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Tag: Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III

Grand slam for tax reforms

In baseball, a grand slam is a home run hit with all the bases loaded. That means that each base has a runner and that the single home run, the grand slam, scores four runs (points), in one fell swoop.

How I will remember Tio Nene

Tatay Nene is how his family and also his friends, colleagues, and ordinary people call the late Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.

What will influence the PET?

The recent resolution of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) requires the parties to the election protest of the loser, Bongbong Marcos, to comment on the PET’s recount of votes in the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental. The outcome of the recount in these provinces even increased the lead of Vice-President Robredo by an additional 14,285 votes. Thus, Vice-President Robredo’s over-all lead is now equivalent to 278,566 votes.

Do fiscal incentives predict foreign direct investments?

The prolonged trade war between the US and China, the world’s two largest economies, is hurting both countries and it is thus seen as a threat to the global economy. Yet for developing countries, especially in Southeast Asia, the ugly trade war is an opportunity, for this economic war translates into a redirection of trade and investments. Indeed, having been affected by the trade war, many companies with global value chains based in China have moved out or are seriously considering their exit.

A message of thanks

A statement I often hear from Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III is his recognition of the contribution of his predecessors and the previous administrations in providing the building blocks for the current comprehensive tax reform program. Recently, in a thanksgiving lunch he hosted for former finance secretaries, other former senior government officials, and reputable economists and technocrats from the private sector and civil society, including critics of the administration, he again emphasized that the current Department of Finance (DoF) has built on the good work that others have done.

‘Life, death, and the best of us’

The title of this essay does not belong to me. It is Tony La Viña’s. It is the title of his Rappler essay (Jan. 6. 2016), which gave tribute to diverse people whose deaths gave meaning to him and others.

Drop the sedition charges

The filing of sedition charges against Vice-President Leni Robredo and 35 other individuals who are identified with the so-called “yellow opposition” is alarming.

The last three years

As we enter the last half of Rodrigo Duterte’s term, economic policy-makers and policy-influencers look at the prospects of what reforms can still be done.

Rey Casambre: Peace warrior

As I was disembarking from a Manila-Taipei flight that had just landed at the Taoyuan airport, a co-passenger approached me and asked: “Aren’t you Men? Do you remember me?” I couldn’t immediately figure out who she was though she looked oddly familiar. She then gave a hint: “I’m a high school classmate of Rey Casambre.”

Extractives data: How can transparency stimulate domestic resource mobilization?

LET us be clear about an implicit assumption about the work of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI): Its objective goes beyond transparency of revenues, contracts, and ownership. Neither is the objective limited to generating domestic resources, done in a transparent way. The EITI’s distinct contribution is to promote revenue, contract, and ownership transparency, which in turn is a necessary condition to finance and build development, anchored on fairness, equity, and sustainability.

Policy continuity

Does anyone remember the debates during the presidential elections in 2016? In one debate, then candidate Digong Duterte was asked about his economic platform. His answer was that he’d copy the economic platform of the other candidates.

Pass the Tobacco Tax

The Philippine Congress, particularly the Senate, has a handful of days left to pass important legislation. One of the urgent bills that the Senate should pass is the increase in the tobacco tax rate.

Election outcome

The Duterte administration won big in the midterm elections. Although the full tally still has to be completed, with 94.39% of voters already accounted for, the likelihood is that the opposition will suffer a shutout in the senatorial elections.

Why those satisfied with the administration should vote opposition?

I address this piece mainly to the 81% of Filipinos who are satisfied with the general performance of the current administration. (See the first quarter 2019 Social Weather Stations or SWS survey, which says that the net satisfaction rating of the national administration is a record-high score of +72, broken down into 81% of Filipinos satisfied, 9% unsatisfied, and 10% neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.)

Lux in Domino? II

“Lux in Domino?” (BusinessWorld, 14, April 2019, online version), I am happy to note, has stimulated a vigorous discussion, if not an earnest discussion.

Lux in Domino?

Irene Marcos-Araneta’s presence at the launch of the Areté Outdoor Installation Program on the Ateneo de Manila campus has created a tempest that will not pass calmly.

Will the proposed reforms address the decline of political parties?

My main message in “The Decline of Political Parties” (BusinessWorld, 1 April 2019) is that path dependence can explain how Philippine political parties have been emasculated. That is, our colonial history has determined the path of our political parties, and it will be difficult to reverse this.

The decline of Philippine political parties

What has happened to Philippine political parties?

Why everyone should vote for Chel Diokno

I make a case for the candidacy of Jose Manuel I. Diokno, known as Chel to his friends. Chel is running for senator, but because he is unknown in Philippine politics, his awareness rating is low.

Justice for all

Growing old, we like to meet old friends. We “junior senior citizens” (a term coined by Nenette, a college friend of my late wife Mae) enjoy the luxury of time to get together for coffee or dinner. But in the case of Fides (our friendship dating back to almost half a century ago), we had our last couple of appointments at the Manila regional trial court.

Communication Strategy

In a world torn apart, where clashing forces are driven by a singular objective of annihilating one another, superior strategy is the key to victory.

Senator Gordon: No reason, no heart

The Philippine Senate has two remaining session days before it adjourns this week, to give way to the election period. It resumes session after the May elections, and from there, has nine session days to wrap up its work. In short, the window for legislation is narrow.

Economic performance 2018 and beyond

What are the Philippine economic and development prospects on the basis of current performance?

Team spirit and service: Ateneo, UP and Joey Pengson

One of the top Philippine stories of 2018 -- not only in sports but also in national affairs -- is the magical run of the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons. For a few weeks, the Maroons became headline news as the team clawed its way back from elimination and upset heavy contenders toward reaching the championship series.

The Reproductive Health Story

One of the most difficult pieces of legislation that the Philippine Congress has tackled is Reproductive Health (RH). The book titled The RH Bill Story: Contentions and Compromises, authored by Marilen J. Dañguilan (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2018) narrates and explains how it is so. And more importantly, the book shows how to overcome such adversity in making the RH Bill a law.

Rol Peña: an unnecessary death but a death not in vain

A sweet gentleman, a gentle soul, a kind and humble man, a dedicated revolutionary. These are but a few of the beautiful words to describe Rol.

Upsilon’s progressive legacy (or why Upsilon should not be associated with...

The University of the Philippines (UP) is again in the news.

Soriano: Boy Wonder

In our primary and secondary school, some boys had surnames like Aquino, Araneta, Arroyo, Cojuangco, Laurel, Lopez, Roxas, Tañada, Tuazon, and the like. These...

The conservative yet unconventional Governor

Nesting Espenilla is a low-key Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). He avoids the limelight, and that’s the way it should be for the head of an independent, non-political Central Bank.

Reason, enlightenment and inflation

It is said that reason and enlightenment have taken a beating amid the rise of the Trumps, Erdogans and Dutertes. These belligerent strongmen have polarized society. The consequence of extreme polarization is the emergence of biases and blinders from all sides.

Advancing fiscal incentive reform

THE rationalization of fiscal incentives is a long-overdue reform. It is a necessary reform for several reasons.

The Peace Talks and the Communist Party’s Economic Program

A good friend of mine gave me a copy of the book from the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) titled Draft Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (January 2018). This document is also known in its abbreviated form: CASER.


I object to Senator Leila de Lima’s description that President Duterte is the “pambansang tambay.” Here is the press statement of Senator de Lima.

Insights into the World Bank’s Insights

The World Bank has come out with a Philippine poverty assessment report titled Making Growth Work for the Poor (2018).

The tragic consequences of suspending the oil excise tax

Some quarters led by politicians (it doesn’t matter whether the politicians are pro-administration or anti-administration) have called for the suspension of the increase in the fuel excise tax brought about by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN).

Cooly explaining inflation

Being the coordinator of Action for Economic Reforms (AER) or being an advocate, I have to cut a public persona. That means I write...

The Supreme Court: A dictator?

The majority of the Supreme Court Justices are turning the Court into a dictator. They are making the Supreme Court the absolute ruler. We must...

Good trip, bad trip

I thought last week was going to be a good week. On the rare occasion that I read the newspaper, I found good news. The...

The Crucifixion

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ has an immediate relevance to present-day Philippines -- the war on drugs, criminality, terrorism, and killings. Why was Jesus crucified?...

Sereno’s removal does not serve Duterte’s interest

I address this to the pro-Duterte partisans and to President Rodrigo Duterte himself. I wonder whether President Duterte has weighed the costs and benefits...

Inflation has become a bogeyman

The recent news that the inflation rate increased from 2.7% in January 2017 to 3.95% in January 2018 (year over year or YOY) raised...

No regrets

“No regrets,” written by Edwin Batongbacal, is the last chapter (or the penultimate one, if we count the “Afterword”) of A Time to Rise:...

A response to Prof. Hilbay

“There are not a few comrades doing inspection work, as well, as guerrilla leaders and cadres newly in office, who like to make political...

Assessing TRAIN

The first package of the comprehensive tax reform, also known as TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion), was the most significant yet very...


For porn lovers, XXX or triple X stands for hardcore sex. But for the religious, XXX can symbolize three crosses. I lean towards the religious,...