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Carpenter versus plunderer

“Lo! unto us a child is born!” Not just any child but a child of a carpenter who would follow in his father’s footsteps (Mark 6:3). Carpentry creates value as it transforms plain wood into a beautiful cabinet. Honest hard work is carpentry’s signature. It is the exact opposite of plunder.

The Third Telco Project, Winner’s Curse and Sustainability

The government’s third telco project managed by the DICT seems on the verge of naming the lucky winner of the third player race based on the highest committed level of service (HCLoS) involving price and internet speed. The winner will operate within a narrow corridor of performance: it has to offer faster internet service at the same or at a lower price than currently on offer. The winner shall have posted a performance bond of P14 billion which will be forfeited if its performance falls below committed levels. It will then have to spend P40 billion in the first year and P240 billion in the succeeding five years. Among the committed indicators is the allocation of the capital spending: 40% for operating expenditure, 20% for broadband and 40% for national coverage. By Nov. 7 at 10 a.m., we will know the lucky winner. Or will the prize be a “winner’s curse”?

‘Weaponized’ Incentives and TRAIN 2

Most of the time, when passions are high it is because conflicting greeds are involved. Some rare times, when passions are high it is because conflicting principles are involved. Among the promontories of contention in the proposed TRAIN 2 or its TRABAHO version is the shift from gross income taxation and other “forever incentives” to net income taxation (e.g., CIT) and time-bound incentives for PEZA locators. Since the government is switching policy lanes, this question is a propos: “Is the old system broke?” By “broke” it means wasteful.

Q2 Growth: Old or New Normal?

THE one bright spot for the Philippines in the second half of the 21st century is its growth. The average growth rate of GDP in the last six years was 6.5%, which exceeded the 4.8% average growth under the Arroyo administration and thus was considered the “new normal.

TRAIN 2: The failures it addresses

In the 2018 SONA, President Duterte affirmed his unequivocal ownership of TRAIN 1 and 2. What welcome news for TRAIN advocates who felt orphaned when, previously, the President hinted that he will leave the tweaking of TRAIN 1 (in view of inflation) to the ‘wisdom’ of Congress! A successful flagship economic program will ensure Duterte a bright legacy; a mangled one will sink that legacy no matter the political projects. Even so, TRAIN 2 still has ways to go.

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.

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.

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...

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...


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...

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...

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...