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Debt relief

Debt condonation is something a government avoids because of its repercussions on a country’s financial and economic wellbeing. A country that expresses even the slightest hint of a request for debt condonation worries the international lending community.

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

Bloodbath

The World Bank says the Philippines is poised to remain the fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia this year, as President Aquino’s administration ramps up infrastructure and reconstruction spending to beat the clock in the last two years of his term.

Posted: April 12th, 2014 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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 »

Bangsamoro’s economic prospects

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Hopes run high that the newly signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) will pave the way for a new era of economic dynamism in Muslim Mindanao. With violent political conflict hopefully now behind us, departure from the economic stagnation that marked the region’s recent history could yet turn it into a vanguard of growth for Mindanao and the entire national economy.

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

Mindanao’s promise

The government’s agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has raised hopes that enduring peace will finally be attained in Mindanao. And beyond this is the tremendous economic impact that the agreement can bring the country.

Posted: April 1st, 2014 in Editor's Pick,Editorial | Read More »

The challenge of inclusive finance

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Access to financial capital, or lack of it, could well be the single most critical factor that has widened the gap between small and large farms and firms, and indeed, between the haves and have-nots. One might say finance has been the “great unequalizer” that has fostered noninclusive growth in our economy over the years.

Posted: April 1st, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Claim that truck ban cost BoC millions baseless

The Inquirer’s March 18 editorial noted that because of the truck ban imposed by the city government of Manila, the Bureau of Customs lost, between Feb. 24 and 26, 2014, P489 million in revenue collections—specifically, P272.59 million at the Port of Manila and P217.39 million at the Manila International Container Port.

Posted: March 24th, 2014 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

Hot emerging markets? The curious case of the Philippines and Mexico

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The Aquino administration has very good press these days—outside the country. In two major international publications, the Philippines under President Aquino has been the toast and talk of the town. In early February, Keith Bradsher recently gave a heads up in a much-read New York Times piece where he wrote: “Political analysts say that his administration has fought and reduced the corruption that played a role in holding the Philippines back. In one practical measure of that change, the country has been able to pave more roads per 100 million pesos in spending (about $2.2 million) than before — when funds were lost to corrupt officials and incompetence — finally addressing an impediment to commerce.”

Posted: March 22nd, 2014 in Columns,Viewpoints | Read More »

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 »

Wrong solution

Manila’s ban on trucks is the wrong solution to the traffic problem in the city. It is only a solution to a local problem that had negative nationwide repercussions.

Posted: March 18th, 2014 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Jitters

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“The Age of Anxiety” is a poem W. H. Auden wrote in 1947. It deals with man’s search for meaning in a turbulent world and won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Leonardo Bernstein thereafter composed “Symphony No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra.” Princeton University Press, in 2011, published a new edition of the poem.

Posted: March 18th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Truck ban: the bigger picture

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Did the city government of Manila do the right thing when it started banning heavy trucks from its streets from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. last Feb. 24? After a three-day strike by truckers, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada allowed “window hours” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for trucks with loaded containers on a two-week trial period. Last week, the two-week trial was extended to six months. Still, this leaves trucks with two hours less to ply the city streets, compared to previous rules that only banned them within 6-9 a.m. and 5-9 p.m. Now the city council also wants a share of the income from port operations, citing that Manila “continues to unduly bear the brunt of very demanding and extensive port-related activities,” while its people suffer from increased traffic congestion, pollution, structural road damage and risks of vehicular accidents.

Posted: March 18th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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