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A broken justice system

The last of the triad of Senators accused of receiving hundreds of millions in kickbacks from the pork barrel scam walked away a free man on Dec. 7. Former Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. was acquitted for plunder and was released by the Sandiganbayan from Camp Crame.


Business and politics can be superficial, even judgmental. Studies show that those with youthful, symmetrical faces are three times more likely to bag an interview or close a deal as compared to those with lopsided, aging faces. A survey conducted by Forbes magazine confirmed that attractive people enjoy a five percent earnings advantage over those deemed unattractive. Making matters worse for unattractive people is that their earning capacity diminishes at an accelerated rate over time while that of attractive people diminishes at a remarkably slower pace.

Should we be worried about the fiscal deficit?

My fears were put to rest after I spoke to DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez during the monthly meeting of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce.

Public Interest First in 3rd Telco

After a year in the works, the country’s third major telecommunications player has been named,...but not without controversy.

Evils of political dynasties

When does a political family become a political dynasty? A political dynasty is established in two instances. First, when an elected government official is succeeded by a member of his household up to the first degree of consanguinity or affinity. Second, when several members of a family occupy various positions in government simultaneously.

An exceptional Filipina

On the shoulders of people with exceptional talent is the burden of exceptional responsibility. Those who step up to the plate and live up to this responsibility become exceptional people.

Secretary Mon Lopez and lessons in entrepreneurship

Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry is among the hardest working Cabinet members we have today. Under his purview is the unenviable task of attracting foreign investments, shepherding local industries to global competitiveness, creating international trade opportunities and protecting local consumers from unfair trade practices, among many others.

Finding the Next Legs of the Economy

All is not well with the economy and I am compelled to sound the alarm on imminent risks.

Toxic Bertiz

Public outrage filled all social media platforms last week as footage of party-list Congressman, John Bertiz, went viral showing him belligerently refusing to follow airport security protocols and berating a member of the security staff in the process.

Our tale of earthquake survival in Hokkaido

We were in the town of Furano in the prefecture of Hokkaido. It was 3:08 in the morning and my wife and I were deep in sleep after a day of touring. Suddenly, our cellphones (which were on silent) began to sound an alarm similar to that of a fire truck siren. The alarm was blaring and it permeated throughout the city through the town’s loud speakers. Along with the alarm came a notice in Japanese saying “Emergency Earthquake Warning!”

The truth about the Xiamen Air crash

At four minutes to midnight of Aug. 16, Xiamen Airway’s Boeing 737 landed at NAIA and overshot the runway. Minutes later, the aircraft laid debilitated on a grassy patch adjacent to runway 24.

Dissecting the Tourism Master Plan

From a modest base in 2010, tourism has blossomed into a $38.5-billion industry comprising 12.2% of GDP in 2017. Foreign visitors topped the 6.62 million mark while domestic travelers reached 96.7 million. Curious to note that the number of domestic tourists have already surpassed the 2022 target of 86.2 million four years ahead of schedule. The industry has so far created 5.3 million jobs, most of which are in the countryside.

Oslob and Responsible Tourism

Sustainable and responsible tourism is the cornerstone of Tourism Secretary, Bernadette “Berna” Romulo-Puyat’s, agenda as she spearheads the country’s tourism offensive. This is what she told a group of us in a recent press forum last month.

Federalism: What’s the rush?

I chanced upon Mocha Uson’s video on Facebook where she and co-host, a certain Drew Olivar, performed a lewd dance supposedly meant to educate our people about federalism.

A rare opportunity for Sec. Berna Romulo-Puyat

Expectations could not be higher for newly confirmed Secretary of the Department of Tourism, Bernadette “Berna” Romulo-Puyat. Following Wanda Teo who used her position as a piggy bank for the entire Tulfo clan, the public now demands a sensible, no nonsense tourism program.

Caution on Federalism

The shift to a federal form of government will surely be among the contentious issues taken up by President Duterte in his state of the nation address today.

How competitive is the Philippine economy today?

In overall competitiveness, the Philippines is only better than Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar today. We have been overtaken by Vietnam and Indonesia in most competitive indicators in the last two years. This is not to say that the Philippines did not improve. We did, especially between the years 2010 to 2015. In the last two years, however, the rest of the region accelerated their reforms while the Philippines remained static given the disruption of the national elections and the period of adjustment of the new administration.

How competitive is the Philippine economy today?

In this time of uncertainty resulting from the unnecessary provocation of our Christian community, political killings, and rumors of martial law, its important that we put perspective on things by taking into consideration the true state of the economy.

Economic diplomacy is as important as OFW diplomacy

“Make the Philippine embassy in Spain the most productive in Europe, if not the world” -- this is Ambassador Philippe Lhuillier’s marching orders to his team of consuls.

Joint exploration with China in the West Philippine Sea

What is ours, is ours. This includes the trove of resources in the West Philippine Sea.

Political Appointments Always Lead to Disaster

The dark cloud that hovered over the tourism industry has blown away, thanks to the termination of Wanda Teo and the resignation of Cesar Montano of the Department of Tourism (DoT) and Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), respectively.

Salamat, Ambassador Luis Calvo

MADRID -- This city never fails to take my breath away, not only for its old-word grandeur, but also for the history we share....

War in the West Philippine Sea

Last year, former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, went on record with this statement: “The United States is certain to go to war...

Ruminations on US-Philippine relations

Last week, I attended a forum on the state of Philippine-American relations with American Ambassador H.E. Sung Y. Kim addressing the crowd. Sponsored by the...

Increasing potential growth is vital to sustain Philippine momentum

One thing I appreciate about being a member of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce is having access to inside information otherwise inaccessible to the...

Understanding the two proposals to rehabilitate NAIA

How serious is NAIA’s congestion problem? Consider this: The country’s principal gateway processed 42 million passengers last year, 11 million more than it was built...

Government messaging needs improvement

How can I describe government’s style of messaging? Certain adjectives come to mind -- pompous, high-handed, defensive, antagonistic, divisive, confusing. This is true not only...

Fixing Boracay

The environmental problems that beset the crown jewel of Philippine tourism is complex and multi-tiered. A recent audit done by the Department of Environment...

NAIA rehabilitation by Megawide-GMR

NAIA... Clark... Bulacan... Sangley... Twenty months into the Duterte administration and government has yet to decide where the country’s principal gateway will be. The...

Relief for Metro Manila’s traffic

On a normal day, commuting 12 kilometers from Quezon City to Makati City could take two hours. If you are in Makati City and...

A bad joke

Jaws dropped when President Duterte said that China should turn the Philippines into a Chinese province. These words were said during the President’s speech...

The conversation has started for Metro Manila’s rejuvenation

Metro Manila is a city of extreme contradictions. Existing side by side are communities overcome by poverty and squalor and an elite whose members live...

Soft power: Our defense in the Chinese century

Back in 2010, Goldman Sachs predicted that China’s economy will surpass that of the United States by the year 2030. It could happen sooner...

NAIA gets its act together

For much of the decade, traveling through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has always been an emotionally exhausting experience for my peers and...

Raising the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

What do the world’s seven largest economies (G7 nations) and emerging powerhouses like China, India, and Brazil have in common? All have entrepreneur-driven societies. At...

Understanding Charter Change

Last week, Congress attempted to bamboozle its way to get the ball rolling on charter change by proposing to convene both the House of...

The missing link in our tourism strategy

About this time last year, members of Skål International, the world’s foremost organization of tourism professionals, had a meeting with the newly installed Chief...

The booming restaurant business

In my life outside economics, I am an entrepreneur -- a restaurateur to be exact. I have been involved in the restaurant business for...

MRT-3: Where did it all go wrong?

A lethal cocktail of bad engineering choices, politically driven decisions, and mismanagement made MRT-3 the mass-moving hazard it is today. The series of errors started...

Good news from the manufacturing sector

Political noise may weigh heavy on business confidence but for so long as the manufacturing sector grows at a good pace, we can all...

Spain is the new player in Build! Build! Build!

Despite President Duterte’s many tirades against the European Union, Spanish companies continue to look at the Philippines as a bastion of opportunity. Last week, 33...

The long-awaited PUV Modernization Program

As citizens and stakeholders of our public transport system, its about time we confront government with these questions: Why are busy thoroughfares like EDSA and...

Canada: The Philippines’ old childhood friend

This week, 21 world leaders descended upon our shores to attend the 31st ASEAN Summit and 12th East Asia Summit. Each leader represents nations...

The EU’s role amid America’s insularism and China’s rise

Late last month, Manila was host to famed economist and global policy maker, Professor Ramon Tamames. For those unfamiliar with Prof. Tamames, the Spanish professor...

Has our One China policy worked to our benefit?

In 1975, the Philippines adopted a diplomatic statute called the “One China Policy” to govern its relations with China and Taiwan. At the heart...