About Per SE

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

The President as bully

The Filipino must be terribly disillusioned with President Aquino’s demeanor when he appeared on national TV in open defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is unconstitutional.

PDAF, plunder and the constituency of disease

The arrest in June of three senators for plunder -- two of whom have designs on the highest office of the land and the third considered for 40 years virtually untouchable in Philippine polity -- is a first in our democratic history. It is a reason for hope.

Let facts speak for themselves

To the many sins attributed to the Sandiganbayan, I add another one: partiality in the dispensation of justice. Revilla and Estrada are detained in cells measuring roughly 31 square meters, with private bath. Yet the SB is content to send Gigi Reyes to a “dormitory” she shares with nine other women who are supposed...

Down a road paved with good intentions

Amid the unanimous decision by the Supreme Court that the core of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is unconstitutional, President Noynoy Aquino remains stubbornly unapologetic. Budget Secretary Butch Abad, on the other hand, has conveniently disappeared.

Why poor Bicol, Visayan and Mindanao towns are prevented from enjoying Balamban, Cebu’s success

It is sad that poor towns in Bicol and some Visayan islands as well as Mindanao may not be as lucky as Balamban. In my travels to these places, I have seen the magnitude of poverty and the lack of employment opportunities. Unless reforms are introduced, the policy obstacles will bar the opportunities.

So much for friendship

As I look back, I realize that we had a one-sided view of Philippine-American relations, due in no small measure to the fact that they controlled the information that was fed to us for more than two generations. Philippine history since the start of the 20th century was their story—and naturally they were the heroes....

Education, location, and poverty

Why has economic growth, which has outstripped population growth, not made much of a dent in our poverty? Why have our Southeast Asian neighbors succeeded in bringing poverty incidence down to single-digit levels or even to zero?

Fragile: survey shows how precarious the Philippine state still is

The Philippines is one of the top 10 most worsened -- not most improved -- states, both by score and by rank. This result contradicts the picture painted by Malacañang that the Philippines is improving in the area of good governance.

Balamban, Cebu – How a foreign direct investment transformed a rural town from poor to very prosperous

Balamban, Cebu is the municipality where the Tsuneishi shipbuilding enterprise from Japan decided to set up operations in 1994. The rising yen and high labor costs forced the shipbuilder to look for lower cost sites. I have visited Balamban three times across the years and have seen its progression.

Not just within their lifetime

The Ombudsman asked the Supreme Court to create two special divisions of the Sandiganbayan that would exclusively conduct hearings on the pork cases. The Court still hasn’t decided on the issue, but judging from the negative reactions of the SB and some of the accused, that route to a speedy disposition of the cases...

The inflated truth about our laws

Clarity and uniform interpretation over both time and space are thought to be appealing characteristics of laws. Nothing is as straightforward as the classic “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.”

Poverty, reconstruction, and development in Eastern Visayas after Yolanda

After Yolanda, the poor have become desperately poorer along the typhoon.