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CIELITO F. HABITO

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


CIELITO F. HABITO

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


CIELITO F. HABITO

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


SAMIRA GUTOC

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


CIELITO F. HABITO

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


RONALD U. MENDOZA

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


CIELITO F. HABITO

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


SAMIRA GUTOC

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