Philippines Bags 3 International Awards for Tobacco Control

Philippines Bags 3 International Awards for Tobacco Control Press release—Action for Economic Reforms—21 March 2015     The Philippines gets three (3) prestigious awards in the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) held last March 17 to 21, 2015, in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The national government, a local government unit (LGU), and a […]

How we can avoid brownouts this summer without spending P450 million

The government is preparing for a 2015 power crisis. This crisis, according to the testimony of Department of Energy Assistant Director Irma Exconde before Congress last October 2014, is basically a 31-megawatt shortfall in supply for around two critical weeks in April. The government’s solution is the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), which will subsidize the expenses of large companies who have their own generators, if these have to be run due to impending brownouts.

Reforming fiscal incentives

ONE of the first legislative measures that the PNoy administration submitted to Congress — in fact, a priority bill that the President mentioned in his State of the Nation Address — was the rationalization of fiscal incentives.

That was in 2010. Today, nearly five years after and a year before the President’s term ends, a good bill on rationalizing fiscal incentives is nowhere to be found. Worse, and this affects not only the rationalization of fiscal incentives but other equally important legislative reforms, the prospect of success in passing such bills is getting gloomy as PNoy’s political capital has vastly diminished in the wake of the Mamasapano debacle.

Bangsamoro: How much power is the government willing to give?

I’M INCLINED TO understand the heated discussions on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law as one that’s reducible to the idea of autonomy. It’s known by its other names, such as self­rule, self­government, self­ determination, and it comes in varying degrees. I want to take the discussions as addressing, ultimately or proximately, the core question: what degree of autonomy shall the Philippine state grant the Bangsamoro?

Tone from the top and the view from below: building institutions over time

THE LAST TIME I walked into the Palacio del Gobernador building was seven years ago. It was always a bit of a challenge to go the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) main office. Not only did one need to brace oneself for Manila traffic but the foot traffic in and around the building was also a challenge. The place was teeming with all sorts of people and characters, engaged in all types of discussions and activities related to elections. It was all very crowded especially after the infamous fire gutted the old COMELEC building in March 2007, just weeks before the mid-term elections. Seven years ago, the COMELEC was trying to recover from a tarnished image. It was a bruised and weakened institution. And many of its honest and hardworking civil servants were quick to talk about their frustrations and disappointments.

Can Charles Darwin help explain Mamasapano?

ESPECIALLY in the aftermath of a gruesome incident like the Mamasapano clash, people may tend to find it easy to buy into an aggressive line, like a pitch for an all-out war. Warmongers are more likely to sell their deadly ware because events have predisposed more people to heeding combative calls.

The final word on the DAP

THE DISBURSEMENT Acceleration Program (DAP) is dead, now that the Supreme Court has reaffirmed its unconstitutionality.

In particular, the Supreme Court quashed three DAP features, namely: (1) the withdrawal of unobligated allotments from implementing agencies and the declaration of such funds as savings before the end of the year; (2) the cross-border transfer of declared savings from the Executive branch to finance programs or projects of agencies outside the branch; and (3) the use of “unprogrammed funds” without the certification of the national treasurer that actual revenue collections have exceeded revenue targets.