About Per SE

Commentary and research on current events and public policy by economists from the University of the Philippines
Monthly archive March 2012

The Philippine economy (II) — foreign investments from Japan, Korea, and other neighbor

The flow of foreign capital to the Philippines in recent decades has been relatively modest compared to that which has gone to a number of neighboring countries in ASEAN. More recent developments point to an emerging advantage for the Philippine economy.


The government expressed elation over the Philippines improvement in the world ranking of Economic Freedom of the Heritage Foundation (HF). It moved up eight notches higher -- from 115th in 2011 to 107th in 2012. But that’s not much of an improvement. The Philippines is behind Cambodia which is ranked 102nd out of 179 nations...

K + 12: Wasteland

The Philippines has embarked on an enormous P150-billion project -- the K to 12 -- that is set to add as part of the basic education a mandatory kindergarten and an additional two years to the high school. I still have to see evidence that the additional two years of high school will improve learning...

Puzzles for the unitiated

It must be puzzling to the uninitiated that despite its documented poor performance in the 2010 elections and the resulting complaints against it by those advocating clean, honest elections, etc., Smartmatic remains the Commission on Elections’ choice as technology partner/provider in its election activities.

Reversing the fall

The number of jobs in Philippine manufacturing has shrunk and may continue to shrink. As a percentage of the total employment, manufacturing jobs have steadily declined from 9.7% in 2003 to 8.3% in 2011. But policy makers appear to be more interested in business process outsourcing jobs, tourism-related jobs, and of course, export of raw...

The Philippine economy — are there bright prospects ahead?

The great economic recession that began in 2008 with the decline of the US economy has signaled major structural changes among the big players in the world economy. Such changes will affect us in favorable ways if – this is a big if -- we play our cards well.

Dismal fiscal picture

The official fiscal statistics for 2011 have been long awaited. The wait has led to speculations on the extent of revenue shortfalls and government under-spending. Finally they were released on Monday, and the numbers confirmed some fears. But the verdict on how serious government underspending has been has to wait until more detailed numbers are...

No Plan B to fall on

There was a rumor at the beginning of the impeachment brouhaha, which I dismissed at the time because I could not believe anyone could be so stupid or arrogant. But now I am not so sure. What was the rumor? That there was no need for intense preparation and study before charges were filed, because...

Excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol – raising ‘sin’ taxes

The taxation of “sin” habits would be among the easiest of public policy issues to understand. Yet, this is not necessarily the case. Tax proposals always have their opponents

Better late than never

Remember Catalino Generillo, the PCGG lawyer, who was fired because he was getting too much under the skin of Lucio Tan? The Reader may recall that brouhaha: LT lawyer Estelito Mendoza wrote a letter to then Solicitor-General-at-the-same-time-DoJ Secretary Agnes Devanadera, questioning the authority of Generillo to be prosecuting the case against LT, since he was...

Not a walk in the park

Last year, President Aquino’s economic men were hopeful that the economy will do well up to the last moment. Yet, when the final count was done, the government miserably undershoot its 7% growth target. But even as the economic numbers turned out much worse than originally planned, the economic managers remained unperturbed. Is the Aquino...