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Let’s ‘Arangkada’

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For the third consecutive year, I was honored by an invitation from the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines to be a principal speaker at its annual Forum.

Posted: March 22nd, 2014 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Hidden taxes

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The proposal of Sen. Sonny Angara to reduce the top income tax rate for individuals, which is currently 32 percent, to 25 percent by 2017 has surprisingly been welcomed by Malacañang, at least for the matter to be thoroughly studied and to possibly include as well the regular corporate income tax rate, which stands at 30 percent.

Posted: March 15th, 2014 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

In transit on Cyber Law

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Few laws, if any, have received the minute scrutiny the Supreme Court justices gave Republic Act No. 10175. Thus, if I were a law dean, I would encourage my faculty, particularly those handling constitutional law and criminal law, to team-teach an elective to study the ramifications of the recent en banc decision of the high court on the consolidated cases questioning RA 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The consolidated decision (the “Cyber Law decision,” for short), which disposed of several cases that was headed by Jose Jesus M. Disini Jr. et al. vs The Secretary of Justice et al., G.R. No. 203335, was issued last Feb. 18.

Posted: March 8th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘Politically motivated’

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Following Ruby Tuason’s appearance at the Senate to speak on the Napoles pork barrel scam, Vice President Jejomar Binay questioned her enlistment in the government’s Witness Protection Program, dismissing as a “dud,” not a “slam-dunk,” the testimony she could provide.

Posted: March 1st, 2014 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Tacloban will surely rise again

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What I saw last Jan. 28 gives me the certainty that Tacloban City, along with the rest of Eastern Visayas, will rise again. I was pleasantly surprised to see the ordinary people, both children and adults, living normal lives despite the destruction of their houses, school buildings and other basic physical facilities. There were hundreds of smiling children and adults lining the streets to receive Vatican Legate Robert Cardinal Sarah. On the road from the airport, we saw many makeshift stores selling all types of foodstuffs, from vegetables and fruits to roasted pork.

Posted: February 14th, 2014 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Making integrity everyone’s business

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The battle to end corruption in the country is far from over, considering recent developments that show how deeply rooted the problem is in our system. Nevertheless, significant progress has been made, both by the government in its good governance reforms and by the business community through its ongoing Integrity Initiative.

Posted: February 7th, 2014 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,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 »

Toward lower electricity rates

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The cost of electricity for Manila Electric Co. consumers reached record highs last December, which eventually led to a temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court. Meralco blamed this pass on Wholesale Electricity Spot Market prices, which reached record highs purportedly because of the reduced supply of electricity due to the Malampaya gas fields maintenance shutdown and scheduled and unscheduled shutdowns of other power plants. The general public was outraged, and blamed Meralco for the high electricity costs and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for its perceived failure to rein in these costs.

Posted: January 17th, 2014 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

How has RA 101211 been implemented?

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With the crafting of a national budget consistent with present priorities over and done with, our lawmakers ought to determine, in the exercise of oversight, how the executive branch (under two administrations) has implemented a law they passed: Republic Act No. 101211, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

Posted: January 10th, 2014 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Last three minutes

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For a basketball-crazed country like the Philippines, the phrase “last three minutes” conjures up the feverish excitement of being able to put the finishing touches to an apparent march to victory or to come from behind to “snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.” Neither of these is easy to accomplish and both require steel nerves, intestinal fortitude, and calm yet decisive resolve. This imagery is analogous to the situation in which the present administration finds itself. Some would venture to say that for this administration, the halfway mark is at hand. I tend to view the situation with somewhat more urgency and thus think in terms of its approaching the last three minutes of the ball game.

Posted: December 13th, 2013 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Practicing political patronage

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The Supreme Court decision declaring unconstitutional the Priority Development Assistance Fund and similar arrangements paves the way for the radical restructuring of legislative-executive relations. Alas, it will not create a totally and permanently corrupt-free government.

Posted: December 6th, 2013 in Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Rebuilding lives and urban planning after ‘Yolanda’

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When we started organizing the National Competitiveness Council’s regional competitiveness committees last year, our first intention was to get groups mobilized on the ground to get a measure of how competitive a city or municipality was.

Posted: November 23rd, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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