The AC-UPSE Economic Forum is a joint quarterly activity of the Ayala Corporation (AC) and the University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE). The objective of this partnership is to undertake and publicly disseminate applied economic research to help identify stimuli for sustained economic growth in the Philippines.

The following is an excerpt from Prof. Emmanuel de Dios’ preface in AC-UPSE Economic Forum:  A compilation of papers, which summarizes how the partnership came about:

“In 2005 Mr. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (JAZA), chair of the Ayala Corporation, was handed a paper to read by Mr. Romeo Bernardo, a School alumnus and long-time adviser to the Ayala Group. Jointly authored by some faculty members of the U.P. School of Economics, the paper (UPSE Discussion Paper 2004-09 “The deepening crisis: the real score on deficits and the public debt”) outlined the dire consequences of inaction over the country’s deepening fiscal crisis and proposed measures—many of which were painful and impolitic—to overcome it. In the event, the paper’s wide coverage in media was key to a public debate that finally moved the government to action. Crisis averted.
JAZA would later remark that such a paper coming from U.P. was a pleasant surprise that helped dispelled some misconceptions of the University, especially among business people. Based on this favorable appreciation of kindred spirits from afar, JAZA made a decision to ‘support the School in what it does best.’ After that, and following a period of congenial face-to-face visits and brainstorming meetings, the Ayala Corporation-U.P. School of Economics collaboration was born.”

From 2008 to 2011, UPecon Foundation, Inc. and the Ayala Corporation implemented the first phase of the program, a three-year research dissemination program that provided a facility for important policy research findings about the Philippine economy to be communicated to policy makers and the public in general. During this first phase, twelve applied economic policy studies on pressing issues affecting the Philippine economy had been undertaken and presented in well-attended public fora under the program. Policy recommendations were identified in each of these studies, and policy makers attended the public fora sponsored by the program. The completed studies were compiled, and published under one issue of the Philippine Review of Economics in 2011 and AC-UPSE compilation volume has been released.

Building on the success of this program, Ayala Corporation and the UPecon Foundation agreed to undertake the second and third phase of the research dissemination program.

The following are in-charge of the implementation of the different components of the project:

  1. The Steering Committee (SC) is responsible for the overall oversight and policy guidance of the Program. The committee shall be composed of three (3) representatives designated by the Ayala Corporation and three (3) representatives designated by the UPecon Foundation. The ex-officio representatives of the Foundation in the SC shall be the Dean and Director for Research of UPSE.
  2. UPSE Research Office is in-charge of commissioning the services of the speakers identified by the SC to present their research in a public seminar. They will also be responsible for the compilation of the research outputs into a PCED policy papers.
  3. UPSE Public Affairs Office is responsible for the conduct of all fora and other information dissemination strategy. This includes the coordination and management of all fora and the preparation of press kit releases which they will coordinate closely with the Communications group of the Ayala Corporation.
  4. AC Communications Office will work closely with the UPSE Public Affairs Office and will develop strategies that will ensure a wider reach for the information dissemination of policy notes. This will mainly include coordination with the media and preparation of appropriate materials or press kits.
  5. UPSE Graduate Admissions and Fellowships Office will identify and supervise the support to students writing their dissertation. This is an additional support from the program.