Why put up with the ‘bandit’ in high office?

“MODERATE their greed.” This was the famous line attributed to then Economic Planning Secretary Romy Neri. The story was about Neri instructing eventual whistle-blower Jun Lozada to persuade Benjamin Abalos and Mike Arroyo to lower their “commission” for brokering the National Broadband Network deal between the Chinese corporation ZTE and the Gloria Arroyo administration. Abalos, […]

Global competitiveness: Not more fun in the Philippines

IT IS MORE fun in the Philippines, says Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. That, despite the traffic jams, the breakdown of public transport, the pollution, the slow internet connection, the usual delay of flights, etc. While waiting for eternity to get a cab to take him to his hotel from the airport, a tourist asked […]

…or hooliganism?

WE’RE TALKING politics: left politics. A Facebook post eliciting 447 comments is the longest thread I’ve seen so far on a local political topic. It’s about the mobbing of Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad at the University of the Philippines by a leftist group, known as “national democrats” (natdems), after he spoke in a forum […]

Frustrating road to an FOI law

AFTER ALMOST A YEAR in the technical working group (TWG) of the House committee on public information, a consolidated version of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill was approved speedily and without objection last Sept. 2. A far cry from the paragraph-by-paragraph deliberation in previous sessions, the TWG meeting that Tuesday approved all remaining provisions, […]

Allocating and Tracking Sin Tax Revenues for Universal Health Coverage

Tax reforms, public investment and government transparency are part of AER’s core program and mission. As such, AER is currently implementing a project titled Allocating and Tracking Sin Tax Revenues for Universal Health Coverage. The project seeks to study the earmarking of incremental revenues from excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol to universal health care, in particular, public spending and health service delivery under the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP or Philhealth), focusing specifically on the Sponsored Program for indigent Filipinos.