PIDS in the News Archived (July 2014)

OBLIGASYON ng Commission on Higher Education na ipatupad ang palatuntunan nitong magsasara ng mga kursong iniaalok ng state colleges and universities na mahina ang performance sa mga pagsusulit ng Professional Board Examinations o PBEs.

Ito ang isa sa mga rekomendasyon ng "Review and Assessment of Programs Offered by State Universities and Colleges" na ginawa nina Dr. Rosario Manasan, senior research fellow at Danileen Kristel Parel, supervising research specialist ng Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

Ayon sa pagsusuri, nakababahala na mayroong mga pamantasan at dalubhasaan na nagtatamo ng zero passing rate sa maraming professional board exams mula 2004 hanggang 2011. Kung may nakakapasa man ay mababa sa national average passing rate sa bawat taon.

Mahina ang performance sa mga pagsusulit sa larangan ng pagsasaka, accountancy, criminology, electrical engineering. Electronics engineering, geodetic engineering, social work, elementary at secondary education, library science, forestry at environmental planning. Ang median passing rate para sa 38 pagsusulit mula 2004 hanggang 2011 ay mula sa 40 hanggang 48%.

Mula sa 38 PBEs, sampu lamang ang may average passing rates na mas mataas sa 60% at anim lamang ang nagkaroon ng passing rates na mas mataas sa 70%.

May pagakakahalintulad sa mga program offerings ng SUCs sa mga iniaalok ng private higher education institutions sa parehong pook na kanilang kinalalagyan. Nag-aalok ang mga SUC ng mga kursong wala sa kanilang nararapat i-alok base sa kanilang mga palatuntunan.//

Author:
Date: July 31, 2014
Source: CRI

THE newly created industry road map, if followed to the letter, will greatly increase the contribution of the manufacturing sector in the economy, particularly in terms of valued added and employment generation.
This is according to a study, titled The Philippine Manufacturing Industry Road Map: Agenda for New Industrial Policy, High Productivity Jobs and Inclusive Growth, authored by Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) senior research fellow Rafaelita Aldaba.
The long-term vision of the road map is to develop a globally competitive manufacturing industry supported by strong backward and forward linkages with both domestic and global supply chains, Aldaba said. Through the implementation of the road map, manufacturing contribution to the economy would account for 30 percent of total value added and generate 15 percent of total employment.
The study stated that while the Philippines has remained competitive in some products and has become the champion in certain emerging products, the government needs to do more to maintain and regain competitiveness in some products.
Aldaba said the country is still competitive in copper ores, unmanufactured tobacco, vegetable textile fibers, knitted clothing, machinery products like electric distribution equipment, radio broadcast receiver, transistors and valves; and chemical products like phenol and alcohol.
She added that since the 2000s, the country has become an emerging-product champion in milk and cream; manufactured tobacco, parts of electric power machinery, parts of machinery apparatus, and parts for tractors and motor vehicles; glass and chemical products like metal salts and inorganic acid.
Aldaba also said there are some products where the countrys competitiveness has remained low but has showed improvement in the last three to four years.
These products include pulp and paper, cereal preparations, edible products, ship, boat, motorcycles, aircraft associated equipment, medical instruments, arms and ammunitions, as well as chemical products like soap and cleaners.
However, Aldaba said, the country needs to revive its competitiveness in products like veneers, plywood, sugars, molasses, cocoa, natural rubber, fish, animal and vegetable oils, pottery furniture, cushions, clothing accessories and fabric.
In order to do these, the Philippines needs to employ horizontal measures that covers human resource development, small and medium enterprises development, technology upgrading and innovation, investment promotion and a competitive exchange-rate policy.
Aldaba said these measures will also address issues such as high power and logistics cost, smuggling and infrastructure weaknesses, which the country has struggled with for many years.
Further, Aldaba said vertical measures are also needed to boost the manufacturing industry. These will address gaps in industry supply chains and expand the domestic market base as springboard for exports.
A coordination mechanism will be designed to allow more interaction between government agencies and industries in identifying obstacles and determining the most appropriate interventions, Aldaba said.
Further, the road map provides that the government must work under a strict time line. In the short run, from this year until 2017, the government must exert efforts that seek to maintain the countrys competitiveness in particular products.
Aldaba added that during this time, the government should also strengthen emerging products and rebuild existing capacity of industries.
In the medium term, between 2017 and 2021, there must be a shift to high value-added activities; investments in upstream or core sectors; and link and integrate industries within the economy.
Aldaba said in the long term or between 2021 and 2025, the government must strive to position the manufacturing industry as a globally competitive one with strong forward and backward linkages.
What is important in implementing the road map, Aldaba stressed, is the active participation of the private sector with the government playing its role as facilitator.
By acting as facilitator, Aldaba said the government will encourage private-sector players to take risks and the government will also correct market and government failures, as well as address change in policies and institutions.
Aldaba said the government can promote the success of domestic firms in both the local and international markets that will lead to economic transformation.
Transforming and upgrading the manufacturing industry is the best way to achieve inclusive growth, create quality jobs, increase income and reduce poverty. The long-term vision of the Manufacturing Industry Roadmap is to develop a globally competitive manufacturing industry supported by strong backward and forward linkages within the economy, the study stated.

Author: Cai U. Ordinario
Date: July 29, 2014
Source: BusinessMirror

Is it not true that we have a saying: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. An example of this is the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The Disbursement Acceleration Program contributed 1.6 billion pesos to TESDAs Training for Work Scholarship Program. This amount enabled the graduation of 223,615 beneficiaries. 66 percent of these"or, 146,731 graduates"now have jobs. As for the remaining 34 percent, TESDA is helping them find employment. Just take a look: All of these scholars have their names and other pertinent data listed down, should you wish to confirm them. [Applause]
If we divide the allocated funding by the number of graduates, we will see that government invested around 7,155 pesos in every scholar. In the BPO sector, a monthly salary of 18,000 is already considered at the low end. Every year, he will earn 234,000 pesos. If he is given the maximum tax deduction, his annual income tax will be: 7,900 pesos. This means that in the first year alone the 7,155 pesos that the government invested in him would have been paid back"and there will even be a profit. This and all the taxes he will be paying the government until he retires will, in turn, provide his countrymen with the same opportunities he was given. This is good governance: [Applause]
The right intentions, practices, and results. Everyone wins.
We launched the Expanded Conditional Cash Transfer Program in June of 2014, with a budget of 12.3 billion pesos. Now, the government will also support the beneficiaries until they are 18 years old. Some will ask, Why? According to a study conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, a high school graduate earns 40 percent more than someone who was only able to finish grade school.
We are investing in our most valuable resource: The Filipino people. Data from the National Economic Development Authority attests to our success. According to them, the 27.9 percent poverty rate during the first semester of 2012 went down to 24.9 percent for the same period in 2013. These three percentage points are equivalent to 2.5 million Filipinos who have crossed the poverty line. [Applause]
Of course, it is only right that we focus on the needs of the poorest in our society. But we will not stop there. Now that we have greater resources, we are striving to ensure that all those who crossed the poverty line will never go back below it. ...


Author:
Date: July 29, 2014
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

WITH media reports mostly focusing on crime, war and politics, the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) in partnership with Holcim Philippines kicked off the last leg of their media series seminar to present to reporters in Mindanao a different angling.
Last July 25 to 26, 2014, journalists from all over Mindanao convened at VIP Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City for a crash course on sustainable construction.
Dubbed as Seminar-Workshop on Sustainable Construction Reporting: Building it Right, the seminar was the official launch of the Holcim-PPI Journalism Awards for Sustainable Construction Reporting (Jascor).
Jascor aims to recognize excellent stories from the print media which help inform and make the public understand and support sustainable construction through writing construction-related topics which play a vital role in the development of the community.
The participants were encouraged to write significant stories on underreported or neglected topics dealing with construction and infrastructure, stories which affect the community with a sustainable construction angle worthy to have a spot in the papers.
Big road projects, factories put up in the province, or something as local as building comfort rooms in the skirts of Mindanao where Muslim communities are. These are stories that are important to people. The trick is knowing how to find your angle, explained Ariel C. Sebellino, PPI executive director.
Architect Miguel Guerrero, chairperson of the Green Architecture Advocacy Philippines, a non-government organization spoke about sustainable construction and environment, while Dr. Adoracion M. Navarro, senior research fellow of Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) discussed about planning economic development by bracing for calamities and one major move is to build disaster-resilient infrastructures.
Prior to the series of seminars, Holcim Philippines put together a vox populi of individuals from different professions who were asked to define sustainable construction. Majority of those asked answered with blank faces or were hesitant on answering.
Sustainable construction is where spiritual development, financial development, social development and other aspects of development are being focused on. Theres a church, a gym, a plaza, a market, and businesses that is not only profit-centered but gives back to the community. The sustainable environment aims to bring back the spirit of bayanihan in a community that has the love for the environment it is in and the people it is with, said Guerrero.
In an article published in the corenetglobal.org by Julio Alvear of Syska Hennessy Group NY, green buildings are now in demand in the United States.
Studies have shown that green-designed buildings have qualities that have a positive effect on the productivity of the occupants such as indoor air quality and thermal comfort.
Figures from the Capital E Consulting Group show that green buildings have a 15 percent rise in employee productivity annually making a company competitive and are able to meet customer demand.
Holcim characterizes sustainable construction through the 5 Ps: Progress, People, Planet, Prosperity and Proficiency.
Sustainable construction should be innovative, responsive to social and psychological needs and values of people, sensitive and responsible to its effect to natural resources, efficient designs flexible to changes in the weather, and it should exhibit long-term competence and aptitude.

The Sustainable Construction Story of the Year will be awarded to the article that best promotes the understanding and appreciation of the value and benefit of sustainable construction.

Author: Lenesse Marie Libres
Date: July 29, 2014
Source: Sun Star Cebu

What they did will reverberate not only in the remaining six months of 2014 but for many years to come. Their handiwork, be it baffling or enlightened, comes at a time when the Philippine automotive industry enjoys booming demand: Sales from January to June have already reached 126,859 units, up 24 percent from 102,573 vehicles in the same period in 2013.
This figure, compiled from the records of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc., Truck Manufacturers Association and Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors for the first six months of 2014, eclipses the annual sales the industry achieved between 1998 and 2008.
For sure, what these following personalities have done (or have yet to do) will have an impact on an industry that aims to achieve a modest motorization rate"the number of passenger cars per 1,000 inhabitants" which corresponds to a high level of economic development and quality of life.
The Philippines motorization rate is currently estimated at 35 vehicles for every 1,000 members of the population (2012 data from the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers), which is miles away from Japans 599:1,000; Malaysias 395:1,000; Thailands 200:1,000; or even Indonesias 73 (the United States has one of the highest motorization rates at 791:1,000).
Las Pias Rep. Mark Villar. While the country should thank President Benigno Aquino III for signing the anti-lemon bill into law last July 18, Filipino car buyers owe it to this gentleman for authoring a version of the bill"House Bill No. 3199"that was adopted in the bicameral conference committee early this year.
The Philippine Lemon Law of 2014 calls for the return to the consumer the full value of money if the vehicle that was bought is not of standard quality 12 months or 20,000 kilometers from date of original delivery. If the consumer remains unsatisfied with the efforts to repair the vehicle up to four times, the Department of Trade and Industry will now exercise exclusive and original jurisdiction over disputes.
Indeed, with the new law, the Philippines now joins industrially advanced countries such as the United States and the member nations of the European Union in guaranteeing car buyers that what they are buying is up to standard in quality. After all, a higher sales volume will benefit not only the local automotive industry but also our countrys economy.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada. The mayor meant well when he ordered last February a citywide truck ban amid the traffic chaos that inconvenienced motorists and the commuting public, which resulted in so many man-hours lost.
The local government banned cargo trucks from Manilas main thoroughfares from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., a move that created a backlog in deliveries to, through and from the Port of Manila.
While the order indeed decongested Manila, the truck ban is now being blamed for obstructing the flow of merchandise"including brand-new vehicles that will be sold in the country.
In fact, an economist from American banking giant Citigroup warned that the ban can cost the Philippine economy as much as P320 billion and put at risk about a million manufacturing jobs, without an alternative transport linkage between the economic zones in the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon (Calabarzon) area and the Port of Manila.
However, the local government defended its decision stating that the problem lies with port congestion and the system the port currently observes. One official even added that the Ports of Batangas and Subic are underutilized.
Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) president Michinobu Sugata. When he announced that TMP was coming back into the world of motorsports with the Vios Cup last September, the country rejoiced.
Indeed, the need for speed is more than entertainment"it could be a driving force behind a countrys economy. The most obvious would be the race events themselves"like the Vios Cup"that attract large crowds and generate television and other revenue. Much less visible is the economic activity of different manufacturing and service industries that take part in the production process of the race equipment and activities.
Sugata said he felt great that TMP has taken the lead in bringing back motorsports to the country. Although it may not be completely new, its been quite a while since Filipinos last experienced something like this [a similar event, the Corolla Cup, was held way back in 1998], I feel very much humbled that the general public will again experience such fun through the Toyota Vios Cup.
The Vios Cup is a grassroots racing competition catering to motorsports enthusiasts and just about anyone who enjoys racing. The one-make race series, which is open to nonprofessional race drivers, launched its exhibition races in January and then held the first leg last June 5 at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga.
The event also proved that the Vios"a locally assembled model"proved to be a competitive and reliable race car. No wonder it remains TMPs best performing model, selling more than 2,000 units a month.
Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Losing a prominent racer to an accident is unfortunate enough, but losing one to murder is just too much, especially for one mayor who took the initiative of setting a bounty of P1 million for the capture of the suspects behind the death of racing champ Ferdinand Enzo Pastor, whose family is among his closest friends.
Pastor was the first Filipino to participate in the Nascar Whelen Euroseries Open Championship race circuit and was popular for organizing the grassroots Circuit Showdown series. His other achievements include winning the 2002 Asian Formula Renault title, a national Touring Car championship, and the 2010 Philippine Sportswriter Association Annual Award for Motorsports. Earlier this year, Pastor won the inaugural Asian V8 championship race.
The 32-year-old racer was en route last June 12 to Clark International Speedway to store his late model cars when two motorcycle riders pulled up his vehicle and gunned him down.

Duterte, mad about the murder, announced that the informant has only to send a text message and he would regard the communication ultrasecret.
Department of Trade and Industrys Industry Development and Trade Policy Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba. For the past two years, a number of drafts of the much-awaited Philippine Automotive Manufacturing Industry Roadmap have been crafted and even refined by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) as well as the Board of Investments.
Unfortunately, the Board of Investments target release of the roadmap in the first quarter of 2014 has come and gone (in fact, it was supposed to have been released last October).
The roadmap is crucial as it will serve as the industrys bible, where incentives are offered and targets are clear-cut. Furthermore, it will create the exact business environment that will make the local industry a worthy competitor of Thailand, China, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Aldaba, a PIDS fellow who is directly in charge of the formulation of industry development and trade policy, volunteered that since the automotive roadmap will be a comprehensive blueprint for the countrys auto industry, the government is carefully crafting the fundamentals of the program, continuously working on refining a number of provisions that would help make the country an automotive hub in the future.
Well we cant blame the government for the delay: A car has over 30,000 parts and its construction is dependent on several feeder industries including metal, chemical, plastic, textile, rubber, glass, steel, electrical and other manufacturing subsectors.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino. You wont be able to enjoy your newly bought race-tuned car if youre always stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Unfortunately, traffic congestion is here to stay.
Good thing we have Tolentino who continuously devises things that would help us deal with traffic. The most recent is a website"www.mmroadway.com" that allows motorists to monitor the status of 15 major infrastructure/road projects and be able to know the alternate routes available.
In 2011, the MMDA launched a valuable mobile phone app that displays updated traffic information via a map overlay. Here one would be able to know in real time the traffic situation in all the major thoroughfares of Metro Manila (Edsa, C5, SLEx, Roxas Boulevard, Ortigas, Commonwealth, Marcos Highway, Katipunan, Espaa and Quezon Avenue). The app helps drivers make informed decisions as they navigate through Metro Manila traffic.//

Author: Charles Buban
Date: July 29, 2014
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE merger of Swiss company Holcim Ltd. with French firm Lafarge SA, which is set for next year, again raises the specter of possible collusion among cement companies in the Philippines, to the detriment of the countrys infrastructure program and private-sector initiatives in construction activities. Also, the expected merging of the two European cement giants into the worlds biggest cement manufacturer, as well as shareholders hushed talks of a cement cartel, could finally result in a long-overdue Senate or House investigation.
Philippine think tanks studies on the uncanny ability of the countrys cement companies to skirt government rules for their anticompetitive behavior should now be dusted off by Congress, so that the possible collusion among cement firms can be finally scrutinized. All thats needed is to go over the findings of, say, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (Pids) or of other think tanks that show how the cement oligopoly has been able to rule without so much as a government inquiry into the possible manipulation of cement prices.
These prices have steadily climbed, thanks to an industry-wide practice of increasing them four times in a given year. Now, why would cement firms, through the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines, have such a cartel-like practice? After all, companies raise their prices because of rising production costs, which could be caused by an increase in power prices, a higher interest rate on debts or other similar hikes.
In the Philippines cement manufacturers have already identified the dates on when they should raise their prices. Now, its no coincidence that all of them raise their prices at the same time. This could only mean that there is collusion among them"a fact that stands out in a Pids paper that looks at two economic variables in gauging the cartel-like practice that is prevalent in the industry: cement imports and the absence of a clear anticompetition policy.
The Pids paper shows that the entry of cement imports to disrupt the pricing strategy of the cement makers did not affect their profitability. In fact, a mathematical formula that looked at a regression analysis of their financials reveals that local cement-makers continue to generate bigger profits.
The paper, authored by Rafaelita M. Aldaba and written six years ago, shows that [w]ith respect to the impact of trade liberalization, the results indicate that imports do not seem to have a disciplining effect on domestic firms. Given the behavior of domestic-market players, the inclusion of [the] import, penetration ratio in the H and S regression model shows that, for both leaders and followers, the coefficient on the import ratio is unexpectedly positive and highly significant.
The results imply that imports do not seem to affect profitability and competition in the industry. Given the ability of firms to engage in anticompetitive behavior and the absence of an effective competition policy in the Philippines, the gains from trade liberalization are nullified. The countrys experience in the cement industry illustrates that trade liberalization is not a substitute for competition policy. For imports to effectively discipline the market, trade liberalization must be accompanied by strict competition policy.
Hopefully, congressional leaders will finally start scrutinizing the cartel-like behavior of the cement firms. An investigation could do the country good by way of lower infrastructure costs, with the savings put to use in other government projects.

Need to define savings
THERE is a crying need for a clear-cut definition of savings, insofar as the Disbursement Acceleration Program is concerned. That definition is all thats needed to have closure on that issue dividing the nation now. Just what constitutes savings? And is the President allowed to use them to fund big projects that would benefit the citizenry?
Judging from the Supreme Courts (SC) decision on the program, the Presidents use of the savings from other government agencies to pursue other projects, when implemented for worthy causes, constitutes good faith, and is, therefore, considered legal. That part of the decision is what adds confusion, since the SC seemed tentative on the matter of the use of the savings, which are unspent funds for projects approved in the government budget that was passed by Congress.
As correctly stated by President Aquino, the government cannot wait for savings to be used at the end of the year to pursue projects that need to be implemented immediately. And since the Presidents use of the savings early in the year has been ruled as done in good faith, then it stands to reason that savings should be defined as unused funds that were used to pursue other projects immediately. That vagueness in the definition of savings is the reason for the motion for reconsideration filed by the government with the SC.

Author: Lito U. Gagni
Date: July 29, 2014
Source: BusinessMirror

THE Philippines should implement reforms to facilitate the expansion of labor-intensive manufacturing that can increase the number of gainful jobs.
This recommendation was made by the study Labor Policy Analysis For Jobs Expansion and Development written by Vicente Paqueo, Aniceto Orbeta Jr., Leonardo Lanzona Jr. and Dean Gerard Dulay released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
The study underscored the need to accelerate labor-intensive production, particularly the manufacturing of tradable commodities.
Facilitation means not just moderating minimum wage mandates and other restrictive labor regulations, but also pushing reforms that go beyond the responsibility of the Dole (Department of Labor and Employment), it said.
The authors said these reforms should effectively deal with critical binding constraints and counterproductive policies, including infrastructure underdevelopment, elevated cost of subsistence due to rice import policy, high cost of doing business, high energy cost, weak enforcement of contracts and protection of property rights and confusing laws.
Relative food price is one of the key drivers of minimum wages. This could be reduced by reforming regulations on the importation of rice, they said.
The study stressed that the Philippines will benefit from looking at those industries that China is becoming less competitive in.
These are labor-intensive industries that employ millions of workers. The Philippines can choose those industries that are suitable to its superabundant labor endowments and in which China and other more advanced countries do not have a leg up over the Philippines, the study said.
Apart from increased labor-intensive manufacturing, the PIDS study also cited the need to improve investments in education and other human capital development and sustain total factor productivity gains.
These objectives require inter alia minimum wage reform, which should be undertaken immediately, while investors are looking for new places to locate labor-intensive production and the Philippine economy is getting another look as a potential destination, it said. (PhilExport)


Author:
Date: July 29, 2014
Source: Sun Star Cebu

A government think tank-Philippine Institute for Development Studies- said raising wages will not necessarily help in poverty reduction.

It added that wages in the Philippines will continue to be low because so many are unemployed and many are willing to work for less.

The Economic Policy monitor published by the PIDS said that a rising wage rate is going to be an unlikely engine of poverty reduction for workers without substantial human capital, until enough of the labor surplus has disappeared, signaled by the sustained increases in the wages of unskilled labor.

For higher wages to be effective, wages of unskilled labor must first go up it said.

But first wages will have to remain low so that small scale enterprises may be able to hire the unemployed, the paper said.

The report said that hefty increases in minimum wages result in large potential income losses for households, contrary to views that regard the welfare effects of minimum wage to be modest.

They create more poor people, undermining the assumption and rhetoric about the effectiveness of the current tripartite system. It fails to represent the interest of the poor and the workers effectively, it said.

Higher wages lead to job losses, the paper said, since workers will have to be let go to be able the pay the workers that must be retained.

The affected households will fewer members with jobs -- either they have difficulty landing a job or they have been laid off, it added.

The paper also said that recent findings showed that the minimum wages significantly reduce the probability of employment of teenagers, the young, the women, and the less educated.

Workers also had to shift from formal to informal employment, which generates lower income.

The paper said that the results of recent studies show that there is a need to moderately increase minimum wages.

The findings about the size of the effects of minimum wages illustrate the need to evaluate the impact of other aspects of labor regulations, policies, and practices such as the six-month regularization requirement, severance payments, subcontracting, and the hiring and firing rules, the document said.

The document also showed that while the household income will be lower with a more rapid increase in legal minimum wage, the employment of the household heads is not affected.

The employment probability of household heads is not significantly affected. The reason is simply that they have little choice but to eke out a living for the family, the paper said.//

Author: Angela Celis
Date: July 28, 2014
Source: Malaya

INCREASING minimum wages reduces employment and brings more people into poverty, the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) said.

Raising the minimum wage reduced employment in smaller firms -- a result that is instructive for the Philippines considering that more than 99% of the total number of firms in the country are micro, small, and medium enterprises, the Institute said in its 2013 Economic Policy Monitor.

Rapid minimum wage increases also caused lower household income and a higher probability of poverty, the study said.

Minimum wages significantly reduce the probability of employment of teenagers, the young, the women, and the less educated, the study added.

The study recommended a 12-point agenda, the Jobs Expansion and Development Initiative (JEDI), which among other things calls for:

Simplifying labor-dispute resolution to cut time, cost, inconvenience, and uncertainty;

Making the rules on hiring and firing more flexible, leaving firms and workers to work out mutually beneficial agreements;

Minimizing labor regulations detrimental to... the poor and other disadvantaged populations; and

Encouraging firms to hire low-skilled and poor workers.

The JEDI aims to expand gainful jobs by speeding up labor-intensive production, particularly the manufacturing of tradable commodities; and to improve investments in education and other human-capital development and sustain total factor productivity gains.

The study recommends better education, increased labor-intensive manufacturing, and greater opportunities for on-the-job training, as well as strengthening social protection programs to help the poor meet their needs.

Such an approach will be both efficient and equitable, conforming to the general principle of public economics that a public good should be financed by general tax revenues, the study said. --

Author: Benise Chiara P. Balaoing,
Date: July 27, 2014
Source: BusinessWorld

Despite the governments efforts to address the needs of the poor, a study released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said child poverty is still increasing in the country.
In the study titled Child Poverty in the Philippines, the lead author PIDS Senior Research Fellow Celia Reyes said that in 2009, 13.4 million or over a third of all children aged below 18 are living below the poverty line.
Reyes added that around 10 million of these children face at least two overlapping types of severe deprivation in basic amenities and 750,000 face at least five kinds of deprivation simultaneously.
While there have been gains in improving the well-being of children in the Philippines, there are still many dimensions where progress has been limited. Combating child poverty in the Philippines is an ever more challenging task, the study stated.
Both incidence and magnitude of income poor are increasing which indicates that efforts have not coped with the increasing number of poor individuals including children, it added.
Reyes said the Philippines continues to struggle with inequality in economic opportunities and this affects the welfare of millions of Filipino children nationwide.
In 2009 data showed that around 4 million children were severely deprived of sanitary toilet facilities and around 4 million did not have access to safe water. Further, some 260,000 lacked decent shelter.
Further, some 1.4 million children were living in informal settlements and 6.5 million did not have access to electricity in their homes. Data also showed that 3.4 million lacked a means to access to information.
Poverty in the country, whether in terms of income or deprivation in amenities as basic as water and sanitation, is largely a rural phenomenon. Three out of four income-poor children are living in the rural areas. Eight of 10 are severely deprived of sanitary toilet [and safe water] are found in the rural areas. Programs that aim to address these needs must prioritize the poor in rural areas, the study added.
Reyes said there also more poor children in some regions in the country where more interventions should be made.
These regions include the Zamboanga peninsula, Eastern Visayas, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) where income poverty among children increased 10.9 percent between 2003 and 2009.
Poverty incidence of children in Zamboanga was at 51.9 percent in 2009; Eastern Visayas, 50.9 percent; and ARMM, 54.1 percent.
The growth of poor children particularly in urban centers and neighboring regions is outpacing the overall population growth rate of children. ARMM has serious concerns with respect to both high poverty incidence and large increase in absolute number, the study stated.
The study is part of the PIDS Discussion Paper series. It was also authored by Aubrey Tabuga, Ronina Asis and Maria Blesila Mondez.//

Author: Cai U. Ordinario
Date: July 23, 2014
Source: BusinessMirror

The trade department has expressed its opposition to congressional proposals seeking to create a trade representative office, saying such a move, if approved and implemented, will result into inefficiency and redundancy.
Based on the Department of Trade and Industrys (DTI) draft position paper and comments on House Bills (HB) 1690 and 2770 to create a Philippine Trade Representative Office (PTRO), the proposed restructuring, the DTI said, will derogate upon the functions and jurisdiction of the Department of Trade and Industry through the Bureau of International Trade Relations, which has already developed expertise in trade negotiations and in forging trade agreements with other countries.
The said bills, filed during the 16th Congress, seek to establish the PTRO in order to authorize a single entity to handle the countrys formulation and implementation of international trade policy similar to the United States Trade Representative Office (USTR).
According to the explanatory note of HB 1690, authored by Rep. Karl B. Nograles of the first district of Davao, the impact of all trade agreements the Philippines has entered into and are currently negotiating, bilateral or otherwise, has yet to be appreciated as there is no single entity principally responsible for monitoring and maintaining a cohesive and coherent trade policy vis-a-vis our national interest.
The DTI invoked its prevailing mandate and its enabling law to handle overall national trade policy and stated that the creation of the PTRO essentially separates trade policy making.
Trade and industry policies are naturally and inextricably linked, such that industry policy should underpin trade policy and vice versa. Segregating the functions causes ineffectiveness in both areas, thereby, hindering their full potential to serve overall national interest, the position paper read.
Further, the DTI said such a segregation may affect trade policies tied to industry and investment, such as those relevant to address micro, small and medium enterprises and consumer welfare.
The DTI similarly objected the bills proposal to differentiate international trade from domestic trade by transferring functions of international trade management to PTRO, reiterating overlapping of jurisdiction with DTI.
Both bills also advocate the creation of different bodies to be able to consult with all stakeholders in coming up with the countrys trade position in international agreements, as well as to settle trade dispute settlements.
The DTIs position was that the existing function is already being carried out by the Bureau of International Trade Relations (BITR), and, again, such a proposal would undermine the DTI and the interagency committees attached to it.
Policy capture
Two of the bodies pushed by the bills are the multisectoral advisory committee (MSAC) and the subsector advisory committee (SSAC).
Both bodies are being proposed to represent different industries in agriculture, labor, service industries, small business and other stakeholders and key sectors, as well as represent consumer interest.
The inputs of MSAC and SSAC, as representatives of industries and sectors, are vital to come up with positions on trade negotiations with other countries, but the membership of the bodies, as proposed by the bills, should be endorsed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and stakeholders
Such a structure, said DTI, will inevitably result to policy capture like in an institution where NGOs, in selecting the representatives for SSAC and MSAC, may push for their own interests in trade negotiations, instead of the countrys.
Previous experience tells us that NGOs, for example, normally oppose trade liberalization. The proposed structure will not aid in the formulation of Philippine trade positions given the complexities of developments in the international trading fora, which require a wider and objective view than those held by particular interest groups, the draft position paper noted.
The DTI, in the position papers conclusion, stands firm on its opposition to the bills and its proposals, and, instead, vows to resolve problems in the current structure that justify the establishment of a single unified trade agency, such as the alleged turf mentality of the Cabinet-level Tariff and Related Matters Committee (TRM).
The TRM, chaired by the DTI and cochaired by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) consists of representatives from different line agencies, such as agriculture, foreign affairs, central bank and finance, that determine overall trade policy through consensus.
A Philippine Institute for Development Studies research paper released in 2005 points out the turf mentality issue and advocates the PTRO, said DTI, but the same paper concludes that a separate Cabinet-level agency dedicated to international trade negotiations may not be feasible due to budgetary and fiscal constraints.
The second option advocated by PIDS, which may be successful and has the DTIs backing, is strengthening the existing TRM system, particularly the role of BITR.
The DTI is currently implementing its rationalization plan and we are ensuring that all our bureaus, particularly the BITR, will be manned by qualified individuals with proven competence and understanding of both the economics of international trade and trade law. This is with the end in view of strengthening the countrys stance and leverage during trade negotiations to further the interests of the country.//

Author: Catherine N. Pillas
Date: July 22, 2014
Source: BusinessMirror

POWER industry leaders are giving the thumbs up to Governments creation of a long-needed multisectoral task force to cobble a master plan to solve the nagging crisis by pulling down electricity rates in the long haul, but are flummoxed by the inclusion of a shady character and his inoperative consumer group in this top-caliber joint study group.
They point to an erstwhile president of the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association (PIPPA) with a seemingly checkered past and who now heads an almost obscure pro-consumer group as the odd man out in this task force.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has created a task force to study ways to reduce the price of electricity in the country under its Department Order No. 2014-05-0009 dated April 28 and signed by Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla.

Petillas mandate for this task force is to evaluate current breakdown/components of electricity and identify factors affecting them, conduct multisectoral public consultations nationwide to present their findings; identify ways and measures to help reduce the price of electricity and ensuring its efficiency.

His order is for each task force member to represent his or her sector and ensure complete dissemination of all discussions and agreements during the conduct of dialogues.

Funding support for this joint study will come from the Office of the DOE Secretary, while technical support will be rendered by the Office of the Directors of the Energy Policy and Planning Bureau (EPPB) and Electric Power Industry Management Bureau (EPMB), according to the April 28 department order.

The creation of this task force, bared this DOE order, was an offshoot of the May 31, 2013 dialogue at the Heroes Hall in Malacaang in which labor groups proposed for the creation of a dedicated group, which will include the labor sector and consumers groups representatives, to monitor, discuss and resolve issues affecting the power supply and affordability of electricity in the country.

The same order recalled that this proposal for a more detailed study focused on power supply and pricing was reiterated during the Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and Consultative Dialogue that the DOE initiated during the February-March 2014 period on the review of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

***

In light of the grand, if not herculean, tasks of this joint study group, one is perplexed as to what somebody like David Relito Tan is doing in this A-1 task force after getting embroiled with his companies in a string of legal battles here and abroad"and now recycling himself as a self-styled industry expert at the height of last semesters power crisis.

Tan managed to do a personal makeover as an expert by coming out in the media with supposed think pieces inappropriately blaming certain industry players for the electricity mess, on the basis of his obviously biased and intentionally distorted facts about the Philippine power situation.

The inclusion of Tan"described in his newspaper articles as a certified public accountant, founding director-former president of PIPPA, and volunteer strategy adviser to several legislators during the congressional deliberations on the EPIRA"has somewhat cast suspicions on the task forces true agenda.

***

As shown by an organizational chart, this multisectoral task force will be headed by Dr. Adoracion Navarro, a senior fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) specializing in evidence-based research studies on practical economic planning and policymaking information. She is on Devexs 2013 list of 40 Under 40 awardees or the 40 global development leaders in Metro Manila who are under 40 years of age, and will be represented in the task force by PIDS president Gilberto Llanto.

The same organizational chart shows that this task force will be made up of over 30 representatives from Government, academe, the business sectors and labor and consumer groups.

Task force members include Secretary Petilla and businessman Raul Concepcion of GovtWatch; plus representatives from the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FFCCCI), PIPPA, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), National Consumers Affairs Council (NCAC), National Federation of Womens Club of the Philippines (NFWCP), Coalition for Consumer Protection and Welfare Inc. (CCPW), Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance Inc. (MSKCA), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and NAGKAISA (United).//

Author: Ducky Paredes
Date: July 21, 2014
Source: Malaya

MANILA, Philippines " The manner in which lawmakers were allocated funds from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) for projects they requested is the clearest confirmation that the program is similar to the pork barrel or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers, the research group IBON said Friday.

IBON said that billion in pesos in DAP funds were also channelled to activities or agencies that contributed little to Malacanang's avowed goal of perking up the economy.

Malacanang on Friday afternoon (July 18) filed its motion for reconsideration with the Supreme Court, which declared in a 13-0 ruling that the program was unconstitutional.

DAP funds, estimated to reach to as much as P177 billion, came from savings pooled by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) from various agencies. In its ruling, the SC said four practices that underpinned DBMs execution of DAP violated the Constitution, including: the cross-border transfer of funds across different branches of government; the warped interpretation of savings before yearend; the arbitrary hijacking of funds allocated to certain projects under the budget law and realignment to others.

"President Benigno Aquino dispensed these billions of pesos to legislators, agencies, local government units and beneficiaries at his discretion, for purposes that he defined unilaterally, and with only a semblance of legality," IBON said.

Clearly pork barrel

"All these make the controversial DAP consistent with being pork barrel while not directly resulting in broad benefits to Filipinos," it added.

According to IBON, a scrutiny of the list of DAP-funded projects released by the DBM revealed that at least P17.3 billion was given as PDAF-type funding for "priority local projects nationwide requested by legislators, local government officials and national agencies."

There were three allotment releases for these in the amounts of P6.5 billion (approved by the office of the president on October 12, 2011), P8.1 billion (June 27, 2012) and P2.8 billion (December 21, 2012)

At least P30.7 billion worth of large lump-sum items were also approved including:

-P10.1 billion for ambiguously titled "various infrastructure projects," "various local projects," and "various priority projects" especially by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH);

-P7.8 billion to local government units consisting for an "LGU support fund," "performance challenge fund," and "development assistance" to Quezon province; and,

-P10.9 billion for supposedly peace and development-related projects. There was also P2.0 billion for national roads in the president's home province of Tarlac and P43 million for "capacity-building" of non-government organizations and people's organizations.

Minimal impact on economy

At least P47.5 billion was also used for items and activities that IBON said had minimal impact on the economy, including P3.7 billion for improving government offices, purchasing information technology equipment, a global tourism media campaign, and others.

The government offices improved included Malacaang (P20 million), Department of Interior and Local Government (P100 million), Department of Tourism (P200 million), National Economic and Development Authority (P207 million) and Philippine Institute of Development Studies (P100 million).

IBON also said the P7.6 billion worth of projects to the Light Rail Transit Authority, Department of Science and Technology, some hospitals and others had "minimal stimulus effect," as the money was spent on largely imported equipment and supplies or training of employees for foreign Business Process Outsourcing firms.

There was also P36.1 billion of mainly financial transfers and payments especially for recapitalization of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, but also including various equity infusions or payments of financial obligations of government agencies, according to the group.

"The profile of the projects funded by DAP do not fit with either delivering services to the people or stimulating the economy. The case of the DAP illustrates how the abuse of presidential powers and discretion makes hundreds of billions of pesos in public funds vulnerable to use for patronage and partisan politics and, at worst, corruption," IBON said.//

Author: Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
Date: July 18, 2014
Source: Interksyon TV5

MANILA, Philippines"Some P800 million from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which the Supreme Court recently declared unconstitutional, was spent for construction, renovation and equipment upgrade in Malacaang.
Documents obtained by the Inquirer showed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued a special allotment release order (Saro) three years ago channeling P17.94 million to the Office of the President (OP) for the proper restoration and rehabilitation of various rooms in Malacaang Palace.
The OP had not replied to the Inquirers query as of press time.
Another DAP-Saro amounting to P248.37 million was released in 2011 to upgrade Malacaangs communication system for the Presidential Security Group. The DAP-Saro was issued through the Department of National Defense (DND).
The DND also received another DAP-Saro in 2012 for P60 million for the rehabilitation of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) air education and training command.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), on the other hand, used P15 million from the DAP to repair and rehabilitate the Philippine National Police crime laboratory. The DBM issued two DAP-Saros in 2011 for this project.
P100M for think tank
The budget department also issued a P100-million DAP-Saro in 2011 for the land purchase and building construction expenses of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), a state-run economic think tank.
This was exclusive of the P560 million in DAP funds given to PIDS for research grants in the capacity building program of leading universities.

A P20-million DAP-Saro was issued to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to modernize and build new crime laboratories for the National Bureau of Investigation.
The amount was on top of other DAP funds granted to the DOJ, such as P20 million for the purchase of new computers for the NBI; P14.2 million for the information technology upgrade of the Office of the Solicitor General; and P7 million for the training of NBI agents.
P144M for COA
For its part, the Commission on Audit (COA) received P143.7 million in DAP funds in 2011 to buy new computers and hire more litigation experts.
The DAP also funded the Department of Tourisms P207-million Kilometer Zero national monument hardscape and softscape projects and P25-million Cine Corregidor complex preservation project in 2011.
In 2012, the tourism department also received P1.77 billion from the DAP for the convergence program on enhancing tourism access.
These were part of the 1,014 DAP-Saros issued by the DBM from October 2011 to December 2013 covering P150.6 billion in savings transferred from other agencies and slow-moving projects.
Around 90 percent of the DAP-Saros were given to lawmakers.//


Author: Gil C. Cabacungan
Date: July 23, 2014
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Power industry leaders are giving the thumbs up to governments creation of a multisectoral task force to study ways to reduce the price of electricity.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petillas mandate for this task force is to evaluate current breakdown/components of electricity and identify factors affecting them, conduct multisectoral public consultations nationwide to present their findings; and identify ways and measures to help reduce the price of electricity and ensure its efficiency.
The creation of the task force was an offshoot of the May 31, 2013 dialogue in Malacaang in which labor groups proposed the creation of a dedicated group, which will include the labor sector and consumers groups representatives, to monitor, discuss and resolve issues affecting the power supply and affordability of electricity in the country.
In light of the very important role of this group, it goes without saying that its members should be those who truly represent our interest.
Some groups are questioning the naming of Philippine Independent Power Producers Association (PIPPA) former president David Relito Tan, who after his messy legal battles here and abroad, managed to recycle himself as a self-styled industry expert at the height of last semesters power crisis by blaming certain industry players for the electricity mess, on the basis of his alleged biased and distorted facts about the Philippine power situation.
The multisectoral task force will be headed by Dr. Adoracion Navarro, a senior fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) who is on the Devex list of 40 global development leaders in Metro Manila under 40 years of age. She will be represented in the task force by PIDS president Gilberto Llanto.
Other members include Secretary Petilla, businessman Raul Concepcion of Govt Watch; and representatives from the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FFCCCI), PIPPA, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), National Consumers Affairs Council (NCAC), National Federation of Womens Club of the Philippines (NFWCP), Coalition for Consumer Protection and Welfare Inc. (CCPW), Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance Inc. (MSKCA), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and NAGKAISA (United).
But industry watchers are raising their eyebrows as to why MSK is one of five consumer groups in this task force, given its questionable status as a functioning NGO.
Tan is a task force member in his capacity as MSK president. While Tan was at one time PIPPA president and is thus supposedly knowledgeable about the complex energy sector, since then, he has been hounded by complaints or cases.
According to SEC records, two of MSKa key officers"corporate secretary Lorna Asilo and treasurer Videt Ursula Cusi"both certified under oath that this NGO has not been in operation since its incorporation in 2011 up to the present,
So why has Tan been blessed to be in the company of distinguished industry leaders in the task force when he is representing a fledgling consumer group that is actually dormant, as attested to by its own key officers?
And how about Tans record as an energy executive?
On June 17, 2010, the Court of Appeals ordered Tan and his Power One Group of Companies (formerly Edison Industries Inc.) to pay retrenched workers who earlier filed an illegal dismissal case against Tans firm before the NLRC.
There is also a case at the Supreme Court filed by Mid-Islands Power Corp. against Power One and Tan over their power supply accord; as well as another one at the ERC pertaining to Power Ones deal with the Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperatve Inc. (ORMECO).
There is another for fraudulent intent which Philippine National Bank (PNB) filed against Tan and Edison-Hubbard Corp. in the San Francisco Superior Court involving a $7 million unsettled bank loan. The court ruled that debtor intended to defraud his creditors and/or the trustee.
There had also been criticisms about Tans commentaries regarding last Decembers electricity price shock, since they ignored ERCs March 3 order to WESM operator Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC) to re-run or recompute the spot market rates during the Malampaya shutdown on the belief that the prices then were unreasonable and irrational as a result of market abuse.
With Petillas directive for task force members to undertake complete dissemination of all discussions and agreements during the conduct of dialogues, there are now apprehensions that Tan, given his bias against certain major power industry players, might turn these nationwide consultations into mere launching pads for his attacks on his pet peeves in the power sector.
Global mess
It looks like not all is well within the ranks of the powerful European pressure group Greenpeace.
While European pressure group Greenpeace is waging its war against Filipino scientists here, it looks like theres war within its own posh headquarters in Europe.
Greenpeace has gone all out in the last two decades to prevent the local science community led by UP Los Banos from introducing to Filipino farmers certain crop varieties that do not require chemical pesticides to ward off pests.
In fact, it is engaged in legal battle before the Supreme Court (SC) as it attempts to stifle a bid by Filipino scientists and farmers to get a go-signal from the High Court for the resumption of field trials for the pesticide-free eggplant variety called Bt Talong.
Back home in Europe, Greenpeaces office has been rocked by conflict following major discontent aired by its senior executives. The row was fueled by reports that Greenpeace executive Pascal Hustings flies between the groups Amsterdam office and his home in the wealthy state of Luxembourg several times a month. This will obviously worry Greenpeaces donors.
Another proof of Greenpeaces huge money chest is the major financial loss it reportedly suffered after its finance officer bet wrongly on the weak Eurodollar, resulting in losses amounting to some three million pounds sterling.
Greenpeace has so much money that it engages in foreign exchange market and corporate stocks speculation, while giving us the image of volunteers fighting to save the whale.
If the media reports are true, then Greenpeaces strength may have also become its debacle. It is now suffering from the problems that many do-good organizations which end up amassing money, have.
Despite these debacles besetting its swank Amsterdam headquarters, Greenpeaces money remains the biggest threat to our local science community.
That huge financial arsenal will continue to stand in the way of biotechnology research. That arsenal will continue to finance public relations and activist operations, as well as expensive legal suits.
Thats bad news for our scientists and farmers.
For comments, email at philstarhiddenagenda@yahoo.com


Author: Mary Ann Ll. Reyes
Date: July 23, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has strongly opposed a bill filed in Congress seeking to create a Philippine Trade Representative Office (PTRO), similar to the US Trade Representative (USTR), saying it will just create inefficiency and redundancy in trade negotiations, which are currently undertaken by a competent government body.
The creation of PRTO was meant to address the alleged lack of one efficient office that formulates and carries out the countrys trade policies to promote and protect domestic products as well as the local market and economy from unfair trade practices.
The said bills are also meant to address the stakeholders needs and the right of the people to participate in economic decision-making. Both goals are aimed at promoting greater accountability of trade negotiators with regard to trade and investment agreements, more coherence and cohesiveness in trade negotiating strategy, and to involve Congress in formulating a negotiating mandate before any negotiations take place.
In a position paper dated July 11, 2014 submitted to Rep. Romeo M. Acop, chairperson of the House committee on government reorganization, DTI Secretary Gregory L. Domingo conveyed his strong reservations over House Bill Nos. 1690 and 2770 entitled, An Act Creating the Philippine Trade Representative Office, Appropriating Funds Therefor and For Other Purposes.
The Department puts forward its strong reservations on the passage of the proposed legislative measure because they derogate upon the functions and jurisdiction of the DTI, the agency which has developed expertise in trade negotiations and in forging trade agreements with other countries, Domingo said.
Domingo pointed out that trade policy is a function expressly conferred by law to DTI under Executive Order No. 133.
Given such mandate, Domingo said the DTI has the expertise in formulating and implementing industrial and investment policies as well as domestic trade policies.
Segregating the inextricably-linked trade and industry policies causes ineffectiveness in both areas, thereby hindering their full potential to serve overall national interest.
Splitting international trade from domestic trade and transferring it to the PTRO will cause redundancy and overlapping of work with the DTI.
The bill has proposed to carve out the various line agencies sitting in the Tariff and Related Matters to comprise PTRO.
But Domingo said this may result in administrative nightmare not only it will require huge resources but also because this will cause dislocation land demoralization of people. This will also undermine the rationalization undertaken by various industries.
DTI, for instance, is currently implementing its rationalization plan, which may be nipped in the bud should the proposed transfer be carried out, Domingo said.
The DTI position paper further cited a discussion paper prepared by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies which pointed out that the proposed creation of a wholly-separate Cabinet-level agency dedicated solely to international trade negotiations may not be feasible due to budgetary and fiscal constraints and other political distractions.
PIDS instead proposed that a second option is the strengthening of the current TRM system, particularly the role of the Bureau of International Trade Relations (BITR).
Creating another agency with the same functions as an existing institution would create redundancy in powers and a layer of bureaucracy, thus leading to inefficiency, he added.//


Author: Bernie Magkilat
Date: July 22, 2014
Source: Manila Bulletin

CEBU CITY, July 19 (PIA) " The Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP), the national organization of tourism enterprises created by virtue of the Tourism Act of 2009, embarked on a series of consultative workshops on the ASEAN integration, July 19-20 at the Marco Polo hotel in Lahug, Cebu City.
This is the first of a series of nationwide consultative meetings dubbed as Tourism Integration Briefing and Consultative Meeting.
TCP President Rosanna Tuason-Fores said the ASEAN Tourism Integration Briefing and Consultative Meeting aims to contribute to the preparation of the Philippine Tourism Roadmap for AEC 2015 and Beyond, in support to the ASEAN initiative.
The key objectives of the consultative meetings are to increase the awareness level of the implications of the economic integration to tourism enterprises particularly the small and medium enterprises; to identify market access opportunities for business in the Philippines and other ASEAN economies.
Fores added that the series of consultative meetings seek to come up with important inputs to the roadmap of the Philippine Tourism in AEC 2015 and Beyond that is being jointly prepared by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The USAID Advancing Philippine Competitiveness or COMPETE Project supports the activity.
Fores said, the ASEAN integration will have more impact to smaller and medium enterprises not only in terms of competitiveness but also in terms of manpower.
With the opening up of the market, will we be able to compete with our more advantaged neighbors? she asked.
According to Fores, this is just some of the issues that will be looked into in these series of consultative meetings. There is a need to mitigate any adverse effects brought about by the integration, Tuason-Fores stated.
DOT assistant secretary Rolando Canizal discussed the regional and Philippine initiatives in relation to the ASEAN Strategic Tourism Action Plan 2011-2015.
Asec Canizal emphasized on the need to enhance connectivity to and from and within the Visayas region.
The other speakers include B/gen Rodante Joya of CAAP, former NEDA Secretary Cielito Habito and currently Chief of Party of the USAID TRADE project, and Dr. Mario Lamberte, former President of the Philippine Institute of Development Studies and of the ADB Institute in Tokyo and now Team Leader on SME Access to Financing of the USAID-COMPETE Project.
ASEAN groups the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei. The ten member countries will establish a single market economy by 2015 to attract more investments and facilitate intra-ASEAN trade and investments.
The next consultative meetings will be held on July 23-24 at the Waterfront Hotel in Davao City; August 12-13 in Clark, Pampanga and will end in Manila also sometime in September.//

Author:
Date: July 21, 2014
Source: PIA

THE Aquino administration makes several claims about its Disbursement Acceleration Program, but the one it uses most often to justify the illegal diversion of funds was that the projects it funded stimulated the economy and contributed to growth.

The projects, we are told, were chosen on the basis of their potential impact on the economy.

According to a list provided by the Department of Budget and Management, the government released P144.37 billion from October 2011 to June 2013 for 116 DAP-funded projects.

But how many of these projects actually met the administrations criteria?

A perusal of the list shows that at least 20 projects worth more than P53 billion"or more than a third of total funding" clearly could not be considered high-impact pursuits with any substantial impact on the economy.

These include:

P342.53 million for the state-owned Peoples Television Network Inc. to support its operational requirements.

P294 million for a computer network of terminals (thin clients) connected to the Internet and e-learning software for public schools under the Department of Education.

P250 million for the construction of a legislative library and archive building at the House of Representatives.

P248.32 million for a security and communication plan for the Presidential Security Group at Malacaang.

P143.7 million to set up an IT system and hire more litigation experts at the Commission on Audit.

P100 million to move the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, a state-owned organization, from its present location in Makati.

P75 million to set up a computer system for the Credit Information Corp., a state-owned company whose mandate is to collect, collate and disseminate credit information.

P70 million to fund stem cell research by the Lung Center of the Philippines.

P25 million for the preservation of the Corregidor tourism complex.

P20.44 million for the restoration and rehabilitation of various historical and state rooms in Malacaang Palace.

P20 million for the establishment of a national film archive.

P11.2 million for the operating requirements of 50 agents and 15 state attorneys at the National Bureau of Investigation.

In many other instances, the money was simply used to pay off government debt, including the unpaid obligations to the Government Service Insurance System and Philhealth, or capital infusions to state agencies.

These included a P30 billion capital infusion into the central bank; a P2.79 billion obligation of the Bureau of Customs; and a PP644 million infusion into Philpost for the purchase of its foreclosed property and the payment of mandatory employer contributions to the GSIS and Philhealth.

Beyond the P53 billion in non-impact projects, the government also released P25 billion from the DAP for projects that were vaguely defined as various local projects that had been requested by legislators, local government officials and national agencies. The description sounds suspiciously like pork barrel, which has already been struck down as unconstitutional"and the sums are staggering. We certainly do not accept on faith that the billions thus spent on various local projects were all legitimate.

In his combative national address last week, President Aquino defended his program, parts of which were struck down as unconstitutional. Although he declined to admit any wrongdoing or even fault, he compared his governments action to parking in a no-parking zone to save a persons life.

But we just do not see the urgency of pumping millions of pesos into the state-owned propaganda machine, renovating the Palace, building a national film archive, funding stem cell research, or paying off the debts of one state agency to another. These may well have been legitimate expenses, but they clearly were not so urgent that they could not go through the normal"and legal"legislative budgeting process.

President Aquino is pushing hard to sway the Supreme Court to overturn its 13-0 decision against the DAP, but even his own numbers simply do not add up.

Author:
Date: July 21, 2014
Source: Manila Standard Today

(Last of two parts)

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) used funds released through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to purchase a portion of land occupied by the Philippine Childrens Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City.

In an interview with The STAR, PCMC director Julius Lecciones said PIDS, a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC), purchased last year from the National Housing Authority (NHA) a portion of the property that they occupy for P85 million.

The money came from the P100 million the GOCC received through DAP for their relocation, as shown in the list of DAP-identified projects recently released by Malacaang.

Last year, the PCMC said it was surprised when it received information that the NHA has sold to PIDS a 2,500-square meter portion of the 3.7-hectare property occupied by the hospital.

The sale came even as the NHA issued a notice to PCMC last year asking the hospital to pay more than P1 billion for the property it occupies.

Lecciones maintained that the portion of land sold to PIDS was not idle, contrary to claims by the NHA. He said it is the site of the hospitals sewage treatment facility, its oxygen plant, and generation set.

These are vital in the operations of the hospital, Lecciones said.

The PCMC director said PIDS understood the issue and is willing to return the property provided that the P85 million that they paid to the NHA for the portion of the land.

Lecciones noted that the PCMC used to have 6.2 hectares of property, but portions were sold by the NHA to the Ombudsman and the Court of Tax Appeals.

Were okay with the remaining (3.7 hectares), thats enough for (our modernization), he said.

P280 M for hospital

In the list of DAP-funded projects released by Malacaang, it was noted that P280 million was released by the government for the PCMC.

This project includes building renovation/retrofitting, the replacement of outmoded medical equipment and the expansion of facilities in order to save more patients, read the description of the project.

The retrofitting started amid reports that the hospital is being considered for relocation to a portion of land in the property owned by the Lung Center of the Philippines.

In a press conference in June, PCMC deputy director for hospital support service Jara Corazon Ehera said the retrofitting would be a waste of money if the hospital would end up being relocated.

The PCMC is opposing plans for the transfer, saying what it needs is the title for the current property that they occupy.

Author: Janvic Mateo
Date: July 21, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administrations proposed budget for its flagship program for the poor known as the conditional cash transfer (CCT) has almost quadrupled in the last four years, from P29.2 billion in 2011 to P78 billion next year.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. attributed the P15.4-billion increase from this years P62.6 billion CCT budget to the increase in coverage of its recipients.

This is due to an increase in the coverage, from 4.3 million to five million households as per National Household Targeting System, Coloma said on Sunday over state-run radio dzRB.

Aquinos 2011 national budget for CCT was P29.2 billion, which increased by P10.2 billion in 2012 (P39.4 billion), upped by nearly P5 billion more (P44.3-billion) in 2013 and by P18.3 billion this year " reaching P62.6 billion.

Next years CCT budget will be P15.4 billion more " or P78 billion.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad last Friday presented the 2015 budget before his fellow Cabinet members. On the same day, Aquino announced he rejected Abads resignation over the issue on Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The proposed national budget for 2015 will be P2.6 trillion. It will be submitted to Congress a day after Aquino delivers his fifth State of the Nation Address on July 28.

Among the key highlights in the budget is the increase in the allocation for the National Health Insurance Program " from P35.3 billion to P37.2 billion " which coverage also increased from 14.7 million to 15.4 million beneficiaries.

There is also an increase in the provision of basic educational facilities (classrooms, water and sanitation) from P44.6 billion to P52.7 billion.

The budget for the Department of Public Works and Highways programs was also hiked from P130.4 billion to P186.6 billion.

Palace justifies hike in CCT budget

In November last year, Coloma said the allocation for the CCT and 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program) increased every year.

The governments concern is reflected in the amounts that are being spent in order to address poverty reduction. We have a saying in management: Where you put your money, that is what your strategy is, he said.

The latest augmentation in the budget for the Department of Social Welfare and Development, according to Coloma, was based on the recommendation of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

Budget records showed that when Aquino took over in 2010, the government sought and obtained Congress approval for the CCT budget " P29.2 billion in 2011, P39.4 billion in 2012 and P44.3 billion in 2013.

Author: Delon Porcalla
Date: July 15, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines must pursue a new industrial policy to make its manufacturing sector competitive and take advantage of increased trade and investment opportunities offered by Asean market integration next year.

This (policy) is crucial not only to upgrade Philippine industries, generate more and better jobs, and reduce poverty but also to take advantage of the market opportunities and face the challenges arising from the Asean Economic Community, said Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) senior research fellow Rafaelita Aldaba.

In a study, Aldaba said this is imperative especially as the Philippines is now seen as a new growth market amidst the rapidly changing global conditions, with emerging economies becoming key players.

She believes that there are various potential growth areas that will enable the Philippine manufacturing industry catch up with neighboring countries experiencing substantial increases in manufacturing.

Aldaba cited as examples classic products where the Philippines has remained competitive, such as copper ores, unmanufactured tobacco, vegetable textile fibers, knitted clothing, machinery products and chemical products.

She also listed emerging product champions such as animal products like milk and cream; manufactured tobacco, parts of electric power machinery and glass and chemical products. Marginal or promising group include pulp and paper, edible products, ship, boat, motorcycles, aircraft associated equipment and medical instruments.

The policy focus is to observe and craft measures to help them grow, survive import competition and become exporters, added Aldaba, also the Asst. Secretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy Group of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

She said industry policies will focus on horizontal and vertical measures and a coordination mechanism to enhance firm productivity, strengthen supply chains to enable firms to move up the technology scale, link domestic firms with multinational companies and aggressively court more investment.

Aldaba said horizontal measures cover human resource development, small and medium enterprises development, technology upgrading and innovation, investment promotion and a competitive exchange rate policy.

These also address issues such as high power and logistics cost, smuggling, and infrastructure weaknesses.

On the other hand, vertical measures will address gaps in industry supply chains and expand the domestic market base as springboard for exports, she further said.

Author:
Date: July 14, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine coconut industry is an export-oriented sector. 1 It has about 3.5 million coconut farmers and 26 percent of the total agricultural land is devoted to coconut farming alone.

This industry also contributes an annual average of 5.97 percent to the countrys (GVA) gross value added and 1.14 percent to (GNP) gross domestic product.2

Coconut regions, though one of the most productive industry, host the largest number of rural poor3 and around 60 percent of the farmers and workers under this sector live below the poverty line.4 Problems vary from poor farm management practices, natural calamities, land conversion and pest and diseases.5

Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which devastated several islands in the Visayas in 2013, damaged 15 million coconut trees. This year another calamity hit the industry. A pest outbreak has almost wiped-out the coconut trees in Region IV-A.

The case of the coconut scale insect

The massive infestastation of CSI was first detected in 2010. Pest control measures have been done after its identification, but the insect thrived and more than a million coconut trees were infested.

Researchers started to re-investigate the situation. The CSI, commonly known as cocolisap is a common coconut pest. It looks like fish scales and has the ability to reproduce for a month.

They are commonly found under the coconut leaves. Local species usually thrive during dry season and die out during the rainy period. This, on the other hand, is no ordinary species.

Early this year, researchers from the UPLB went to Indonesia to get CSI samples and validated the pests identity through DNA testing. The results were positive.

Together with the local species Aspidiotus destructor, another CSI species, Aspidiotus rigidus has been identified as another outbreak species. Hence, a different approach was developed to manage the pest.

The delimiting survey

The University has been the source of scientific information that has guided the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) on its operation against the pest.

The Crop Protection Cluster of the College of Agriculture, headed by Dr. Celia Medina, has spearheaded several research and development (R and D) projects to address the threat since 2010.

In February 2012, Dr. Medinas team proposed an action project to control the CSI infestation in southern Luzon.

In January 2013, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala granted a P2 million research fund for UPLB to conduct research on taxonomy and development of mitigation measures.

By December 2013, UPLB produced one of its most important contributions on CSI control " the method of conducting delimiting survey.

PCA now can rapidly assess CSI infestation at an early stage while the leaves are still green.

Samples are transported and analyzed at UPLB, and results are then forwarded to PCA, which then sends a quick response team if results prove to be positive.

Mapping the infestation also led to the identification of three zones: (1) Outbreak areas where infestations need massive control.

(2) Non-outbreak areas where infestation is just starting.

(3) High risk areas. These areas are treated differently.

Saving the coconut industry

The massive treatment of cocolisap (coconut scale insect) infested areas around Region IV-A started on June 20, 2014.

Simultaneous pruning and trunk injection was done in highly affected provinces of Quezon, Batangas, Cavite and Laguna.

The treatment will last for six months until all infected areas are covered. Dr. Medina said that the pesticide would stay in the coconuts system up to 50 days. Beyond that, the nuts can be safely harvested.

Before the activity started in Sta. Cruz, San Pablo, Laguna, demo on pesticide application and farmers forum were done to clarify protocols.

Farmers were also able to ask questions to understand the process behind the treatment during the forum.

When we talk about agricultural competitiveness, it is not just about the number of technologies developed or the methods used. It should be stakeholder oriented too.

According to Dr. Susan Bacud, who specializes in community pest management, to further strengthen agriculture, socio-economic research should be done.

Technology is very important, but the people " the farmers, who will use this technology should also be highlighted, Bacud said, adding that stakeholders should be prepared in terms of calamities and pest outbreaks.

Furthermore, Bacud added, stakeholders should be able to do their own pest management strategies and be constantly informed.

She stressed that an important scheme to control pest is timely reporting. Once a pest occurence is noticed, farmers should be able to easily communicate with agriculture technicians and researchers.

Reporting is one way to prevent outbreaks and farmers should be able to do that.

Bacud concluded that the end goal of agricultural technology should be farmer empowerment.

References

1 Philippine Coconut Authority (2013). 2013 Outlook for the Coconut Industry. Manila. Retrieved from http://www.philexport.ph/c/document_library/get

2 Coconut Statistics. (2014). Retrieved from Philippine Coconut Authority: http://www.pca.da.gov.ph/cocostat.php

3 Dy, R. (2006). The Philippine Coconut Industry: Performance, Issues and Recommendations. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/4938753/The-Philippine-Coconut-Industry-Perfor...

4 Development Imperatives for the Philippine Coconut Sector. (2009). Retrieved from The Caucus of Development NGO Networks: http://code-ngo.org/home/images/stories/pdf/DevelopmentImperativesforthe...

5 Aragon, C. (2000). Coconut Program Area Research Planning and Prioritization. Discussion Paper 2000-31. Philippine Institute for Development Studies. Socio Economic Research Portal for the Philippines.

Author: Maribeth Jadina
Date: July 06, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

The protesters said that no amount of reports or studies could cloak the workers slide into worse conditions, and the more appalling poverty in urban poor communities where they also live.
MANILA " Workers and urban poor in Makati and Pasay cities brought empty plates, spoons and forks to dramatize the effect of low wages during a protest action held today July 16 in front of the Philippine Institute on Developmental Studies " National Economic Development Authority (PIDS-NEDA) offices in Amorsolo St., Makati. The protesters took issue with the government agencys recent statements attacking the minimum wage and casting it as an impediment to employment in the country.
PIDS-NEDA has recently released a report advancing such a conclusion in Labor Policy Analysis for Jobs Expansion and Development, written by Vicente Paqueo, Aniceto Orbeta, Leonardo Lanzona and Dean Dulay. Also, in a presentation of PIDS Economic Policy Monitor Seminar three months ago (April 3, 2014), it said: The case of Minimum Wage is, generally, not only unhelpful but highly detrimental to the welfare of the common man and the disadvantaged.

Unionist Gabby Delos Reyes from Wyeth Philippines Progressive Workers Union (WPPWU) said in a statement that workers today including those in the gleaming business district of Makati and Pasay cities are in need of a living wage. He said the current minimum wage is not enough for the day-to-day needs of Filipino families.
The current minimum wage level in the National Capital Region is P 451 ($10.25) with a P 15 ($0.35) addition tagged as Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). But according to IBON Foundation, the average daily living allowance required each day in Metro Manila by a family of 6 is at least P 1,050 ($23.86).

Yet, a government thinktank has all but claimed that the minimum wage should be weeded out. This implies that the government is in a campaign to stamp out any demand for wage increase, and to further dampen current salary levels, Delos Reyes said.

Workers say PIDS-NEDA report is false

There is not a single iota of truth in this report. And this is clearly a part of a bigger government scheme to pose the country as the cheapest and most flexible source of labor. We heard this from President Aquino himself when he stepped into office. . . and we condemn such an anti-worker position, said Lito Cobrado of Malayang Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Mead-Johnsons (MSM-MJ).

The unionists gathered for an hour-long lunch-break protest armed with empty plates. According to the organizers led by KPMM (Koalisyon ng Progresibo at Makabayang Manggagawa) chapter in Makati and Pasay, this lunchbreak protest symbolizes the increasing market prices of basic commodities especially rice, garlic and ginger, amid lower wages. KPMM Makati-Pasay is supporting the call of workers for the passage of Congressional Bill on the P 125 across-the-board increase for private corporations nationwide. The group is also a member of the Taxpayers Alliance Against Pork Barrel System (TAXAPO).

They said that no amount of reports or studies could cloak the workers slide into worse conditions, and the more appalling poverty in urban poor communities where they also live.

Minimum Wage-fixing in the Philippines has, for 25 years now, been under the Wage Rationalization Law that created the Regional Wage Boards. It determines the minimum wage levels in their designated region and industries. The labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno said, in an earlier picket July 1 in front of the Labor Department in Intramuros, that since the wage rationalization was implemented under the first Aquino government, workers received only meager adjustments. As a result, over the years, the gap between the minimum wage and the family living wage has widened. As such, they claim the workers of today are more oppressed, exploited and destitute.

A May 2013 study of independent think-tank Ibon Foundation shows that the gap between the minimum wage in Metro Manila and the family living wage has increased by 108.7 per cent since March 2003.
Another study by labor NGO Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, which uses 2006 Consumer Price Index, shows that the cumulative increase of P62 ($1.40) in the minimum wage in Metro Manila since Pres. Benigno Aquino III assumed office did little to improve the workers purchasing power. //



Author: MARYA SALAMAT
Date: July 16, 2014
Source: Bulatalat.com

FOR the Philippines to benefit from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) economic integration in 2015, it will have to remove or revisit outdated transport policies, according to an industry analyst.

In a recent presentation at the PortCalls-organized Mindanao Shipping Conference 2014 held in Cagayan de Oro City, Dr Adoracion Navarro, senior research fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), identified restrictions to full integration such as the countrys foreign ownership requirements for companies offering logistics services and the cabotage policy.

Deadline

The 60-40 equity rule on domestic logistics services as well as the cabotage policy will make 100 percent foreign entry not possible in the near to medium term, Navarro said.

She said logistics companies in Asean member countries should have allowed 70 percent foreign equity participation by 2013.

Navarro said PIDS is not pushing for blanket lifting of cabotage restrictions but merely advocating a revisit of the issue.

Instead of the immediate lifting of the policy, she said PIDS is reaching out to the Maritime Industry Authority to look at phased lifting for some types of exports or for some cargo volume.

Navarro cited the case of Indonesia, where the cabotage policy was lifted for oil and petroleum shipments.

Whats lacking in addressing the cabotage issue, she said, is political will of the decision makers, the legislators, including decision makers in the executive (department).

She said other restrictions to economic integration include Presidential Decree 1466, which states that government cargoes can only be transported by Philippine-flagged ships; port regulator Philippine Ports Authority also being a port operator; the one port, one operator policy in ports; airport infrastructure capacity constraints; and road traffic congestion, Navarro said.

On the other hand, she cited a freight forwarders survey conducted in 2011 which identified the barriers in setting up local operations in other Asean countries:

obtaining a license from a professional body; meeting minimum capital requirements; adhering to administrative and legal regulations in setting up a partnership; and meeting restrictive local labor employment regulations.

Restrictions

And once able to penetrate an Asean country, a Philippine company faces other restrictions, such as the need to account for differences in commercial practices and adhere to restrictive legal systems and contracting procedures, as well as the need to manage the lack of transparency, inconsistencies, or confusion in regulations, and address delays in payment.

In the World Bank Logistics Performance Index 2014, the Philippines ranked fourth among the 10 members of Asean in logistics performance.

Navarro said the Philippines was part of the CLMP (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines) grouping, Asean countries lagging behind in logistics performance.

Opportunities

Asean integration will also create trading opportunities for Philippine goods and boost the need for carrier services, she said.

Greater trade also means greater transport facilitation, Navarro said.

Potential exports to the 600-million consumer market include principal goods such as
electronic components, agricultural products, fishery products, apparel and clothing, metal components, and petroleum products, according to Navarro.

Moreover, integration will open up short sea shipping networks between the Philippines and its Asean neighbors. //

Author:
Date: July 14, 2014
Source: Sun Star Cebu

LARGE discrepancies in the commercial price of fertilizers and the sub-optimal application of fertilizer of farmers are major challenges that threaten the Philippine agricultural sector.
Study author Dr. Roehlano Briones, senior research fellow of state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies, identified two significant challenges facing the sector agriculture in regards to fertilizer sector -- inefficient fertilizer marketing (as seen in the large discrepancies in pricing across adjacent regions) and sub-optimal amounts of fertilizer applied by farmers.
Across the country, there is a wide dispersion in retail prices of fertilizer, Briones said. The cheapest fertilizers are found in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas, and Davao region, he said.
Moreover, the most expensive fertilizers are ironically sold in the poorest regions in the country such as the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Eastern Visayas, Briones said.
Future research is needed to resolve the pricing disparities in fertilizer, Briones noted. It would help to identify if disparities may be attributed to transaction cost differences or area-specific gaps in infrastructure and logistics, he said.
The diminishing importance of domestic production of fertilizer is also noticeable, Briones said. Domestic production of fertilizer was accounted for at least 70 percent of consumption from 1994 to 1996, but now the share is down to 30 percent or lower, he said.
Locally produced fertilizers are sourced from five firms, four of which are based in Luzon. These are mostly producers of smaller quantities of various common and specialty fertilizers, Briones said.
Soiltech Agricultural Products has a capacity to produce one million tons of fertilizers in a year and considered as the market leader in domestically produced fertilizer in Luzon, Briones said.
Meanwhile, Philphos, located in the Visayas, has the capacity to produce 1.17 million ton of fertilizer that distributes all over the country, he said.
Clearly, there are large-scale economies at work, limiting the number of domestic manufacturers, but the market as a whole need not be an oligopoly if there is strong competition from imports, Briones said.
Statistical analysis shows that ups and downs in the world price are efficiently transmitted to domestic markets. There is no evidence to support the hypothesis of excess profit from buying low abroad and selling high locally.
Imports are mostly sourced from Asean and other free trade partners where the import duty is zero. There is in effect free trade in fertilizers, Briones said.
"China is by far the largest source of imports of the Philippines, he said. Moreover, domestic production depends mainly on imported raw materials such as rock phosphate, anhydrous ammonia, sulfuric acid, and other finished fertilizer grades," he added.
Briones also found that farmers continue to apply sub-optimal amounts of fertilizer both for the main nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) and for micronutrients.
Although fertilizers positively contribute to profitability of rice farming, fertilizer is being underutilized in Philippine farms compared to other Asean countries, Briones said.
Based on the FAO FertiSTAT data (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Fertilizer Use Statistics) for 2001, fertilizer application in the countrys paddy rice areas was only 51 kilograms per hectare against Indonesias application at 105 kilograms per hectare.
Access to credit and risk aversion are not strong factors on the issue of sub-optimal amounts of fertilizer used in Philippine farms, Briones said. Lack of information and aversion to loss are other possible reasons.
Pinning down the explanation will require evidenced-based analysis at the level of the market and the farmer, to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of the farmers goals, opportunities, and constraints, he said.//

Author:
Date: July 14, 2014
Source: The Daily Tribune

LARGE discrepancies in the commercial price of fertilizers and the sub-optimal application of fertilizer of farmers are major challenges that threaten the Philippine agricultural sector.
Study author Dr. Roehlano Briones, senior research fellow of state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies, identified two significant challenges facing the sector agriculture in regards to fertilizer sector -- inefficient fertilizer marketing (as seen in the large discrepancies in pricing across adjacent regions) and sub-optimal amounts of fertilizer applied by farmers.
Across the country, there is a wide dispersion in retail prices of fertilizer, Briones said. The cheapest fertilizers are found in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas, and Davao region, he said.
Moreover, the most expensive fertilizers are ironically sold in the poorest regions in the country such as the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Eastern Visayas, Briones said.
Future research is needed to resolve the pricing disparities in fertilizer, Briones noted. It would help to identify if disparities may be attributed to transaction cost differences or area-specific gaps in infrastructure and logistics, he said.
The diminishing importance of domestic production of fertilizer is also noticeable, Briones said. Domestic production of fertilizer was accounted for at least 70 percent of consumption from 1994 to 1996, but now the share is down to 30 percent or lower, he said.
Locally produced fertilizers are sourced from five firms, four of which are based in Luzon. These are mostly producers of smaller quantities of various common and specialty fertilizers, Briones said.
Soiltech Agricultural Products has a capacity to produce one million tons of fertilizers in a year and considered as the market leader in domestically produced fertilizer in Luzon, Briones said.
Meanwhile, Philphos, located in the Visayas, has the capacity to produce 1.17 million ton of fertilizer that distributes all over the country, he said.
Clearly, there are large-scale economies at work, limiting the number of domestic manufacturers, but the market as a whole need not be an oligopoly if there is strong competition from imports, Briones said.
Statistical analysis shows that ups and downs in the world price are efficiently transmitted to domestic markets. There is no evidence to support the hypothesis of excess profit from buying low abroad and selling high locally.
Imports are mostly sourced from Asean and other free trade partners where the import duty is zero. There is in effect free trade in fertilizers, Briones said.
"China is by far the largest source of imports of the Philippines, he said. Moreover, domestic production depends mainly on imported raw materials such as rock phosphate, anhydrous ammonia, sulfuric acid, and other finished fertilizer grades," he added.
Briones also found that farmers continue to apply sub-optimal amounts of fertilizer both for the main nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) and for micronutrients.
Although fertilizers positively contribute to profitability of rice farming, fertilizer is being underutilized in Philippine farms compared to other Asean countries, Briones said.
Based on the FAO FertiSTAT data (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Fertilizer Use Statistics) for 2001, fertilizer application in the countrys paddy rice areas was only 51 kilograms per hectare against Indonesias application at 105 kilograms per hectare.
Access to credit and risk aversion are not strong factors on the issue of sub-optimal amounts of fertilizer used in Philippine farms, Briones said. Lack of information and aversion to loss are other possible reasons.
Pinning down the explanation will require evidenced-based analysis at the level of the market and the farmer, to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of the farmers goals, opportunities, and constraints, he said.//

Author:
Date: July 12, 2014
Source: Sun Star Cebu

The lack of urban-population data in the Philippines is making it difficult to implement solutions to problems brought about by high population.
In an interview with the BusinessMirror at the sidelines of the World Population Day news conference on Wednesday, Commission on Population (Popcom) Deputy Executive Director Rosalinda D. Marcelino said apart from investments from the national government, local government units (LGUs) must also invest in statistics.
Right now, LGUs lack the capacity [to address urbanization]. For one, they do not have data. Migrants are coming into their area, but they [LGUs] do not have data. They lack data, because who will generate the data? Even the census, which is done every 10 years, does not have data on migrants, Marcelino said.
The challenge to local governments is to be able to generate their own database. Without it, they cannot plan; they will not be able to plan effectively and responsibly if they dont know where the migrants are, or know if these migrants are young, old, productive. Data are important in their planning so they will be able to address urbanization challenges, she stressed.
Marcelino said only a few cities have invested in data, particularly the use of Community-Based Monitoring Systems (CBMS), which provides data on the number of residents and households, as well as the other pertinent statistics, such as age, gender, educational attainment, and so forth.
The CBMS is one of the tools developed in the early 1990s under the Micro Impacts of Macroeconomic Adjustment Policies Project-Philippines that seek to provide policy-makers and program implementers with a good information base for tracking the impacts of macroeconomic reforms and various policy shocks
The system can be particularly useful in monitoring and mapping poverty, formulating local development plans, improving local governance and localizing the Millennium Development Goals.
However, Marcelino said not all municipalities can afford to use the CBMS due to lack of funding and manpower needed for the system to work.
She said while cities like Pasay City was able to institute the CBMS, not all municipalities are as lucky. She said for one, new computer systems are needed to use the CBMS and knowledgeable manpower who can help in the generation and updating of the data.
There are major challenges. [This is why] the government must focus on urbanization. When migration increases, people from rural [areas] going to the cities, the result is high urbanization rate, Marcelino said.
One [challenges] is the provision of the appropriate services to the increasing population who are usually migrants. Services in health, services in education, shelter, food, water and other problems [like] traffic, pollution, these are existing realities in urban areas and this is where the challenge of the government is, she explained.
In 2009 CBMS Network Leader and Senior Research Fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies Dr. Celia Reyes said 59 provinces covering 17,244 barangays in 667 municipalities and 41 cities in the country are already using the system.
She said the CBMS can minimize leakage and wastage of these resources by using sector-specific indicators generated by CBMS in identifying eligible beneficiaries. For instance, households with malnourished children should be the beneficiaries of supplemental feeding programs.
Reyes explained that the CBMS has 14 composite indicators that combine the different indicators using statistical techniques that can be used to rank the poorest households in the barangay or municipality. //

Author: Cai U. Ordinario
Date: July 09, 2014
Source: BusinessMirror

The lack of urban-population data in the Philippines is making it difficult to implement solutions to problems brought about by high population.
In an interview with the BusinessMirror at the sidelines of the World Population Day news conference on Wednesday, Commission on Population (Popcom) Deputy Executive Director Rosalinda D. Marcelino said apart from investments from the national government, local government units (LGUs) must also invest in statistics.
Right now, LGUs lack the capacity [to address urbanization]. For one, they do not have data. Migrants are coming into their area, but they [LGUs] do not have data. They lack data, because who will generate the data? Even the census, which is done every 10 years, does not have data on migrants, Marcelino said.
The challenge to local governments is to be able to generate their own database. Without it, they cannot plan; they will not be able to plan effectively and responsibly if they dont know where the migrants are, or know if these migrants are young, old, productive. Data are important in their planning so they will be able to address urbanization challenges, she stressed.
Marcelino said only a few cities have invested in data, particularly the use of Community-Based Monitoring Systems (CBMS), which provides data on the number of residents and households, as well as the other pertinent statistics, such as age, gender, educational attainment, and so forth.
The CBMS is one of the tools developed in the early 1990s under the Micro Impacts of Macroeconomic Adjustment Policies Project-Philippines that seek to provide policy-makers and program implementers with a good information base for tracking the impacts of macroeconomic reforms and various policy shocks
The system can be particularly useful in monitoring and mapping poverty, formulating local development plans, improving local governance and localizing the Millennium Development Goals.
However, Marcelino said not all municipalities can afford to use the CBMS due to lack of funding and manpower needed for the system to work.
She said while cities like Pasay City was able to institute the CBMS, not all municipalities are as lucky. She said for one, new computer systems are needed to use the CBMS and knowledgeable manpower who can help in the generation and updating of the data.
There are major challenges. [This is why] the government must focus on urbanization. When migration increases, people from rural [areas] going to the cities, the result is high urbanization rate, Marcelino said.
One [challenges] is the provision of the appropriate services to the increasing population who are usually migrants. Services in health, services in education, shelter, food, water and other problems [like] traffic, pollution, these are existing realities in urban areas and this is where the challenge of the government is, she explained.
In 2009 CBMS Network Leader and Senior Research Fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies Dr. Celia Reyes said 59 provinces covering 17,244 barangays in 667 municipalities and 41 cities in the country are already using the system.
She said the CBMS can minimize leakage and wastage of these resources by using sector-specific indicators generated by CBMS in identifying eligible beneficiaries. For instance, households with malnourished children should be the beneficiaries of supplemental feeding programs.
Reyes explained that the CBMS has 14 composite indicators that combine the different indicators using statistical techniques that can be used to rank the poorest households in the barangay or municipality. //

Author: Cai U. Ordinario
Date: July 09, 2014
Source: BusinessMirror

The Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) has underscored the need to pursue a new industrial policy to make its manufacturing sector competitive and take advantage of increased trade and investment opportunities offered by ASEAN market integration next year.

This is crucial not only to upgrade Philippine industries, generate more and better jobs, and reduce poverty but also to take advantage of the market opportunities and face the challenges arising from the ASEAN Economic Community, said PIDS senior research fellow Rafaelita Aldaba.

Aldaba said this is imperative especially as the Philippines is now seen as a new growth market amidst the rapidly changing global conditions, with emerging economies becoming key players.

There are various potential growth areas that will enable the Philippine manufacturing industry catch up with neighboring countries experiencing substantial increases in manufacturing, said Aldaba.

She cited as examples classic products where the Philippines has remained competitive such as copper ores, unmanufactured tobacco, vegetable textile fibers, knitted clothing, machinery products and chemical products.

Among the emerging product champions are animal products like milk and cream, manufactured tobacco, parts of electric power machinery and glass and chemical products. Marginal or promising group include pulp and paper, edible products, ship, boat, motorcycles, aircraft associated equipment and medical instruments.

The policy focus is to observe and craft measures to help them grow, survive import competition and become exporters, added Aldaba.

She stressed that industry policies should focus on horizontal and vertical measures and a coordination mechanism to enhance firm productivity, strengthen supply chains to enable firms to move up the technology scale, link domestic firms with multinational companies and aggressively court more investment.

Aldaba said horizontal measures cover human resource development, small and medium enterprises development, technology upgrading and innovation, investment promotion and a competitive exchange rate policy.

The government should also address issues such as high power and logistics cost, smuggling, and infrastructure weaknesses.

On the other hand, vertical measures will address gaps in industry supply chains and expand the domestic market base as springboard for exports, Aldaba added.//

Author: Edu Lopez
Date: July 09, 2014
Source: Manila Bulletin

Researchers and rice market experts say reduced official imports in 2013 as part of a rice self-sufficiency program by the government is the cause for exorbitant rice price hikes in the Philippines. The government has initiated several measures to curb price hikes and also increased the quantum of official rice imports in 2014. So far, the government has imported around one million tons of rice from Vietnam in this year. USDA estimates the Philippines to import around 2 million tons, including unofficial imports, in 2014. Dr.Roehlano Briones, a Senior Researcher at the Philippines Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) shares his views over the current developments in the Philippines rice sector with Oryza.

Oryza: Recently, the National Food Authority (NFA) and the Philippines government have come under severe criticism over rice price hikes and the government says it is taking measures to ensure adequate supplies in the market. It also decided to import an additional 200,000 tons of rice from Vietnam under these circumstances. What do you think are the main reasons for price hikes and when do you think will they return to normal?

Dr.Roehlano Briones: Reduced official [rice] imports and smuggling. [Prices] will normalize when official imports rise.

Oryza: The government has decided to double the release limit of NFA rice, which is sold at P32 per kilogram (around $727 per ton) compared to the market price of the same rice at P42 per kilogram ($954 per ton), to 8,000 tons per day in the market. What do you think will be the cost of this decision for the government? Is this a right decision or do you think any other measure to control prices would have been better?

Dr.Roehlano Briones: Increasing the release volume [of NFA rice] will help reduce prices. [But] this will increase fiscal burden if government sells [too much rice] at subsidized rate. But long term solution is liberalized [rice] import policy.

Oryza: Experts have been slamming the NFAs role in paddy procurement and imports. What do you think the exact role of NFA should be?

Dr.Roehlano Briones: NFA should stick to regulation and overseeing food security stock. Marketing decisions should be coursed through a different government agency.

Oryza: Now the government is planning to reconsider providing subsidies to the paddy procurement by the NFA. What would be the pros and cons of this decision?

Dr.Roehlano Briones: [Reduce] fiscal burden. Especially, now with high paddy prices.

Oryza: The National Price Coordination Council (NPCC) has recommended setting a price ceiling at P39.50 per kilogram of well-milled commercial rice. Will that be a feasible step for the government?

Author:
Date: July 07, 2014
Source: Oryza.com

Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said Sunday the graduate education system plays a crucial role in mapping growth goals.
Mira Alexis Ofreneo, author of the study and PIDS research consultant, says it is important that masteral and doctoral programs are needed to manage, schools, corporations, and government organizations.
There are 2,299 higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Philippines, 656 of which are state universities and colleges (SUCs) while 1,643 are private HEIs, Ofreneo said.
A total of 647 HEIs (28 percent) offer masters programs and 313 (14 percent) offer doctoral programs.
Ofreneo said master programs are led by Education (27 percent), Nursing (14 percent), and Business Administration (11 percent).
The most widely offered doctoral programs are Educational Management (45 percent), Education (25 percent), and Public Administration (19 percent), Ofreneo said.
The other programs that landed in the top 10 are Business Administration, Philosophy, Management, Development Education, Science Education, Educational Administration, and Business Management.
During the National Workshop on Services last May organized by PIDS and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tereso Tullao of the Angelo King Institute for Economic and Business Studies, De La Salle University, cited the need to raise the competitiveness of Philippine higher education.
The country ranked 67th in higher education and training and 81st in tertiary enrolment in the 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Report.
The Report assessed 148 companies to gain insight into the drivers of productivity and prosperity.
Only 21.5 percent of the more than 2,200 HEIs in the country have some form of accreditation, Tullao said.
Only 12.7 percent of 130,000 faculty members have doctoral degrees, he added.
In terms of the number of Scopus-listed articles for each ASEAN University Network (AUN) member-university, three universities in the Philippines are identified. The University of the Philippines - Diliman has produced 2,108, De La Salle University has 1,028, and Ateneo de Manila University has produced 440, Tullao said.
Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database for academic journal articles. It covers nearly 21,000 titles from over 5,000 publishers.
The National University of Singapore has produced 74,560 documents and has the highest cumulative number of Scopus-listed documents in the ASEAN region, Tullao said.
Leaders of the services sector agree that the graduate education programs in the country should advance Philippine services sectors in the Asia-Pacific region given that the country has vast potentials to be the heart of services trade in the Asia Pacific.
The country can tap its vast human resource opportunities in the maritime, outsourcing, franchising, medical, and educational services, said PIDS research consultant Dr. Ramonette Serafica during the workshop.
This was supported by Ana Maria Bongato, executive director for talent development at the IT Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP). According to Bongato, the countrys vast potentials in the Philippine Information Technology " Business Processing Management industry is a treasure trove waiting to be exploited. Bongato said the country currently offers a wide range of services such as IT application, engineering, animation, data analytics, and other business process services to foreign firms.//

Author: Jennifer Ambanta
Date: July 07, 2014
Source: Manila Standard Today

The use of science and technology has proven to be a key ingredient to a countrys economic development, and the lack of it cannot be compensated for by additional labor and capital, one of the Philippines top scientists said.
The country needs a technology-explicit development agenda to increase its economic productivity and foster the governments thrust for inclusive growth, said William Padolina, president of the National Academy of Science and Technology.
The experience of many countries shows that economic development is not achieved by increased infusion of labor and capital, but by improving economic efficiency or productivity, said Padolina, who has a PhD in botany/phytochemistry, and is a member of the board of trustees of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
Padolina made the call in his keynote address during the recent annual Symposium and General Assembly of the Philippine APEC Study Center Network (PASCN), the local research network focused on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation agenda. PIDS serves as the PASCN secretariat.
The scientist said science and technology would be able to provide the tools and methods to make the country productive.
He said science and technology should be able to address seven areas like economic efficiency, trade facilitation, investment incentives, food security, human resource development, environmental protection, and disaster and hazard risk management.
Science and technology competence provides the real base for innovation. It is scientific competence that is vital to keeping diseases out, in containing and eradicating incursions of diseases and in providing a sound basis for product standards development, Padolina added.
As in any risk assessment, science and technology obviously have a key role in making sure that standards are appropriate, in making sure they are sound in theory and robust in practice, he said.
Meanwhile, talking about the contribution of the knowledge economy to human development, Leonardo Lanzona, Jr., director of the Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development, said there was a need to identify the role of educational institutions in effectively utilizing knowledge creation.
He said the impact of the knowledge economy manifests through a shift in the production function and an increase in the competitiveness of inputs.
According to the governments Updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016, science and technology as well as higher education have an important role in the countrys effort to attract high-quality and high productivity activities, such as the greater value-added parts of business process outsourcing, tourism, and some branches of industry.
Through a rationalization of the roles of higher education institutions and a finer delineation of their roles, the turnout of a critical mass of scientists, engineers, and other technical personnel shall be pursued to allow the country to climb the value-added ladder in sectors where it possesses global competitive potential, the PDP stated.
The Plan also said investments in research and development, and science and technology policies are expected to boost total factor productivitys contribution to Philippine gross domestic product growth.//

Author: Mayvelin U. Caraballo
Date: July 07, 2014
Source: Manila Times

The governments active labor market programs (ALMPs) have provided short-term job opportunities to disadvantaged sectors, but the country must map out programs and policies that will promote private investments to generate more employment.
A recent study released by the state-owned think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) stressed the need to boost growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which have crucial roles in employment generation.
The study said constraints faced by SMEs must be addressed, including the lack of access to additional capital, unavailability or inaccessibility of raw materials and difficulty to comply with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements to penetrate larger markets.These constraints are consistent with the macro studies on the reasons for the low private investments in the country, it noted.
The study suggested that the country develop policies that will address these identified constraints to SME development. It is also imperative to undertake programs linked to the overall industrial policy of government. The government has established ALMPs to address persistent unemployment and underemployment despite high economic growth.
The community-based employment program (CBEP) is among the governments priority ALMP that aims to contribute to the national goal of inclusive growth, poverty reduction and job creation, particularly in the countryside or the local community. Components of CBEP are government or public-private partnership infrastructure projects, social infrastructure such as livelihood and self-employment undertakings or projects, and emergency response income support projects.
The study also noted that the Philippine economic growth has yet to translate into higher investments specifically in the agriculture and manufacturing sector to have significant increase in jobs.
A major factor to the sluggish growth in employment is the low growth of private investment, it said.//

Author: Edu Lopez
Date: July 05, 2014
Source: Manila Bulletin

ANC Video interview of Dr. Roelhano Briones

Author:
Date: July 05, 2014
Source: ANC

DESPITE a number of academic institutions offering post-graduate studies nationwide, a study recently released by state-owned think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said graduate studies must also cater to the countrys development needs.

The study carried out through the PIDS-Commission on Higher Education research project was titled, An Assessment of the State of Graduate Education Programs in the Philippines and authored by PIDS Research Consultant Mira Alexis Ofreneo.

Ofreneo said academic institutions must determine if the graduate education programs they offer contribute to the skills and competencies needed in the labor market. She added that these material and doctoral programs must also develop the competencies of students to manage schools, corporations and government organizations.

Graduate education also ensures the steady supply of graduates who can teach masters and doctoral programs later on. But is the country producing them simply to meet this human resource need? While our graduate education programs are needed to produce good teachers and good managers, it is critical to analyze how the countrys graduate education system can best serve the needs of the country to meet its development goals, Ofreneo said in a PIDS policy note.

Ofreneos data showed that there are a total of 2,299 higher-education institutions (HEIs) in the Philippines. Around 656 of these are state universities and colleges (SUCs), while 1,643 are private HEIs.

Only a total of 647 HEIs or 28 percent offer masters programs and 313 or 14 percent offer doctoral programs.

The masters programs with the most number of graduates are Education at 27 percent; Nursing, 14 percent; and Business Administration, 11 percent.

Education Management, Public Administration, Teaching, Management, Information Technology, Master of Arts programs, and Public Health were among the programs that landed in the top 10.

Meanwhile, Ofreneo said the most widely offered doctoral programs are Educational Management at 45 percent; Education, 25 percent; and Public Administration, 19 percent.

That landed in the top 10 are Business Administration, Philosophy, Management, Development Education, Science Education, Educational Administration and Business Management.

Given that the top doctoral programs, such as Educational Administration, Business Administration, and Public Administration are avenues for developing the leaders of the countrys schools, HEIs, and private and public sectors, it is important to ask if their current curricula are adequately preparing our future managers and administrators, Ofreneo said.

Recently, Dr. Tereso Tullao of the Angelo King Institute for Economic and Business Studies of De La Salle University, said the country still has a lot of catching up to do to raise the competitiveness level of Philippine higher education.

The Philippines is ranked 67th in higher education and training and 81st in tertiary enrollment in the 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Report. The report assessed the competitiveness of 148 companies to provide insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.

In relation to this, only 21.5 percent of the more than 2,200 HEIs in the country have some form of accreditation, Tullao said. Only 12.7 percent of 130,000 faculty members have doctoral degrees.

In terms of the number of Scopus-listed articles for each Asean University Network (AUN) member-university, three universities in the Philippines are identified. The University of the Philippines - Diliman has produced 2,108; De La Salle University 1,028; and Ateneo de Manila University 440, Tullao said.

Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database for academic journal articles. It covers nearly 21,000 titles from over 5,000 publishers.

However, these figures are measly compared with the National University of Singapore (NUS) that has produced 74,560 documents and has the highest cumulative number of Scopus-listed documents in the Asean region, Tullao said.

Leaders of the services sector agree that the graduate education programs in the country should advance Philippine services sectors in the Asia-Pacific region given that the country has vast potentials to be the heart of services trade in the Asia Pacific.//

Author: Cai U. Ordinario
Date: July 06, 2014
Source: BusinessMirror

DESPITE a number of academic institutions offering post-graduate studies nationwide, a study recently released by state-owned think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said graduate studies must also cater to the countrys development needs.

The study carried out through the PIDS-Commission on Higher Education research project was titled, An Assessment of the State of Graduate Education Programs in the Philippines and authored by PIDS Research Consultant Mira Alexis Ofreneo.

Ofreneo said academic institutions must determine if the graduate education programs they offer contribute to the skills and competencies needed in the labor market. She added that these material and doctoral programs must also develop the competencies of students to manage schools, corporations and government organizations.

Graduate education also ensures the steady supply of graduates who can teach masters and doctoral programs later on. But is the country producing them simply to meet this human resource need? While our graduate education programs are needed to produce good teachers and good managers, it is critical to analyze how the countrys graduate education system can best serve the needs of the country to meet its development goals, Ofreneo said in a PIDS policy note.

Ofreneos data showed that there are a total of 2,299 higher-education institutions (HEIs) in the Philippines. Around 656 of these are state universities and colleges (SUCs), while 1,643 are private HEIs.

Only a total of 647 HEIs or 28 percent offer masters programs and 313 or 14 percent offer doctoral programs.

The masters programs with the most number of graduates are Education at 27 percent; Nursing, 14 percent; and Business Administration, 11 percent.

Education Management, Public Administration, Teaching, Management, Information Technology, Master of Arts programs, and Public Health were among the programs that landed in the top 10.

Meanwhile, Ofreneo said the most widely offered doctoral programs are Educational Management at 45 percent; Education, 25 percent; and Public Administration, 19 percent.

That landed in the top 10 are Business Administration, Philosophy, Management, Development Education, Science Education, Educational Administration and Business Management.

Given that the top doctoral programs, such as Educational Administration, Business Administration, and Public Administration are avenues for developing the leaders of the countrys schools, HEIs, and private and public sectors, it is important to ask if their current curricula are adequately preparing our future managers and administrators, Ofreneo said.

Recently, Dr. Tereso Tullao of the Angelo King Institute for Economic and Business Studies of De La Salle University, said the country still has a lot of catching up to do to raise the competitiveness level of Philippine higher education.

The Philippines is ranked 67th in higher education and training and 81st in tertiary enrollment in the 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Report. The report assessed the competitiveness of 148 companies to provide insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.

In relation to this, only 21.5 percent of the more than 2,200 HEIs in the country have some form of accreditation, Tullao said. Only 12.7 percent of 130,000 faculty members have doctoral degrees.

In terms of the number of Scopus-listed articles for each Asean University Network (AUN) member-university, three universities in the Philippines are identified. The University of the Philippines - Diliman has produced 2,108; De La Salle University 1,028; and Ateneo de Manila University 440, Tullao said.

Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database for academic journal articles. It covers nearly 21,000 titles from over 5,000 publishers.

However, these figures are measly compared with the National University of Singapore (NUS) that has produced 74,560 documents and has the highest cumulative number of Scopus-listed documents in the Asean region, Tullao said.

Leaders of the services sector agree that the graduate education programs in the country should advance Philippine services sectors in the Asia-Pacific region given that the country has vast potentials to be the heart of services trade in the Asia Pacific.//

Author: Cai U. Ordinario
Date: July 06, 2014
Source: BusinessMirror

THE country's graduate education system is critical to serve the country's development goals, according to a research paper published by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (Pids).
It is necessary to determine if the graduate education programs in the country contribute to the skills and competencies needed in the labor market, said Mira Alexis Ofreneo, author of the study and Pids research consultant. Moreover, it is important that the countrys masteral and doctoral programs are developing the competencies needed to manage, schools, corporations, and government organizations, Ofreneo said.
The study was carried out through the PIDS-CHED research project An Assessment of the State of Graduate Education Programs in the Philippines.
There are 2,299 higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Philippines, 656 of which are state universities and colleges (SUCs) while 1,643 are private HEIs, Ofreneo said. A total of 647 HEIs (28 percent) offer masters programs and 313 (14 percent) offer doctoral programs, she said.
The masters programs with the most number of graduates are Education (27 percent), Nursing (14 percent), and Business Administration (11 percent), Ofreneo said. Education Management, Public Administration, Teaching, Management, Information Technology, Master of Arts programs, and Public Health were the other programs that landed in the top 10, she said.
Meanwhile, the most widely offered doctoral programs are Educational Management (45 percent), Education (25 percent), and Public Administration (19 percent), Ofreneo said. The other programs that landed in the top 10 are Business Administration, Philosophy, Management, Development Education, Science Education, Educational Administration, and Business Management, she said.
During the National Workshop on Services last May organized by PIDS and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tereso Tullao of the Angelo King Institute for Economic and Business Studies, De La Salle University, underscored in his presentation that the country still has a lot of catching up to do to raise the competitiveness level of Philippine higher education.
The Philippines is ranked 67th in higher education and training and 81st in tertiary enrollment in the 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Report. The Report assessed the competitiveness of 148 companies to provide insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.
"In relation to this, only 21.5 percent of the more than 2,200 HEIs in the country have some form of accreditation," Tullao said. Only 12.7 percent of 130,000 faculty members have doctoral degrees.//


Author:
Date: July 06, 2014
Source: Sun Star Cebu

MANILA, Philippines " Governments policy on rice self-sufficiency and not price manipulation is to blame for the rising prices of rice, an economist said Friday.
Roehlano Briones, an economist at the Philippine Institute of Development Studies, said the surging prices are a result of increased local production to meet the countrys rice supply requirements.
Its because of the self-sufficiency policy, because you want the rice farmers domestically to be able to supply all of the rice requirements of the country. They can do it, but you have to pay them a much higher price than what is available in the world market, Briones told ANC.
Youre going to experience high prices on the consumer side, that is the unfortunate by-product of that policy, he added.
Briones also said that he does not believe that price manipulation is occurring based on a highly competitive market.
We conducted a studyWe interviewed farmers to retailers, focusing on Metro Manila and nearby sources of rice, and we found that in each stage, the market was highly competitive, there were many choices both on the buyer side and seller side, margins were very minimumand retailers have lots of options, he said.
He also said that a 90 to 95 percent rice sufficiency goal for the Philippines is reasonable because of the high cost of producing rice in the Philippines, nothing that supply simply cannot catch up with demand.
He cited geography issues in the country, compared to other neighboring rice producers like Thailand and Vietnam, which have vast well watered areas.
We dont have that kind of endowment of large, watered flat land, he said.
In a separate interview on ANC, National Food Authority's new administrator Arthur Juan said the Philippines may have to wait until 2016 to achieve its goal of 100 percent rice self-sufficiency.
However, unlike Briones, Juan believes that the increase in rice prices is due in part to price manipulation by some traders.//

Author: Jon Carlos Rodriguez
Date: July 04, 2014
Source: ABS-CBNnews.com

P-Noy doesnt believe the sudden increase in prices was caused by production and supply problems. He told reporters in Iloilo that Agriculture officials told him they suspect a possible conspiracy among dealers of garlic and rice to create a shortage in the market and drive up prices.
This hoarding conspiracy excuse is overused. Agriculture officials resort to it every time prices shoot up because they had been sleeping on their jobs. I cannot believe the President fell for one of the oldest excuses in the book.
Why? P-Noy said what he said in Iloilo because (a) he wants to protect the reputation of his administration. It is clear his Agri officials didnt plan early enough for the expected lean months for rice and other commodities. They were deluded about their self sufficiency claims.
The failure of his Agriculture secretary is his failure too, unless he fires him for the failure. P-Noy most likely knows things are not right so he decided to split the Agri chiefs job into two, giving the problematic portions to Kiko Pangilinan but didnt have the heart to fire Agri Sec Procy Alcala. Thats not good enough and P-Noy knows it. So, he must look for an excuse and a conspiracy theory sounds like headline material.
Another possible explanation is that (b) P-Noy actually believes the excuse of Mr Alcala but that would make him look pretty gullible, not too intelligent and would explain a lot of the failures in his watch.
Still, another explanation is that (c) P-Noy has absolutely no respect for media so that when he is asked about a burning issue of the day, he says what sounds like front page material even if he honestly thinks what he is saying is bullshit. From his experience, what he says always lands in the front page, even if it makes no sense.
Consider the bullshit in this quote from P-Noy on the rapid rise in the prices of rice, garlic and other principal household commodities: Did the supply come short? Some are saying that theres more than enough supply, but there seems to be a suspicion"I repeat suspicion"that theres a conspiracy to keep the prices high, especially that of garlic, he said in an interview in Iloilo City aired over state-run dzRB.
P-Noy then said the same conspiracy was suspected among dealers of rice which he said has caused an artificial shortage of the staple. Someone is taking advantage of the situation, and I repeat, this is a suspicion. While there is sufficient supply, theres none in the market. It seems that they noticed a low supply of the NFA, and they probably thought this was the right time to increase prices.
How can anyone say while there is sufficient supply, there is none in the market? Supply is either there in the market or not there. If it is being hoarded in some warehouse, it is still his governments duty to flush it out. In other words, there is no escaping the fact that it is his responsibility through his Agriculture secretary to make sure the market has adequate supply to keep prices reasonable.
And if P-Noy had been listening to his Economics Planning Secretary Arsi Balisacan, he must realize by now that bad policies are also responsible for the horrible situation of high prices giving Filipino housewives daily migraine. Having the right policy should have flushed out all those supposed hoarded stocks faster than an NBI and police raid could.
Hoarders are business people who dont want to lose money. They know their economics better than a President who was taught Economics 101 by his predecessor, former President Arroyo, in Ateneo. This time, he can justifiably blame GMA for his failure to grasp basic economic concepts.
The cost of failure that resulted in higher prices is significant to our economy. The Bangko Sentral said it sees inflation ramping up in June closer to the governments full-year target of five percent due to elevated prices of food, education, and transportation. Inflation hit 4.5 percent last May, the highest since Nov 2011. DBS, a Singaporean bank, sees Q3 inflation accelerating above five percent. Labor will be asking for wage hikes, further reducing price competitiveness of our industries.
If Alcala and his boys were doing their jobs or were capable of doing their jobs, there were signs out there early on of this impending price shocker. In rice, data from the Philippine Statistical Authority show that as of May 1, the NFAs stock had dwindled to 14 days of national consumption.
The NFA is mandated to maintain a buffer stock based on a national consumption rate of 34,000 metric tons daily. Based on the governments measure of rice self-sufficiency, supply must exceed yearly demand by 90 days worth of buffer stock.
So now we have a crisis that should have been avoidable. Kiko Pangilinan, P-Noys newly appointed agri troubleshooter, announced that importing a million tons to flood the market and force the prices down is the administrations solution to recent rice price surges. This action plan, assuming government is able to pull it off beyond press releases, may be too late to make a difference.
P-Noy said the hoarders may have noticed NFAs buffer stock is low, effectively admitting that Alcala and his NFA chief goofed. They made wrong rice demand and supply projections. As a consequence, NFA didnt import enough rice to satisfy what is required and made its decision to import far too late for the stocks to arrive and serve its price mitigation purpose.
P-Noy, Sec. Balisacan and Sec .Pangilinan must go for a long term response, and that means a drastic policy change. Late last week, there was hope that finally, our government is ready for needed changes in our rice policy.
Secretary Balisacan told Bloomberg that the administration is considering a change in standing policy and allow a free market where private traders can import as much rice as they want. Balisacan explained this is needed to battle record-high domestic prices and limit losses at NFA. We need to get our trade policy right to address rising rice prices, Bloomberg quotes Balisacan.
Our approach in restricting rice imports without an adequate assurance that local rice production would be sufficient to meet demand was the main factor that led to higher prices, he explained. Government, Balisacan said, would instead collect tariffs on the imports.
But now, Pangilinan is saying that the administration will continue the ban on private rice imports that Alcala and his resigned NFA chief imposed. This is against the recommendation of governments own economists at PIDS and NEDA.
Keeping governments failed policy on rice will show P-Noy doesnt have the balls to do the right thing instead of the politically expedient thing. If he is to risk his political capital, this change in rice policy is a far better issue to choose than denying Nora Aunor national artist status.
It is time for the political leadership of this country to listen to what government economists have been saying: let the private sector do the importing. The DA-NFA can then use the 50-percent import duty to improve rice varieties, irrigation, fertilizers, harvests, and post-harvest facilities and techniques to improve income of farmers that may eventually lead to self-sufficiency.
In any case, there is urgency in reversing the policy that has mired NFA in heavy debts through the years. Again, as I reported here last Friday, Bloomberg estimates that NFA debts by 2016 may be 2x the national defense budget this year if there is no policy change.
On a flight back from Japan last week, P-Noy was reported to have said that based on reports from the Agri department, I guess it is not the vast majority that is getting affected.
How can he say most Filipinos are not affected by the hike in prices? P-Noy must be out of touch with the Filipino peoples needs if he believes his Agri chief on this one. Or he had too much saki while in Japan.
It is a pity some Cabinet members are making a fool of P-Noy with their false stories and excuses. Worse, P-Noy seems to believe them based on what he is saying and the lack of appropriate action to set things right.
Sen Serge Osmena, who spearheaded P-Noys 2010 campaign said it all for us folks who had high hopes for Ninoys son. Serge denounced what he called the NPAs or the non performing assets in the Cabinet and P-Noy himself, a lousy manager.
P-Noy is obviously being taken for a ride by his boys and he seems to be okay with it. Hay naku talaga!//

Boo Chancos e-mail address isbchanco@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @boochanco

Author: Boo Chanco
Date: July 02, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

THE National Food Authority (NFA) should really seriously review its rice-subsidy program, specifically on its procurement of the grain staple, a rice economist said on Tuesday.
The NFA should get out of the rice business and allow free trade in rice, Roehlano M. Briones, a senior research fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), said.
In response to questions sent to him via electronic mail last week, Briones added: The only reason palay costs that much is because of lack of competition from imports.
Briones issued his statement after Secretary Francis Pangilinan announced that the NFA is currently reviewing its rice-subsidy program, an initiative that the presidential adviser on food security said has mired the grains regulator in a huge debt.
According to Pangilinan, despite efforts to bring down the NFAs debt in the past, it has remained substantial at P160 billion mainly because of the agencys procurement of domestically produced rice to support farmers while selling it below market price to protect consumers from rice-price fluctuation.
Referring to the sustained accruing of debt, Pangilinan said the policy has to be reviewed.
The grains agency buys palay from farmers at P17.50 a kilo. The NFA must sell this at P34 just to break-even, after the milling, transport, warehousing and other costs have been added.
Briones said that assuming the NFA is in the rice business, [it] should do a better job of cost recovery by raising levels closer to the market price.
He explained that the P34 benchmark might be a good idea, but certainly still lower than going market prices. The NFA currently sells regularly milled rice at P27 to poor consumers but accumulating losses in the process. But my full recommendation is that the NFA should get out of the rice business.
In May, Briones co-authored a policy study commissioned by the PIDS explaining the sharp drop in imports of rice last year, as a more logical and evidence-based explanation for the rice-price increase in 2013.
The policy paper blamed the inadequacy of supply starting in mid-2013 due to the reduction in imports as the main cause of the rice-price spike.
The retail price of rice sharply increased to P36.28 in December from P32.37 in June last year, or a 12-percent increase in just six months, according to Briones.
The study also asserts that traders influence in the market price of rice is negligible citing a 2014 rapid appraisal conducted by another researcher.
That separate study concludes that strong competition prevails at all levels of the rice supply chain, and farmers can freely choose their buyer among a number of buying stations and agents present in their community.
Rice imports dropped by 638,000 tons in 2013 due to the Department of Agricultures Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP) the study noted.
The FSSP aimed for 100-percent rice self-sufficiency in 2013 by raising domestic production and curbing imports.
However, according to the government think tanks research, domestic production last year was not enough to reduce imports.
It added that even with the palay production record high of 18.44 million tons in 2013, up from 18.03 million tons, the increase of 439,000 tons was insufficient to counter the effects of the reduction in rice imports.
The country failed to take advantage of cheap rice available in the world market because of import reduction, [which] led to a shortage of the rice supply, which raised the market price of rice, the research said, citing as example the domestic price of rice at P33.55 per kilogram in November last year.
That figure is 28 percent higher than the world price of P18.63 per kilo.
But Pangilinans tack on reviewing the rice-subsidy program didnt sit well with some activists.
In a text message, Rice Watch and Action Network (R1) convenor Aurora Regalado said that the removal, or even reduction of palay procurement, would be a great disservice to farmers as it would effectively remove their only protection from unscrupulous traders.//

Author: Alladin S. Diega
Date: July 01, 2014
Source: BusinessMirror