PIDS in the News Archived (February 2015)

CEBU, Philippines - While questioning the National Union of Students of the Philippines data on the number of schools that intend to increase tuition for the coming academic year, the Commission on Higher Education has assured that the said universities and colleges would be made to strictly follow regulations.
CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said in a statement that they would ensure higher education institutions obey the rules, including the requirement for consultation, the distribution of tuition fees, and strict adherence with procedures meant for tuition increases to be transparent, reasonable and affordable.
The Commission, with the help of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) is developing a systematic, data-based, broadly acceptable framework for tuition and other school fees to guide the agency in deciding on a reasonable rate of increase each year, read her statement.
Licuanan appealed for the colleges and universities to carefully study their tuition and other fee increases each year and to spend wisely and judiciously in order to lessen the costs of its most important stakeholders " its students.
CHED-7 Supervising Education Program Specialist Dr. Josefino Ronquillo, on the other hand, said they have been encouraging Central Visayas institutions to minimize tuition increases so as to provide better access to higher education, particularly with private educational institutions.
We are doing our best nga mogamay ang number sa mga schools nga mag-increase. Gihangyo pa namo ang mga eskwelahan nga dili sila magpatuyang og increase sa ilang tuition to give access to the individual learners that wish to enroll in a private school, he said.
He also said that while he recognized the sentiments of students, as it is their right to express their views, they should think critically and analytically on what they are saying against tuition increases.
He said justifications are required for tuition hike proposals. The increase, he should be 70 percent for the salary and benefits of employees, including teaching and non-teaching staff, 20 percent for the improvement of the institutions building and facility, and 10 percent for return of investment.
Ten percent will go into their pocket while all others are allotted to their operation, both human and material resources of the school operation, Ronquillo said.
He said CHED is watching out for education institutions that exploit their students by collecting unnecessary fees.
NUSP, in an estimate made through its tuition monitor network, had said that around 400 universities and colleges intend to increase tuition and other school fees for the next academic year.
It noted that in 2014"2015, CHED approved the request of 287 of 345 higher education institutions; and 354 of 451 in the 2013-2014 academic year.
Licuanan said that after the deadline of submission on April CHED would be able to present a more realistic estimate on the number of schools asking for fees increases for 2015- 2016. (FREEMAN)

Author: May B. Miasco
Date: February 27, 2015
Source: Freeman

THE number of poor Filipinos is increasing on account of population growth, a study of the state think tank Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) said.
The PIDS came up with a policy note analyzing the recent Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report, which suggested that the welfare conditions in the Philippines are improving. It was attributed to programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, or 4Ps.
However, PIDS senior research fellow Jose Ramon Albert and coauthor Arturo Martinez, who wrote the report Is Poverty Really Decreasing? And If Not, Why Not?, said there is no evidence suggesting that the number of poor Filipinos, indeed, decreased. In fact, Albert and Martinez claimed that the number of poor Filipinos may have actually grown bigger because of population growth.
The PIDS study said the PSA, in its official estimated poverty figures for the first half of 2013, reported that 24.9 percent of Filipinos were poor in the first semester of 2013, based on the 2013 Annual Poverty Indicator Survey (APIS).
However, the PIDS report argued that, while these descriptions of poverty are based on official statistics released by the PSA, the PSA report did not actually claim or report a drop in poverty incidence in 2012 and 2013.
The PSA mentioned that 24.9 percent of Filipinos were poor in the first semester of 2013, and that in the same period in 2012, poverty incidence among Filipinos, based on the 2012 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES), was recorded at 27.9 percent.
According to Albert and Martinez, 24.9 percent is seemingly a decline from 27.9 percent, only that the methodologies used to arrive at the poverty reports were different.
They explained that the PSAs technical notes stated that the source of poverty data on the first half of 2013 is the 2013 APIS, a nationwide sample survey designed to provide information on the different indicators related to poverty and uses a different questionnaire from that of the 2012 FIES.
Although the 2013 APIS used more questions on income (than it used to) with its 19-page questionnaire, the 2012 FIES income module used 24 pages of questions, the PIDS study said.
The PIDS report added that, even if APIS 2013 made use of the 24-page income module of FIES 2012, this would still not make poverty data from the APIS and FIES comparable, since FIES also asks households detailed information on their expenditures before income questions are asked using a total of 78 pages of questions. The FIES interview could take an average interview time of five hours.
The APIS 2013 questionnaire had six pages of questions on expenditure, aside from 19 pages of income questions, and several pages of other questions, which, overall, took three hours to accomplish.
We, therefore, do not have clear evidence to suggest a reduction in poverty from the first half of 2012 to the first semester of 2013. To get definitive recent trends on income poverty, we have to await the results of the 2014 APIS, the PIDS policy note authors said.
Historically, the PIDS said poverty rates have been unchanged.
Based on the latest available figures from FIES, the researchers observed three clear trends on poverty conditions. First, poverty rates have been unchanged in the first-semester periods from 2006 to 2012, since minute differences in estimates are within margins of error. Second, poverty rates also have been unchanged in the full-year periods from 2006 to 2012; and, third, estimates of the proportion of Filipinos who are poor are lower in the full year, compared with first-semester figures, on account of extra income received from 13th-month wages and bonuses, and other income received in the second semester.
Since poverty rates are unchanged, the number of poor Filipinos is increasing on account of population growth, the researchers noted.
Furthermore, they pointed out a barely changing income inequality, a pattern that could mean that the new opportunities created by economic growth do not allow the income of the poor to catch up with the rest.
They also pointed out that although poor Filipinos were more likely to experience higher income growth, some nonpoor also have been vulnerable to slide into poverty.
The state think tank said the government should not only be concerned with the poor, but also with the nonpoor, who are plagued by economic risks, in designing the countrys social-protection infrastructure. Also, the PIDS recommended the development of policies for risk management, such as adequate social insurance and social-protection coverage.
It is also important to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of these programs because, if left unaddressed, income shocks may hamper the thrust for inclusive growth and for sustained prospects of the countrys development, the PIDS report said.//


Author: Jonathan L. Mayuga
Date: February 28, 2015
Source: Business Mirror

MANILA: The Bureau of Internal Revenue has seen collections from the countrys large taxpayers to hit at least P1 trillion this year, representing nearly 60 percent of the agencys total revenue goal of P1.704 trillion. The BIR was originally looking at a collection target of P1.07 trillion from the large taxpayers service (LTS), which consists of the countrys largest corporate clients which are mostly multinationals and publicly-listed companies.
The governments main tax collector, however, saw a need to revise downward its LTS collection goal to P1.05 trillion after taking into account the estimated P30 billion in revenue losses from the higher tax exemption ceiling on bonuses of workers in both the public and private sector. Out of the P30 billion estimated revenue losses, about P19 billion would come from the LTS. Classified as large taxpayers by the BIR are conglomerates, their subsidiaries and affiliates, multinational companies, universal/commercial and foreign banks, and firms with an authorized capital of at least P300 million.
Also falling under this category are taxpayers with an authorized capital of at least P100 million belonging to the banking, insurance, petroleum, utilities, telecommunications, alcohol and tobacco industries. Since its creation in 1993, the LTS has steadily contributed the lions share of the total collection of the BIR. By expanding further the coverage of the large taxpayers to capture about 85 percent or more of the total BIR collection, it would be able to quickly raise and secure more revenue, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said.
Alongside this expansion of the coverage, however, are the required LTS strengthening in systems, processes and procedures, and other reforms including the provision of attractive pay incentive packages to be able to retain high-caliber examiners, lawyers and audit personnel, the PIDS added. Among the big taxpayers that paid more than P1 billion each last year were Toyota Motors Corp., Petron Corp. Fort Bonifacio Development, Taganito Mining and Makati Development, which all belong to the BIRs Billionaires Club. The BIR earlier launched its new tax campaign dubbed Angat Pa, Pinas!, which calls for greater participation from taxpayers in so far as paying the right taxes is concerned.
Henares said the use of third party information such as utility bills data and registration data from other agencies would help widen the tax net. For 2016, the Department of Finance has set a revenue target of P2 trillion for the BIR as the government is hard pressed to ramp up investments in infrastructure and social services to catch up with its Asian neighbors and sustain inclusive growth. Public infrastructure spending stands at less than three percent of the countrys total economic output, below Southeast Asias average of five percent.//


Author:
Date: February 27, 2015
Source: Custom Today

During his state visit to the Philippines last month, Pope Francis urged political leaders (and everyone) to shun corruption. The Pope observed that there is a scandalous social inequality in the Philippines.

One does not need the Pope to tell us this reality, since one can merely look at towering skyscrapers adorning the skyline in Metro Manila, and informal settlers that also thrive at the backdrop of these high-rise buildings to get a sense of inequality in the country.
As far as income inequality is concerned, data (see Table 1) from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES), a survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) every three years, shows that the poorest 20% Filipinos own only less than 5% of the countrys total income while in a perfectly equal society, the poorest 20%, the next 20% all the way to the richest 20% Filipinos, should own 20% of total national income. Moreover, this level of inequality has been unchanged as shown by various measures of inequality such as the Palma ratio and Gini coefficient.

Table 1. Selected Statistics on Income Inequality and (Per Capita) Income Distribution in the Philippines: 2003, 2006
and 2009
Statistics 2003 2006 2009
Average Per Capita Income (in Nominal PHP)
Poorest 20 Percent 7,015 9,494 14,022
Lower Middle 20 Percent 12,461 16,747 24,396
Middle 20 Percent 19,476 26,404 37,606
Upper Middle 20 Percent 32,014 44,247 62,129
Richest 20 Percent 85,891 127,926 176,863
TOTAL 31,369 44,963 62,997
Share of Bottom 20 Percent in National Income 4.48% 4.22% 4.45%
Palma ratio (i.e., income of the top 10% to bottom 40%) 3.09 3.47 3.27
Gini 0.495 0.516 0.506
Note: Author's calculations from FIES 2003, 2006 and 2009.

Socio-economic inequality is a growing concern not just in the Philippines, but across the world.
The Gini coefficient for income/expenditure of selected ASEAN countries is listed in Table 2. When this table is seen together with the performance of these countries in reducing poverty in the last few years, it can be observed that generally, countries that have made significant improvement in reducing poverty among ASEAN economies are those with low levels of inequality, or with reduced inequality.


Table 2. Gini Coefficient across Selected ASEAN Countries: 1990, 2000, and Latest Year
Country 1990 2000 Latest Country 1990 2000 Latest
Cambodia 0.383(1994) 0.419 (2004) 0.36 (2009) Philippines 0.438(1991) 0.461 0.43 (2009)
Indonesia 0.292 0.29 (1999) 0.381 (2011) Thailand 0.453 0.428 0.394 (2010)
Malaysia 0.477(1992) 0.379 (2004) 0.462 (2009) Vietnam 0.357(1993) 0.376 (2002) 0.356 (2008)
Source: 2014 World Development Indicators

Inequality may threaten social cohesion and heighten tensions since it portrays inequitable distribution of economic opportunities. Some argue, however, that (income) inequality should not be immediately portrayed as a problem. As an economy expands, entrepreneurs with better command over assets and capital would be in a better position to benefit from economic growth.
As these peoples incomes grow faster than the income of the rest, the process creates inequality. But, the benefits from income growth could trickle down if the additional incomes are used as investments to create more jobs for the poor.

In a previous article, it was pointed out that we do not have clear evidence to suggest a reduction in poverty because instruments used in the two household surveys of the PSA used to generate estimates of poverty in the first half of 2012 and in the first semester of 2013 are not comparable. Poverty data from the 2006 to the 2012 FIES suggest that poverty rates have been unchanged since minute differences in the estimates are within margins of error.

It may seem puzzling why despite the growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (at an annual rate of 3.3% over the past decade), the income poverty rates and inequality measures in the country have been unchanged. A key element to understand this puzzle is income mobility.

Income mobility in the Philippines?

Income mobility describes the ability of people to partake in socio-economic opportunities created by economic growth.
In a policy note and a discussion paper released at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, we report on our independent work examining movements in the incomes and expenditures of households surveyed by the PSA during the period 2003 to 2009.

An estimated 75.15% of the population in 2003 was non-poor, and, of which 66.88% remained non-poor but 8.28% became poor in 2006.

In 2003, about a quarter (24.85%) of the population was poor, of which 16.95% remained poor but 7.90% became non-poor in 2006. Thus, between 2003 and 2006, poverty inflows were practically equal to outflows for the entire population. That is, the share of the population that was non-poor and that became poor (8.28%) was practically equal to the share of the population that was poor that became non-poor (7.90%).

Of an estimated 20.5 million poor persons in 2003, 6.5 million moved out of poverty, but 6.8 million moved into poverty.










Poverty Status 2003 Poverty Status 2006
Non-poor Poor Total
Non-poor 66.88 8.28 75.15
Poor 7.90 16.95 24.85
Total 74.77 25.23 100.00

A recent study by Martinez et al. (2014) on the distribution of expenditures suggests that almost half of the households experienced mobility in their expenditures from 2003 to 2009. About half (51%) of households that started in extreme (expenditure) poverty in 2003 moved up the expenditure ladder, but 77% of households that started non-poor moved down the expenditure distribution.[1]

[1] Is there income mobility in the Philippines? Journal article written by Martinez, Western, Haynes and Tomaszewski and published in Asian-Pacific Economic Literature.


Table 4. Expenditure Transition Matrix, 2003 - 2009
2003 2009
Extreme poverty Moderate poverty Low middle income Middle income Upper middle income Rich
Extreme poverty 0.4942 0.3951 0.1045 0.0062 0.0000 0.0000
Moderate poverty 0.2185 0.4219 0.3341 0.0243 0.0007 0.0004
Low middle income 0.0423 0.1983 0.5660 0.1860 0.0074 0.0000
Middle income 0.0040 0.0231 0.2933 0.5776 0.0934 0.0085
Upper middle income 0.0000 0.0000 0.0487 0.5298 0.3644 0.0572
Rich 0.0000 0.0000 0.0221 0.2665 0.4836 0.2279

In general, Filipinos have experienced income and expenditure movements. Another paper about to be published by Martinez and his co-researchers found that approximately 11% of Filipino households experienced slow expenditure movements, 31% experienced consistently upward expenditure movements, 24% noted consistent downward expenditure movements, and 34% observed highly fluctuating expenditures.

All these studies conclude that there is volatility in the income and expenditure distribution, and that roughly the same number of households experienced upward and downward movements in income or expenditure.

Consequently, while there is significant income mobility in the Philippines, there is a strong offsetting force: for every household that experienced upward income mobility, there is approximately one household that experienced downward income mobility.
There is also a strong offsetting force over time because a significant fraction of Filipinos experienced income volatilities, with income growth being followed by income reductions (and vice-versa). Together, these factors contribute to the lack of changes in poverty rates and income inequality at the aggregate-level.



Figure 1. Different Types of Income Trajectories, 2003-2009

Source: Martinezs computations on the longitudinal subsample of FIES 2003, 2006 and 2009.
Note: Households that experienced slow to moderate income growth (at most +/- 5% per year) in both 2003-2006 and 2006-2009 periods are grouped in the first cluster. Households that observed consistently positive or consistently negative growth rates, wherein at least one growth rate exceeds 5%, are classified under the second or third cluster, respectively. Lastly, households that experienced highly positive income growth (> 5%) in 2003-2006 yet highly negative income growth (< -5%) in 2006-2009 are classified in the fourth cluster while households that experienced highly negative growth (< -5%) in 2003-2006 followed by highly positive growth (> 5%) in 2006-2009 are classified in the fifth cluster.

In summary, it is not the case that economic growth has not led the poor out of poverty.

Empirical data from comparable surveys suggest that economic growth has coincideed with a significant fraction of the initially poor getting out of poverty.

However, this poverty reduction has been offset by the number of initially non-poor falling into poverty. To make economic growth truly inclusive, the government should not only be concerned with the poor, but also it must have policy instruments to assist those who are non-poor but plagued by economic risks.

Policymakers need to develop public policies on risk management such as adequate insurance and social protection coverage. While some social protection mechanisms such as the conditional cash transfer are promising to yield long term effects on income distribution, it will be important to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of existing social protection infrastructure in the Philippines because if left unaddressed, income shocks may hamper the thrust for inclusive growth and for sustained prospects of the countrys development. " Rappler.com

Dr. Jose Ramon "Toots" Albert is a professional statistician who has written on poverty measurement, education statistics, agricultural statistics, climate change, macro-prudential monitoring, survey design, data mining, and statistical analysis of missing data. He is a Senior Research Fellow of the governments think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies, and the president of the countrys professional society of data producers, users and analysts, the Philippine Statistical Association, Inc. for 2014-2015. He also teaches at De La Salle University, Holy Angel University and at the Asian Institute of Management.
Arturo Martinez, Jr. is a Research Fellow at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course. He finished a bachelors and masters degree in Statistics from the University of the Philippines Diliman and is currently a PhD in Applied Statistics student at the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Queensland. He is also acting as one of the assistant chairs of the Social Statistics Section of the Statistical Society of Australia.


Author: Jose Ramon G. Albert and Arturo Martinez Jr,
Date: February 25, 2015
Source: Rappler.com

The Philippines and 20 other member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) should improve overall visa processing and facilitation, including pursuing e-visa programs, in a bid to facilitate person-to-person (PTP) tourism in the region and in Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
This was one of the recommendations of the discussion paper released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) obtained by The Daily Tribune titled People-to-People Tourism in Apec: Facilitating Cross-border Entry and Exit, with Special Focus on Asean.

Among the various types of tourists that will visit Apec and Asean countries, PTP tourists are expected to grow in number as a result of many factors, including greater economic integration of member countries, it said.

PTP is defined as the cross-border movement of people from one country to another on a repeated basis for educational, training or related capacity building; research and development cooperation; medical tourism; and responding to disaster or calamity, among others.

The paper thus underscored the need to focus on PTP tourism as a first priority, as Apec is working towards aligning visa policies and regulations among its member countries.

In the immediate and short term, it said Asean and Apec should improve overall visa processing and facilitation through implementing e-visa programs, improving the delivery of travel and visa information, and facilitating current processes, especially those still operating under face-to-face personal interviews.

This (e-visa program) is deemed the best opportunity for visa facilitation, especially for countries with very limited network of embassies and consulates, the PIDS noted.

The paper noted that there has been uneven adoption of new visa technologies such as e-visa and Smartgate in the region.
To facilitate current processes, it identified key areas where improvement is needed, including more extensive use of information technology (official website, e-mail, social media), interconnectivity of entry and exit points and consideration of visas on arrival.
The PIDS said it is imperative for Apec and Asean to focus on facilitating travel involving local border traffic.


Author: Ed Velasco
Date: February 25, 2015
Source: The Daily Tribune

Highly improbable.
This is how the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) described yesterday the estimates provided by the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) citing at least 400 universities and colleges intend to increase their tuition and other school fees for the incoming academic year.
In an official statement issued by the office of CHEd Chairperson Patricia Licuanan, the Commission decried the estimates provided by NUSP as highly improbable.
In AY 2014-2015, CHED approved 287 private higher education institutions (HEIs) from 345 that initially filed applications at its regional offices.
The NUSP, considered as the largest and broadest alliance of more than 650 student councils and governments/unions in the country, earlier announced that around 400 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) for have plans to implement tuition hike for Academic Year (AY) 2015-2016. This estimates, NUSP stressed, is based on the data it gathered from its tuition monitor network.
However, CHEd is dubious on the said data citing that in AY 2014-2015, the Commission only approved 287 private HEIs from 345 that initially filed applications at its regional offices. In AY 2013-2014, Licuanan said that CHEd approved 354 private HEIs from 451 that initially applied. The approved numbers, she added, represent roughly 20 percent of the 1,683 total number of private HEIs nationwide.
Licuanan said that for AY 2015-2016, CHEd will be able to provide more realistic estimates by April after the deadline of intended tuition and/or other school fees submissions end on April 01.
NUSP has been criticizing CHEd for being powerless when it comes to the annual increase in tuition and other fees citing these are inhumane, incessant and anti-student.
NUSP President Sarah Elago said that administration-sponsored consultation for the longest time has evolved into a mere justification and presentation of fees. She added that the skyrocketing tuition increase under the guise of development actually kills students and youths right to accessible and quality education.
Meanwhile, Licuanan said that CHEd will ensure that HEIs meet the guidelines provided by law, especially the requirement of consultation, the allocation of tuition fees, and the strict adherence with the processes that seek to make tuition fee increases transparent, reasonable and affordable.
Tapping the help of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), Licuanan said that CHEd is also developing a systematic, data-based, broadly acceptable framework for tuition and other school fees to guide the agency in deciding on a reasonable rate of increase each year.
Licuanan also reiterated CHEds appeal to all HEIs to carefully study their tuition and other fees increases each year and to spend wisely and judiciously in order to lessen the costs of its most important stakeholders " its students.

Author: Ina Hernando Malipot
Date: February 24, 2015
Source: Manila Bulletin

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines can propose to augment local resources for infrastructure investments with regional resources such as official development assistance (ODA), as the country plays host economy for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit this year.
Adoracion Navarro, senior research fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), made this recommendation in a discussion paper titled Philippine Priorities in Expanding APEC-Wide Connectivity through Infrastructure Development.
Other sources of financing including ODA and private sector funds will be needed to ensure the sustainability of infrastructure investments going forward, she said.
Navarro said the government particularly needs to improve spending on infrastructure as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) to five percent by 2016 from 2.09 percent in 2012.
While the government has now more resources for its critical programs and projects, she said that sustaining public investments remains a concern due to low revenue generation.
Navarro said that during APEC discussions on financing infrastructure, the Philippines can thus raise the topic of increasing local resources for infrastructure resources with regional resources.
Information sharing on best practices on the use of such sources can be also pursued, she said.
Most of the bilateral sources of ODA loans for infrastructure projects are APEC members and it is expected that these sources will continue to play a significant role in financing Philippine infrastructure investments, she said.
Navarro proposed these measures amid a decreasing trend in Philippine ODA loans for infrastructure for the past few years.
She attributed this to the improving governments fiscal space and some of the infrastructure projects in the public investment program were re-studied and became part of the public-private partnership (PPP) program.
But this is a medium-term trend and it is still necessary to ensure that sources, whether domestic or external, are available to make infrastructure investments sustainable for the longer term, the report said.
Navarro considered PPPs a significant mode of project financing given the momentum gained thus far in PPP program implementation.
She thus proposed that the Philippines prioritize PPP-related topics in APEC discussions by expressing the need for more sharing of knowledge and best practices on appropriate risk allocation and contract design, management and monitoring.
Moreover, the Philippines can ask for regional cooperation on sustained, dynamic and productive capacity building assistance for 35 PPP units in less advanced APEC members so that they can generate a pipeline of bankable infrastructure PPPs. Since knowledge on PPPs is not static, capacity building should be dynamic, she added.
Further, Navarro said the priorities of the Philippines as host economy for APEC 2015 should likewise be aimed at regional cooperation on investing in good infrastructure, building resilient infrastructure, and sharing of best practices on the effective use of infrastructure during calamities.//

Author:
Date: February 23, 2015
Source: Philippine Star

The traditional adage is that innovation optimizes the evolution of performance. But for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to fully take advantage of the benefits of innovation, hard evidence has to link innovation with improved firm performance. More importantly, the factors that influence firms to innovate, as well as those that discourage them, must be identified and analyzed.

These were the objectives outlined in Does Innovation Mediate Good Firm Performance, a paper recently released by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). Authors Gilberto M. Llanto, president and Fatima Lourdes Del Prado, senior research specialist, add their analysis to the growing literature on innovation in the area of policymaking and development agendas.

National development relies on innovation, and SMEs in particular are considered by the ASEAN Economic Community as vehicles for integration and inclusive growth. To create an atmosphere that allows SMEs to have greater access and financing opportunities to generate innovation, the countrys leaders must make targeted policies.

Llanto and del Prados paper affirms that innovation increases sales and profit, and improves labor productivity. But what kind of innovation, and how do different factors, such as firm size, age, and foreign equity, affect the impact of innovation? The authors believe that the effect of each is important to distinguish.

Two Kinds of Innovation

A review of the literature undertaken by the authors shows that there are two ways firms can change and innovate"through product innovation or the adoption of new product or service, and through process innovation or the radical changes in the management and operation of a firm.

Interestingly, the authors demonstrate that a firms ability to undertake both or either type of innovation, and the disposition of the impact on the firms performance, is dependent on varying factors.

Supported financially and technically by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), PIDS commissioned the National Statistics Office (NSO) to survey manufacturing firms in CALABARZON. Their statistics show that a strong relationship between innovation activities and economic performance of firms exists.

Firm size, foreign equity, and industry sectors were important considerations for SMEs to invest in changes.

Small-sized firms or start-up companies for instance, may find it more challenging to do product innovation than process innovation while large companies could typically undertake product and process innovations as a matter of routine, the authors conclude.



Larger firms have more workers and a larger talent pool to enact both product and process innovations. But their years of experience also allow their leaders to view the importance of innovation to maintaining their market competitiveness.

Secondly, the authors affirm established literature cited in the works of Becheikh, Landry and Amara (2006) claiming that firms with foreign investors are more likely to innovate because they supply domestic firms with scientific and non-scientific resources, making them all the more capable to change up their processes or product designs.

Thirdly, the fundamental difference between product innovation and process innovation was also evident.

Sales, profit, and labor productivity linked with process innovation show that improving the way firms run their business by changing operating, marketing, and business strategies significantly and positively affect firm performance.

The same cannot be said for product innovation. Its impact on the firms performance is smaller compared with that of process innovation, and subject to the products ability to penetrate the market.

The authors recommend that policymakers focus on enhancing SMEs to access and finance innovations. Regulations and structural barriers to foreign investment would best be eased, as foreign equity increases SMEs likelihood to innovate their products and processes.


Author:
Date: February 23, 2015
Source: Zambo Times

THE Philippines and 20 other member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) should improve overall visa processing and facilitation, including pursuing e-visa programs, in a bid to facilitate person-to-person (PTP) tourism in the region and in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
This was one of the recommendations of the discussion paper released by the state-owned think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) titled "People-to-People Tourism in Apec: Facilitating Cross-border Entry and Exit, with Special Focus on Asean."
"Among the various types of tourists that will visit Apec and Asean countries, PTP tourists are expected to grow in number as a result of many factors, including greater economic integration of member countries," it said.
PTP is defined as the cross-border movement of people from one country to another on a repeated basis for educational, training or related capacity building; research and development cooperation; medical tourism; and responding to disaster or calamity, among others.
The paper thus underscored the need to focus on PTP tourism as a first priority, as Apec is working toward aligning visa policies and regulations among its member countries.
In the immediate and short term, it said Asean and Apec should improve overall visa processing and facilitation through implementing e-visa programs, improving the delivery of travel and visa information, and facilitating current processes, especially those still operating under a paper system and face-to-face personal interviews.
"This (e-visa program) is deemed the best opportunity for visa facilitation, especially for countries with very limited network of embassies and consulates," the PIDS noted.
The paper noted that there has been uneven adoption of new visa technologies such as e-visa and Smartgate in the region.
To facilitate current processes, it identified key areas where improvement is needed, including more extensive use of information technology (official website, e-mail, social media), interconnectivity of entry and exit points and consideration of visas on arrival.
The PIDS said it is imperative for Apec and Asean to focus on facilitating travel involving local border traffic.
"This area has not been given much attention in Asean discussions, perhaps because of the limited land borders in the region, compared to, say, the extensive land borders (and thus, significant local border traffic) in Africa, North America, South America and Europe," it said.
In the medium term, the PIDS said Asean and Apec should standardize visa requirements and regulations for non-Asean and Apec nationals, as well as for intra-Asean or intra-Apec PTP tourists.
Further, the paper said that apart from lower cost, there are large economic benefits of travel facilitation.
The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that improvement in visa facilitation in APEC could result in US$62 billion to US$89 billion more by 2016. (Philexport)

Author:
Date: February 23, 2015
Source: Sun Star Cebu

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Internal Revenue sees collections from the countrys large taxpayers to hit at least P1 trillion this year, representing nearly 60 percent of the agencys total revenue goal of P1.704 trillion.
The BIR was originally looking at a collection target of P1.07 trillion from the large taxpayers service (LTS), which consists of the countrys largest corporate clients which are mostly multinationals and publicly-listed companies.
The LTS accounts for the biggest share in BIRs total revenues.
The governments main tax collector, however, saw a need to revise downward its LTS collection goal to P1.05 trillion after taking into account the estimated P30 billion in revenue losses from the higher tax exemption ceiling on bonuses of workers in both the public and private sector.
Out of the P30 billion estimated revenue losses, about P19 billion would come from the LTS.
Classified as large taxpayers by the BIR are conglomerates, their subsidiaries and affiliates, multinational companies, universal/commercial and foreign banks, and firms with an authorized capital of at least P300 million.
Also falling under this category are taxpayers with an authorized capital of at least P100 million belonging to the banking, insurance, petroleum, utilities, telecommunications, alcohol and tobacco industries.
Since its creation in 1993, the LTS has steadily contributed the lions share of the total collection of the BIR.
By expanding further the coverage of the large taxpayers to capture about 85 percent or more of the total BIR collection, it would be able to quickly raise and secure more revenue, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said.
Alongside this expansion of the coverage, however, are the required LTS strengthening in systems, processes and procedures, and other reforms including the provision of attractive pay incentive packages to be able to retain high-caliber examiners, lawyers and audit personnel, the PIDS added.
Among the big taxpayers that paid more than P1 billion each last year were Toyota Motors Corp., Petron Corp. Fort Bonifacio Development, Taganito Mining and Makati Development, which all belong to the BIRs Billionaires Club.
The BIR earlier launched its new tax campaign dubbed Angat Pa, Pinas!, which calls for greater participation from taxpayers in so far as paying the right taxes is concerned.
Our campaign last year was aimed at making people feel ashamed for not paying taxes. For this year, we want to instill patriotism among our people. We want to show that our country is moving in the right direction. If we do our share in paying the correct taxes, we will all be part of nation-building and in uplifting the lives of our countrymen, Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares said.
The new tax drive is part of the bigger Revenue Administration Reform project being implemented by the BIR with support from the Millennium Challenge Corp.
Henares said while the BIR has collected much more, it was not enough.
The BIR chief is hopeful the agency could achieve its P1.703 trillion target this year as it continues to curb tax evasion through stepped up monitoring and enhanced third party matching system.
Henares said the use of third party information such as utility bills data and registration data from other agencies would help widen the tax net.
For 2016, the Department of Finance has set a revenue target of P2 trillion for the BIR as the government is hard pressed to ramp up investments in infrastructure and social services to catch up with its Asian neighbors and sustain inclusive growth.
Public infrastructure spending stands at less than three percent of the countrys total economic output, below Southeast Asias average of five percent.
Tax leakage remains one of the biggest drains on the governments coffers.//

Author: Zinnia B. dela Pea
Date: February 23, 2015
Source: Philippine Star

MANILA - The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Monday denied that there are some 400 universities and colleges intending to increase their tuition and other school fees for academic year (AY) 2015-2016.

In a statement, CHED decried the figures allegedly disclosed by the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) through their tuition monitor network as "highly improbable".

"In academic year 2014-2015, CHED approved the tuition increase by 287 private higher education institutions (HEIs) from 345 that initially filed applications at its regional offices. In AY 2013-2014, CHED approved 354 private HEIs from 451 that initially applied. The approved numbers represent roughly 20% of the 1,683 total number of private HEIs nationwide," CHED said.

For AY 2015-2016, CHED said that it will be able to provide more realistic estimates by April, after the deadline of intended tuition and/or other school fees submissions end on April 01.

"CHED will ensure that HEIs meet the guidelines provided by law, especially the requirement of consultation, the allocation of tuition, and the strict adherence with the processes that seek to make tuition fee increases transparent, reasonable and affordable."

Further, the Commission, with the help of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) is developing a systematic, data-based, broadly acceptable framework for tuition and other school fees to guide the agency in deciding on a reasonable rate of increase each year.

Finally, CHED maintains its appeal to all HEIs to carefully study their tuition and other fees increases each year and to spend wisely and judiciously in order to lessen the costs of its most important stakeholders " its students.

Author: Clara Masinag
Date: February 23, 2015
Source: Interksyon TV5

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will scrutinize all proposals for tuition fee increase from colleges and universities to protect public interest.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said yesterday CHED will make sure that colleges and universities will comply with the guidelines set by the Commission before imposing higher tuition fees, and that the proposed increase would be carefully assessed.
Valte said it would be up to CHED Chairman Patricia Licuanan to determine the rate of tuition fee increase that could be allowed.
CHED media officer Abi Lasaca earlier said that the agency is working with the Philippine Institute for Development Studies to come up with a formula on the reasonable rate of tuition fee increase each year and per province or region.
According to the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), around 400 universities and colleges across the country plan to increase tuition and other school fees in the next school year.
The NUSP said many schools have signified their intention to raise tuition by up to 13 percent and other school fees by 20 percent.
CHED is set to release the list of colleges and universities seeking to raise their tuition fees by April and May.//

Author: by Aurea Calica
Date: February 22, 2015
Source: Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Around 400 universities and colleges across the country have plans to increase tuition and other school fees, according to youth group National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP).
Citing data from its tuition monitor network, the NUSP said a number of schools have already signified their intention to raise tuition by up to 13 percent, while some have plans to increase other schools fees by up to 20 percent.
However, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said it would issue its own list by March or April after all reports from its regional offices have been submitted.
Currently, CHED is working with the Philippine Institute for Development Studies to come up with a formula on the reasonable rate of tuition fee increase each year and per province or region, CHED media officer Abi Lasaca said.
The NUSP, which is composed of over 650 student councils and federations across the country, said several schools which had raised tuition and other school fees last year have plans to impose another round of increase this year.
(The yearly increases are) inhumane, incessant and anti-student, said NUSP president Sarah Elago.
Administration-sponsored consultation for the longest time has evolved into a mere justification and presentation of fees Skyrocketing tuition increase under the guise of development actually kills students and youths right to accessible and quality education, Elago added.
The group questioned the decision of schools to impose illegal, redundant and dubious fees, such as payment for lifelong relations and spiritual development.
NUSP has time and again raised to (CHED) the illegality and questionability of these fees, but it has remained inutile and negligent of delivering justice to these cases, the group added.
Youth groups held an indoor protest yesterday at the University of Santo Tomas to protest a proposed 5 to 7.9 percent tuition hike for the incoming year.
Small yet steady doses of tuition and other fee increase inflict a heavy burden to students. These prove that the UST admin is peddling education as a profitable business instead of a social service, said League of Filipino Students spokesperson Charisse Baez.
Payment for the universitys services should all be included in the tuition. By imposing other dubious school fees, UST clearly intends to double the profit they acquire from charging tuition fees alone, she added.
Student and youth groups are planning a nationwide walkout on Feb. 27 to demand accountability on the Mamasapano incident and protest the new spate of tuition and other school fees increases.//

Author: Janvic Mateo
Date: February 21, 2015
Source: Philippine Star

APART from implementing interventions for the poor, the government must also provide adequate insurance and social protection for Filipinos, according to a study released by state-owned think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
In a study titled Is poverty really decreasing, and, if not, why not?, PIDS Senior Research Fellow Jose Ramon Albert and University of Queensland doctoral student Arturo Martinez Jr. said intervention programs are also needed to prevent the nonpoor from sliding back into poverty.
[The] government should not only be concerned with the poor, but should also have policy instruments to assist those who are nonpoor, but plagued by economic risks. Policymakers need to develop policies for risk management, such as adequate insurance and social-protection coverage, the authors said.
These social protection strategies will help Filipinos weather income shocks, which happens due to external factors or others that affect a households income.
The study stated that almost half of households in the country changed income status from 2003 to 2009. Data show that 51 percent of the households that started in extreme poverty in 2003 moved up, while 77 percent of the households that started nonpoor moved down the income ladder.
Households that experience income mobility, the rise or decline in income, happens in all income classes. But some households in certain income classes experience income mobility faster than others.
The study stated that around 11 percent of all households in the country experienced slow-to-moderate income growth, at most +/- 5 percent per year in both 2003-to-2006 and 2006-to-2009 periods.
Around 31 percent of households experience consistently positive growth rates, and 24 percent of households experience consistently negative growth rates wherein at least one growth rate exceeds 5 percent.
Data show some 14 percent of households experienced highly positive income growth, or better than 5 percent from 2003 to 2006, but registered highly negative income growth, or lower than -5 percent from 2006 to 2009. The authors also said that about 20 percent of households experienced highly negative growth, or lower than -5 percent from 2003 to 2006 followed by highly positive growth of above 5 percent from 2006 to 2009.
While some social protection mechanisms, such as the CCT [Conditional Cash Transfer] are promising to yield long-term effects on income distribution, it will be important to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of existing social-protection infrastructure in the Philippines because, if left unaddressed, income shocks may hamper the thrust for inclusive growth and for sustained prospects of the countrys development, the authors said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data show the countrys full-year poverty incidence averaged 26.3 percent in 2006; 26.1 percent in 2009; and 25.3 percent in 2012. These were based on the Family Income and Expenditure Survey conducted every three years.
The full-year 2013 data, however, has not been released by the national government. However, according to the 2013 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey, the first semester poverty incidence in 2013 averaged 24.9 percent.//

Author: Cai Ordinario
Date: February 19, 2015
Source: Business Mirror

STATE POLICY think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) recommended more targeted policies that would enhance access of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to key factors that spur innovation, including foreign direct investments.

The think tank made this recommendation after discovering SMEs invest less in innovation than larger companies, missing out on enhanced sales, profits and labor productivity.

PIDS noted in a Feb. 18 press release that national development relies on innovation and that the ASEAN Economic Community considers SMEs as vehicles for innovation and inclusive growth.

To create an atmosphere that allows SMEs to have greater access and financing opportunities to generate innovation, the countrys leaders must make targeted policies, the release read.

An 18-page discussion paper titled Does Innovation Mediate Good Firm Performance? concluded that firm size, age, and foreign equity are important factors leading firms to innovate.

Of particular importance to the Philippine development narrative is our finding on the role of foreign equity as a determinant of innovation. Removing regulatory and structural barriers to entry of foreign direct investments will be critical in attracting such investments to the domestic market, read the January 2015 paper, authored by PIDS President Gilberto M. Llanto and senior research specialist Fatima Lourdes del Prado.

The paper said large and more mature firms seem to have a higher propensity to introduce process and product innovations than smaller and younger firms, noting these companies knowledge, experience, and larger talent pools.

Small-sized firms or start-up companies... may find it more challenging to do product innovation than process innovation, while large companies could typically undertake [both] as a matter of routine, it noted.

Fifty-four percent of the 211 Calabarzon region companies surveyed for the study introduced new products in the last two years.

The survey also discovered that 60% of foreign-owned firms introduced new products, compared to 44% for surveyed locally owned firms.

This finding affirmed previous studies saying foreign capital participation is an important indicator of product innovation, the paper said.

Only close to half of surveyed SMEs -- defined as those with less than 200 employees -- introduced new products, compared to about 75% of the larger firms.

In recognizing that innovation had a positive effect on business performance, the study cited survey results that said 29%-35% of the firms reported moderate to substantial increase in sales, profit and export value, while 40%-50% showed moderate to significant profit and labor productivity growths.

Thirty-five to forty-five percent of the surveyed companies reported no significant changes in all performance measures.

Introduction and development of new products or improved existing ones were counted as product innovation.

Yet, the study found that process innovation -- the adoption of improved business practices -- had a more marked effect on firms sales and profit performance.

Seventy percent of the companies were found to have tried and achieved some form of process innovation.

According to Trade department data, 99% of the countrys businesses are classified as SMEs. --

Author: Vince Alvic Alexis F. Nonato
Date: February 19, 2015
Source: BusinessWorld

To increase woman-entrepreneurs in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) economies, a study released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) urged Apec members to give tax breaks to women-run businesses.

In a study titled Challenges in the economic participation of women as entrepreneurs, PIDS consultant Lucita Lazo said having more woman-entrepreneurs make for more inclusive economies.

Actions to remove the barriers to women entrepreneurship are essential to ensure the growth of women enterprises. Apec economies can look into affirmative measures such as providing tax holidays and more suitable social security requirements for SMEs [small and medium enterprises] and women enterprises in the informal sector, the study stated.

The study cited 2008 data showing that in the Philippines, more women (54 percent) than men (46 percent) register their business.

However, in succeeding years when the business has to be renewed, more men, 55 percent, than women, 45 percent, renew their business.

The study stated that women find it difficult to balance their domestic duties with business responsibilities.

Increasing the economic opportunities of women in the Apec economies is smart economics. It could well be the gateway to prosperity and a way out of poverty, the study stated.

Further, the Department of Trade and Industry data showed that in 2009, around 54 percent of enterprises were female-owned.

However, most of these enterprises are small, consisting of only the owner/manager without any employees.

Women usually have little capital or below P10,000 and thus can only penetrate activities with low-entry barriers, such as retail trade, food stalls, or personal services, which also have low productivity.

Increasing the economic opportunities of women in Apec economies is critical to achieve inclusive growth in the Asia-Pacific region. For this to happen, an enabling environment for woman-entrepreneurs should be present to realize their full economic potential.

In the Philippines, the bulk, or 91.6 percent, of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is composed of micro enterprises. The rest, or 7.7 percent, are small businesses and 0.4 percent are medium-size enterprises.

The study also said MSMEs constitute the vast majority of enterprises in the Philippines. In 2006 they accounted for 99.7 percent of all enterprises and provided almost 70 percent of the jobs generated by all enterprises.

Author: Cai Ordinario
Date: February 17, 2015
Source: Business Mirror

IT TOOK the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) nearly four years to hear the petition to prevent the Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. (PSACC) from transporting passengers.

By the time Marina decided last Jan. 23, 2015, nearly seven years had passed since the accident that provoked the petition: the sinking off Romblon, at the height of a typhoon, of the MV Princess of the Stars. More than 800 persons died in that accident.

The Marina itself pointed out that before it could prohibit PSACC from transporting passengers, the company had decided to convert its operations to cargo-only. This was supposed to be part of a reinvention that included changing the companys name from Sulpicio Lines to PSACC. From 11 passenger-carrying ships in 2008, the company cut its passenger operations to only two vessels, the Princess of the Earth and Princess of the South, as of 2013.

So, the Marina ruled that the prohibition would apply to other ships that may be added to its (PSACCs) fleet. It also urged the amendment of Memorandum Circular 120, issued in 1997, and admitted that an additional penalty it imposed on PSACC was not commensurate to the injury caused. The penalty in question was P800, for the companys failure to secure a special permit to carry hazardous cargo, a 40-foot container of pesticides.

More than 5,700 persons died in four accidents involving Sulpicio vessels between December 1987 and June 2008, including the Doa Paz tragedy.

To be fair, some of the conditions that led to these maritime disasters were not entirely within anyones control. Myrna S. Austria, in a 2003 paper for the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, pointed out that shipping companies have long struggled with low profitability in passenger services. For one, passenger rates could not be adjusted to reflect inflation.

Low profitability resulted to both the tendency to overload and provide very low service standards, Austria wrote. (Her paper, Philippine Domestic Shipping Transport Industry: State of Competition and Market Structure, offers plenty of insights on the sector.)

Industry reforms have been ongoing since 1989. The challenge now for Marina and all stakeholders is to find that balance between regulating the industry and enabling more competition (including foreign competition), so that both passengers and cargo are ferried safely across these islands.

Author:
Date: February 17, 2015
Source: Sun Star Cebu

The Philippines should conduct further discussions on public- private partnerships (PPPs) to address infrastructure gaps in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) member-countries, according to a study released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

This was one of the key findings of the discussion paper titled Philippine Priorities in Expanding Apec-Wide Connectivity through Infrastructure Development authored by PIDS senior research fellow Adoracion M. Navarro.

The study stated the country can help drive the PPP discussions by focusing on the need to share knowledge and best practices, particularly on risk allocation, contract design, and management and monitoring.

The Philippines can ask for regional cooperation on sustained, dynamic and productive capacity-building assistance for PPP units in less advanced Apec members so that they can generate a pipeline of bankable
infrastructure PPPs. Since knowledge on PPPs is not
static, capacity-building should be dynamic, Navarro said.

The PPP route, Navarro said, will help Apec economies, including the Philippines, address financing options for infrastructure development.

Navarro said the Philippiness public infrastructure spending only equaled 1.4 percent of local putput or the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008 and 2.09 percent of GDP in 2012. The government intended to increase public infrastructure spending to 5 percent of GDP by 2016.

While the governments so-called fiscal space has grown in recent years, Navarro said government revenues remain inadequate to support much-needed public spending for infrastructure. Philippine government revenue collections amounting to only P1.72 trillion or $39
billion in 2013 equaled only 14.8 percent of GDP. This was below the average revenue-to-GDP ratio of 18.6 in the Asean region.

Navarro added that other funding sources, such as Official Development Assistance (ODA), has declined in recent years.

Data from the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) show net commitment levels declining to only $9.09 billion in 2013 from $10.58 billion in 2004.

A decreasing trend in Philippine ODA loans for infrastructure has been observed in 2008 to 2012. This is likely related to the fact that the governments fiscal space is improving and some of the infrastructure projects in the public investment program were restudied and became part of the PPP program, the study stated.

But this is a medium-term trend and it is still necessary to ensure that sources, whether domestic or external, are available to make infrastructure investments sustainable for the longer term, it added.

The study also said that, while the creation of Chinas Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which has a start-up capital of $50 billion, was a welcome development, not much was known about its financing options.

Navarro said that, a year into its creation, details, such as currency risk bearing by borrowing countries, governance standards, and environmental assessments, have not been made known. In this regard, Navarro said Apec talks on infrastructure development must also push for the disclosure of these important details about the AIIB.

Apart from these, Navarro said the Philippines must also raise concerns on regional cooperation for the improvement of the transport, telecommunication and information, and energy sectors.

In terms of transportation, Apec talks must focus on maritime safety and air-transport networks. The country is one of those with a dire need to expand and improve its air-transport sector through night landing capabilities and communications, navigation and surveillance/air-
traffic management systems.

On telecommunications, the discussions must focus on improvements, such as creating broadband netwtorks, in light of the ongoing Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area submarine fiber-optic cable project.

Energy discussions, on the other hand, must focus on transforming the Apec into an energy-efficient region. These discussions must focus on energy supply and additional energy sources.

Author: Cai Ordinario
Date: February 15, 2015
Source: Business Mirror

THE Philippines should champion the Blue Economy Agenda in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) to attain food security, according to a study released by state-owned think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

This was the recommendation of the discussion paper, titled Inputs for Philippine Hosting of Apec 2015: Food Security, authored by PIDS senior research fellow Roehlano Briones, research analyst Ivory Myka Galang and senior research fellow Danilo Israel.

Blue Economy refers to the sustainable use of marine resources through fisheries, energy and international trade. This contributes to efforts that promote the Green Economy, which furthers economic growth while preserving the environment.

The Philippines can aggressively champion the Blue Economy approach as an innovative way of managing the national and Apec-wide fisheries resources and coastal and oceanic waters, the study stated.

The Blue Economy stands for a way of designing [a] business by using the resources available in cascading systems, where the waste of one product becomes the input to create a new cash flow, it added.

The study stated world leaders at the Rio+20 Summit in 2012 said the Green Economy highlights poverty eradication, social inclusion and employment opportunities, while maintaining healthy ecosystems.

The Blue Economy contributes to the Green Economy because it aims at creating jobs and rising incomes, while saving and preserving the environment through the marine and fisheries sector.

The study said the Philippines can champion the Blue Economy through the promotion of sustainable food-supply chains, which is part of the Apecs Road Map for Food Security by 2020.

The road map has three key components: developing sustainable agricultural and fishery sectors; facilitating investment and infrastructure development; and enhancing trade and markets.

A sustainable food-supply chain must have a steady resource base, must be financially viable and must be resilient to shocks or threats [e.g., climate change, growing population and others], the study stated.

The Philippines can continue to highlight the looming threat of climate change, the need to initiate and sustain growth of incomes of smallholders within resilient value chains, ensure farm to fork integrity of supply chains to ensure food security for the consumer, it added.

The study stated that by championing the Blue Economy, the Philippines can also provide much-needed support for the agriculture sector, particularly fisheries, which only accounts for 20 percent of the output of the farm sector.

While the countrys economic success has been impressive in recent years, the study lamented that this growth has not trickled down to the poor, especially agriculture-dependent households.

The authors said that while the farm sector accounts for 12 percent of the countrys gross domestic product in 2010, it accounts for a third of the Philippine labor force.

The study cited data showed poverty incidence among agriculture-dependent households was 57 percent in 2009, while that of nonagricultural households was only 17 percent.

The high poverty incidence resulted in a rise in hunger and malnutrition cases. The Global Hunger Index in 2013 showed that the average proportion of undernourished in the population was at 17 percent between 2010 and 2012.

Author: Cai Ordinario
Date: February 13, 2015
Source: Business Mirror

MANILA - The Philippines needs to implement broad-based reforms, including restoring manufacturing as a job generation strategy, if it were to increase economic opportunities for women in the country and in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region.
In a paper titled Increasing Economic Opportunities of Women in the APEC, state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) noted that womens participation in the economy is skewed toward micro and small enterprises.
It identified sustaining and scaling up enterprises; access to finance, productive resources and information; and readiness for global markets among the common challenges to women entrepreneurs.
For most SMEs (small and medium enterprises), scaling up is key to their survival in an increasingly competitive environment, the study said.
The paper said SMEs thus should not only focus on surviving, but ensuring they move up in their operations, markets, technology and employment.
To make the business environment more enabling, PIDS listed broad-based reforms that will benefit womens economic opportunities, including significant infrastructure improvements and making the environment conducive for the private sector to generate jobs, especially in agriculture and tourism.
The matter of restoring manufacturing as a job generation strategy needs to be further thought out and if possible, put into practice, it said.
Further, the PIDS paper said that APEC economies have the possibility of expanding womens economic opportunities through practical measures: empowering women by globalizing their outlook; more attention to micro-entrepreneurs in the informal economy in order to scale up their enterprises; and enhancing womens enterprise competitiveness through innovation and capacity development in entrepreneurship, among others.//

Author:
Date: February 12, 2015
Source: Interksyon TV5

TO address water problems in Central Visayas, the Regional Development Council 7 is asking the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to establish a regional office in Cebu.
National Economic Development Authority (Neda) 7 Director Efren Carreon, in a statement sent recently, said the RDC 7 made the request on Dec. 19 through an RDC resolution, citing a study from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in 1998 that projected that by 2015, the water deficit in Metro Cebu would be 184,700 cubic meters per day.
Stakeholders have long recognized the water problem especially in Cebu. While the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) is trying to increase water supply by rehabilitating its water wells, the lack of successful regulation of groundwater withdrawal increases risks to sustained supply of potable water, Neda 7 said.
MCWD implemented an eight-hour service interruption last Jan. 3 to connect its main pipes to the Carmen Bulk Water Supply, adding 18,000 cubic meters to the water districts production and bringing the daily production to 230,000 cubic meters.
MCWD relies mostly on its groundwater sources, which account for 80 percent of its daily production. Twenty percent of it is from surface water sources.
Aside from Cebu, Neda also raised concerns that the provinces of Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor are also experiencing the same water inadequacy issue.
The dedicated work of NGOs, watershed and water councils, and advocacies for implementing the national policy on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) have not significantly addressed the problem. The RDC agreed that the water problem in the region requires the attention of a NWRB regional office, Neda said.
NWRB, an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, acts as the governments water resource regulator and is tasked to issue water permits for the appropriation and use of water supply, and the adjudication of water disputes.
The Water Code of the Philippines tasks the NWRB to regulate the utilization, exploitation, development, control, conservation or protection of water resources.
A study conducted by PIDS said an average Filipino family uses six liters per capita per day for drinking and 12 for cooking and the kitchen. The bulk of water use in the household is for personal hygiene at 68 liters per capita per day and 74 for sanitation services.//


Author: Jeandie O. Galolo
Date: February 12, 2015
Source: Sun Star Cebu

The readiness of the Philippines to take a productive part in the Asean Economic Community (AEC) is a cause for concern, because like many of its fellow Asean member states, this country is behind schedule in the work that needs to be completed if the AEC is to meet the December 31 deadline in any meaningful way.

Of course, any assessment of how far the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) actually has progressed towards achieving the several hundred priority measures that will create the common market must be offered with a couple caveats. The Aseans own AEC Scorecard has not been comprehensively updated since early 2012, and the assessments of government agencies tend to be over-optimistic, according to Thai journalist and Asean observer Kavi Chongkittavorn.

Chongkittavorn, who is an assistant group editor for Thailands Nation Media Group, in an opinion piece for The Korea Herald last month, cast doubt on the commonly-cited figure of 82 percent completion of the Aseans 2015 goals, which include not only the economic objectives represented by the AEC, but also important objectives in the political/security and social/cultural areas. Chong-kittavorn acknowledges the importance of prioritizing the economic goals; Without [the Asean members] economic progress, other forms of cooperation would be difficult to come by, he noted.

With no credible monitoring mechanism of the [Asean Communitys] blueprints, Asean leaders have taken comfort from their own evaluations, Chongkittavorn added.

Both he and Dr. Jayant Menon, lead economist for Regional Economic Integration at the Asian Development Bank, also pointed out that the remaining 20 percent of measures yet to be addressed are the most problematic. In terms of direct preparation for the AEC these are primarily concerned with behind-the-border obstacles to the free flow of goods and services, which in a commentary for the East Asia Forum last October were estimated by ADBs Menon as being roughly 25 percent behind schedule as of the end of 2013. In terms of Aseans complementary non-economic objectives, negotiations involving, as Chongkittavorn explained, Sensitive issues related to human rights and democracy, freedom of expression, communal conflict, noninterference principles, cultural heritage and political dispute settlements, are proceeding, although far more slowly than hoped. The good news is that the Philippines is not necessarily performing worse than its Asean neighbors in accomplishing preparations for the AEC. The bad news is that it is not doing better. This final installment of this weeks special report provides a general assessment of what obstacles the Philippines still needs to overcome to make the AEC a reality. The entire AEC initiative has been tackled in two-year phases; Phase One covered the years 2008-2009, and we are now in Phase Four (2014-2015). Presumably realizing that there would inevitably be delays in achieving the AEC measures, the time targets for individual objectives were to some extent front-loaded, scheduled to be completed in the early phases. Not surprisingly, many of those tasks that should have been completed as far back as 2009 are still to be accomplished. In Phase One, the entire Asean group including the Philippines completed most of the targeted measures by the end of 2011, except in the areas of free trade in services and in transport; remaining issues include a number of initiatives towards liberalization of the air transport sector, and rationalizing region-wide management and regulation of sea shipping.Progress towards additional objectives in Phase Two has naturally been somewhat slower.

The Philippines in this respect has kept up with the other strong economies in the Asean, but is falling short in the areas of free movement of goods, services, and investment; measures related to food security and strengthening the agriculture and forestry sectors; consumer protection; transport; energy; small and medium enterprise (SME) development; and in implementing the Asean + 1 series of trade agreements and related measures.

The Philippine scorecard

The Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) completed a scorecard for the Philippines progress on Asean integration at the beginning of 2013, which makes local data at least slightly less outdated than that compiled by Asean. The underrated government think tank has, based on its list of discussion papers produced since then, devoted about one-sixth of its research efforts to AEC-related subjects, primarily focusing on areas of concern indicated by its comprehensive scorecard.

The key areas identified as needing more work by the PIDS study at the time"based on data available in 2011 or 2012"were in the broad areas of trade facilitation; standards and conformance; services liberalization; investment promotion and facilitation; mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) on professional services; agriculture; intellectual property rights; and SME development.
In terms of trade facilitation, the two key measures are the implementation of the Asean Single Window (ASW) and National Single Window (NSW) for trade transactions. In practical terms, these require substantial modernization in customs regulations and processes with respect to establishing the ASW, and developing an efficient system to manage permits, licenses, and certifications required from other government agencies in order to create the NSW.

Overall, the Philippines had achieved about 88 percent of the target in completing steps towards the ASW and 82 percent of the NSW by the end of 2012, for which the PIDS authors complimented the Bureau of Customs under then-Commissioner Ruffy Biazon. In standards and conformance, the Philippines had made good progress in terms of bringing national product, health, and safety standards into conformance with international standards, but had mixed results in meeting targets for upgrading assessment procedures and technical regulations.

In those two areas, there at least seems to be some gradual progress; other key areas are a bit less certain. The Philippines was rated poorly"as were most of the rest of the Asean countries" in terms of removing barriers to delivering services across borders. The need to work with a local agent or partner is one such barrier; confusing and frequently changing tax regulations and procedures are another.

Tax conflicts were also the biggest stumbling block identified by the study in the area of investment promotion and facilitation; it is only this year that the Philippines will hopefully catch up, with the planned introduction of the delayed Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act and the Fiscal Incentives Rationalization bill in Congress. Obstacles in other areas, however, show little sign of being reduced. For example, the Philippines (along with Indonesia) still maintains a reciprocal system with respect to recognition of professional qualifications in engineering, accounting, medical, and other fields; liberalizing that system has proven to be nearly impossible thus far due to the number of laws that have to be amended"no fewer than nine covering engineering fields alone.

Big picture vs details

In looking at the status of AEC preparations from a broad perspective, it is perhaps discouraging that the ambitious plan has fallen behind schedule, but perhaps not also unexpected because much of the work that remains must be done at the legislative or ministerial level. On the positive side, however, considering just how ambitious the AEC plan is and the sheer number of items that need to be acted upon, the Asean members are making steady progress. The advance of the deadline for launching the AEC from 2020 to this year by the Asean leaders in 2007 was clearly too optimistic, but it did provide a sense of urgency; when asked, most Asean observers suggest the AEC project on the whole is perhaps no more than 1 or 2 years behind schedule.
But as many analysts have pointed out, the apparent progress of the AEC may be misleading. Measuring it in terms of the number of individual tasks or steps completed does not take into account variations in the complexity of those steps; more effort will need to be applied to the 20 percent of the AEC priority measures that are yet to be completed than was required for the 80 percent that already have been.

And as the PIDS research also points out, taking a broad look at AEC implementation with a scorecard or similar methodology has an unavoidable limitation in that it can only assess achievement of milestones and not the actual impact of those measures. Assessing AEC outcomes requires more detailed analyses focused on smaller business or institutional sectors.
Doing that would also help to close the information gap ADBs Dr. Menon identifies as one of the critical obstacles to implementing the AEC. The results of the 2012 ADB study on business awareness of the AEC suggest that while only about half of private enterprises are familiar with the AEC effort, those that are view it positively.//


Author: Ben D. Kritz
Date: February 12, 2015
Source: Manila Times

For several years, Technical Staff of the (now defunct) National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) regularly released blogs meant to help the public realize that statistics matter to explain official statistics generated by the Philippine Statistical System.
A 2012 article for the NSCB Sexy Statistics blogs, for instance, discussed the relative concentration of single males to single females across the regions, based on results of the 2007 Census of Population, conducted by then National Statistics Office (NSO).
It has been nearly a year since my return to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) after the consolidation of Technical Staff of the NSCB, the NSO, and two other statistical agencies into the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). I thought it may be a good idea to revisit a discussion made in a 2013 article in an NSCB Beyond the Numbers blog that updated the 2012 article on the concentration of singles regarding results of the NSOs 2010 Census of Population and Housing, and other related statistics regarding the love month.
In this 2013 NSCB article, it was pointed out that an examination of the household population 10 years old and over by sex (see Table 1) shows that single men outnumber single women.
In consequence, single Pinays in search of partners from the opposite sex should not have difficulty finding their Romeos. Since socio-demographic structures do not dramatically change, we expect similar results in 2015 (during the conduct of the mid-decade census by the PSA).
Marital Status Males Females Both Sexes
Single 46.8 40.3 43.5
Married 45.0 45.8 45.4
Widowed 1.9 6.7 4.3
Divorced/Separated 0.9 1.6 1.2
Common-Law/Live In 5.3 5.5 5.4
Unknown 0.1 0.1 0.1
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0
Table 1. Distribution of Marital Status of Filipinos 10 Years Old and Over by Sex, 2010. Source: 2010 Census of Population and Housing, PSA.
The distribution of single Pinoys aged 10 and above in 2010 (see Table 2) indicates that a single female living in Eastern Visayas can find the most number of single males in her region, while a single male living in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will have the best chance to find a single female in his region.
REGION Total Number of Single Males (aged 10 and above) Total Number of Single Females (aged 10 and above) Male to Female Ratio x 100
Philippines 16,758,227 14,394,867 116.4
NCR 2,145,448 2,109,576 101.7
CAR 321,641 267,782 120.1
Region I 854,597 709,889 120.4
Region II 560,230 445,126 125.9
Region III 1,767,704 1,488,474 118.8
Region IV-A 2,189,592 1,972,118 111.0
Region IV-B 491,482 389,765 126.1
Region V 1,015,651 812,683 125.0
Region VI 1,404,024 1,156,320 121.4
Region VII 1,254,452 1,089,335 115.2
Region VIII 771,121 603,806 127.7
Region IX 617,824 510,428 121.0
Region X 779,183 644,781 120.8
Region XI 814,731 660,123 123.4
Region XII 744,035 608,770 122.2
Caraga 451,639 358,464 126.0
ARMM 574,873 567,427 101.3
Table 2. Total Number of Single Males and Single Females and Sex Ratio of Filipinos aged 10 and above by Region: 2010. Source of basic data: 2010 Census of Population and Housing, PSA.
In this 2013 NSCB article, rather interesting information was also presented on the specific regions where Juliets have their best chances (see Table 3) of finding their Romeos.
A SINGLE FEMALE AGED WILL HAVE BEST CHANCE OF FINDING A SINGLE MALE AGED
10-19 years old at 20-29 years old at 30-39 years old at 40-49 years old at 50-59 years old at 60 and above at 10 and above at
10 - 19 years old REGION VIII NCR NCR REGION VI REGION VI REGION VI REGION VI
20-29 years old REGION IV-B REGION VIII REGION VI REGION VI REGION VI REGION VI REGION IV-B
30-39years old REGION IV-B REGION IV-B REGION IV-B REGION IV-B REGION IV-B REGION VIII REGION IV-B
40-49 years old ARMM ARMM REGION IV-B REGION IV-B REGION IV-B REGION IV-B ARMM
50-59years old ARMM ARMM REGION XII CAR CAR REGION IV-B ARMM
60 and above ARMM ARMM REGION XI REGION XI REGION XI REGION XI ARMM
10 and above REGION IV-B CAR REGION VI REGION VI REGION VI REGION VI REGION VIII
Table 3. Regions with Highest Single Males Per Hundred Single Females Ratio, By Age Group: 2010. Source of basic data: 2010 Census of Population and Housing, PSA.
A single female aged 20-29 in 2010 would have the best chances of finding a single male within the same age bracket in Region VIII, while teenagers interested in having Romeos ten years their senior would have their best chances by looking in Metro Manila. A cougar Juliet (i.e., one from a high age group) would have very good chances of finding her Romeo in ARMM.
Similarly, single males can examine distributions of single females across the regions to maximize their chances of finding a partner.
If single males prefer lady senior citizens, they would find it easiest to locate their Juliets in the Ilocos Region, while if they are aged 20 and above and are looking for Juliets who are below 30, then it would be best for them to scout around in ARMM (see Table 4).
However, in the wake of the rather sad events in Maguindanao, I am not sure how many males would like to migrate to ARMM.
A SINGLE FEMALE AGED WILL HAVE BEST CHANCE OF FINDING A SINGLE FEMALE AGED
10-19 years old at 20-29 years old at 30-39 years old at 40-49 years old at 50-59 years old at 60 and above at 10 and above at
10 - 19 years old ARMM NCR NCR NCR NCR REGION I NCR
20-29 years old ARMM ARMM NCR NCR NCR REGION I ARMM
30-39years old ARMM ARMM ARMM NCR NCR REGION I ARMM
40-49 years old ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM REGION I ARMM
50-59years old ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM REGION I ARMM
60 and above ARMM ARMM ARMM NCR NCR REGION I ARMM
10 and above ARMM NCR NCR NCR NCR REGION I ARMM
Table 4. Regions with Highest Single Females Per Hundred Single Males Ratio, By Age Group: 2010. Source of basic data: 2010 Census of Population and Housing, PSA.
However, being single certainly does not always mean being ready to mingle as some of these singles may have already have partners.
One of my former research assistants at PIDS said though that mas masarap hulihin ang manok na nakatali sa bakod ng kapit-bahay, kaysa kumuha ng mga askal na pakalat-kalat sa kalye. (It is far more rewarding to catch a chicken tied in the backyard of our neighbor than to catch a stray dog on the streets.) A single female who read the 2013 NSCB article commented that some single males may not be available as they may be also interested in persons of the same sex.
Information on sexual preference is, however, not collected in censuses, and even if they were, it would be difficult to validate the veracity of such information regardless of the fact that we now live in a period of more tolerance on sexual preferences.
Hotels, motels
As Valentines Day fast approaches, some of us may not have needed to examine statistics from the population census anymore to find special people in our lives. Not only sales of red roses are spiking up because of Valentines Day celebration, but even hotel occupancy rates as shown in Figure 1.
Of course, the spike in these hotel occupancy rates may also be on account of the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Typically, February and November have the highest hotel occupancy rates within the 12 months of any given year, especially in the last few years. November rates are also high, likely because of the many holidays in November (e.g., All Saints Day, Bonifacio Day) as well as the semestral break.

Figure 1. Multiple Line Chart of Monthly Hotel Occupancy Rates in the Philippines: Jan 2009- Dec 2013.
Across types of hotels in the country, monthly average occupancy rates have been the highest for February in the years 2012 and 2013.
In particular, for deluxe hotels, these rates have always been high in the years 2010 to 2013, even rising from 76% in 2010 to about 80% in 2013. For economy hotels, though, in 2011, February did not have substantially high rates compared to other months, and overall yearly performance in occupancy rates has even been decreasing.
Among deluxe, first class and standard hotels, trends have also not been rising across the years, and when these rates are compared to those in neighboring economies in ASEAN like Thailand (which has much higher occupancy rates and visitor arrivals), this may be suggesting that there is much to be desired about improving our competitiveness in tourism.
Our hotel industry in the country will clearly need to lower their daily charges to significantly improve on their occupancy rates. The Department of Tourism will need to influence our hotels to shape up, as we try to convince the world that Its More Fun in the Philippines.

Monthly Hotel Occupancy Rates in the Philippines: Jan 2010- Dec 2013, by Type of Hotel.
A warning though to heterosexual couples when they go spend a lot of time with their partners during the love month. Vital statistics produced by the PSA show that November is among the top three months when most live births are recorded for the 2010, (Table 5), which means these babies were very likely to have been made in February.
Month of Occurrence Number of Live Births Rank
January 151,110 5
February 133,514 12
March 143,584 8
April 137,949 10
May 140,675 9
June 134,040 11
July 147,921 7
August 152,478 4
September 173,063 1
October 165,797 2
November 153,268 3
December 149,582 6
TOTAL 1,782,981
Table 5. Monthly number of Live Births: 2010. Source of Data: Vital Statistics Division, PSA
Aside from November, the other months included in the top three are September and October, which means that the baby was likely conceived in December (or January) of the previous (or same) year. A June 2012 Sexy Statistics article by the NSCB suggested that more and more couples are choosing to be married in (May or) December, rather than June.
Just remember some prudent advice from Pope Francis that we should not be creating babies like rabbits, as every time we become co-creators, we have to think of our responsibilities about bringing a life into this world. " Rappler.com
The author thanks Joseph Bulan of the PSA for compiling some data updates in this article.
Dr. Jose Ramon "Toots" Albert is a professional statistician who has written on poverty measurement, education statistics, agricultural statistics, climate change, macro prudential monitoring, survey design, data mining, and statistical analysis of missing data. He is a Senior Research Fellow of the governments think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies, and the president of the countrys professional society of data producers, users and analysts, the Philippine Statistical Association, Inc. for 2014-2015.


Author: Dr. Jose Ramon "Toots" Albert
Date: February 11, 2015
Source: Rappler.com

The government can implement more actions to improve the implementation of the National Greening Program (NGP) in the next two years, even as the reforestation program has already provided some measure of hope for the recovery of the balding forests.

In a recent study conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) submitted to select entities, including The Daily Tribune, it underscored the need to raise the programs replanting rate performance at the national, regional and site levels; and report on the survival rates of the planted seeds.

A contributing effort for this is to increase the availability and distribution of the appropriate seedlings to be planted, it said.
It added that a complete report on the expenditure side of the implementation of the NGP and consequent audit at all levels is likewise necessary not only in determining the efficiency of the program but also in promoting transparency.

An earlier PIDS study conducted to do a preliminary evaluation of the NGP found that the program was viewed by participants on the ground as performing positively in some areas.

Now on its fifth year, the NGP was perceived specifically to have actually raised the incomes and livelihood opportunities of the program participants.

The six-year reforestation program was also seen to have contributed to the improved environmental conditions in the planting sites.

Despite these positive perceptions, the NGP, however, was viewed as only partially effective and efficient in its implementation.
The participants asserted that an important problem in the initial implementation was the delay in the availability of the mobilization fund and limited personnel.
The study concluded that much of the success of the NGP in particular and future reforestation programs of the country would depend on complex and sometimes intertwining factors.
Other than the infusion of sufficient financial and manpower resources, a reforestation program would have a better chance of attaining its objectives if its implementers can sufficiently monitor and evaluate its activities and effectively implement solutions to address the problems encountered, it said.
The countrys greening program aimed to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares for a period of six years until 2016.
Government data indicated that areas planted already reached close to one million hectares in 2011 to 2014.//

Author: Ed Velasco
Date: February 11, 2015
Source: The Daily Tribune

The Philippines can continue to reinforce the importance of global value chains (GVCs) when the country hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic meeting this year, according to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
The policy note, Why global value chains and services matter: Implication for APEC 2015, depicts the aggregated GVC participation index of countries in the Asia-Pacific Region and demonstrates how GVCs dominate global trade.
Global value chains are the sequence of activities around the world involved in the conception, production, distribution, usage, and other activities that add value to a product.
The study highlights the benefits of GVCs for independent economies and the
Asia-Pacific region and measures the extent of involvement of each individual economy through a participation index.
The opportunities to increase and optimize GVC participation are plenty for APEC. The trend for APEC nations is to target GVCs and segments that are congruent with the advantages and development objectives of theirindividual economies.
Depending on the GVC requirements, APEC member countries can design business facilitation measures and investment policies to encourage growth.
With the right measures, individual economies can help capitalize on these advantages and create new specializations.
GVC benefits are limited by the share of value added in the chain that a country is able to capture. Moreover, there are environmental and socio-cultural effects. And countries that become increasingly embedded in GVCs grow increasingly vulnerable to external shocks.
Expanding a countrys share of value added in the services GVC depend largely on the quality of infrastructure and efficient services markets.
APEC nations are collaborating to improve the transport sector, business services, telecommunications, and distribution channels.
Overall, the challenge is in creating the environment for GVCs to thrive in the Asia-Pacific region.
The study recommends that as the APEC 2015 host, the Philippines should build on the work already started and expand opportunities by undertaking further analytical work that focuses on the case studies of regional services value chains.
There are no sufficient studies on the important role of services in GVCs and the potential for the region and the individual economies to benefit from the growth of services value chains, especially where small and medium enterprises, which are most engaged in GVCs, can better access them.//

Author: Edu Lopez
Date: February 10, 2015
Source: Manila Bulletin

STATE think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) is holding a Pulong Saliksikan titled Fed`s Monetary Policy and the Rising Dollar: Impact on Asia and Emerging Economies on 11 February 2015, Wednesday, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Romulo Hall of the Neda sa Makati Bldg., 106 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City.
Central banks play a vital role in global growth prospects and currency markets in the near future. In the United States, the economic recovery is likely to strengthen, but there is no return to the pre-2008 status quo in the labor markets and the level of debt continues to rise. What will be the impact of the US government`s expected rate hikes on the Asian and large emerging economies? Will the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan`s anticipated expanded quantitative easing also affect Asian markets like the Philippines?
Addressing these issues is the seminar`s resource speaker, Dan Steinbock, PhD, a recognized expert of the multipolar world. His research focuses on international business, international relations, investment and risk among the major advanced economies (G7) and large emerging economies (BRICS and beyond). With his advisory activities, he monitors more than 40 major advanced and emerging economies worldwide, including the Philippines.
Altogether, he monitors some 40 major world economies and a dozen strategic nations. In addition to his advisory activities (www.differencegroup. net), Dr Steinbock is affiliated with the India, China, America Institute (www.icainstitute. org), the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China), and the EU Center (Singapore).
The seminar will be streamed live via the PIDS website (www.pids.gov.ph). (PR)


Author:
Date: February 10, 2015
Source: Sun Star Cebu

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) has called on the government to increase the budget per child under the school-based feeding program of the Department of Education (DepEd).
A PIDS study recommended that the government addresses important implementation challenges, which include increasing the budget per child and for administrative and monitoring purposes.
The initial results of the study were discussed by a panel of DepEd officers and PIDS researchers at a seminar held at PIDS recently.
Most of the discussions revolved around the finer details of the SBFP such as the budget and time constraints on the program.
Beyond implementation and budget increase recommendations, the panel agreed that the SBFP would benefit greatly from strengthening the links of interagency cooperation. Efforts of local government units and other stakeholders should converge to complement SBFP with community-based activities, the study said.
According to the World Food Program, Food For Education (FFE) programs like SBFP in the Philippines is adopted across developing countries as a mechanism to accelerate the achievements of some of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly those on hunger and poverty, education and gender equality.
PIDS noted that although considered a temporary fix to address large social problems, the SBFP works on the premise that there exists a strong correlation between health, nutrition, and school performance.
The study reviewed the conduct of the SBFP in eight schools across the country during school year 2013-2014. It analyzed the results against the programs objectives - that 70 percent of the beneficiaries must have been rehabilitated at the end of the 100-120 day feeding program, 85-100 percent of the beneficiaries attend school, and that there is observable improvement in health, nutrition values, and behavior.
The researchers found out that beneficiaries and stakeholders laud the program.
As a result, the health, class attendance and performance, and social behavior of the students improved. The program, the researchers noted, also helped cultivate a culture of care and active participation among all stakeholders.
Amid all the success, however, the study points out important challenges, starting with data gathering inconsistencies and the lack of standard weighing measurement./

Author: Edu Lopez
Date: February 09, 2015
Source: Manila Bulletin

There is need to upgrade the state of teacher-education to improve the delivery of quality education in the country, a lawmaker today stressed.
To a large extent, the quality of education depends on the qualifications and competence of teachers, Rep. Roman Romulo (Lone District, Pasig City) said.
Romulo is author of HR 1814, A Resolution directing the committee on higher and technical education to inquire, in aid of legislation, on the state of teacher education in the country, particularly on the low passing rates of examinees in the Licensure Examination for Teachers, with the end in view of improving the quality of teachers and the delivery of quality education.
The author cited a World Bank study showing that most of the Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) graduates do not pass the Licensure Examinations for Teachers (LET) even if it replaced the Professional Board Examination for Teachers (PBET), which had an average national passing rate of only about 24 percent from 1992 to 1995, with the enactment of Republic Act 7836.
The same study also showed that between 1996 and 1998, the number of TEIs increased and reached more than 800, which resulted in the opening of low-quality programs that did not meet the minimum standards of accreditation and only less than 30 percent complied with the minimum standards set by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) for teacher education.
With the rapid increase in enrollees in teacher education, Romulo noted the proliferation of TEIs offering teacher education which created a situation where TEIs not only produced too many graduates but contributed to the problem of low quality teachers.
Based on a study conducted by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) on the LET performance of all TEIs in the country for nine instances of LET from October 2009 to September 2013, the national passing rate was only 54 percent, Romulo revealed.
He added that the same study showed that only eight out of 16 graduates who are first time takers pass the LET while the other eight repeaters have an average passing rate of only 16 percent.
While there are top TEIs, the study found it also alarming that there are more than 100 TEIs that perform below the national passing rate and are considered worse performing schools because only less than 20 percent of their graduates pass the LET, while 17 TEIs were considered worst performing schools for having zero passers in the LET since October 2009 for both first-time takers and repeaters, based on data from the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), he said.
Furthermore, Romulo cited date released by the PRC showing that for the 2014 LET, only 35.74 percent or 23,301 elementary teachers out of 70,786 examinees, and only 34.40 percent or 26, 767 secondary teachers out of 77,803 examinees passed the LET given on august 17, 2014.
Also, in January 2014, the PRC announced that only 28.95 percent or 11,120 elementary teachers out of 38,377 examinees, and only 28.41 percent or 12,033 secondary teachers out of 42,358 examinees successfully passed the LET, the author said.
He lamented that in the Review and Assessment of Programs offered by State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in March 2014, it was revealed that the average passing rates of SUCs in LET from 2004 to 2011 have been below 30 percent of the national passing average.
The Philippine Normal University was designated as the National Center for Teacher Education with the enactment of RA 9647, which mandates it to share research and competence in education research with other TEIs and to advise the countrys policy makers and decision-makers in planning, implementing and evaluating reforms in teacher education, including the licensing of professional teachers, Romulo added.
There is an urgent need to look into the state of teacher education in the country and to implement the necessary reforms that will address the various issues and concerns and prevent the further deterioration of the quality of teachers in the country, Romulo said.

Author:
Date: February 08, 2015
Source: The Daily Tribune

The government can implement more actions to improve the implementation of the National Greening Program (NGP) in the next two years, even as the reforestation program has already provided some measure of hope for the recovery of the balding forests.

A recent study conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) underscored the need to raise the programs replanting rate performance at the national, regional and site levels; and report on the survival rates of the planted seeds.

A contributing effort for this is to increase the availability and distribution of the appropriate seedlings to be planted, it said.

It added that a complete report on the expenditure side of the implementation of the NGP and consequent audit at all levels is likewise necessary not only in determining the efficiency of the program but also in promoting transparency.

An earlier PIDS study conducted to do a preliminary evaluation of the NGP found that the program was viewed by participants on the ground as performing positively in some areas.

Now on its fifth year, the NGP was perceived specifically to have actually raised the incomes and livelihood opportunities of the program participants.

The six-year reforestation program was also seen to have contributed to the improved environmental conditions in the planting sites.

Despite these positive perceptions, the NGP, however, was viewed as only partially effective and efficient in its implementation.

The participants asserted that an important problem in the initial implementation was the delay in the availability of the mobilization fund and limited personnel.

The study concluded that much of the success of the NGP in particular and future reforestation programs of the country would depend on complex and sometimes intertwining factors.

Other than the infusion of sufficient financial and manpower resources, a reforestation program would have a better chance of attaining its objectives if its implementers can sufficiently monitor and evaluate its activities and effectively implement solutions to address the problems encountered, it said.

The countrys greening program aimed to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares for a period of six years until 2016.

Government data indicated that areas planted already reached close to one million hectares in 2011 to 2014. (Philexport News and Features) -

Author:
Date: February 06, 2015
Source: Malaya

A RECENT study by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) found some promise in the government's National Greening Program but suggests there is still room for improvement in areas of information management, monitoring, and fund management.

The Policy Note titled The National Greening Program: Hope for our Balding Forests written by Dr. Danilo Israel and Maria Diyina Gem Arbo, PIDS senior research fellow and research analyst, respectively, discusses the performance of the NGP, ways to improve its implementation mechanisms, and the newly commenced impact assessment project being conducted by PIDS.

The NGP launched in 2011 to plant 1.5 million seedlings in 1.5 hectares over a period of six years is an attempt by the government to include objectives beyond restoring forest areas, such as reducing poverty; promoting food security, environmental stability, and biodiversity conservation; and enhancing climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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The NGP has provided some measure of hope for the recovery of our already balding forests, an objective that previous national reforestation programs have miserably failed to achieve, say the authors.

Despite the achievements of the program, there are plenty of areas for improvement, such as data and information gathering and analysis; monitoring and inspection of tree survival; access to funds and increased personnel; and reporting and auditing practices.

The rate of deforestation in the Philippines over the past century is a thing of notoriety. The Philippines is one of the 17 mega diversity countries. Conservation International ranks the country fourth on the most threatened forest hotspot. Annually, from 2000 to 2005, the country lost 1.98 percent or 157,400 hectares of forests"one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world.

Deforestation is fundamentally caused by human demand. There are laws in place, but the lack of implementation makes it difficult to properly regulate logging, mining, and land conversion to areas of agriculture or settlement.
While it can be argued that social progress is worth the cost, the rate at which deforestation occurs is unsustainable.

Without inclusive programs, habitats, biodiversity, and the entire ecosystem remain in peril. Deforestation also leads to spikes of carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

It is clear that it isnt enough to reintroduce trees into deforested land. A comprehensive reforestation program is what the NGP hopes to achieve.
To improve and enhance the NGPs performance, the authors of the study emphasize addressing the challenges that slow its progress.

Firstly, substantive data must be gathered and provided to fully come up with a substantive picture of the programs progress.

The available data"exceeding planting sites and actual target per hectare by 14 percent by the end of 2013, and yet missing the yearly seedling target per year"are not enough to determine whether or not the NGP is on the way to achieve its objectives.

Secondly, monitoring and inspection of trees have to be enforced to monitor, ensure, and increase the rate of survival, which currently sits at 61 percent. The goal is 85 percent.

The Commission on Audit (COA) criticized the Department of Environment and Natural Resources report on the NGP for not having an inspection or monitoring system for the survival rate of the seedlings. The program focused its evaluation too much on quantity instead of quality, according to the COA report.

That same year, a study, also by Israel, claimed that participants on the ground viewed the programs performance positively. It increased livelihood opportunities and improved environmental condition. But delays in availability of mobilization fund and limited personnel have held back NGP performance, making it only partially effective and efficient.

The framework for the impact assessment of the NGP contains four components " economic, social, environmental, and institutional. All of which will be evaluated as the program continues, hopefully to provide a more in-depth picture for studies to improve implementation mechanisms for the NGP and for future reforestation programs. (PR)

Author:
Date: February 05, 2015
Source: Sun Star Cebu

Here is a similarity between the 44 murdered PNP-SAF commandos and the six million impoverished farmer/fisherfolk families. They are both subjected to suffering they do not deserve.

But while a Board of Inquiry was created to get an accurate picture of what really happened in the Mamasapano tragedy, there is no need to create any new board to look at the causes of rural poverty.

There is already a public-private sector body created in 1987 to do this: the National Agriculture Fisheries Council-NAFC (also known as the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries). With units at the regional, provincial and municipal levels, the AFCs can identify and recommend solutions relevant to the poverty statistics below provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA):

Poverty Incidence 2009 (%) 2012 (%)
National average 26.3 25.2
Farmers 38.0 38.3
Fisherfolk 41.3 39.2
Urban residents 12.6 13.0

The PSA calculates poverty incidence estimates using the Family Income and Expenditure Survey every three years. The next will be this year.

There is an assertion that poverty dropped by 3 percent in 2013 from 2012 level. However, Jose Ramon Albert of government think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) disagrees. He says the analysis behind this assertion looks at two sets of data using different methodologies that cannot be compared.
In an article published on Nov. 19, 2014, he wrote: We do not have yet evidence of decreased poverty or income distribution. Measures of inequality such as the share of the bottom on the national income and the Palma ratio (defined as the ratio of the income of the top 10 percent to the bottom 40 percent) have been unchanged from 2009 to 2012.

The table above shows farmers and fisherfolk have a poverty rate of 30-41 percent, worse than the national average of 25 percent. It is also triple the poverty incidence of urban residents.

For 2013 and 2014, the growth in industry was 9.3 and 7.5 percent, respectively. This is about 400 percent the growth in agriculture of 1.1 and 1.9 percent, respectively. This is unfortunate, considering that the Department of Trade and Industry budget was less than 6 percent of the Department of Agriculture budget for both years. Consistent with the poverty table, it appears the rural sector is again left behind.

We do not need a board of inquiry to find out why agriculture grew so slowly at only half of the governments growth target of 3.5-4.5 percent. All we need is for the NAFC to fulfill its mandated function, a key recommendation of AF2025.

In its website, the NAFC states its two most critical functions: (a) serve as a consultative/feedback mechanism on the policies, plans, and programs of the DA and monitor agriculture and fisheries programs of all government agencies.

Under the Aquino administration, the NAFC has done better than under the previous one. Its secretariat is both competent and committed. However, other DA officials should show much more support for Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcalas goal of private sector participation in agriculture governance. This can be done in three ways:

NAFC public-private sector councils should be harnessed to perform their mandated two functions instead of being relegated to the background.

An P85-billion DA budget the year before national elections constitutes a temptation to misuse the funds in aid of elections. The AFCs at the local level should identify the sources of rural poverty, and recommend ways to use these funds properly. They have the added advantage of being legally mandated to monitor fund use, although their monitoring budget was cut this year. It should instead be increased to show the governments sincerity in pursuing inclusive growth.

Importance should be given to the AFCs. Only last year, the NAFC Committee on Yolanda unanimously decided to end its efforts because its members were never allowed to join a DA meeting on this issue. This was a violation of an agreement reached before the NAFC committee was created.
Another indication is the low-level representation the government sends to the AFC meetings. Representatives lower than a division chief level often respond to suggestions from heads of farmer and fisherfolk federations and agribusiness organizations. As a result, many of the private sector leaders have stopped attending these meetings.

In conclusion, there is no need for a board of inquiry to find the causes and suggest solutions for the continued poverty of farmers and fisherfolk. All that is needed is political will. Courage is needed to fully activate the AFCs at the national and local levels. This will allow private sector leaders to participate in the fight against poverty. It will then give substance to PNoys statement: Ikaw ang boss ko.

(The author is chair of Agriwatch, former Secretary for Presidential Flagship Programs and Projects, and former Undersecretary for Agriculture, Trade and Industry. For inquiries, email agriwatch_phil@yahoo.com or telefax 8522112).

Author: Ernesto Ordoez
Date: February 06, 2015
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

They call us the lower class, the twerps, a burden to the government. They dub us dependents, supposedly merely after government doles. They call us the poorest of the poor, the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Let me tell you people, we are less fortunate but we are not stupid. Yes, we are receiving a certain amount from the government, to alleviate our current situation, which is the programs primary objective. But, is it really a basis for social discrimination and bullying?

I am a 4Ps scholar, one of the beneficiaries of the Expanded Students Grant-In-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA), to be particular about it. So, what do you think? I am giving you the freedom to say something about it. Are you one of those judgmental persons or among the rational ones?

When I first heard about the opportunity to avail myself of the ESGP-PA, I thought of my dreams becoming possible. It was as if chance had found a deserving student who desired to make a difference in her life, in her family, and in her society. Eventually, I became a lucky grantee. I consider that a significant gift that drew me closer to achieving my aspirations.

For me, tuition and other school fees, academic and extracurricular expenses, the purchase of textbooks, the lack of stipend and transportation fare ceased to be constant worries in the pursuit of a college degree. Each grantee is entitled to P30,000 per semester, and that has been making a difference.

But, the difference includes social discrimination and bullying. Some fellow students say something to this effect: Those 4Ps scholars, they already have the scholarship, and theyre also given special treatment. Those students who belong to well-off families look down on us when they learn that we are ESGP-PA grantees, as though we were unsightly.

The worst thing was when, in class, a professor presented his opinion on the programs dependency on the government and how our expenses as grantees were being shouldered by taxpayers including himself, all because of irresponsible parenthood. His opinion just seemed so biased. It appeared that he did not realize: What could this mean, how could this affect, an ESGP-PA grantee in his class?

These have happened, not just to me, but also to my fellow 4Ps scholars. Its like being a 4Ps scholar is a sin, that being less fortunate is a sin.

We are not the proponents of this program; we are merely the chosen recipients. Ive come to think: What if everyone is a 4Ps beneficiary? Will their views still be the same? Will the treatment be just and fair? Why does social hierarchy matter a lot in building a community? Irrationality will never unite a country.

This is not all about irresponsible parenthood; this is reality. Poverty is present in the country. We are not building a poverty society. In fact, we strongly want to get out of that status. We strive to lift our families out of poverty and eventually give back to the economy.

I feel that I should just shut my mouth whenever they throw gibberish at us and degrade the ESGP-PA. Yet my open mind cannot fathom the fact that those words come from supposedly educated people who should know better than us. It is just a manifestation that someone can be educated but not learned.

Still, I extend my thanks to the government for providing a great opportunity for deserving students to complete tertiary-level education. I will focus on the positive goals. Well eradicate poverty; we dont need irrationality. We are less fortunate, but we are not stupid.

Rose J. Bongon, 20, is a third-year IT student at Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges. She is associate editor of The Spark (the official CSPC school"community publication) and blogs at https://miraqrose.wordpress.com/.

Author: Rose Bongon
Date: February 05, 2015
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

The biggest hindrance to Philippine development is the lack of infrastructure. The absence of political will is also stopping the government from setting up a template in building new cities according to a study done by the state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
Research fellow Adoracion Navarro who wrote the study said that the World Bank 2014 report on the countrys economic picture stated that infrastructure has surpassed corruption as the countrys foremost development obstacle.
Navarro said the government should adopt a strategic national urbanization blueprint and follow it through strong with strong implementation to ensure that growth will be inclusive.
Her discussion paper titled Scrutinizing Urbanization Challenges in the Philippines through Infrastructure Lens, said that the country`s urban planning and implementation is fragmented and lacks complementarity.
Navarro cited a United Nations projection which forecast that the percentage of Filipinos living in urban areas is expected to rise from its current 45.3 percent to 56.3 percent by 2030 and 65.6 percent by 2050.
The problem, cited by the World Bank in their East Asias Changing Urban Land Escape report, is that the rate of increase in urban land area does not match, she said.
By 2010, the World Bank report said 23 million Filipinos were living in urban areas, having grown at a 3.3-percent annual rate from the 17 million by the turn of the millennium, while the land area has only expanded annually at 2.2 percent.
The PIDS research fellow pointed out that for those in Metro Manila who personally deal with poor public infrastructure on a day-to-day basis, it is not surprising that the country has to invest smartly in its physical capital to be able to cope with such economic demand.
Despite having more fiscal room to invest in physical capital, she research pointed out that what stands in the way is a historical lack of political will in the country.
The national level of urban planning still lacks the level of direction and cohesion that is necessary to sustain and optimize the economic growth already achieved by the country, she said.
Unaddressed, the problem trickles down and is exacerbated by local government levels preference for short-term plans, which lack cohesion and complementarity, she added.
With this, Navarro suggested that a coherent solution is not only found in promoting national coordination, but also in the opportunities and experiences of the countrys regional neighbors.
She points to countries in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China, Japan, and South Korea as examples for alternative solutions.
The PIDS research fellow encourages the countrys policymakers and decision makers to study how the strategic infrastructure investments of neighboring countries drove the direction and success of their urban developments.
To date, the Philippine ranks 98 out of 144 countries in overall quality of infrastructure, bested by nearly all of its Asean neighbors except Vietnam, Lao PDR, and Myanmar.
In summary, Navarro encourages the Philippine government, from the national to the local level, to participate and commit to strategic national physical planning.
Leaders must produce a framework that streamlines the implementation of infrastructure development in local governments while bearing in mind an overarching vision that also capitalizes on available local resources, she said.

Author: MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO
Date: February 02, 2015
Source: Manila Times

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) continues to be recognized as one of the worlds best think tanks for its outstanding public policy research, analysis, engagement and impact.

In the 2014 Global Go To Think Tanks Report and Policy Advice of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania, PIDS was recognized in three categories.

PIDS remained the top social policy think tank in South East Asia and 37th among the top 50 in the world. It was also ranked 69th among the top 80 international development think tanks " one notch higher than its ranking in 2013. The Institute is now part of the 55 top education policy think tanks in the world at 33rd place.

Other think tanks in South East Asia that made it to the list under these categories were Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA), Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) which is also in Singapore, and Malaysias Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) and Third World Network.

TDRI ranked 20th among the education policy think tanks and 66th in the international development think tanks category; SIIA and Third World Network ranked 70th and 72nd, respectively, among the international development think tanks, while ISEAS ranked 41st among the social policy think tanks.

The Go To Think Tanks Index is a comprehensive ranking of the worlds top think tanks and has been described as the premier database and measure of world think tanks. It aims to increase the profile, performance, and impact of think tanks, and to create a transnational and interdisciplinary network of centers of public policy excellence.

Think tanks are public-policy research analysis and engagement organizations that generate policy-oriented research, analysis, and advice on domestic and international issues, thereby enabling policy makers and the public to make informed decisions about public policy.

For its latest rankings, 6,618 think tanks from 182 countries were invited or nominated to participate in the process.

PIDS President Gilberto Llanto has made a plea for more resources and support to research institutes in the country. Despite having only a handful of researchers compared to other better-endowed research institutes in the region and in the Philippines, the PIDS has consistently made significant contribution and influence on Philippine development policy through its active and close collaboration with government agencies, academic and research institutions, and international organizations. Its various research outputs are widely disseminated through its publications, conferences, and seminars conducted on a nationwide scale, he said.

PIDS is a state-funded think tank devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions. Since its establishment in 1977, it has been engaged in conducting long-term, evidence-based research that serves as inputs in crafting socio-economic policies for the country.

PIDS has completed almost 1,000 studies covering a wide range of issues that encompass macroeconomic, agricultural, trade and industrial policies, health economics, education, environment, natural resource management, urban development and social services, and governance.

Established in 1989, the TTCSP aims to acknowledge the important contributions and emerging global trends of think tanks worldwide. Often referred to as the think tanks think tank, the program maintains a database and network of more than 6,600 think tanks in 182 countries.

In a world filled with tweets and sound bites that are often superficial and politically charged, said James McGann, director of the TTCSP. It is critical to know where to turn for sound policy proposals that address our complex policy issues. This independent Index is designed to help identify and recognize the leading centers of excellence in public policy research around the world.

Author:
Date: February 03, 2015
Source: Manila Bulletin

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies was named as the top think tank in Southeast Asia and one of the best in the world by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program recognized PIDS in the 2013 Global Go Think Tank Report, a comprehensive ranking of the world`s top think tanks that acknowledges the important contributions and emerging global trends of think tanks worldwide.

It said for 2013, 6,826 think tanks from 182 countries were evaluated. PIDS was ranked 37th among the top 50 social policy think tanks in the world, surpassing the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore that was ranked 41st.

PIDS also managed to improve its position from 40th place in the 2012 report.

PIDS and ISEAS were the only Asean think tanks included in the world ranking of top social policy think tanks. PIDS was ranked 70th among 80 top international development think tanks, moving up from its ranking of 79th place in the 2012 report.

PIDS is a state-funded think tank devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions. Since its establishment in 1977, it has been engaged in conducting long-term, policy-oriented studies to assist policymakers and planners in crafting development plans and programs that are based on sound research evidence.

PIDS said it has completed more than 800 studies that encompass a wide range of development issues such as trade, competition policy, housing and urban development, demography, poverty, agriculture, environment, public finance, information and communication technology, education, health economics and others.

Author:
Date: February 03, 2015
Source: Manila Standard Today

CLOGGED ROADS have always been a part of the daily life of an ordinary Filipino citizen residing in Metro Manila. Commuters struggle as the morning rush brings intense traffic in the busy streets and avenues. Among the variety of transport modes available -- private vehicles, MRT, LRT, taxis, and utility vehicles -- a significant number of commuters still opt for buses.


To meet the demand for this critical service, numerous operators deploy a horde of buses; there are currently 12,595 buses operating within Metro Manila, or from the province to Metro Manila; these are dispersed over 1,122 operators. The sheer volume of vehicles and bus trips ironically ends up hurting everybody. Commuters spend too much time making their trips; bus companies themselves spend a lot for fuel and wear on their vehicles; drivers and conductors work long hours to meet their boundary or fixed fee to the operator; society suffers from heavily polluted air.

Cognizant of the congestion problem, the government imposed a moratorium on the issuance of franchises for provincial buses in 2000, and a nationwide moratorium on all new buses and new franchises in 2003. Implementation, however, is a different matter; bus operators interviewed for the study claim that new franchises can be obtained, especially if they are willing to pay a stiff fixers fee of P150,000 per unit.

The proliferation of bus operators and open franchising were not the case before. During mid-1970s, the sector was highly regulated in Metro Manila. Only four private consortia and the government-owned Metro Manila Transit Corporation dominated bus operations. The government later on allowed liberalization in 1989 through the bus leasing program of the government. Liberalization has increased the number of operators, which in turn has contributed to the congested situation today.

Regulating the now chaotic transport regime is no easy task. Improving the regulatory regime requires investments in infrastructure, plus political will to overcome opponents of reform.

To support the shift to a rationalized policy regime, a Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) research attempted to estimate the net benefits from traffic decongestion. The analysis was applied to a specific case of a 12-kilometer stretch along the EDSA super corridor. The selected route serves as a microcosm of the transportation sector in the country, allowing us to have a better assessment of the ongoing issues and condition of traffic congestion. Data from the analysis show nearly 60 operators (average of 15 buses/operator) existing in the selected areas alone. Meanwhile, the benefit-cost analysis was used to measure the impact of an effective regulatory regime that addresses congestion.

All these suggest that, as a conservative estimate, travel time can be reduced by 20% on average while still meeting passenger demand through an effective decongestion policy. This will entail, among others, a reduction in bus trips and therefore savings in terms of transport service cost. The reduction in travel time and savings in transport cost correspond to the benefits of decongestion. Our analysis shows that total benefit per year (even excluding savings in pollution cost) can total up to P5.5 billion a year along this 12-kilometer stretch alone. Of this amount, P4.57 billion is due to savings in passenger time alone; the remainder (P940 million) is due to savings in transport cost.

How can we realize this benefit? The first necessary step is limit the number of operating buses in franchised routes. Proper enforcement of policies, specifically on franchises agreements, can significantly decrease the number of operating buses. However it is important to take note that the imposed limits should not result in erecting barriers to entry that introduce market power among too few players.

To make this more effective, enforcement of policies must be coupled with the harmonization of sectoral plans. Regulators must come up with ways to incentivize operators to deploy the optimal number of buses while still catering to the needs of the commuters in a timely and affordable manner.

Some bus operators will oppose the reduction of the number of buses. But surely it will be worth it because it will reduce the massive cost of the daily gridlock in the countrys densest metropolis.

The authors are research fellows of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies. The article was adapted from the CREW Diagnostic Country Report: Philippines. The study was conducted with financial and technical support from the Centre for Competition, Investment and Economic Regulation (CUTS-CIER), Jaipur, India.//


Author: Sonny Domingo, Roehlano Briones and Lovely Tolin
Date: February 02, 2015
Source: BusinessWorld

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) continues to be recognized as one of the worlds best think tanks for its outstanding public policy research, analysis, engagement, and impact.
In the 2014 Global Go To Think Tanks Report and Policy Advice of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania, PIDS was recognized in three categories.
PIDS remained the top social policy think tank in South East Asia and 37th among the top 50 in the world.
It was also ranked 69th among the top 80 international development think tanks"one notch higher than its ranking in 2013.
Meanwhile, the Institute is now part of the 55 top education policy think tanks in the world at 33rd place.
Other think tanks in South East Asia that made it to the list under these categories were Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA), Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) which is also in Singapore, and Malaysias Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) and Third World Network.
TDRI ranked 20th among the education policy think tanks and 66th in the international development think tanks category; SIIA and Third World Network ranked 70th and 72nd , respectively, among the international development think tanks; while ISEAS ranked 41st among the social policy think tanks.
The Go To Think Tanks Index is a comprehensive ranking of the worlds top think tanks and has been described as the premier database and measure of world think tanks.
It aims to increase the profile, performance, and impact of think tanks, and to create a transnational and interdisciplinary network of centers of public policy excellence.
Think tanks are public-policy research analysis and engagement organizations that generate policy-oriented research, analysis, and advice on domestic and international issues, thereby enabling policymakers and the public to make informed decisions about public policy.
For its latest rankings, 6,618 think tanks from 182 countries were invited or nominated to participate in the process.
PIDS president Gilberto Llanto makes a plea for more resources and support to research institutes in the country.
Despite having only a handful of researchers compared to other better-endowed research institutes in the region and in the Philippines, the PIDS has consistently made significant contribution and influence on Philippine development policy through its active and close collaboration with government agencies, academic and research institutions, and international organizations. Its various research outputs are widely disseminated through its publications (both print and online), conferences, and seminars conducted on a nationwide scale, he said.
PIDS is a state-funded think tank devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions.
Since its establishment in 1977, it has been engaged in conducting long-term, evidence-based research that serves as inputs in crafting socioeconomic policies for the country.
PIDS has completed almost 1,000 studies covering a wide range of issues that encompass macroeconomic, agricultural, trade and industrial policies, health economics, education, environment, natural resource management, urban development and social services, and governance.
Established in 1989, the TTCSP aims to acknowledge the important contributions and emerging global trends of think tanks worldwide.
Often referred to as the think tanks think tank, the program maintains a database and network of more than 6,600 think tanks in 182 countries.
In a world filled with tweets and sound bites that are often superficial and politically charged, said James McGann, director of the TTCSP, it is critical to know where to turn for sound policy proposals that address our complex policy issues. This independent Index is designed to help identify and recognize the leading centers of excellence in public policy research around the world.//

Author:
Date: February 02, 2015
Source: The Daily Tribune