About Per SE

Commentary and research on current events and public policy by economists from the University of the Philippines
Latest entries

Lee Kuan Yew and Jojo Binay

Everything can be condensed into the following: Lee Kuan Yew made Singapore immensely rich, while Makati made Mr. Binay immensely rich. That’s the difference.

Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore

No leader of a small island nation of four million inhabitants has made an impact on the world at large as Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore did. Lee died at the age of 91 this week.

Foreign direct investments to the Philippines and Indonesia compared

Foreign direct investment flows into the Philippines have been lately encouraging and the government is hyping all this. President Aquino thinks we are doing well and there is no need to improve FDI policies. To sharpen the discussion, let us just compare Philippine FDI accomplishments with that of Indonesia.

Underspending: failure masquerading as success

One should be unhappy with the government’s fiscal performance. During the last five years, from 2010 to 2014, actual government spending has been below planned spending. Yet, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima is elated that actual budget deficit is much smaller than planned deficit.

Why the Comelec needs Gus Lagman

The Electoral Integrity Project, as well as its 2014 Report which I talked about last week in this column, puts paid to any and all claims by the Comelec and its erstwhile chair, Sixto Brillantes, that it has done a good job in improving our election system.

Philippines will miss goal of halving poverty incidence this year

The Philippines will definitely miss its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty incidence by 2015. This follows from the official announcement last Friday that more Filipinos plunged into poverty in the first half of 2014, this despite the above normal growth during the last three years.

Poverty’s end as chimera

The Philippines’ official poverty incidence at 25.2 percent (2012 average) hasn’t fallen much from 33.1 percent in 1990. Halving it to 16.5 percent by end-2015, which is the Millennium Development Goals’ target, seems well nigh impossible—short of a miracle!

PH and perceptions of electoral intergrity

You want to know how the latest (2013) Philippine election compares with other countries in terms of “electoral integrity”? Comes now the Electoral Integrity Project, an independent academic study. Its just-released report, titled “The Year in Elections 2014,” tells us what we want to know.

Raising growth: two different approaches

When it comes to economic performance, the Benigno Aquino III administration can claim to some element of swagger and boast.

ASEAN integration: for some member-countries, it’s swim or sink

The ASEAN is determined to establish the ASEAN Economic Community by Dec. 31 this year -- ready or not. It is fully aware of the dangers that lurk ahead, that its member countries are at different stages of development. But like a mammoth ship that has embarked on a dramatic journey, the laggards among its...

Manufacturing renaissance?

There is renewed interest in the country as an investment destination; manufacturing growth has been robust; and some important foreign investments have entered the country (yes, including that indirectly famous Mitsubishi plant). This has led some quarters to even proclaim a “manufacturing renaissance". But take a slightly longer view of the matter and things...

‘An extraordinarily talented young man’

On Feb. 6, Liam Madamba jumped from a six-storey parking garage, and sustained mortal injuries. He died at the Makati Medical Center a few hours later. What could have caused him to throw his life away?