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Drivers and dampeners

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What propelled the economy in 2013? What hampered it? What will drive the economy in 2014, and what will dampen it? What do these imply, especially on how the benefits from economic growth are felt all around?

Posted: February 25th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Value chains for rural development

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How much of our recent economic growth benefits the Philippine countryside? Too little, it seems. Agriculture, the most dominant economic activity in rural areas, contributed a mere 0.1 percentage point to the 6.5 percent gross domestic product growth in the final quarter of 2013, while services and industry contributed 3.5 and 2.8 percentage points respectively. This pattern of growth does nothing to make our economy’s overall brisk rate of growth permeate more widely across the country’s economic sectors and geographic areas. With 70 percent of poor Filipinos residing in rural areas, we cannot keep doing things the same way and be content with getting the same results. We simply must get the rural sector to grow and develop much faster than it has over the years.

Posted: February 11th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Sacrificing trees for road-widening senseless

This is a reaction to the article titled “Our infrastructure handicap” by Cielito F. Habito (Opinion, 1/7/14), wherein he cited that one of the problems of Philippine infrastructure is that “they are not integrated and coordinated.”

Posted: January 28th, 2014 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Customs as developmental agency?

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Can an institution widely known to be a hotbed of massive graft and corruption become an instrument for economic growth and development? Can an agency openly castigated as corrupt and incompetent by the President redeem itself in the public eye, and actually be seen as a do-gooder?

Posted: November 4th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Move over PDAF, BUB is here

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Goodbye, Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), a.k.a. congressional pork barrel.

Posted: August 26th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Elections and the economy

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Elections always perk up the Philippine economy. Yesterday’s elections are one important factor that drives analysts’ expectations that this year’s growth in our gross domestic product (GDP) will match or exceed its 6.6 percent growth last year. A quick scan of GDP growth data over the past 25 years would readily show that election years tend to be marked by higher than usual economic growth. In the election years of 2004, 2007 and 2010, our GDP grew by 6.2, 7.2 and 7.3 percent respectively, as against an average of only 4.4 percent in the nonelection years since then. While there are surely many other determinants of economic growth, the above data seem to suggest that elections have a substantial growth-inducing effect on the economy, pushing growth by up to 2-3 percentage points. How does that additional growth come about?

Posted: May 14th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Falling exports: Why I worry

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Philippine export earnings in February fell by a hefty 15.6 percent from last year, the National Statistics Office reported last week. The fall largely traces to an even heftier drop during the same period (-36.5 percent) in our electronics exports, which still comprise our single largest export product category. Global demand for personal computers has slumped in recent months, spurring a deep decline in electronics exports worldwide.

Posted: April 15th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

So near, yet so far

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Consider the following issues that persistently hound us and get in the way of our ability to move toward more inclusive growth and development:

Posted: January 28th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Mindanao’s underground economy

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The underground economy, a.k.a. the informal economy, makes up an estimated 40 percent of our reported gross domestic product (GDP) nationwide, and about the same percentage of total employment.

Posted: January 21st, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Hope against hunger

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One million less Filipino families experienced hunger in the fourth quarter compared to the third, Social Weather Stations reported recently. Hunger incidence dropped to 16.3 percent of our families, a steep decline of almost 5 percentage points from 21 percent, SWS reported in August.

Posted: January 14th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Understanding the US fiscal cliff

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We’ve heard so much about the United States’ impending “fiscal cliff” in recent weeks, and the harm it could inflict well beyond the American economy. Here at home, there is so much optimism on the outlook for the Philippine economy with its surprising growth performance and a general upswing in business confidence due to perceived governance improvements.

Posted: January 7th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Christmas and true sharing

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My column last appeared on Christmas Day six years ago, when it was still in the Inquirer’s business section. My message then remains timely, so allow me to reprise what I wrote at the time, hopefully to a wider readership this time. We Filipinos look forward to Christmas with such keen anticipation, starting from the [...]

Posted: December 24th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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