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Tag: Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III

Is the tax cut a good stimulus?

The CREATE bill (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act) has drawn sharp criticism from some economists. A major if not principal criticism is about the accelerated reduction of the corporate income tax (CIT) from 30% to 25% in the very first year of the law’s implementation, if passed.

War and co-existence

That we are fighting a global war is often used as a way to describe the fight against COVID-19.


Current economic policy is focused on fighting the pandemic. The Central Bank has loosened monetary policy, and the national government has hiked its expenditures by allowing a higher deficit.

Trust and credibility to win the war against COVID-19

Imposing and extending the lockdown or the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is a difficult choice to make. The biggest casualty is the economy. That the Philippine economy (and for the rest of the world) shrunk in the first quarter of 2020 was expected. Only upon the containment of the pandemic -- and we do not know when this will happen -- can the economic slump be turned around.

Roberto (Obet) Verzola: The known and the unknown

Many of Obet’s friends and colleagues have written fine, glowing tributes about his life. But there’s more to know about him, considering that he shied away from publicity and preferred to work in the background. For Obet, what mattered was the spread of a powerful idea, not the projection of his persona.

Expertise in the Time of COVID-19

Fellow BusinessWorld columnist Diwa Guinigundo had recently written a column, but for another newspaper, titled “My perspective on some lockdown perspectives” (see Manila Bulletin, April 30). In this column, Diwa criticizes two World Bank papers that emphasize the economic costs arising from lockdowns.

COVID-19 social amelioration issues

Flattening the COVID-19 curve requires having a lockdown. In the Philippines, the lockdown is euphemistically called enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). The ECQ buys time until our system has conducted massive testing of all people with symptoms; done intensive contact tracing; and expanded health facilities and recruited health workers to accommodate and treat patients.

COVID-19 and collective action

The Lancet, the most accessible peer-reviewed medical journal, discusses the COVID-19 crisis in stark terms. Read Roy Anderson et al., “How will country-based mitigation measures influence the course of the COVID-19 epidemic?” (March 9, 2020). The authors state that “we calculate that approximately 60% of the population would become infected.”

What explains the increase in self-rated poverty in the last quarter...

The recent survey on self-rated poverty done by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) piqued my curiosity. The Fourth Quarter of 2019 survey (conducted on Dec. 12-16, 2019) showed self-rated poverty spiking by 12 points compared to the previous quarter. It increased from 42% in September 2019 to 54% in December 2019. In the same vein, self-rated food poverty increased by six points in the same period, from 29% in September 2019 to 35% in December 2019.

The UP Chancellorship

The University of the Philippines (UP), particularly Diliman, is abuzz. The process of selecting the next UP Diliman Chancellor has aroused the UP community, including the alumni.

The Co-Chairperson’s Report

It is regrettable that the news and commentaries regarding the “Co-Chairperson’s Report” have focused on the finding that “the percentage of shabu seized is less than 1% of the total estimated consumption of shabu.”

The risk, despite the growth

The surveys show that the Filipino people are optimistic about the new year; that their lives will be better off in 2020.

Christmas 2019

Christmas is about love and peace. And hope.

The Class of ’69

The year 2019 marked the golden year of our grade school class. In 1969, we graduated from elementary school, perhaps unaware then that we would be caught up in the vortex of turbulence all around us.

In memory of Ernest Leung

Those who knew Ernest from afar -- perhaps as a technocrat and a former Finance Secretary -- might ask: What on earth was he doing in Papua New Guinea where he contracted malaria, leading to his death?

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.