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Tag: Calixto V. Chikiamco
The topic given to me during this seminar on the 29th anniversary of the publication of Some Are Smarter Than Others by Ricardo Manapat is “Oligarchy During the Marcos Regime and its Economic Impact.”
Land reform land reform. Our land reform program has become so messy, so bad for agricultural productivity and economic growth, that it needs a land reform on top of the land reform. Moreover, because land reform in the Philippines took so long — more than 35 years — it has spawned second generation problems that it will take another land reform to undo. (I will explain a bit later.)
Before the Asian Financial Crisis in July 1997, a group of economists which included Dr. Raul Fabella of the UP School of Economics (now a National Scientist), the late former Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Dr. Cayetano “Dondon” Paderanga Jr., former UP Professor and presently Bangko Sentral Governor Ben Diokno, and myself, were calling for a pre-emptive devaluation of the peso.
First off, there’s a difference between economic relief and economic recovery. Economic relief refers to the assistance government must extend to workers and businesses because it ordered them to stop due to the public health emergency. Economic relief is both a humanitarian response -- help people who suffered through no fault of their own -- and an economic one -- to prevent consumer demand from cratering. Economic relief is immediate and urgent. Economic relief also includes the managed transition from a total lockdown to a new normal balancing the needs of public health and the economy.
It’s becoming ever more clear that our dysfunctional, weak, inefficient, and corrupt bureaucracy is a binding constraint to growth and development. It belongs up there together with our low agricultural productivity, labor rigidities, and monopolies in strategic industries as major constraints for the country to attain its true growth potential.
On Nov. 7, during the Atlas Network’s Freedom Dinner at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City, the Foundation for Economic Freedom, of which I’m President and co-Founder, received the prestigious Templeton Freedom Award. The Award was given in recognition of the Foundation’s work advocating and successfully pushing for legislation removing Commonwealth-era restrictions on agricultural patents, thereby immediately benefiting 2.5 million farmers and energizing the rural land market.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno has been rightly hailed for reclaiming public space by removing illegal vendors plying their trade by occupying streets and sidewalks. However, some critics have pointed out that these vendors are merely trying to earn a living and would suffer tremendously if they were removed or relocated.
The purveyors of “zombie apocalypse” scenarios, as a friend put it, are at it again. They take the most extreme and scariest scenarios and project these to keep change from happening. Don’t change. Keep the status quo. Otherwise, the zombies will come and get you.
Not many people may realize it, but there has been a bountiful harvest of legislation from the 17th Congress. Both Houses of Congress have produced significant economic and socially progressive legislation since signed into law by President Duterte. Credit no doubt goes to House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senate President Tito Sotto, both legislative veterans who know how to make their respective chambers productive.
My former college economics professor, Dr. Bernie “Dr. Boom” Villegas, was once quoted chanting the mantra of “agriculture, agriculture, agriculture” when asked about the development direction of the country. Indeed, while the political Left were enamored with “nationalist industrialization,” and rent-seekers with “import-substituting industrialization,” Bernie was an outlier. After all, agriculture was unsexy, while industrialization, with its image of mighty steel mills and factory sinews, represented progress and modernization.
In my last column, “The Structural Weaknesses of the Philippine Economy,” I said that the recent economic data show the structural weaknesses of the Philippine economy: low agricultural productivity, weak export growth, and undiversified export base, with much export concentrated in low value-added electronics sector.