Member's Corner


CIELITO F. HABITO

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


CIELITO F. HABITO

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


CIELITO F. HABITO

Future-proofing the Philippines

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


CIELITO F. HABITO

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


CIELITO F. HABITO

People and planet in peril

July 03, 2020

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


EDILBERTO C. DE JESUS

Lockdown costs and benefits

July 03, 2020

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


CIELITO F. HABITO

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


CIELITO F. HABITO

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