PIDS in the News Archived (September 2014)

CRITICIZED for allegedly having the least or no effect at all in the fight against poverty, the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program increases the desire for work of Filipinos, a study conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) revealed.
The study titled Does Pantawid Foster Dependence or Encourage Work? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment, said the CCT, also known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), positively affects household heads and their female spouses, all adult members 18 years old and above, and middle-aged workers 35 to 54 years old.
The study, led by Dr. Aniceto Orbeta, PIDS senior research fellow, said the finding was contrary to the claim of some quarters that CCT breeds mendicancy.
The study was conducted among the first-wave 4Ps beneficiaries from November to December 2011, or 2 years after the program was implemented.
Parents work to compensate for loss of income from children who attend school.
When people publicly recognize the importance of education, families are convinced to keep their children in school. Households also respond by exerting more effort, Orbeta said.
Meanwhile, in terms of child labor, the program significantly reduces the number of hours of work for pay of elementary school-aged children from 6 to 11 years old, but did not significantly affect the incidence of child labor, he added.
On the other hand, using the 2011 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey to assess the impact of the 4Ps on school participation of Filipino children, another study revealed that the program led to an increase of 3 to 4.6 percentage points in the school participation rate of children aged 6 to 14.
The study titled Estimating the impact of 4Ps on school participation of Filipino children using propensity score matching, by Dr. Celia Reyes and Christian Mina, a PIDS senior research fellow and supervising research specialist, respectively, showed that around 96.3 percent of children of 4Ps families attend school.
For the matched non-4Ps families, the rate ranges from 91.7 to 93.3 percent. Additional findings show that 4Ps does not influence school participation of children beyond the age coverage.
The difference between the school participation rate of 4Ps beneficiaries and matched non-4Ps age groups 15 to 18 turned out to be insignificant.
This led to the proposal to extend support to existing 4Ps beneficiaries to allow students to graduate from high school.
According to Mina, 4Ps beneficiaries will have higher chances of securing better jobs and higher income if they graduate from high-school.
There is a 45 percent average wage differential between a high-school graduate and an elementary undergraduate and a 32-percent average wage differential between high-school and elementary graduates.
While 4Ps is primarily intended to provide cash benefits for education and health expenditures, the impact of the program on household consumption has stirred interest and is now being examined, given the persistent poverty of 4Ps families and the huge amounts of public resources provided to beneficiaries.
Another study titled The impact of the Philippine conditional cash transfer program on consumption by Melba Tutor, a research associate at the Social Weather Stations, found that households increased their consumption of education-related goods, which are goods required for continued program participation.
Households have reallocated consumption to maintain their benefits, arguably because they understood the program logic and have positive expectations of its impact on future household welfare, she said. Moreover, Tutor found stronger impact in 4Ps households belonging to the poorest 20 percent of the population.
Their total consumption increased due to higher spending on food, education and clothing. It validates the assumption that the poorest of the poor, or those expected to gain the most from 4Ps, actually benefit.
In addition, there is no observed spending for alcohol and tobacco, debunking the claim of 4Ps critics that cash assistance is not being spent properly.
Evidence from impact evaluation was crucial to the expansion of the 4Ps program, and has led to crucial changes in program coverage"expansion of eligibility to poor students at the secondary level, as well as those at the primary level, and administrative changes.
It is expected that evidence from further evaluation studies will shield programs like 4Ps from party politics and presidential succession.//

Author: Jonathan L. Mayuga
Date: September 19, 2014
Source: Business Mirror

Data released by the Department of Health in 2013 cited that 25 percent of Filipino adults, or about 14 million, suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure), a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Heart disease and stroke remain two of the top killers of Filipinos and comprise 35 percent of total deaths. Philippine Health Statistics data show that in 2009 about 167,000 Filipinos died from heart disease and stroke. Half of these deaths were likely related to high blood pressure. An analysis done by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) further reveals that 34 percent of all cardiovascular deaths are happening prematurely or at ages below 60.

Means of prevention

Though the statistical realities of hypertension, stroke and heart disease have been divulged at length, little has been actually discussed on diet as a means of prevention, much less the potentials of a mineral such as potassium in significantly reducing the risk of stroke. A recent Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicines Sept. 5 Breaking Medical News noted that a diet rich in potassium reduces the risk of stroke for postmenopausal women. It shared a study published online in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Reduction in risk

PCRM noted that researchers analyzed the potassium intake of 90,137 postmenopausal women as part of the Womens Health Initiative Observational Study. Women who consumed the most potassium reduced their risk of all stroke types by 12 percent and lowered their risk of ischemic stroke (stroke due to clot formation) by 16 percent, compared with those who consumed the least amount.

FRUITS are also good sources of calcium, among other nutrients. Photo by Tessa R. Salazar

PCRM noted that the reduction in risk was even greater among women who had normal blood pressure, compared with those who had high blood pressure. High potassium intake was also associated with a reduced risk from death by all causes, compared with the lowest intake, during the 11 years of follow up.

This study suggests that all women should consume more potassium from foods like sweet potatoes, bananas and white beans to meet or exceed daily recommendations, it said.

Like PCRM, preventive healthcare expert Neil Nedley, MD, has long advocated for vegan food (devoid of all forms of animal products, including dairy products) and high potassium foods to help reduce blood pressure.

Nedley said: There are many foods that can be freely eaten without concern about their sodium content, he said in his book Proof Positive, where he cited food groups low in sodium such as fresh fruits, grains and cereals, unsalted nuts, vegetables and shredded wheat.

Double benefit

Fruits provide a double benefit in that they are also high in potassium, which tends to reduce blood pressure even further. This is partially why a natural diet high in fruits, vegetables and grains is the answer to the blood pressure problem, Nedley said, adding that, however, any food that is low in sodium can be made high by shaking the salt dispenser over it.
Foods high in calcium content can also significantly lower blood pressure. Green leafy vegetables are good sources of calcium. A report on the research at the American Heart Association in 1992 warned against taking large amounts of calcium supplements. Instead, said Prof. James Dwyer who reported on that research, people should get calcium through their diets green leafy vegetables are good sources of calcium.

A common breakfast food, oatmeal, has been found to reduce blood pressure. In one study, 850 people were categorized for the amount of oatmeal they consumed. One bowl per day consumers had lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol.

Managing blood pressure

Nedley suggested the following for people who would want to manage their blood pressure:
Avoid low fiber foods such as meat (pork, beef, chicken and other livestock products) and dairy products (cows milk, cheese).
Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains and unsalted nuts in moderation, and other low-sodium foods.
Avoid foods such as dill pickles, cured ham, Chinese rice, bouillon and other high-sodium foods. Read the labels.
Eliminate coffee, cola drinks and alcohol from the diet.
Stop smoking.
Give the salt shaker a rest.
Bring your weight down to the recommended level for your height and build.
Adopt an aerobic exercise routine, such as brisk walking.
Learn to cope with stress.//

Author: Tessa R. Salazar
Date: September 20, 2014
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

The information technology and business process management industry is on track to generate as much as $25 billion in revenue and create 1.3 million direct employees by 2016.
The sector expects more traffic within the next two years with the increasing share of more value-added services despite an already huge base.
Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines president and chief executive Jose Mari Mercado said there were still unsaturated areas, leaving a huge space for growth in back office space, finance and accounting services as well as healthcare.
Growth in 2013 was basically due to foreign clients who kept on coming back for more work to be done outside the Philippines, he said.
Another growth driver is the so-called captives market, which are in-house business processing units or call centers that cater to specific needs of their mother unit in the Philippines.
The group is aiming for a 16 percent increase to $18 billion this year from $15.5 billion in 2013. It is confident of reach the 1-million employment target within the year. Employment by IT and business processing companies in 2013 hit 900,000.
The Philippine Institute for Development Studies said the Philippines could be a hub for services trade in the Asia Pacific because of a pool of skilled, semiskilled and low-skilled workers.
The estimated 10.4 million Filipinos abroad are a natural market for Philippine services. The Philippines can be a home to world-class brands with the internationalization of Philippine franchise brands, said PIDS research consultant Ramonette Serafica.//

Author: Othel V. Campos
Date: September 19, 2014
Source: Manila Standard Today

DAVAO CITY " MIGULA karon sa pagtuon sa Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) nga nakapakunhod sa pangempleyo ang gipatumang minimum wage sa nasud.

Ang maong impormasyon gibulgar niadtong milabayng adlaw atol sa Biz Talk sa Tagum City ni Dr. Vicente Paquaeo, usa sa mga utok sa Labor Policy Analysis for Jobs Expansion and Development.

Sumala pa ni Paqueo, nasuta sa ilang grupo nga nakapakunhod sa trabaho sa nasud ang minimum nga suholan dihang mipahigayon sila og aktuwal nga pagtuon sa household income and poverty incidence, employment of enterprises, employment of individual workers from disadvantaged population groups ug hours of work.

Hinuon gitataw sa naasoy nga doktor nga ang nasangpit nga pagtuon wala maninguha sa pagtanggal sa minimum wage nga kasamtangang gipatuman sa nasud.//

Author:
Date: September 19, 2014
Source: Bandera Davao

DAVAO DEL NORTE, September 17 (PIA) - - A study on jobs challenges conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) stressed that minimum wage policy reduced employment in the country.

This was revealed yesterday (September 16) during the Biz Talk at Big 8 by Dr. Vicente Paqueo, visiting senior research fellow of PIDS and one of the authors of the Labor Policy Analysis for Jobs Expansion and Development.

Minimum wage reduces demand for workers in small firms; decreases the chances of the young, female, low-educated and inexperienced workers being hired; and raising it results in lower household income, Dr. Paqueo declared.

Paqueo explained that they found these through clear evidences from impact studies on household income and poverty incidence, employment of enterprises, employment of individual workers from disadvantaged population groups and hours of work.

He added that minimum wage lowers the average number of working-age family members, who will be hired and the average work hours per working-age family members thus lowering household income.

He emphasized that minimum wages and other current labor regulations should not be looked at as the only options to address the plight of workers.

He said that the study recommended the 12-point JEDI approach or Jobs Expansion and Development Initiative Approach.

The objectives of JEDI are to expand gainful jobs through the acceleration of labor intensive production, particularly manufacturing of tradable commodities and to improve investments in education and other human capital development and sustain total productivity gains, Paqueo added.

Paqueo said that the study did not call for the abolition of the minimum wage instead the moderation of its increase and adjustments in its application for the poor unemployed and underemployed. (PIA 11, Michael Uy)//

Author: Michael L Uy
Date: September 17, 2014
Source: PIA

CEBU, Philippines - Cosmetics company Belo Medical Group aims to help the country seize a sizeable share of the multi-million dollar medical tourism market in the world.
Belo Medical Group founder Vicky Belo vows to help the Philippines take the spotlight in medical tourism, particularly in the wellness and beauty services.
Belo, who was able to etch her name as a beauty icon not only in the Philippines, but also in other parts of the world, has been able to attract foreign clients who purposely visit the Philippines just to avail of Belo services. Belo said the companys foreign clients have been increasing at an average of 30 percent annually.
Foreign clients include, European, Chinese, Middle Easterns, from the United States, and Australians, among others.
"We have big potential to seize the big and growing medical tourists in the world," Belo said in an interview. She however said that the country needs to address support infrastructure to maximize the potential.
Belo said the unimpressive infrastructure in the airport, roads, traffic, among others are one of the few important frontliners that need to be improved.
Despite that, the Belo group is still bent on advancing and attracting more medical tourists to the country, as well as making presence in other countries specifically in ASEAN.

The company is set to open clinics in Singapore, Jakarta, and other ASEAN countries to stress the leadership of the Philippines in light medical tourism aspect, especially in beauty and wellness, or the business of "feeling good and beautiful."

Likewise, through its subsidiary company Belo Essentials, the brand will continue to expand the inventories and product lines for beauty--anti-aging, whitening, acne cure, among others, although different products have already entered the market.

Belo said the Philippines may be slow in realizing to attract the hard-core medical tourism market, but she is confident that the Philippines will be able to immediately attract the beauty and wellness side of the spectrum.

A few years back, Cebu has already established its own positioning, by focusing on attracting tourists seeking for light medical procedures.

According to Cebu Health and Wellness Council vice chairperson Jenny Franco, Cebu is gaining production from overseas market in terms of light medical services such as dental, cosmetics, including wellness and leisure.

Franco said Cebus positioning is working on its advantage, while its capability to offer hard-core medical services or major medical operations can be done in Manila.

On the other hand, Franco said that Cebu is now the preferred destination for light medical procedures, like executive check up, cosmetic treatment and surgery, dental, combined with leisure and wellness activities.

Based on recent study released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, the Philippines has market niches in elective surgery, stem cell therapy, aesthetic and cosmetic/plastic surgery, dental care and wellness treatment, among others.

The lack of a sustained Philippine marketing campaign abroad has been pointed as a major shortcoming of medical tourism in the country, the PIDS study underscored. " (FREEMAN)

Author: Ehda M. Dagooc
Date: September 17, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

Taiwan and the Philippines are likely to exchange ideas regarding a free-trade agreement (FTA) during their annual ministerial-level meeting on economic cooperation scheduled to take place on Oct. 23 and 24 in Taipei, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Monday.

However, there is no timetable for negotiations on the proposed trade agreement, as a full report of the feasibility study has not yet been completed, the ministry said, after the Philippine Institute for Development Studies submitted the outline of a feasibility study of a proposed bilateral economic cooperation agreement to the Philippine government on Monday for further discussion.//

Author:
Date: September 18, 2014
Source: Taipei Times

A proposed bilateral economic cooperation agreement between Taiwan and the Philippines can bring benefits to both sides, according to the outline of a feasibility study conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and submitted to the Philippine government Monday for further discussion.
The PIDS, a research institute under the National Economic and Development Authority, started the feasibility study in July 2012, covering macroeconomic and political aspects along with special sectors and industries.
With warming ties across the Taiwan Strait, now would be a good time for the Philippines to sign a trade pact with Taiwan, according to the outline. The Philippines has diplomatic ties with China but not with Taiwan.
In addition, closer relations between the Philippines and Taiwan will help establish long-term stability in both the economic and political aspects, the PIDS said.
In response later that same day, Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs said it is happy to see the outline and added that the two sides are likely to exchange ideas regarding the issue during their annual ministerial-level meeting on economic cooperation scheduled to take place Oct. 23-24 in Taipei.
The ministry said, however, that there is no timetable for negotiations on the proposed trade pact, as a full report of the feasibility study has not yet been completed.
Taiwan and the Philippines enjoy close trade relations, with bilateral trade totaling more than US$11.97 billion last year, according to official statistics.//

Author:
Date: September 16, 2014
Source: Want China Times

This month, the country is celebrating Development Policy Research Month (DPRM), which aims to increase awareness and appreciation of the importance of research in crafting development programs and policies.

Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) Director for Research Information Sheila Siar said the DPRM is an annual celebration mandated by Presidential Proclamation 247 s. 2002, to remind the countrys policymakers and the public on the importance of bringing in research-based evidence and outputs in decision-making processes.

For this year, the DPRM celebration adopts the theme, Addressing the job challenge toward inclusive growth, to give focus on looking into ways of addressing unemployment and underemployment which remains a labor sector concern despite the good economic performance and investment-grades the country has been achieving.

In a forum last Tuesday, PIDS senior research fellow Aniceto Orbeta Jr., presented their research on labor policy analysis for jobs expansion and development.

The study aims to clarify job issues, analyze the impact of legal minimum wage to the welfare of common people and the disadvantage and find ways to make labor regulations and practices work for the poor, jobless and disadvantaged members of society.

Other panelists were regional or provincial directors of the Department of Trade and Industry Technical Education and Skills Development, Commission on Higher Education and Department of Labor and Employment.

The PIDS was created on September 1977.

It was established to respond to the critical and growing need for research for planning and policy formulation.//

Author: Carlito C. Dar
Date: September 14, 2014
Source: Baguio Midland Courier

The jobs problem in the Philippines has to be confronted head-on by looking at the underlying causes such as instituting new approaches to labor laws, according to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

PIDS research has found that decades-old labor regulations have been ineffective, indicating that new approaches are needed.

A study titled Labor Policy Analysis for Jobs Expansion and Development, by Drs. Aniceto Orbeta, Vicente Paqueo, and Leonardo Lanzona, found that the overall impact of the minimum wage is negative. It is disadvantageous particularly to smaller firms that dominate the economy. Moreover, it reduces the employability of young, female, and inexperienced workers, and lowers the proportion of working-age family members who will be hired.

The study proposes a 12-point agenda, referred to as the Jobs Expansion and Development Initiative (JEDI). It would be better to use direct and temporary income subsidy, carefully targeted toward extremely poor households, to meet suitable norms that society considers as public good.

Other measures are better education, increased labor-intensive manufacturing, and greater opportunities for training on the job.

The study said despite the rapid economic growth averaging 5.1 percent from 2008 to 2013 and a remarkable rate of 7.2 percent last year, income inequality and poverty incidence have remained high and stable in the last two decades. It is widely believed that this failure to attain greater inclusiveness is due to widespread joblessness and underemployment because of the countrys inability to rapidly expand quality job opportunities. Philippine growth has often been criticized as jobless growth.

According to another study, transforming and upgrading the manufacturing industry is crucial to achieve inclusive growth, create quality jobs, increase incomes, and reduce poverty.

The Philippine Manufacturing Industry Roadmap: Agenda for New Industrial Policy, High Productivity Jobs, and Inclusive Growth, by Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba, PIDS senior research fellow on secondment to the Trade department as assistant secretary underscores the importance of implementing a new industrial policy that would take advantage of market opportunities and face the challenges of the AEC.

A paper titled Regional Integration, Inclusive Growth, and Poverty: Enhancing Employment Opportunities for the Poor, written by Senior Research Fellow Dr. Celia Reyes as lead author explains that the manufacturing sector can provide employment opportunities for the poor and can offer relatively higher wages.

To promote inclusive growth and reduce poverty, the manufacturing sector has to be made more competitive. At the same time, productivity in the agriculture sector, which is the major employer of the poor, should increase.//

Author:
Date: September 16, 2014
Source: Malaya

THE Philippine Institute for Development Studies found the minimum wage policy as detrimental to the growth of the labor sector in the country.
In his study, Effects of minimum wage on the Philippine economy, Leonardo Lanzona Jr. concluded that the minimum wage policy reduces employment.
The study also found that minimum wages caused firms to reduce their production workers.
Because of this, it is difficult for small firms to mature into larger-scale firms. In the process, the production and the demand for production workers decline. Because small-scale firms have started to decline, larger firms are able to acquire more production workers, presumably at starting wages lower than what experience workers would have received in smaller firms. These firms are not able to rehire all the laid-off workers, and the poorer workers who may need cash in the short term may find these arrangements inferior to their previous jobs, the research added.
Moreover, firms are reluctant to hire younger, less educated, and female production workers. To minimize costs, increasing training for these younger and less educated production workers may not longer be an option as minimum wages rise.
These findings may have serious consequences in the way the Labor Code affects production efficiency, as well as social protection. There is thus a need to coordinate these policy areas in a way that reinforces one another, the study said.
Dr. Aniceto Orbeta, senior researcher of the government attached agency, meanwhile, stressed it is not the immediate intent of PIDS to recommend government to scrap the minimum wage policy.
But the real challenge, Orbeta said, is how the government will address the gap in the labor sector as a means to lift the lives of many marginalized Filipinos.
Truth is, we have small and medium enterprises which badly need workers but are hampered by the minimum wage policy afraid of its legal impediments while we also have workers who are willing to work under the minimum wage but are not being hired, Orbeta said during a recent press conference.
We are pushing for decent wages in that what we cant provide for in terms of daily wage, government could make up for it through shouldering the health insurance of the employee and their pension contributions, he said.
The researcher also suggested for government to study lengthening the probationary period of an employee.
Presently, policy dictates that an employee who has been with the company for six months must already be regularized. We are looking into lengthening this period to give employers the chance to really get to know its employee and see if he is indeed fit to work in the company, Orbeta said.
This policy, according to Orbeta, also contributes to the fast turnover of employment in some companies.
These are only some of the challenges government needs to address to be able to promote jobs for inclusive growth.
PIDS is the lead government agency in policy research needed to craft effective plans and policies for the countrys development.//

Author: May Anne Cacdac
Date: September 14, 2014
Source: Sun Star Cebu

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has rejected a proposal to allow small and medium enterprises nationwide to pay workers less than the prescribed minimum wage rates.
Labor undersecretary Reydeluz Conferido said DOLE would not allow commercial establishments to go against labor standards, including the minimum wage policy as a way to address the high unemployment rate.
We will not go for that, the DOLE will never allow exploitative situation for the workers, Conferido said in reaction to the proposal of government think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
PIDS previously called on policymakers to relax wage regulations and allow small and medium companies to pay below the mandated minimum wage rates to promote hiring of unskilled workers.
Conferido stressed that the government is enforcing the minimum wage policy as a safety net.
He insisted that providing higher wages could even promote productivity for both workers and the companies.
According to Conferido, there are existing laws allowing Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBE), and those with apprentices, to pay below minimum wage but they are not meant to demean workers.

At this time, Conferido said, employers need to be educated that by providing more benefits to their workers, their companies could be more competitive.

For its part, the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said the countrys minimum wage is already meager and cutting it down would intensify exploitation of workers.

If the PIDS really wants to help small and medium Filipino businesses, then it should propose measures cutting power and water rates, curbing corruption and reducing taxes, and ending trade liberalization. Its not labor cost thats making doing business more difficult for Filipino businessmen, KMU chairman Elmer Labog said.

Labog warned that big capitaists may opt to divide their businesses into smaller ones to qualify as small and medium enterprises to be able to pay workers below minimum wage.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said DOLE is implementing measures to boost productivity and competitiveness of small and medium enterprises, and enable them to comply with labor laws.

Baldoz said the government is providing a package of developmental assistance of SMEs, including training and productivity orientation that would help them cut down on unnecessary cost.//

Author: Mayen Jaymalin
Date: September 14, 2014
Source: Philippine Star

Philippines extends beyond unemployment.
This Ancieto Orbeta of Philippine Institute for Development Studies argued in his presentation in a recent press conference.
He said that unlike the usual problems plaguing the labor sector, the problem in employment must not only focus on those who are unemployed but also on the underemployed and fully employed whose earnings are below subsistence productivity.
Orbeta, along with researchers Vicente Paqueo, Leonardo Lanzona and Dean Dulay, said the unemployed; employed but earning below subsistence or those whose income are below the food poverty threshold; and the fully employed but work for more hours to contribute to more output to earn more, are tagged as "unproductive workers".
Based on the Labor Force Survey Data used by the researchers, the number of these unproductive workers has increased from 7,760,573 in 2001 to 13,774,135 in 2010 and is still steadily rising.
As of 2010, there are 2,798,639 unemployed or only 20 percent of the number of unproductive workers.
Of the total number, the underemployed above subsistence productivity has the largest proportion at 42 percent or 5,743,202; followed by the fully employed below subsistence productivity at 28 percent or 3,834,197 workers; and there are some 1,398,097 underemployed below subsistence productivity or 10 percent.
Furthermore, Orbeta explained unemployment does not really mean poverty among unemployed workers.
He said while it is commonly perceived the unemployed are the poor, a large proportion of them are actually not.
Usually, these non-poor are unemployed because they chose to invest their time to find the ideal and right job for them.
The researchers found these non-poor unemployed persons seek jobs to match their knowledge, skills and qualifications.
On the other hand, for the poor, employment is survival.
These poor, as perceived, cannot afford to be without a job for a long time prompting them to settle for low-paying or low productivity jobs, which often fail to lift them out of poverty.
With these Orbeta stressed the challenge is not just the lack of job opportunities but the inability of these unproductive workers to earn a decent income through productive employment or even self-employment.
The researchers, in their jobs expansion and development initiative raised two suggestions to help address these challenges mainly to accelerate labor-intensive production such as manufacturing of commodities to expand job opportunities and to promote education as the best investment towards human capital development to give the workforce productive employment opportunities.
He noted programs relevant to employment and livelihood must not only be addressed to the unemployed but for all kinds of labor force given that even those who are employed also has a difficulty in obtaining productive employment to enable them to earn enough for their needs.//

Author: Giovani Joy Fontanilla
Date: September 12, 2014
Source: Sun Star Cebu

BAGUIO CITY, Sept. 10 (PIA) - - This month of September, the country is celebrating Development Policy Research Month (DPRM) that aims to increase public awareness and appreciation on the importance of policy research in crafting development programs and policies.
Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) Director for Research Information Dr. Sheila Siar, during the press conference at the City Lights Hotel here on Tuesday, explained that that DPRM is an annual celebration mandated by Presidential Proclamation 247 signed in 2002, to constantly remind the countrys policy makers and the general public on the importance of bringing in research-based evidence and outputs in decision-making processes.
For this year, the DPRM celebration adopts the theme, Addressing the Job challenge toward Inclusive Growth, to give focus on looking into ways of addressing unemployment and underemployment which remains a labor sector concern despite the good economic performance and investment-grade that the country has been achieving.
PIDS Senior Research Fellow, Dr. Aniceto Orbeta Jr., in the same event, presented a related policy research, Labor Policy Analysis for Jobs Expansion and Development he conducted along with Vicente Paqueo, Leonardo Lanzona and Dean Dulay.
The said job study aims to clarify job issues, analyze the impact of legal minimum wage to the welfare of common people and the disadvantage and find ways to make labor regulations and practices work for the poor, jobless and disadvantage member of the society.
Other panelists were Department of Trade and Industry "Cordillera Regional Director Myrna Pablo, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Baguio-Benguet Provincial Director Angela Gabriel, Commission on Higher Education Program Specialist Menzie Quengan and Department of Labor and Employment Senior Labor and Employment Officer Lucille Gayaman. (JDP/CCD " PIA CAR)
- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=61410307851#sthash.8Wt4dvAo.dpuf

Author: Carlito Dar
Date: September 10, 2014
Source: PIA

BAGUIO CITY"A government think tank on Tuesday urged policymakers to relax wage regulations and allow small and medium businesses to pay salaries below the minimum wage when they hire unskilled workers.
The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said the imposition of a minimum wage had worsened unemployment, a conclusion reached by its labor policy analysis of Philippine job expansion and development.
The unemployment rate in the country stands at 7 percent.
Dr. Aniceto Orbeta Jr., PIDS senior research fellow who participated in the study, said the agency was tasked to examine labor policies, which he described as tools [that] are not working.
The policy changes that PIDS is recommending should help reduce poverty, he said, by increasing the chances of poor unskilled workers to land jobs.
For them, this is a matter of survival, Orbeta said.
He said, however, that PIDS has yet to study the impact of a flexible or diminished wage regulation on the countrys commitment to international labor standards.
Asean integration
PIDS also needs to see whether its proposals and presumptions about the labor market will remain applicable when the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) become an integrated market next year, he said.
Integration may allow more Filipinos to leave for jobs in Southeast Asian countries once border regulations are lifted and uniform Asean work and skills standards are applied, said Myrna Pablo, Cordillera regional director of the Department of Trade and Industry.
The minimum wage and other labor regulations are designed to protect workers from abusive employers and to give them bargaining power when seeking better wages, Orbeta said.
But citing the 2007 minimum wage increase as an example, he said the PIDS labor policy analysis found that the rise reduced the probability of an employee retaining his job or an applicant landing a job by 8 percent to 22 percent that year.
Employers end up hiring veteran workers instead of fresh graduates, who now compose the bulk of the unemployed work force, Orbeta said.
Consequently, he said, a typical household income is also reduced when at least one member of the family, who is eligible for employment, ends up jobless due to the restricted hiring opportunities.
The wage increase has little impact on big businesses, but has been detrimental to smaller businesses with 10 employees or fewer, Orbeta said.
A mandated minimum wage hurts the employment probability of the young, female and inexperienced workers most, he said, so employers must be allowed to hire low-skilled and poor workers who want to voluntarily opt out of the mandatory minimum wage norm.
He said these workers could be supported by special measures to improve the value of their smaller income, including adjustments in tax rates or other ways that would increase their pay.
Lack of investments
But for the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the real problem is the lack of investments, both public and private.
Many of our microindustries are exempted from paying the minimum wage. It could not be true that that is the reason for the very low employment rate, Ernesto Herrera, TUCP president said.
Pointing out that employment rate is related to investments that generate employment opportunities, Herrera said the government should invest in infrastructure, including in education, energy and agriculture.
We need competitive costs of electricity, irrigation, farm-to-market roads, training, Herrera said.
The private sector will not invest if there is no sufficient justification, meaning they are not convinced that they can make money, because their motivation is profit, he said.
PIDS finding that 60 percent of the unemployed are literate only shows that the economy is not producing enough employment opportunities, he added.
Workers protection
Alan Tanjusay, a spokesman for the TUCP, said the minimum wage was the minimum standard to protect workers interests and improve the quality of labor.
If there is no minimum wage, workers will be very vulnerable to abuse and oppression, Tanjusay said. There has to be a standard such as the minimum wage. Otherwise, we will revert to the age of slavery.
Another labor group criticized the PIDS study as an alibi for the government and employers to reduce wages further and as a guise for contractualization.
The present minimum wage levels are already below living standards, according to the [National Economic and Development Authority] and yet they want to suppress it further, said Gie Relova of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino.
Our experience shows that during wage increase deliberations, government and employer representatives gang up on the labor representative. Never has the government representative sided with the labor sector, Relova said.
That, Herrera said, is normally the case, because democracy works through pressure and the greater pressure is exerted by business.
PIDS views not new
Julius Cainglet, assistant vice president for research, communication, networking and project development of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), said PIDS views were not new.
The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have been saying that for years. The think tanks research seems wanting as it failed to consider the real state of workers, Cainglet said in a text message.
The minimum wage is but a meager social protection for workers. Present minimum wage rates in Metro Manila could not even cover half the required income needed to afford your family a decent life. Besides, the minimum wage is much smaller in the provinces where a lot of investors set up manufacturing plants, he said.
Abolishing the minimum wage would work only if workers have a voice, that is if the majority of them are unionized. We know how employers do everything to bust unions. Without a minimum wage to bank on and a union to fight for their rights to just wages, benefits and better working conditions, the government is opening the floodgates for even more exploitation of workers. We will end up with workers receiving alms and getting employed for no more than five months, he said.
High cost of doing business
What is pushing down employment is the high cost of doing business. For one, the countrys power rates are the highest in Asia. Add the fact that there are mounting fees, permits and impossible requirements when applying for a new business or renewing permits for the same. It is a nightmare, in fact, Cainglet said.
The FFW believes that this is what curtails employment more and not the minimum wage. We would want to abolish the wage boards for the right reasons like for being insensitive to the needs of workers. But removing the minimum wage right now will only deprive workers even more of their just share in the countrys economic growth, he said.
Roger Soluta, secretary general of Kilusang Mayo Uno, said PIDS economists were serving the interests of foreign capitalists in blaming the minimum wage for the low employment rate.
Its irritating that to justify doing away with the minimum wage, they would use that argument, Soluta said.//"With reports from Erika Sauler and Tina G. Santos in Manila

Author: Vincent Cabreza
Date: September 10, 2014
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines"Labor groups in the country cautioned government policy makers on Tuesday against lifting the minimum wage requirement, saying that doing so would expose workers to abuse.
Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), said the minimum wage has been serving as the minimum standard to protect workers interests, and improve the quality of labor.
If there is no minimum wage, workers will be very vulnerable to abuse and oppression, said Tanjusay. There has to be a standard such as the minimum wage. Otherwise, we will revert back to the age of slavery.
Julius Cainglet, Federation of Free Workers (FFW)s assistant vice president for Research, Communication, Networking and Project Development, on the other hand, said PIDS views were not new.
The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have been saying that for years. The think tanks research seems wanting as it failed to consider the real state of workers, he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a text message.
The minimum wage is but a meager social protection for workers. Present minimum wage rates in Metro Manila could not even cover half the required income needed to afford your family a decent life. Besides, the minimum wage is much smaller in the provinces where a lot of investors set up manufacturing plants, he said.
Abolishing the minimum wage would only work if workers have a voice, that is if the majority of them are unionized. We know how employers do everything to bust unions.
Without a minimum wage to bank on and a union to fight for their rights to just wages, benefits and better working conditions, the government is opening the floodgates for even more exploitation of workers. We will end up with workers receiving alms and getting employed for no more than five months, added Cainglet.
The FFW official urged the government to instead look at improving the environment for doing business in the country, which would significantly impact the capacity of businesses to employ more workers and pay wages.
What is pushing down employment is the high cost of doing business. For one, the countrys power rates are the highest in Asia. Add the fact that there are mounting fees, permits and impossible requirements when applying for a new business or renewing permits for the same. It is a nightmare in fact, said Cainglet.
The FFW believes that this is what curtails employment more and not the minimum wage. We would want to abolish the wage boards for the right reasons like for being insensitive to the needs of workers. But removing the minimum wage right now will only deprive workers even more of their just share in the countrys economic growth, he added.//

Author: Tina Santos
Date: September 09, 2014
Source: Select Article Source

MANILA, Philippines"The head of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines urged the government to invest more in education and infrastructure for the energy and agriculture sectors to draw more investments that would open up more jobs for workers.
The problem really is the lack of investment, both public and private, Ernesto Herrera, president of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, said when sought for comment on the findings of the government think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies that the minimum wage has discouraged the creation of jobs and lowered the employment rate in the country.
Many of our micro industries are exempted from paying the minimum wage. It could not be true that that is the reason for the very low employment rate, Herrera said.
According to the former senator, the employment rate is related to investments that generate employment opportunities, and government should invest more in infrastructure, including education (to build the human resource pool needed by businesses), energy (to ensure reasonably priced and stable supply of electricity) and agriculture (to ensure the availability of raw materials for businesses and generate jobs where most of the Filipinos find their livelihood).
We need competitive costs of electricity, irrigation, farm-to-market roads, training, Herrera said.
The private sector will not invest if there is no sufficient justification, meaning they are not convinced that they can make money, because their motivation is profit, he said.
Herrera said the PIDS finding that 60 percent of unemployed were literate only showed that the economy has not been able to produce enough employment opportunities.
Another labor group slammed the PIDS study as an alibi for the government and employers to reduce wages further and a guise for contractualization.
The present minimum wage levels are already below living standards, according to the NEDA, and yet they want to suppress it further, said Gie Relova of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino.
Both TUCP and BMP representatives agreed that the labor sector has been at the losing end of the tripartite wage system.
Our experience shows during wage increase deliberations that government and employer representatives gang up on the labor representative. Never has the government representative sided with the labor sector, Relova said.
Herrera said this has been normally the case, because democracy works through pressure and the greater pressure is exerted by business. //


Author: Erika Sauler
Date: September 09, 2014
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

The lack of analytical skills is making several college graduates difficult to employ, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) said.

At the Tapatan sa Aristocrat forum on jobless growth on Monday, Ecop Assistant Treasurer Lucy Tarriela said this stems from the copy-paste frame of mind of many young Filipinos.

Tarriela said that because everything is available online or can easily be accessed elsewhere, graduates no longer use their analytical skills to process information and find solutions to problems.

Nababahala kami talaga na sa dami ng mga guma-graduate, marami ding mga kumpanya na nagrereklamo na wala silang makuha [We are really worried that despite the high number of graduates every year, employers still complain that they cannot hire anyone], Tarriela said.

Ang mga bata ngayon, lahat sanay sa instant. Hindi na sila natututong mag-analyze. [Kids these days have become accustomed to everything instant. They do not know how to analyze]. Yes, copy-paste, she added.

Tarriela shared that she has been looking for a suitable accountant for her company for the past five years, but could not find one.

She added that apart from the lack of analytical skills, young professionals do not have the necessary skills to carry out their job. They also lack the devotion to their work, as well as the commitment and loyalty to stay in a company.

There are so many accountants but its so difficult to get somebody, who is a new graduate, but already knows [the job]. [Their] college education should have prepared them for that, Tarriela said.

Unemployment problem

Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) Senior Research Fellow Jose Ramon G. Albert said to remedy the situation, efforts must be exerted to address policy gaps in education, competitiveness and other similar policies on labor and economics.

This will entail efforts to address policy issues that will result in cheaper and stable power supply, which is crucial to the operation of the manufacturing industry.

In the short term, if government wants to bring down unemployment, agri because doon maraming mahihirap pero on the longer term, you really need to improve the industrial sector, Albert said.

There should be a convergence of policies. You cant just say okay I will do this but theres no support in a way. So all of these have to be laid out very carefully, you have to have a very clear set of targets and timelines, he explained.

In a Policy Note titled Is growth really jobless? Albert said based on Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data, the educational attainments of the unemployed between 1998 and 2012 are higher. Further, in the April 2014 Labor Force Survey results of the PSA, around 36.9 percent of the unemployed are college graduates and undergraduates. This is composed of 22.4 percent, or one-fifth of the labor force who are college graduates, while 14.5 percent were college undergraduates.//

Author: Cai U. Ordinario
Date: September 08, 2014
Source: BusinessMirror

Philippine made cocoa, furniture and plywood are just among the few products that could lose the battle against imported products once the Asean Economic Community (AEC) takes effect in January 1, 2016.

At the sidelines of the Tapatan sa Aristocrat forum on jobless growth on Monday, Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) President Gilbert Llanto said while not all Philippine industries are in danger of becoming losers in the AEC, there are some that are at risk of becoming losers.

Generally speaking, may sektor na handa at meron ding sektor na nahihirapan o kailangan ng adjustment [Generally speaking, there are sectors that are ready and there are sectors that are experiencing difficulties or need adjustment], Llanto said.

The likely losers are those sectors which are losing or have lost their comparative advantage, he added.

In a list e-mailed to the BusinessMirror by Llanto on Monday showed that products that are losing competitiveness include forest products such as veneers and plywood, as well as tropical agriculture products such as sugars, molasses, honey and cocoa.

The list also included animal products such as fish (fresh, chilled, frozen) and animal and vegetable fats as well as labor-intensive products such as pottery, furniture, bags, clothing accessories, footwear and toys.

However, there are products that have potentials to become competitive. The list includes animal products such as milk and cream; cereal preparations and manufactured tobacco; labor-intensive products such as glass; and chemicals such as metal salts, inorganic acid, soap, cleaners and polish.

The potentially competitive list of products also include machinery, such as electric power machinery and parts, electric machinery apparatus, parts for tractors and motor vehicles, ship, boat, float structures, motorcycles, medical instruments, firearms and ammunitions.

Llanto said that to boost the competitiveness of these products, the government should invest in measures that would increase productivity in agriculture.

He said that for one, the governments budget in the Department of Agriculture (DA) must not all be used to produce rice in a bid to attain self-sufficiency in the staple.

Llanto said that while investing in rice is necessary since it is the countrys food staple, the DA must also invest in High Value Crops and in the growth and development of more agribusinesses that produce final goods.

I think the government, especially the DA, it has also to work with the private sector in making investments in so-called high value crops. If you look at the experience of Thai agriculture, they really made a killing, substantial net profits, from agribusiness, Llanto said.

Are we ready for the AEC?

The International Labor Organization (ILO) and Llanto agreed that while the Philippines still had some way to go to fully comply with the AEC blueprint by December 2015, efforts are underway.

Government is ready, its gearing up. Its a process. You cannot just say youre ready. Even as we speak, I think government, Secretaries, have been doing the rounds speaking to their counterparts, comparing regulations, comparing standards, Llanto said.

Employers Confederation Assistant Treasurer Lucy Tarriela said the private sector is also gearing up and is in the process of completing their respective roadmaps to compete in a single Asean market by January 1, 2016.

Meanwhile, Ibon Foundation Inc. executive director Sonny Africa and Federation of Free Workers Assistant Vice President for Research and Communication Julius Cainglet said the Philippines is not ready for the AEC.

Africa said the countrys manufacturing sector is still weak and the agriculture sector is also on the decline. He added that the services sector, despite being the main driver of economic growth, has low value-adding.

Cainglet, who spoke on behalf of workers, said the labor sector is also not ready for the AEC. He said many unions were dissolved in the 1990s and workers have been given the shorter end of the stick since then.

However, Cainglet stressed that while the labor sector is not ready, Filipino workers, in general are resilient and this will allow the labor force and local industries to survive in the ASEAN single market.

As it is right now, were not ready but our resilience will help us survive, Cainglet said.//

Author: Cai U. Ordinario
Date: September 08, 2014
Source: BusinessMirror

Impact evaluation is getting a boost with the government, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) ready to pour in more resources to evaluating development programs.
Socio-economic Planning Sec. Arsenio Balisacan said the Philippines is now among many developing countries utilizing impact evaluation to assess what development programs have been effective in addressing poverty reduction.
This year, the government has released P300 million for process assessment and impact evaluation to be spearheaded by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), the state policy think tank. The government plans to budget more or less the same amount for next year, said Balisacan.
It is important to find out what programs have been effective, Balisacan, who is also chairman of the PIDS board of trustees.
PIDS President Gilberto Llanto said the P300 million would be spent on 22 studies covering irrigation, feeding programs, and motor vehicle taxation, among others.
On top of this, the Philippines will get P170 million in funding from the Australian government through 3ie for impact evaluation studies, said Howard White, 3ie executive director.
The 3ie through the support of the Australian government will contribute USD 3.9 million (P170 million) for impact evaluations of government programs, he said.
White said 3ie, a nonprofit that finances impact evaluations and systematic reviews, was committed to producing evidence on what is effective, how, and why, but more importantly, at what cost.
For its part, the ADB has pledged US$5.5 million for 2013-2017 to finance technical assistance for all stakeholders and agencies involved in impact evaluation in the region, said Vinod Thomas, director-general of the ADBs Independent Evaluation Department.
Balisacan pointed out that impact evaluations yield a high rate of return and provide evidence-based results for sound decisionmaking. Programs deemed to be beneficial may be expanded, while programs that have been under-performing may be reviewed or even terminated.//


Author: Ed Velasco
Date: September 07, 2014
Source: Manila Bulletin

Red tape remains pervasive in the Philippines, according to European businessmen, who have renewed calls for the government to streamline the business registration process for foreign investors.
The documentary requirements for registration and doing business by foreigners here in the country need to be streamlined. The pervasive bureaucratic red tape persists to discourage and ward off potential investors, said Henry J. Schumacher, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) vice president for external affairs.
Weeding through the layers of requirements in starting up a business is often attended by bureaucratic red tape, inconsistent, complex and lengthy procedures, delays and a high cost for regulatory processes, Schumacher said in an Aug. 18 letter to Sen. Joseph Victor G. Ejercito, chair of the Senate committee on economic affairs.
For instance, the ECCP official said, an investing firm must first secure as much as 162 permits, as well as signatures of concerned government officials, if it wants to put up a power plant.
This bureaucratic pathology has no social redeeming value and is only centered on rules, regulations and procedure that entail compliance burden on new entrants and businesses, the group said.
Citing a recent Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) study authored by Trade Assistant Secretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba, the group pointed out that the country is lagging behind its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) peers in generating foreign direct investment (FDI) due to, among others, lengthy procedures, slow processing and delays, lack of transparency in procedure, [and] corruption.
These are on top of policy inconsistencies, [and] lack of streamlining of interrelated procedures, it added.
The study also revealed even the state-run investment promotion agencies (IPAs) acknowledged that the slow FDI inflows were caused by delays in the issuance of permits from both local government units (LGUs) and national government agencies. It may take up to 120 days to secure permits, according to the study.
The slow process is not limited to the registration of businesses"even investors availment of fiscal and other incentives from the government takes time, the ECCP said.
Although the grant of incentives appears to be non-discriminatory, the application process is complicated, and incentives can only be finally granted by [the Board of Investments] after a favorable evaluation and approval of other agencies like the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Customs, the group noted.
Also, ECCP said investor protection in the Philippines remained weak in terms of dispute resolution.
Judicial dispute resolution takes years. Moreover, courts are known to promulgate decisions with varying interpretations on laws, thereby changing generally accepted rules at the time the investment was made. This apparent uncertainty and lack of stability renders the investor vulnerable, [with] a high risk of losing his investment, the group said. //


Author: Ben O. de Vera
Date: September 06, 2014
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain, the cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle sings in the 1964 Broadway musical My Fair Lady. Shed been taught to speak proper English by phonetics professor Henry Higgins, who casually bet he could teach her enough to blend with London high society.
George Bernard Shaw wrote the original stage play Pygmalion in 1913. And in the stage version, Audrey Hepburn played Eliza and Rex Harrison played Higgins.
Now once again, where does it rain?
Higgins asks. On the plain, on the plain, the flower girl sings. And wheres that soggy plain? In Spain, in Spain"some way from Sweden, where the World Water Week assembly opened Monday in Stockholm.
Managing rain is key to eradicating poverty and hunger in dry lands that anchor 44 percent of the worlds cultivated systems, which barely feed 2.1 billion people, scientists said on the opening day of the conference.
The scientists came from Oxford University, Pacific Institute, Rockefeller Foundation, and Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Conference delegates flew in from 130 countries and 200 organizations.
World Water Week is a meeting held since 1991. It began as the Stockholm Water Conference and expanded into todays World Water Week. Earlier themes ranged from Drainage Basin Security in 2003 to Sanitation Issues in 2008 to water in an urbanizing world in 2011.
Dry lands in semi-arid and subtropical climates are fragile regions where the poorest countries and most malnourished people cluster, the scientists said. The challenge of global importance is to build capacity to tap severely underutilized rainwater. It would address an ominous congruence between ill-fed populations and reliance on increasingly limited and unpredictable rain.
By 2050, business as usual will mean two billion small farmers [eking] out a living at the mercy of rainfall that is even less reliable today due to climate change. Sustainable management of rainwater in dry and vulnerable regions has been a blind spot in previous goals and targets.
Rains today pour in intense, often convective storms, the experts said. [These] generate flash floods, and surface runoffs undermine rain-fed agriculture and traditional irrigation systems.
Setting out to eradicate poverty and hunger without harnessing the productivity of rain is a serious and unacceptable omission. These human goals cannot be achieved without a strong focus on sustainable management of rainwater.
The task ahead is to build resilience and raise farm yields by bringing management techniques to bear on rainwater. These range from rainwater catchments, supplementary irrigation to better oversight in water use.

Factor into any hunger goal a target on resilient rainwater management by improved watershed management, the scientists urged the United Nations General Assembly. Set specific targets that aim for a doubling in food yield per unit of rainwater.
Heavier and more frequent rains are likely to lash the Philippines in the years ahead, according to a joint study by scholars from Oxford University, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS). Chances for storms like Supertyphoon Yolanda to slam the Philippines every two years are on the upswing due to altered weather patterns.
The studys authors are the ADBs Vinod Thomas, PIDS Jose Ramon Albert, and Oxfords Cameron Hepburn.
Like most parts of the globe, the Philippines has felt increasing temperatures, the weather bureau Pagasa notes. There have been statistically significant increasing number of hot days but a decreasing number of cool nights.
During the last 60 years, maximum and minimum temperatures increased by 0.36 C and 1.0 C. Theres been a slight increase in the number of tropical cyclones with maximum sustained winds of greater than 150 kilometers per hour and above, notably in the Visayas.
More people will be at risk in Asia and the Pacific, most of them in Southeast Asia. The data underscore the need for governments to build disaster resilience into national growth strategies as investment.
Jacked-up risks result from a confluence of three factors: rising exposure of populations, increasing vulnerabilities, and the changing nature of the hazards themselves, the PIDS Albert points out.
The heaviest toll has been inflicted on low- and lower-middle-income economies. And these catastrophes threaten otherwise dramatic progress on poverty reduction over the past three decades.
Japan plows in five percent of its gross domestic product, achieving positive benefits. High returns are evident even in periods where spending is less. In Bangladesh, the establishment of effective warning systems and evacuation centers paid off. Dhaka reported 185 deaths in 1997 compared with 300,000 in 1970. Give priority to forest protection as well as investment in renewable energy plus low-carbon technologies.
Climate policy at the international level is moving rapidly toward agreement on an emissions pathway and distributing responsibilities between countries, writes Oxfords Hepburn. A feasible framework can be constructed where each country takes on its own responsibilities, based on a shared understanding with other nations.
Pagpatak ng ulan, tutubo ang labong, makikilala na ang gagawing bumbong, a Filipino proverb says. When the rain falls, bamboo shoots grow and one can tell which can be made into water tubes.
E-mail: juanlmercado@gmail.com

Author: Juan L. Mercado
Date: September 06, 2014
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines" Under-spending in the impact evaluation of development programs has resulted in very high fiscal leakages, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) admitted on Wednesday.
In this regard, Neda Director-General and Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan told in a press conference that the Aquino administration is trying to reverse the previous neglect of impact evaluations, hence the agency had sought funding worth P600 million during the past two years to undertake 22 studies that would determine the effectiveness of various government projects.
State-run Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) has been working on some of these impact evaluation studies, its president Gilbert M. Llanto said.
The impact evaluation of projects involving irrigation, post-harvest facilities, feeding programs for school children, motor vehicle taxes, among others, started this year and would go on over a three-year period. Were trying to look into government programs that took a sizeable portion of the budget, Llanto said.
In 2013, Neda infused P300 million to PIDS for this impact evaluation initiative. This year, Neda proposed for inclusion in its 2015 budget another P100 million for research on top of P200 million for monitoring and evaluation, Balisacan said.
Australia, meanwhile, has committed to inject P170 million into the independent impact evaluations of Philippine government programs, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) executive director Howard White disclosed.
The Philippines has joined the global revolution of using rigorous evidence from impact evaluations to design effective policies. 3ie, with the support of the Australian government, will contribute to building this culture of evidence-informed policymaking, White said in a statement.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has also allocated $5.5 million in technical assistance for impact evaluation initiatives across the region from 2013 to 2017, said Vinod Thomas, director general of the Manila-based multilateral lenders independent evaluation department.
Llanto noted that impact evaluations should be part and parcel of the governments budgetary framework.
It is important for the government to determine if its interventions are making a dent in poverty reduction and impacting peoples lives. We should cut down or terminate programs that do not work after all, he said.
Balisacan admitted that in the past, the neglect of the impact evaluation process had resulted into the failure of several programs to achieve their developmental goals.
There is serious underinvestment and underspending in impact evaluations, which resulted in projects that are not working. The leakages and wastage of funds were very high. Our experience in the Philippine government can attest to that, Balisacan said.
We need feedback mechanism for programs not delivering what theyre expected to deliver. Either we stop them or correct whats wrong with them, he added.
On the other hand, projects that impact assessments would deem as effective should be expanded, Balisacan said.//


Author: Ben O. de Vera
Date: September 03, 2014
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer