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By Cielito F. Habito
The Philippine economy, according to the latest data, continues to grow faster than expected. With 7-percent growth posted in the third quarter, this is the fifth quarter in a row that the economy has grown by 7 percent or more.
The government released last week the economic growth data for the third quarter of 2013 and, as widely expected, the expansion of the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) was sustained at a respectable 7 percent. Domestic economic growth during the quarter was supported by the robust performance of the services sector, higher household consumption, and increased government infrastructure spending. This brought GDP expansion for the first three quarters of the year to 7.4 percent compared with 6.7 percent last year, or well within the government’s 6-to-7-percent target for the whole of 2013. This will make the Philippines one of the best performers in Asia for 2013.
By Cielito F. Habito
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: SMEs (small and medium enterprises) are the way to inclusive growth and development. The single most important strategy we could embark on to create ample jobs and foster broad-based growth is to widen and deepen the role of SMEs in our economy. In a country where workers are plentiful and capital is limited, it stands to reason that we generate more jobs where it’s cheaper to create one, and that is in the SME sector. It is the best antidote for “jobless growth.” Consider this: Our economy grew by more than 7 percent over the past year, yet jobs only grew by 1.6 percent; total production and incomes grew nearly five times faster than jobs did. This is a sure-fire formula for further widening income gaps. The only way this can change is for us to find a way to get more GDP growth out of SMEs, and not rely primarily on large industrial or service enterprises to propel that growth.
By Mahar Mangahas
To meaningfully tally the economic devastation caused by Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” one should count the numbers of people, not the money value of production, affected. As of Nov. 21, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported 4,011 persons dead, 18,567 injured, and 1,602 missing.
By Denis Murphy
Now that the worst is over in Tacloban and some other typhoon-devastated areas, it may be time to look not only at the awful tragedy there but also at the last six months, which were marked by a series of manmade and natural disasters seldom seen together in such a short period. It may be good to look at them now because people are quick to forget, especially with Christmas just a month or so away.
The impact of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” has quickly reversed the image of the Philippines from an investors’ darling to one that the rest of the world feels sorry for. To describe the cost of damage as massive is to understate it. The loss of thousands of lives is most tragic; after all, the economic damage, although very high, can be repaired by local and international relief and rehabilitation efforts.
By John Nery
Read, and wince. “During this time, they said, girls and boys were raped in the dark and had their throats cut and bodies were stuffed in the kitchens while looters and madmen exchanged fire with weapons they had looted.” It won’t be easy to identify which esteemed media organization ran this sensational passage.
By Cielito F. Habito
Almost exactly two months before Supertyphoon “Yolanda” leveled Tacloban City, I witnessed a multisectoral gathering of residents of that city imagine it being hit in succession by a supertyphoon, a major earthquake and a tsunami in the 2020s. The group, which included local government officials, business representatives, academics, civil society people and ordinary citizens, foresaw the collapse of the local economy in the wake of such series of disasters. They did not reckon then that only one of those disasters would be enough to do that. Neither did they foresee farther the local economy falling apart. And yet the damage wreaked by Yolanda on Tacloban City and other areas goes way beyond economic collapse.
By Conrado de Quiros
The bad news is the culture. Some days after a tsunami struck Fukushima and swept everything away, a boy stood at the tail end of a long queue to get his rations. A cop who had been patrolling the area spoke with him and learned that the boy had lost his entire family and was being cared for by kin. Taking pity on him, he decided to give him his own rations—yes, cops were on ration too—so the boy could go home. To his surprise, the boy went to the head of the line and asked the supervisor to distribute his manna so others could partake of it. The gesture brought tears to the cop’s eyes, and gave him the assurance Fukushima would climb out of its tragedy.
By Rina Jimenez-David
Yesterday’s (Monday) editorial in this paper pointed to an emerging problem in the wake of Supertyphoon “Yolanda”: the growing number of evacuees rendered homeless by the cataclysm, including those who have fled Leyte, Samar and other locales to seek shelter elsewhere and build a new life.
By Juan L. Mercado
Are killer typhoons like “Yolanda/Haiyan,” unburied corpses, and traumatized survivors screaming to get out the “new normal”?
The Philippines again faces the risk of being included in a US government list of so-called “notorious markets” where intellectual property rights (IPR) are not protected.