PIDS in the News Archived (January 2013)

State think tank Philippine Institute of Development Studies ranked among the best in the world in a report published by the University of Pennsylvania.

`In the 2012 Global Go To Think Tanks Report and Policy Advice of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the University of Pennsylvania, PIDS ranked 40th and 79th on the list of the world`s best social policy think tanks and development think tanks, respectively,` the state agency said.

The Go To Think Tank index ranks 6,603 think tanks in 182 countries according to region and specialization. For 2012, more than 1,100 individuals from 120 countries participated in the nominations and rankings process, the report said.

Author: Jovan Cerda
Date: January 31, 2013
Source: Philippine Star

The government asked the Philippine Institute of Development Studies to conduct a feasibility study on a free trade agreement with Taiwan. Antonio Basilio, managing director and resident representative of the Manila Economic Cultural Office, said a free trade agreement with Taipei would provide agricultural products access into the large Taiwanese market. Meco serves as the de facto embassy of Manila in Taipei. Basilio said at present, a number of Philippine farm products were restricted from entering Taiwan because of sanitary and phytosanitary issues.

Author: Othel V. Campos
Date: January 28, 2013
Source: Manila Standard Today

The Philippines is conducting a feasibility study for a bilateral free trade agreement with Taiwan that would allow the export of farm products to the Taiwanese market. The study is being conducted by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS), which is expected to complete it by March. Currently, Philippine farm products are restricted from entering Taiwan because of sanitary and phytosanity issues (animal and plant export health measures), said Manila Economic Cultural Office (MECO) managing director Antonio I. Basilio.

Author:
Date: January 27, 2013
Source: GMA News

A full-blown free trade agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and Taiwan is being explored abandoning an earlier proposal to create a special economic corridor that would include only Subic and Clark freeport zones and Kaohsiung. MECO president and CEO Amadeo Perez Jr. told reporters a feasibility study for the crafting of the Philippines-Taiwan Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECA), which is being conducted by government think-tank Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS), will be finished in March this year. The study will determine the parameters of the planned RP-Taiwan ECA that could lead to the establishment of a comprehensive bilateral FTA between the two economies. Taiwan is also conducting a parallel feasibility study, Perez said. MECO and its counterpart the Taipei Economic Cultural Office (TECO) would be the vehicles of the two economies and would sign the agreement, if ever there will be an agreement. According to Perez, both parties have decided to abandon the earlier Subic-Kaoshiung economic corridor plan because its scope was very limited. Perez said that Taiwanese businessmen want flexibility on where they want to invest and most of them prefer to invest in areas that are close to ports like Batangas and Manila. Taiwanese firms also noted that there are only few ships that call on the Subic port compared to Batangas and Manila. Talks for the establishment of the proposed Subic-Clark-Kaohsiung Economic Corridor started almost a decade ago with both parties already being close to signing the agreement during the 13th Philippines-Taiwan Joint Economic Conference (JEC) in December 2005. The proposal, however, did not materialize.

Author: Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Date: January 20, 2013
Source: Manila Bulletin

The Philippines and Taiwan are negotiating for an economic partnership agreement that would establish a free trade area between the two countries, Amadeo Perez Jr., chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) said. Perez said both Taiwan and the Philippines are separately conducting studies that would become the basis or parameters of discussion for the economic cooperation pact (ECA). He said the feasibility study for the Philippines, being done by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) should be out by March. Perez said the proposed economic cooperation would be national in scope as the coverage of an earlier plan to establish the economic corridor between Clark-Subic -Kaohsiung was very limited. With an agreement in place, both the Philippines and Taiwan would have to give each other concessions in trade and investments amid strained relations with China. The ECA would be among the topics to be discussed at the Joint Economic Conference between Philippines and Taiwan in August in Taipei. This is unlike the Subic-Clark-Kaohsiung corridor where the preferences are limited to those geographical locations. Preferences such as reduced tariffs or incentives though should abide by domestic laws, meaning they should not be superior to those given to local firms and at the very least to Asean countries under the Asean free trade area.

Author: Irma Isip
Date: January 20, 2013
Source: Malaya

A research fellow at the Tokyo-based Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) called for the coordination in exchange rates among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) +3, to promote intraregional exchange rate stability and to further facilitate intraregional trade.

Author: Mayvelin Caraballo
Date: January 19, 2013
Source: Manila Times

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) stressed the need for immediate and long-term solutions regarding Mindanao's power constraints, to prepare for possible system peaks this summer and in 2014 as well as for increasing generating capacity and managing demand. In the latest policy note titled "The Urgent Need to Increase Baseload Generating Capacity in Mindanao," PIDS said that there is a need for additional baseload generating capacity in the region, adding that while the electric power crisis in the region has passed, it could stage a "comeback," since there had been no additions to baseload capacity recently. Senior Research Fellow Adoracion Navarro, author of the policy note, said that when one looks closely at data, the root of the Mindanao power problem is the inadequate baseload capacity, which was aggravated by the significant reduction in the available capacity of government-owned hydropower plants. "The Mindanao region not only runs short of baseload generating capacity but also depends heavily on hydropower. More than 51 percent of generated power in Mindanao come from hydropower plants," PIDS said. Navarro said that among traditional baseload technologies, or plants that can produce energy at a constant rate, are coal, geothermal, and nuclear.

Author:
Date: January 18, 2013
Source: Malaya

The government`s flagship program for agriculture is the Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP), which aims at 100 percent rice self-sufficiency this year. Is it attainable? The answer, to put it bluntly, is No - unless we want to risk an unreasonably high price of rice.

Author: Roehlano M. Briones, Ivory Myka Galang
Date: January 12, 2013
Source: Rappler

According to a study conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), productivity growth was behind the `spectacular` economic performance of East Asian economies, namely, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China. "Productivity growth is crucial to a country's future economic prospects,` the study read. "To catch up with its Southeast Asian and East Asian neighbors and improve the living standards of Filipinos, most especially the poor, the economy has to exploit productivity growth as a key driver of high and sustained growth.` To achieve this, the study said, the Philippines needs to continue with market-oriented economic-policy reforms that promote inclusive growth, particularly those that will strengthen the export markets.

Author: Jennifer Ng
Date: January 07, 2013
Source: BusinessMirror

In its quest for industrialization, the postwar Philippine economy adopted a complex array of protective policies through high tariffs, quantitative restrictions and regulatory controls on prices, domestic supply, and market entry. However, after more than three decades of protectionism and import substitution, the policies failed to provide an efficient mechanism for allocating domestic resources in the economy.

Author: Rafaelita Aldaba
Date: January 06, 2013
Source: BusinessWorld

Farmers said rice smuggling could imperil President Aquino's rice self-sufficiency goal this year if this is not stopped. According to Abono Party-List chairman Rosendo So, the smuggling of rice, most of them from a neighboring country, is prevalent in
the ports of Mindanao, particularly in Davao and Cebu, where the staple food is being misdeclared as slag, wood wall, tiles or ukay, citing documents he got from the Bureau of Customs (BOC). "The rice contraband from Mindanao are being shipped to Luzon and sold by unscrupulous rice traders for P1,200 per sack, way below the usual price of P1,400 per sack of locally milled palays, which traders and millers usually bought at P17.50 a kilo," he said.So -- who has been in the forefront of the
campaign against smuggling of meat and other agricultural products -- warned of the disastrous impact of the continuing decline in the prices of domestic rice to the country's rice sector."Farmers fear that prices for locally produced grains would drop further. Millers are not buying because they cannot compete with the sheer volume of smuggled rice that has been flooding the market," added So, who along with Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile, met recently with a group of traders, millers, and farmers who complained about the unabated rice smuggling which they said is gravely affecting their businesses and production.

Author: Freddie G. Lazaro
Date: January 06, 2013
Source: Manila Bulletin

The time has come for us to ask from and of them the kind of results we had expected from the first year but willingly delayed demanding--because of what we knew they were up against as managers and leaders and what we were all up against as a people. `Matuwid na Daan` has made much progress but we are keenly aware of how far we still have to go given the extent and depth of corruption in our nation; as well as what we perceive as good governance lapses by members of the P-Noy team that promised us the straight and narrow road of good governance. Now, we need to build upon that 7.1 percent GDP growth we earlier posted, a growth rate that we seem to have come upon more by serendipity than design. Can we do it? I think we can. Ben Diokno estimates that some P500 billion needs to be invested a year to maintain that rate. Designing these investments in the next three to five years to achieve these rates is not difficult. The nature and extent of the infrastructure challenges we face have been spelt out by several experts like Ben (and Ciel Habito) and think tanks like the UP School of Economics, the UA and P and the PIDS. There are enough big infrastructure projects that, properly dispersed around the country, will result in a growth spurt in employment and then feed increasing ancillary and other economic activity. We will need these projects more in northern Luzon (especially northeastern Luzon--the Cagayan Valley), the Bicol Region, Mimaropa (yes, this sub-region), the Visayas (with emphasis on the poorer islands and provinces like Samar) and, very clearly, Mindanao. These will stimulate many local economies and spur the growth of ancillary services, relieving the pressure to migrate to metropolitan areas that can no longer bear the excess population.

Author: Mario Antonio G. Lopez
Date: January 06, 2013
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE Philippines should continue adopting an inclusive growth economic policy to increase its productivity and catch up with Asian neighbors that enjoy higher and sustained economic growth. According to the study conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (Pids), productivity growth was behind the spectacular economic performance of East Asian economies, namely Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China. `Productivity growth is crucial to a country`s future economic prospects,` it said. `To catch up with its Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and East Asian neighbors and improve the living standards of Filipinos, most especially the poor, the economy has to exploit productivity growth as a key driver of high and sustained growth.`

Author:
Date: January 06, 2013
Source: Sun Star Davao

President Benigno Aquino III declared 2013 the National Year of Rice to intensify the campaign to achieve rice self-sufficiency this year, despite warnings by international organizations and agriculture economists that the goal is unattainable and even imprudent. The president even promised in his year-end speech on the last day of 2012 that Filipinos can expect enough locally produced rice to feed the population soon. "Hindi na lamang rice self-sufficiency, kundi ang pag-eexport ng matataas na klase ng bigas ang habol natin pagdating ng 2013," he said. Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) senior fellow Roehlano Briones, however, assessed the country's capability to halt rice imports and concluded that the administration's expensive Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP) is "too ambitious" to be realized. `The rice self-sufficiency target is unlikely to be achieved, whether in 2013 or even over the course of the decade to 2020,` Briones said in PIDS study published late in 2012. The Philippines, one of the world's largest importers of rice, is set to end such imports altogether by producing 13.03 million tons of milled rice in 2013--a goal, which for Briones, is simply `unrealistic.`

Author: Camille Diola
Date: January 04, 2013
Source: Philippine Star

A government think tank said the country should no longer seek to extend the protectionist policy on rice through the
quantitative restriction scheme. A report by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies said that instead of pushing for the extension of the quantitative restriction on rice, Manila should negotiate for a tariff rate that offers equivalent protection to its producers. The study written by Roehlano Briones said "the country should [also] negotiate a schedule of [tariff] reduction that would eventually improve rice affordability to consumers." It said tariffication, which involves the conversion of non-tariff trade barriers into an equivalent tariff, eliminates a system that is "inherently prone" to rent-seeking and co-option of public institutions.
Briones said one "obvious advantage" of tariffying the quantitative restriction is that the government could still earn revenues. The government could win back the "quota rent" by implementing a bidding procedure for allocating the quota, he added. "The second advantage is that the government no longer assumes planning function of computing the annual quota," it said. It said tariffication avoided the "added uncertainty" from discretionary import targeting which has become a major deterrent to private investment.

Author: Othel V. Campos
Date: January 03, 2013
Source: BusinessMirror

The Philippines should negotiate for more beneficial tariffs for rice with the World Trade Organization instead of seeking to extend a protectionist policy that allows the National Food Authority to limit the volume of rice imported into the country, says a study by a government think tank. According to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) report written by economist Roehlano M. Briones, the country should negotiate for a tariff rate that offers equivalent protection to its producers, as well as a tariff reduction schedule that "would eventually improve rice affordability to consumers," rather than pushing for the extension of the quantitative restriction (QR) policy on rice imports. A clear advantage of tariffication, said the report, is that the government would still earn revenues by implementing a bidding procedure for allocating the quota. "The second advantage is that government no longer assumes planning function of computing the annual quota," it added. This would also avoid the "added uncertainty" of discretionary import targeting and eliminate a system that is "inherently prone" to rent-seeking and co-option of public institutions. The report acknowledged, however, that local farmers might not be favorable towards tariffication of imports, as lower tariffs would bring down the prices of imported rice and could result in an increase in imports to 3.5 million metric tons (MMT) from the projected 2.2 million MT.

Author:
Date: January 02, 2013
Source: GMA News

The Philippines should no longer seek an extension of the special protection on rice traded under the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to a study released by government think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). Instead of pushing for the extension of the quantitative restriction (QR) on rice, PIDS said in its "Policy Notes," written by Roehlano M. Briones, that Manila should negotiate a tariff rate that offers equivalent protection to its producers. "The country should [also] negotiate a schedule of [tariff] reduction that would eventually improve rice affordability to consumers," Briones said. The study noted that tariffication, which involves the conversion of non-tariff trade barriers into an equivalent tariff, eliminates a system that is "inherently prone" to rent-seeking and co-option of public institutions. One "obvious advantage" of tariffying the rice QR, Briones said, is that the government can still earn revenues. The government can win back the "quota rent" by implementing a bidding procedure for allocating the quota. "The second advantage is that the government no longer assumes planning function of computing the annual quota," the report read.

Author: Jennifer Ng
Date: January 02, 2013
Source: BusinessMirror

A study of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) supports the idea of instituting framework that would allow different governments in the region to coordinate their exchange-rate policies and check over and undervaluation of currencies. In the study of Dr. Victor Pontines, a research fellow of the ADB Institute, it came out that such a framework was needed to assess the performance of the different currencies and also promote exchange-rate stability in the region.

A detailed presentation of the study would be given by Pontines at a forum organized by the government think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) at the Neda in a Makati building on January 9. PIDS, in its advisory, said the study looked at the usefulness of having an Asian Currency Unit (ACU) Index for surveillance in Asia. Other studies similar to that of Dr. Pontines, PIDS said, suggest that what is needed for the region is a type of framework for exchange-rate policy coordination that would promote interregional exchange rate stability. Dr. Pontines suggested ways on how the region could capitalize on using the ACU Index in the immediate term for surveillance purposes. This will particularly help in assessing "over and undervaluation" of individual currencies from the regional ACU average. The Philippine peso, in particular, is being described by some business leaders as overvalued at this time, thus, posing negative effects on the economy. Donald Dee, vice chairman of PCCI, said the "over-valued" peso was creating problems at the grassroots. "If we don't correct this, we would not be able to create jobs. Unemployment and poverty would still be a problem. The exchange rate is an issue and we need to manage it so industries can grow and we can be competitive," Dee said. Sergio Ortiz-Luis, president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, said speculators posing as economists were hurting the export sector, overseas Filipino workers, small businesses, and local manufacturers by making predictions that the peso would appreciate further. These predictions, he said, were not really based on sound scientific method but represented the advocacy of fund managers to push for a stronger local currency. The ACU Index, Pontines noted, would also be useful in flagging emerging vulnerabilities in individual economies in the region.

Author: Max V. de Leon
Date: January 03, 2013
Source: BusinessMirror