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We are our greatest enemy

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The question often asked today is if we are ready for a freer, more open global market. Might I stress that in many more ways than we realize, it is quite free and open? Many ask: Can we compete? Will our SMEs (small and medium enterprises) survive? Will the Philippine economy benefit, or will it be buffeted by the larger and more powerful wings of our Asean neighbors?

Posted: April 12th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Career talk

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I will soon be moving on to college. Time goes by so fast that I didn’t realize it until representatives of colleges and universities started coming to our school to present what their institutions had to offer. And I knew that this was what the adults had been talking about.

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Repeal laws and lower cost of doing business

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SINCE MID-2012, the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) has been working to lower the cost of doing business in the Philippines. It is one of our larger projects and it is based on the results of the annual Ease of Doing Business report of the World Bank-International Finance Corp. (IFC). Two years ago, the Philippines was ranked No. 138 out of 189 countries in the world, and one of the lowest in Asean. As a result of our Gameplan 1.0, which outlined areas for improvement and recommended action steps, the country improved to No. 108, recording the largest improvement in the world.

Posted: March 29th, 2014 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Big ideas, little loans

The Grameen Bank, which extends small loans to the poor without requiring collateral, is a godsend for impoverished families in Bangladesh. Founded in 1976, the bank (Grameen is “village” in the native tongue) has a simple philosophy: Offer small loan amounts for start-up businesses, make sure that loans are used for what they are intended and that payments are made (peer pressure is often employed in communities). Through the innovative concept of microfinancing, the Grameen Bank has gone on to help the poorest of the poor in Bangladesh. It was made an independent bank by law in 1983, with 90 percent owned by its borrowers and 10 percent by the government.

Posted: March 2nd, 2014 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Tax break

After the income-eroding and mood-depressing news on power rate hikes, gasoline price increases and monster traffic in the metropolis, the struggling middle class is given hope of relief through a long-overdue tax break.

Posted: February 24th, 2014 in Editor's Pick,Editorial | Read More »

Entrepreneurs key in growing jobs, fighting poverty

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From the aftermath of Super Typhoon “Yolanda/Haiyan” to continuing tensions with both Hong Kong and mainland China, the Philippine government seemingly has more than enough to worry about than its 108th-place showing in a ranking for the ease of doing business.

Posted: February 24th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Expanding the poor’s access to finance

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Nearly 2.5 billion people—half the world’s adult population—lack one of the most basic amenities of modern life: a bank account. They are among the world’s poorest, struggling to obtain the money they need to feed their families or start a business and create jobs.

Posted: February 24th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Now is the time

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Our updated unemployment and underemployment statistics released last week, while not markedly different from recent periods, produced quite a stir. I think this is because the figures came on the heels of the report on our very impressive 7.2 percent GDP growth for all of 2013, the second highest in Asia. With a combined unemployment and underemployment rate of 26.4 percent for 2013 based on official government figures, the question that should be uppermost in the minds of our national leaders is: What more do we need to do to create the jobs that will address this critical problem?

Posted: February 22nd, 2014 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Investments: our crying need

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Headlines last week bannered the 27.5-percent joblessness rate reported by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in the fourth quarter of 2013, a large jump from the 21.7 percent rate reported in the third quarter.

Posted: February 17th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘Inclusive business’

“Inclusive growth” has become the buzz phrase in the Aquino administration with the noticeable lack of impact of the stellar economic expansion in the past two years on alleviating poverty. Inclusive growth simply means making the fruits of economic progress trickle down to the poor, or those who have less—or even none—in life.

Posted: February 3rd, 2014 in Editor's Pick,Editorial | Read More »

Painless business permits

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I could understand why Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who is among the most business-friendly mayors I’ve known, was unhappy with my recent piece citing results of the 2011 “Doing Business” report of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Posted: January 27th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Our program for building competitiveness in 2014

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After coming off a year when we made gains in seven out of eight global competitiveness reports (and we just started 2014 with another 8-country jump in the Economic Freedom Index, released in mid-January), I wish to give readers an overview of what lies ahead in our program.

Posted: January 24th, 2014 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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  • Technology

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  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
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  • Global Nation

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