Philippine School were taught drills on falling flat on floors in case there would be aerial bombings. It was natural for Dad who worked at the Consulate to see our house teemed with OFW visitors . It was common to see some of them sleep over. One vivid memory in our small jam-packed sala is tiptoeing over one sleeping body to another.
Read more: https://thephilbiznews.com/2020/01/12/a-girl-from-marawi-why-war-is-a-waste/
Business Matters: Babies and bathwater
January 11, 2020
How did water concessionaires unjustly exploit the onerous provisions the Duterte administration discovered in their agreements? The original contracts, crafted by the Ramos administration, had been in force for over two decades, overseen by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), a government regulatory agency. Also unclear is why their extension by the Arroyo administration was deemed "irregular" enough to deserve cancellation.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/126525/babies-and-bathwater#ixzz6JpBJ8gVK
No Free Lunch: Changing economies
January 10, 2020
The world's economies, whether large or small, have been changing, and with it, the nature of trade has changed dramatically as well. In its latest Economic Policy Monitor, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) focuses on the ongoing "new globalization," aka Globalization 4.0, and notes changing economic structures to be one of its key features.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/126508/changing-economies#ixzz6JpHIWxLN
No Free Lunch: A war-driven economy?
January 07, 2020
Why has US President Donald Trump raised the likelihood of another major war? Is it to divert attention from his impeachment, as already being guessed by many? Is it to help boost the US economy, now threatened by the unfolding consequences of his trade war with China? It need not be an either-or matter, as both could well have been in mind, among other motivations, as they assessed the wider implications of the assassination of Iran's top general that Trump readily owned up to.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/126447/a-war-driven-economy#ixzz6JpH2jeMM
[ANALYSIS] Writing contracts on water
January 06, 2020
Critical issues surrounding the Manila Water and Maynilad contracts with government threaten not just the water concessionaires but other current and potential public-private partnership projects
We enjoy no 2020 vision on the ultimate consequences of the water concession controversy ignited late last year by President Duterte. The trigger was his order reported on December 4, 2019 to file charges that may include economic sabotage and plunder against those involved in the original 1997 contracts and their 15-year extension in 2009.
Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/248566-analysis-writing-contracts-on-water
A Girl from Marawi: Women Leading and Men Leading Women's Issues Too
January 05, 2020
When 2019 Miss Universe Miss Zozibini of South Africa was asked about what to tell young women these days. She answered: "I think the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is leadership. It's something that has been lacking in young girls and women for a very long time, not because we don't want to but because of what society has labeled women to be."
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/126384/us-or-china-choose-your-poison
Business Matters: US or China? Choose your poison
January 04, 2020
Thus might "Realist" theorists of international relations respond: Great Powers behave the same way. And President
Duterte will probably concur. China routinely violates the country's exclusive economic zone and abuses Filipino fishermen. But he correctly points out that the United States had also exploited the Philippines' weakness to secure its economic and security objectives.China and the United States have followed the same historical trajectory. From 13 settlements along the Atlantic coast, the Americans spread west across the continent, achieving their Manifest Destiny through purchase and war against indigenous tribes and against France and Mexico. China's spread across the Asian heartland, achieved over a longer period, allowed the cultural assimilation of the diverse communities it conquered. Hence, the expansion of Han China appeared as an internal process of consolidation, although not completely consummated in Xinjiang and Tibet. Both Great Powers gained control of their respective continents through a process punctuated by violence and war.
Using Pisa for PH education goal
December 14, 2019
The 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) results have been released for the Philippines and the results are dismal. The country's 15-year-olds tested as a group scored lowest among the 79 countries in reading and second lowest in science and mathematics.
Pisa is a worldwide study that evaluates education systems in OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) member and nonmember countries every three years.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/125874/using-pisa-for-ph-education-goals#ixzz6KD0RGg8u
To Boost Its Economy, the Philippines Can't Forgo Human Rights Protections
Rule of law matters for economic development, and protecting the sanctity of contracts and upholding human rights are both part and parcel of the rule of law. It seems odd to have to write an article asserting this point: but such are the times we are in. My target audience for this piece include all those fellow economists who seem to believe the Philippines can still pursue development even under a regime that fails to uphold the rule of law, and more specifically fails to protect human rights. According to some, "as long we protect the sanctity of contracts our economy will grow." This is a false dichotomy, and an overly narrow and shallow understanding of the rule of law and institutions.
A holistic institutional environment that fails to protect human rights also fails to uphold contracts. The downward spiral involving failure to protect both human rights and contractual rights is something the Philippines has seen before - during the initially welcomed and later widely condemned rule of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s and '80s. It probably bears reiterating even more recent evidence if people have forgotten.
Read more: https://thediplomat.com/2019/12/to-boost-its-economy-the-philippines-cant-forgo-human-rights-protect
LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES
Duterte officials' paranoia is 'singularly myopic'
November 22, 2019
I would like to refer presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo and other officials of government, who have negatively reacted to the widely covered daily consultations Vice President Leni Robredo has been having with local agencies of government, to Articles IV, V, VI and VII covering Sections 41 to 53 of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/125385/duterte-officials-paranoia-is-singularly-myopic#ixzz6KDCWpAx0
PHILIP ARNOLD TUANO, Czar Joseph Castillo, Ramon Clarete and Marjorie Muyrong
Impacts of TRAIN fuel excise taxes on employment and poverty
October 11, 2019
The first package of the Tax Reform for Accelerated Inclusion (TRAIN 1) Law took effect in January 2018. This package focuses on adjustments in income brackets and personal income tax rates, excise tax rates, and value-added tax coverage, among others. In general, personal income taxes are lowered for most taxpayers and raised for the higher income individuals. Meanwhile, among the commodities covered by excise tax adjustments are fossil fuels and petroleum products, automobiles, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
Read more: https://www.think-asia.org/bitstream/handle/11540/11301/pidspn1910.pdf?sequence=1
Effects of TRAIN fuel excise taxes on goods and prices
October 10, 2019
In January 2018, the first package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN 1) Law took effect. Among others, it adjusted income brackets and personal income tax rates, excise tax rates, and value-added tax coverage. The increase in excise taxes in selected commodities is a complementary measure to the reduction of personal income tax rates. Specifically covered by excise tax adjustments are fossil fuels and petroleum products, automobiles, and sugar-sweetened beverages
Read more: https://www.think-asia.org/bitstream/handle/11540/11302/pidspn1911.pdf?sequence=1.
Friends, not foes: Governments as catalysts for fintech growth
August 19, 2019
Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies are not just transforming the way we live and work. They are empowering us to reimagine how we address the world's most daunting challenges.
Fintech, or financial technology, for one, has the potential to help in our fight against poverty.
Read more: https://business.inquirer.net/277076/friends-not-foes-governments-as-catalysts-for-fintech-growth#ix
PH fintech is ready for its moment
March 04, 2019
The Philippines is nearing a transformative moment with the increasing application and adoption of financial technology-or fintech.
A number of factors are driving this state of play. Disruptive technologies continue to emerge at a breakneck pace around the world and can easily be replicated on our shores.
Read more: https://business.inquirer.net/265972/ph-fintech-is-ready-for-its-moment#ixzz6KDC8n2ga
MILWILDA M. GUEVARA
Six income tax changes riding on the TRAIN
December 23, 2018
I stopped writing about the TRAIN because it had been the subject of my column frequently. It felt like eating the same food over and over again and I lost my appetite. But, I was intrigued by a message that almost went viral on "8 TRAIN Tax Reforms Items That You Probably Didn't Know." I was quite amused by how taxpayers found many of the reforms irrelevant because they are retired, do not have anything to donate, do not invest in the stock market, and, do not bet on the lotto. I chuckled at why changes in the estate taxes should not bother us "because you should be dead by then." I realized that for most taxpayers, taxes only matter insofar as how they are personally affected. The effects of taxes on income redistribution, growth, stability, and allocation of resources are way beyond their concerns. I would probably be asked "Dude, what are you talking about?"
Read more: https://business.mb.com.ph/2018/01/23/six-income-tax-changes-riding-on-the-train/
PHILIP ARNOLD TUANO, Czar Joseph Castillo, Ramon L Clarete, Marjorie Muyrong and Miann Banaag
Assessment of TRAIN's Coal and Petroleum Excise Taxes: Environmental Benefits and Impacts on Sectoral Employment and Household Welfare
December 15, 2018
The study assesses the impact of the first package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (or TRAIN), which includes an increase in petroleum and coal excise taxes, passed by Congress in 2017. The study also reviews the context of the energy sector in the country given that petroleum and coal are the largest sources of energy in the country. Using a computable general equilibrium- microsimulation model, this paper focused on the impact of the increase in petroleum and coal excise taxes and the whole TRAIN 1 package (which includes a reduction in the personal income tax and the broadening of the value added tax). Results from the simulations indicate a slight adverse output effect for most industries under an increase in petroleum and coal taxes scenario. Under the whole TRAIN package, the output effects are slightly positive, especially for the several agriculture and service sectors, resulting in a higher level of carbon emissions. There is a slight rise in employment under the whole package, but poverty incidence increases slightly as excise taxes have an adverse effect in terms of higher commodities prices among the poor.
Read more: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/211061/1/1663385947.pdf
70 years of Unicef
If one wanted to bring together all the children who have reached adulthood because UN Children's Fund (Unicef) opened an office in the Philippines on Nov. 20, 1948, it would take more than one large province to accommodate them.
Now celebrating 70 years of service to the Philippines, Unicef continues to work as an energetic partner with government and NGOs, media, academics and the private sector to make a difference for children. Gathering evidence on children's access to their rights of survival, development, protection and participation, Unicef and its Philippine partners stress outcomes and impact. It has come a long way since its 1960s supply and project orientation to today's systems approaches that emphasize evidence and output-based programming.
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/118172/70-years-of-unicef#ixzz6KDCorMvl
RONALD U. MENDOZA AND MIANN S. BANAAG
Is the Philippines' Pro-China Policy Working?
November 14, 2018
To the extent that his words matter and policy has followed suit, President Rodrigo Duterte has tried to engineer a dramatic pivot in the Philippines' foreign policy. Early in his administration, he antagonized traditional economic and political allies like the United States (then under President Barack Obama) and later the European Union (due to its calls to respect human rights in the midst of the Philippine government's campaign against illegal drugs). Duterte also promptly initiated a rapprochement with China, and most recently he even began discussions of possible joint exploration of the resources in the West Philippines Sea (Manila's name for the part of the South China Sea it claims). Duterte claimed all of this is part of an effort to build a more "independent" foreign policy for the country.
There are mixed views on whether and to what extent the country has achieved a truly independent foreign policy, yet one can credit the Duterte administration for its audacity. The Philippines' relationship with China - even given the territorial disputes - could still be a fruitful one, economically. One question, however, is whether this approach has necessarily yielded more economic benefits for the country.
Read more: https://thediplomat.com/2018/11/is-the-philippines-pro-china-policy-working/
Security and Sustainable Development in General Santos City, Philippines A case study for the DCAF Policy and Research Division Project: SSR for Safer Cities -Supporting States to Achieve SDG 11
October 01, 2018
Fostering development remains a major human preoccupation. Numerous conferences have been held and agreements made in an effort to improve the lot of millions of people around the world who are struggling to rise out of poverty, compounded by the destruction of the environment. Strategies have been developed, resources mobilised, institutions built and partnerships forged at an international, regional and local level, all in the name of development. And yet achieving this development remains elusive.
Read more: https://www.academia.edu/38005416/Security_and_Sustainable_Development_in_General_Santos_City_Philip
The Urban Poor 'Kalbaryo'
April 14, 2018
With a sense of glee, a Lady Mayor said yes to federalism in a public forum. She felt short-changed with the current sharing arrangement of revenues. In her mind, she felt that it was totally unfair. Why should her Local Government Unit (LGU) share part of its revenues with the central government? How comforting to believe that under the proposed federal form of government, LGUs can keep all their revenues for themselves!
Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/112436/urban-poor-kalbaryo#ixzz6KDD2X7vU
Happy birthday Mr. President
March 30, 2018
Upon seeing me in his birthday celebration, President FVR shouted, "Old Maid"! Surprisingly, I did not feel embarrassed. I knew it was his fond way of teasing me. For so many years, he unselfishly served our country as a soldier, a President, and a statesman. On his 90th year, he has every right to be playful.
Read more: https://business.mb.com.ph/2018/03/20/happy-birthday-mr-president/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=d2b85033f749b
Receive rather than give
March 27, 2018
Read more: https://business.mb.com.ph/2018/03/27/receive-rather-than-give/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=a1ce630fa9764e68
Why Juan cannot read
March 13, 2018
My grandnephew Matthew is a source of pride and wonder to me. His essays are elegantly written and show a grasp of the English language that is extraordinary. I will always be unable to write as brilliantly as he does because he is truly exceptional. And if just to keep me in constant awe, he has been awarded a scholarship by a renowned university abroad. He works very hard in his studies which he beautifully described in one of his written works, "A Workaholic's Guide to Burnout."
Read more: https://business.mb.com.ph/2018/03/13/matthew-and-motmot/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=128cf09a33ade49f6cb266
February 27, 2018
While many of us were sleeping, our Congressmen have been diligently working on how to change our Constitution and adopt a Federal form of government. I forced myself to read the draft that Sub-Committee 1 of the Committee on Constitutional Amendments of the Lower House has submitted, lest ordinary citizens like me, lose by indifference and attrition. It gave me a big scare that the proposals are ambiguous, amorphous and vague.
Read more: https://business.mb.com.ph/2018/02/27/why/
Tax amnesties - forgive and forget
February 21, 2018
I read somewhere that the word of the year is "complicity." It is defined as "partnership or involvement in wrongdoing." I cannot explain why the word came to my mind when I read the general tax amnesty that is proposed by Congress. By coincidence, the Ombudsman ordered a closure on the investigation of the foreign accounts of the President.
Read more: https://business.mb.com.ph/2018/02/21/tax-amnesties-forgive-and-forget/
Fix the leaks instead of a shift
February 13, 2018
Not everybody can be a local government leader. Secretary Jesse Robredo said that he must be "marangal, magaling, at matino." (honorable, effective, and efficient). He can be no less. The challenges that face him are daunting. He is the father, the leader, the provider, the protector, the visionary, the resource provider, and, the enforcer. His constituency prefers to have everything for free. They have been spoiled by paternalistic politicians who bought their loyalty through dole-outs and patronage.
Read more: https://business.mb.com.ph/2018/02/13/fix-the-leaks-instead-of-a-shift/
CLIFFORD CHI BURKELY
Improving the Delivery of Social Protection through ICT-Case Studies in Mongolia, Nepal, and Viet Nam
November 25, 2017
The rapid growth of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector over the past 2 decades has been changing the face and pace of development. Many countries in Asia and the Pacific are investing in ICT and integrating its elements in governance, including social protection programs.
Read more: https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/384386/sdwp-50.pdf