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Tag: Bienvenido S. Oplas Jr.

MORE power supply needed: Attention ERC

After the water shortage in many areas in Metro Manila last March, next is power shortage and brownouts in many areas of Luzon including Metro Manila this month.

MORE de-bureaucratizing laws, please

From January to March 11 this year, Congress has created and passed 77 new laws, 28 of national application (table below) and 49 being local or franchise laws. The dates when they were approved by the President this year are also here.

MORE international tourism

The Philippines, with more than 7,500 islands and islets, lots of white sand beaches, waterfalls and mountain resorts, has a huge potential in tourism yet we are not optimizing it due to certain policy and infrastructure bottlenecks like small airports and small number of airlines per airport.

MORE price decline please

The good news in Philippine inflation is that the numbers are declining in the past three months of 2019. The bad news is that even such “low inflation” is actually the highest in East Asia, among the more mature economies with updated numbers. Dutertenomics should be ashamed of this.

MORE ride-hailing competition

The ride-hailing, food- and cargo-delivery, other technology-based service sector is a modern and fast-rising one in the Philippines and in Asia. It helps people and companies conduct their travels and businesses become more convenient and safe. The sector should get further Market-Oriented Reforms for Efficiency (MORE) to aid further modernization and competition, which will benefit the public.

MORE stable electricity and competition

In a September 2017 paper, “Implementing the 10-point Socio-Economic Agenda,” the Arangkada Philippines Project (TAPP) made 22 recommendations for the power sector, among which are: (1) Support and approve the massive energy investments, (2) Increase the system reserve requirement to 25% of peak demand vs the current 17%, and (3) Formulate an energy road map (generation portfolio mix) with power supply quality, reliability and affordability as key objectives.

MORE local government responsibility

The official campaign period for local and Congressional candidates for the May 2019 started last Friday, March 29. Tens of thousands of candidates plus their supporters went out on the streets and reached out to media to get the support of the undecided.

MORE debt reduction please

How dangerous or non-dangerous are China loans to the Philippine economy?

MORE airline competition

The Market-Oriented Reforms for Efficiency (MORE) series continues and tackles the air transportation sector. For an archipelago of more than 7,500 islands and about 20 are big islands with big populations, and air travel is necessary to hasten the movement of people and goods.

More stock market development

Continuing the Market-Oriented Reforms for Efficiency (MORE) series in this column, we look at one of the important indicators of an economy’s attractiveness to private business, entrepreneurship and job creation, the stock market.

MORE electricity supply in East Asia

Continuing the Market-Oriented Reforms for Efficiency (MORE) series in this column, we tackle the importance of more electricity production in the development of Asia-Pacific economies.

MORE tax relief in CIT

Starting this week, this column will produce a series of Market-Oriented Reforms for Efficiency (MORE) articles related to recently enacted laws and proposed legislations in the Philippines on various sectors. Thus, recent Republic Acts (RA) and some pending bills for bicameral committee meetings after the May 2019 elections will be discussed.

Water surplus vs water shortage

In terms of water supply for the Philippines and many other tropical countries, we have a mixture of news. First the good news -- we have too much rain water yearly, floodings damage lots of public and private properties, crops, and drown or kill many people.

Energy favoritism by legislation

Going through the Economy section of BusinessWorld last week, I checked these four energy-related reports.

Inflation, Interest Rate, BSP Governor, and Travel Tax

“Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.” -- Milton Friedman (1912-2006), Nobel Prize economist

IPR, innovation and growth

“The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition...is so powerful, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations.” -- Adam Smith, Book IV, Chapter V, The Wealth of Nations (1776).

Capitalism and freedom in Asia

“The over-all speed of advance will be increased by those who move fastest. Even if many fall behind at first, the cumulative effect of the preparation of the path will, before long, sufficiently facilitate their advance that they will be able to keep their place in the march.” -- Friedrich Hayek, Chapter 5, The Constitution of Liberty (1960)

On Trump-Kim summit, implications for ASEAN and China

The second Trump-Kim Summit in Vietnam this week, February 27-28, points to many good and optimistic scenarios not only for both US and N. Korea but also for the ASEAN, East Asia and the rest of the world.

The economics of coal power

Most anti-coal activists would resort to disinformation and deception to advance their ecological leftist agenda and in the process, deprive energy consumers of the opportunity to have cheaper, stable and reliable 24/7 electricity, badly needed to sustain fast growth and generate more jobs for the people.

Mandatory fare discount as socialistic policy

MODERN day socialists and populists in governments, explicit and implicit, are aware of the limits of governments giving all sorts of endless, no timetable subsidies, discounts and other welfarist programs. So they invented a new form of welfarism — forcing private corporations to give mandatory discounts (restaurant food, medicines, fare in public transportation, etc.) to people, rich and poor no distinction. Politicians and governments get the credit while corporations get the financial burden as those forced discounts cannot be used for tax deduction.

Growth and electric cooperatives

On the Philippines’ GDP growth rates, the good news is that from 2010 to 2018, the Philippines has been growing above 6% yearly except in 2011. High growth was experienced in 2010 with 7.6% (recovery from 2008-2009 global financial turmoil) and 2013 (election year) with 7.1%.

The freedom to fly

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” -- Leonardo da Vinci (Italian polymath, 1452 -- 1519)

Solar para sa pulitika, Rice Tariffication para sa masa

The cronyist “Solar para sa Bayan Corporation” (SPBC) franchise bill (HB 8179) was magically passed by the House of Representatives despite opposition by many groups in the energy sector. Among the oppositors is the Developers of Renewable Energy for AdvanceMent, Inc. (DREAM), the umbrella organization of all RE associations in the Philippines.

Inflation and the Transportation sector

The Philippines registered a 4.4% inflation rate for January 2019. The good news is that it is a lot lower than the past four months’ average of 6.1%, but the bad news is that compared to our neighbors with January 2019 data, it is the highest. In the ASEAN-6, three have near-zero inflation while Indonesia and Vietnam have below 3%.

Mining, tobacco tax hikes, MACR and PSA liberalization

The Senate is once again the battleground of public debates on many issues. This is because it is still deliberating its own versions of House Bills (HBs) passed on third reading, and the official campaign period will already start on February 12 -- which means all congressional activities and meetings will cease and resume only after the May elections.

Growth by elections and FDIs by PSA liberalization

At the UP School of Economics Alumni Association (UPSEAA) sponsored “Economic Briefing” on Jan. 25, the speakers were DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno and NEDA Secretary Ernesto Pernia. My former teacher in undergrad and graduate economics, Sir Ben Diokno said in his presentation that with high GDP growth in 2017 and 2018, “Duterte hit the ground running.”

Economic prospects 2019 and cement tariff

To be frank about it, Dutertenomics is lousy in macroeconomic management. Inability to sustain fast growth of 6.5% or higher, inability to control inflation rate below 3%, and inability to control interest rates below 5% for government bonds.

Public transport mess and traffic congestion

There are many factors to frequent heavy traffic congestion in Metro Manila and other big cities in the provinces. This short article will narrow it down to five factors.

Henry Sy, a hero of Philippine capitalism

Until about the 1960s and 70s, Philippine business was dominated by the land-based and a few real estate wealthy families like the Zobel-Ayalas. Things changed in the 1980s in both politics and business and when the Marcos dictatorship collapsed along with its huge cronies.

Consumer and employment interests and the Public Service Act

The Philippines has a huge and increasing economic potential mainly because of its big population, estimated at 108 million as of mid-2018 and the 13th largest in the world. Which means more entrepreneurs and workers, more producers and consumers.

‘WALANG’ forever: Universal charge in electricity and PSALM

We have the 2nd or 3rd most expensive electricity in Asia (after Japan and Hong Kong or Singapore) mainly because there are many charges that are imposed on our monthly electricity bill. The biggest item is the generation charge (goes to power generation plants) plus eight other items: transmission charge, distribution charge, supply charge, metering charge, system loss charge, universal charge, feed-in-tariff allowance (FIT-All), VAT and other taxes.

Public debt, budget deficit and sin tax hikes

When the Philippines public debt reached P7.2 trillion last November, I was curious which among the previous and current administrations were the major debt generators. I checked the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) website and summarized the numbers below and computed the per year rise in public debt stock.

CHR investigates ‘carbon majors’ by using more fossil fuels

The Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has accepted the petition by Greenpeace and other environmental groups in mid-2016 and it has launched the “National Public Inquiry on the Impact of Climate Change on the Human Rights of Filipino People and the Responsibility of the Carbon Majors Therefor, If Any.”

Trump and Bolsonaro vs Xi and Duterte

“I stand before the whole nation on a day when people begin to free themselves from socialism, from the inversion of values, from state gigantism and from the politically correct.” -- Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil, President Inauguration Speech, Jan. 2, 2019

Provinces and New Year wishes for them

Last month, I traveled to several provinces. Below are my observations and my wishes for them.

Top 10 energy news of 2018

My list of top energy-related news that transpired this year, five global and five national.

Top 10 economic news of 2018

This list and analysis is more focused on East Asia but a brief discussion of the US and global economy is also made. Here we go.

Contestable market and the ride-hailing sector

“A contestable market is one into which entry is absolutely free, and exit is absolutely costless… Absolute freedom of exit is one way to guarantee freedom of entry, any firm can leave without impediment, and in the process of departure can recoup any costs incurred in the entry process. Their firms need not be small or numerous.” -- William Baumol, Presidential address at the 94th meeting, American Economic Association, December 1981

Fiscal irresponsibility vs household responsibility

A report in BusinessWorld yesterday, Dec. 17, said that the country’s foreign debt grew 5.6% to $76.4 billion as of end-September 2018.

The LNG bill

To have cheaper, stable energy sources, especially in electricity generation, there should be maximum competition and minimum taxation, distortion and government favoritism among players using different technologies and energy sources.

The ASEAN Single Aviation Market

Singapore -- Freedom means mobility and more mobility means more freedom. The modern symbols of mobility are comfortable and fast cars, buses, motorcycles, airplanes, fast crafts and roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships.

The UAAP basketball ticket price inflation and Philippines inflation

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons reaching the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) championship this year was so spectacular, the spectacle is easily seen in two things: quick scarcity of game tickets and hyper-inflation of available ones.

The ASEAN Prosperity Initiative

“The rapid economic advance that we have come to expect seems in a large measure to be the result of this inequality and to be impossible without it. Progress at such a fast rate cannot proceed on a uniform front but must take place in echelon fashion, with some far ahead of the rest.” -- Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (1960), Chapter 3.

More smokers and drinkers needed to fund more UHC?

“The man of system...is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it....He does not consider that in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might choose to impress upon it.” -- Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759)

Debating with Mr. RE

In a paper, “Setting up the debate with Mr. Coal,” published in BusinessWorld yesterday, Mr. RE and climate scam Eddie O’Connor of wind-solar lobby made new wild claims but did not answer the points I made against his previous paper.