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Our looming electricity shortage

The Philippines faces an urgent task.

The BSP and Inflation: What Mission Creep?

The inflation rate reached 5.2% in June 2018 following 4.6% the month before. The June level is the highest in five years and breached the price target ceiling. Critics are lashing about to find fault. Demonizing TRAIN 1 is everywhere in the media and talks of rejiggering the act is afoot. Sadly, President Duterte revealed that he would leave the fate of his regime’s cornerstone economic program to a Congress that is facing midterm elections! That seems to leave his economic team in a lurch. Meanwhile, the detractors have extended the compass of their blame game to the BSP.

The Drama King

I voted for President Duterte.

Strongman in the Palace

I am pleased to share with you the political section of our latest quarterly report, (“Of Deficits and Rising Risks,” May 20, 2018) for GlobalSource Partners, a New York-based network of independent analysts (globalsourcepartners.com). Our subscribers are principally global asset managers and banks who are mostly focused on the more quantitative economic sections of our reports. Christine Tang and I are their Philippine Advisors.

Strong leader as miracle worker: Deng Xiaoping drilled down

It’s that time of year again and net gladiators are jousting on the red clay of the French Open (non-tennis buffs may skip this opener). One match in the round of sixteen kept me glued.

TRAIN 2 and The Fatal Conceit

“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” -- Friedrich August von Hayek

Eight former Finance Secretaries support TRAIN 2

In a remarkable show of support for the public good, eight former finance secretaries signed a statement of support for TRAIN package 2. They are...

Endo and Manufacturing

HB 6908 or “An Act Strengthening the Security of Tenure of Workers” was approved on third reading by the House of Representatives. It proposes...

Not a new jockey, Mr. President, NFA needs to retire

The NFA reverts back to the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture. Through the years, administrative control of the NFA has shifted between the...

My problem with TRAIN 2

I have a full disclosure to make before I state my opinion on TRAIN 2 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Package...

Kim Jong Un: Madman or genius?

It’s an Easter miracle! Kim Jung Un’s visit to President Xi Jin Ping and Kim’s pledge to “de-nuclearize” was an Easter treat. It lifted...

Is growth sustainable?

The answer appears to be yes. After a checkered history of boom and bust cycles since the founding of the Republic in 1946, punctuated...

TRAIN, inflation, and competitiveness

The government’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) began to make an impact on inflation this January and February, with a spike of...

Übermensch*

In Shakespeare’s Act III of Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony joined the funeral of, after Brutus and kindred souls had done the Ides of March...

Weighing Alcala’s rice self-sufficiency program

The rice self-sufficiency program of former secretary Proceso Alcala was the banner program of the Department of Agriculture. No less than former president Aquino...

We need an Alfred Kahn

Alfred E. Kahn is considered the “father of airline deregulation” in the United States. A former professor in economics of Cornell University, he was...

Wishes for the economy in 2018

Happy New Year, dear readers! We start 2018 on a positive note: My wishes for the economy in January 2017 were largely realized. (To read...

Coal Tax Follies

Carbon tax is what the doctors prescribed to cure our fossil fuels’ addiction. This works when supplies shift to favor cleaner, affordable, and secure...

The Gravy TRAIN is leaving and common sense isn’t in it

Otto von Bismarck once said that “laws are like sausages. Better not to see them being made.” No one would agree more than observers...

Regulatory capture

Regulatory capture, according to Wikipedia, is “a form of government failure that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest,...

Without the US, the TPP is back but for how long?

On sidelines of the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam, the remaining 11 contracting parties of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal or TPP are expected to...

On Globalization, Inequality, and Inclusive Growth

Since Thomas Piketty came out with his book, Capital in the Twentieth Century (2013), it has become fashionable to blame globalization, open trade regimes,...

Two steps forward, one step back

In December last year, I wrote a column “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back,” describing the uneven progress six months into the Duterte administration....

Inclusion and delusion in TRAIN

What is the meaning of inclusion in TRAIN? If we understand acceleration to be sustained rapid increase in per capita income, what is the definition...

Uncreative distractions

“Will no one rid me of this turbulent cleric?” Tradition says these were the words spoken openly (and likely in French) by England’s Henry II...

Business model, disrupted

If the Philippines were a company, its business model would be facing disruption. Its business model, if you will, rests on OFW remittances and BPO...

Bye bye, Build Build Build?

The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) has been billed as the administration’s flagship legislation for achieving sustainable seven percent growth, generating investments...

Vox populi vox Dei?

It is a common misapprehension that the essence of democracy is sufficiently defined as the popular will expressed through elections or plebiscites and as...

Dismantling the Post-EDSA order

A friend recently asked me, “What’s Duterte doing? Why is he going against the Prietos and Inquirer and the Lopezes and ABS-CBN?” He was referring...

The Great Infrastructure Debate

Our latest report for GlobalSource Partners (globalsourcepartners.com), a subscriber based global network of independent analysts, dove into the issue of projects funded via Public-Private...

Just take it, it’s good for you

Introspective By Emmanuel S. de Dios The warm reception of the Duterte administration’s proposed tax reforms, even among some of the bright and the good, has...

Our transport system, communal pride, and united future

Introspective By Raul V. Fabella I allowed myself a moment of elation at the announcement of the railway link between Clark and Metro Manila. Such moments...

Counterfeit revolutions and factional struggles

Philippine politics is driven by the factional struggles over its rent-seeking system. Rent-seeking is the non-market (primarily politically derived) extraction of surplus or profit. Economic...