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PIDS Updates
Wednesday / 8 APRIL 2015

The large and rising numbers ofpoor people amid the continuing growth of the Philippine economy reflect the need for stronger and sustained efforts to protect the poor and vulnerable. Between 2009 and 2012, the proportion of the population with per capita incomes less than the poverty threshold barely declined. The magnitude of poor people also increased to 23.7 million in 2012 from 22.6 million in 2006 and 21.7 million in 1991. The poor are most vulnerable to economic downturns and crises and natural hazards whose impacts may push them further down to poverty.

Social protection thus is an important component of the government’s development policy to empower and protect the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged individuals from all kinds of risks. Given the large population of poor Filipinos, sustained growth that attracts investments and creates jobs are critical to achieve inclusive growth. High investments, massive infrastructure development, and employment generation need to be complemented by human capital development through programs that promote health and education improvement and facilitate equitable access to basic social services.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is by far the largest poverty reduction and social development program implemented in the country. For its second phase, the current administration heeded the recommendations of PIDS researches to improve the program design by targeting high school completion of beneficiary children instead of merely elementary graduation. A study by Celia Reyes and Aubrey Tabuga, PIDS senior research fellow and supervising research specialist, respectively, shows that the average daily wage of a person who completed elementary is only 10 percent higher than what he would get had he been only an elementary undergraduate. However, a person who completed high school would earn 40 percent higher on the average than if he had completed only some years of elementary education. From a poverty reduction point of view, additional years of schooling can provide better employment opportunities and higher incomes for the poor.

In terms of support to specific vulnerable groups, efforts targeted to persons with disabilities (PWDs) remain wanting. There are approximately 1 million PWDs in the country or 1.23 percent of the total 88 million population in 2007. They remain among the poorest of the poor, with 30-40 percent of them being children. While there are laws present to protect and uphold the rights of PWDs, a study by Tabuga indicates that they continue to experience difficulties in exercising their privileges such as bus fare and medical care discounts. According to Tabuga, the main constraints that PWDs face are their lack of awareness of their privileges and the lack of the required identification card to avail of their privileges. In addition, many PWDs do not participate because of low self-esteem due to their immobility and unemployment. Their situation tends to be more problematic if they are residents of poorer localities. Richer local government units have the resources to implement programs for them and have the capacity to effectively assist a greater percentage of the PWD population.

The degraded state of the environment and natural resources is also mostly experienced by the poor, particularly those in the rural areas, whose livelihoods are primarily dependent on agriculture. In 2009, fishers and farmers were among the poorest groups with poverty incidences of 49.9 and 44 percent, respectively. They suffer the brunt of natural calamities. Roehlano Briones and Danilo Israel, PIDS senior research fellows, estimate that the total value of agricultural damage caused by natural calamities from 2000 to 2010 amounted to more than PHP 100 million. Agricultural insurance is an important risk protection instrument for farmers and other types of agricultural workers. While programs exist, their effectiveness remains problematic. The preliminary results of an impact assessment study of the government’s crop insurance program reveal the minimal participation of farmers. The PIDS researchers headed by Reyes report that the penetration rates of the rice and corn insurance packages of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) were below 10 percent from 1981 to 2013. Awareness of the program, including the terms and conditions of the different insurance products being offered by the PCIC, was also found to be very low.

The poor are a heterogeneous group but with a common need for empowerment and assistance to prevent and overcome adverse situations, reduce poverty, and manage economic and social risks. The current system of social protection in the Philippines is characterized by multiplicity of programs, poor coordination, high leakage due to weak targeting, inadequate information dissemination, and poor monitoring and evaluation. Auspiciously, the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 has emphasized “convergence of service delivery, maximized synergies, and active and strategic participation of stakeholders” as a key strategy to improve the country’s social protection program. The government is in the right direction in pursuing a convergence approach. Hopefully, this will be sustained in the next administration.

You may access PIDS studies on social protection from the SocioEconomic Research Portal for the Philippines. Simply type ‘social protection’, ‘poverty’, persons with disabilities’, and other relevant keywords in the Search box.

  1. Social Protection in the Philippines: Current State and Challenges
  2. Public-Private Partnership Options toward Achieving Universal Health Coverage in the Philippine Setting
  3. The Sponsored Program of the Philippine National Health Insurance - Analyses of the Actual Coverage and Variations Across Regions and Provinces
  4. Reconnaissance Study on the Implementation of Case-Based Payments
  5. Feasibility of Supplemental Funds from the Private Sector for Catastrophic Illness Financing
  6. Analysis of Catastrophic Health Financing by Key Institutions
  7. Fiscal Costs of Subsidies for Socialized Housing Programs: an Update
  8. Impacts of Natural Disasters on Agriculture, Food Security, and Natural Resources and Environment in the Philippines
  9. What Constrains PWDs to Participate in Discount Privileges? The Case of Bus Fare and Medical Care Discounts in the Philippines
  10. Promoting Inclusive Growth through the 4Ps
  11. Policy Awareness and Participation by Persons with Disability in the Philippines
  12. Review of Design and Implementation of the Agricultural Insurance Programs of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation

Australian DFAT Briefing

12 March 2015

PIDS officials brief Singapore company about PH

04 March 2015

OECD reps visit PIDS

09 February 2015

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26 May 2015
Pulong Saliksikan on Out-of-School Children (OOSC) in the Philippines
Venue: C.P. Romulo Hall, NEDA sa Makati Bldg., Makati City

12-13 May 2015
2015 APEC Study Centers Consortium (ASCC) Conference
Venue: Boracay Island, Aklan

23 April 2015
Pulong Saliksikan on Recent Development Relating to the Eurozone (With special reference to the aftermath of the Greek elections)
Presenter: Prof. Lino Briguglio
University of Malta
Venue: C.P. Romulo Hall, NEDA sa Makati Bldg., Makati City

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PIDS to host annual conference of APEC study centers in May

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), lead convenor of the Philippine APEC Study Center Network (PASCN), is organizing the 2015 APEC Study Centers Consortium (ASCC) Conference which will be held on May 12-13, 2015 in Boracay Island, Philippines. For more details, visit the ASCCC 2015 WEBSITE.

Call for Papers: Philippine Journal of Development

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) is inviting submissions to the Philippine Journal of Development (PJD). The PJD is a peer‐reviewed journal published twice a year by PIDS. Now on its 40th year, PJD considers original, unpublished papers on economic development, political economy, public administration, foreign relations, and other fields/topics, which are policy oriented and may or may not explicitly have a bearing on the Philippines. Book reviews are also accepted. The theme or topic of the book should fall within the scope of the articles accepted for publication. The target readers of PJD include researchers, educators, policymakers, and development planners. For guidelines in the preparation of articles, please refer to www.pids.gov.ph/ris/publications /pjd/pjd_guidelines.html. Inquiries and submissions should be forwarded to the Managing Editor at ssiar@mail.pids.gov.ph.



The heavy traffic congestion along the roads within the Port of Manila, the largest seaport in the Philippines, and in Metro Manila led the City of Manila to impose a truck ban in February 2014. With the reduced operating hours of container trucks plying the city streets, this resulted in delays in the delivery of goods, accumulation of containers at the port, slowdown in the logistics chain in and out of the port, empty containers returning to the port, and increased trucking and port costs, and shipping line charges.

This Policy Note presents the key findings of a study that investigated the causes behind the congestion in the Port of Manila and the underutilization of Batangas and Subic Ports. Using survey and focus group discussion, the study looked into the factors that affect the decision of shippers, freight forwarders, logistics services providers, and truckers on their choice of port and their satisfaction ratings of their chosen port. The Note ends with some short-, medium-, and long-term measures to address the congestion and underutilization issues. Click here for the full article

With the enactment of the K to 12 program, the basic education cycle is extended to include two additional years at the secondary level. Enrollment in senior high school (SHS), which will comprise Grades 11 and 12, is expected to increase to 2.0 million students in public schools and 0.7 million students in private schools in school year 2017/18. This will have an effect on the availability of classrooms for the SHS program. This Policy Note does an initial assessment of the K to 12 program’s effects on the supply of classrooms and teachers vis-a-vis the projected demand. It points to some windows of opportunities that may be considered as possible solutions, such as allowing higher education institutions to absorb the additional demand for places in SHSs. Click here for the full article


The Port of Manila, the largest seaport in the country, has been recognized as the most widely used port in the Greater Capital Region. The Batangas and Subic Ports were developed in order to accommodate excess traffic in the Port of Manila and promote growth and development in CALABARZON and Central Luzon. However, port users still opt to operate in the Manila Port. This leads to the congestion of the Manila Port and the underutilization of the other two ports in the Greater Capital Region. The situation was intensified during the implementation of the recently lifted Manila truck ban. The study recognizes that issues and problems still persist in the logistics sector even after the regulation was put off. To address these, the study employs a system-wide approach to analyze the whole logistics industry in the Greater Capital Region. Click here for the full article

This paper provides an overview of the Philippines' defensive and offensive interests in a proposed free trade agreement with the European Union in the areas of competition policy, government procurement, intellectual property rights, dispute settlement, and trade remedies. It examines these interests in accordance with the mandate of the Philippine Constitution, and the Philippine position vis-a-vis the goals and strategies of the European Union with respect to its trade relations with its trading partners. Click here for the full article

The Philippines has been more cautious in its policy toward free trade agreements (FTAs) than other ASEAN member-states, having signed, so far, only one bilateral agreement with Japan in addition to the various ASEAN+1 agreements. While the government is expected to progressively reduce preferential tariffs to zero, Philippine firms have historically been slow to take advantage of FTAs. This survey reaffirms that this awareness and the usage of FTAs need significant improvement among both manufacturing and services sector firms.

Identified as the main source of information for FTAs, the government needs to increase the efficiency, scope, and reach of its promotional and technical training programs and to rely further on technology to deliver results. These efforts to enhance FTA utilization are directly linked with the easing of rules of origin (ROOs) compliance and administration. At the national level, these efforts include reforms toward electronic Certificates of Origin and self-certification, and linkage to the national single window. This will improve timelines and ease the entry of micro, small, and medium enterprises. Regional efforts to harmonize ROOs can increase FTA utilization across ASEAN member-countries and pave the way for the forthcoming Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Click here for the full article



State think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies has recently announced the appointment of Dr. Adoracion Navarro, as the new Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Office of the Vice President. She takes over from Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba who is on secondment to the Department of Trade and Industry as Assistant Secretary for Industry Development.

In 2013, Navarro was recognized as one of the 40 Under 40 Leaders in International Development by DevEx, the world's largest international development, global health, and humanitarian aid community. Navarro was cited by DevEx for concept papers she wrote calling for a “more logical allocation of grants and subsidies in the water supply and sanitation sector and the use of prioritization criteria based on poverty, incidence of water-borne diseases and water service coverage.” READ MORE


Amid the apprehension of some sectors and leaders over the viability of the K to12, state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) released a timely policy note offering possible solutions to some of the challenges cited by the reform program's critics.

Dr. Rosario G. Manasan, a PIDS senior research fellow, recommends that higher education institutions (HEIs) offer their "excess capacity", referring to the available classrooms and the teachers who will be underutilized when HEIs receive no enrollees in school year (SY) 2016/2017. READ MORE


As the country observes Women's Month this March, state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) released two timely policy notes on women entrepreneurs as outputs of the APEC 2015 Research Project commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs. The author and PIDS consultant, Lucita Lazo, explores the different obstacles women entrepreneurs face in the Philippines. Her policy notes outline challenges and opportunities for policymakers to help women entrepreneurs scale up their business ventures in the backdrop of the ASEAN integration and freer trade.

Even with the Philippines coming ahead in international gender indices and local literacy rate surveys, affirming that Filipino women outperform Filipino men, experts say that translating these capabilities into business and leadership opportunities is still a work in progress. READ MORE


Headline Inflation

The country's year-on-year headline inflation rate slightly went up to 2.5 percent in February, from 2.4 percent in January. The PSA-NSO observed that this was primarily due to slight increases in the following commodities: housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, and transport. It was also noted that indices of the following commodities have decelerated: food and non-alcoholic beverages; alcoholic beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear; furnishing, household equipment, and routine maintenance of the house; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services. Meanwhile, the core inflation rate increased to 2.5 percent in February, from 2.2 percent in January.

Source: Philippine Statistics Authority - National Statistics Office (PSA-NSO)

VIEW TABLE for time-series data on inflation rate.

Exchange Rate

The average peso-dollar exchange rate continued to go down to 44.221 in February, from 44.604 in January. It shows that the peso remained stronger compared to the US dollar since the first month of 2015. Meanwhile, this figure is lower compared to 44.895 in the same period last year.

Source: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

VIEW TABLE for time-series data on monthly average peso-dollar exchange rate.


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