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We need a credible President to help cushion RP’s economic free fall

A full-blown economic crisis is looming. This is no exaggeration, even
as we emphasize the gravity of our collective concern. In truth,
we are already experiencing a fiscal crisis. This description came from no less than former Finance Secretary Jose Isidro Camacho. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had also expressed their fear—and dismay—in more subtle words.

Poe and Arroyo: Tweedledum and Tweedledee

The intelligentsia is agitated. We dread the scenario of the ascendancy of Fernando Poe, Jr. or FPJ. The commentators among us have written sophisticated pieces that appeal to an already convinced middle class
to reject FPJ. But there is something missing in the analysis.

Think Beyond Cancun, Recast Philippine Trade Policy

Cancun will be a turning point in the battle between the liberalization
fundamentalists on one side, and the growing anti-globalization
activists on the other side. The liberalization fundamentalists will
come in full force to secure an agreement on framework modalities in
Cancun. They want to clinch new agreements to deepen and add to the agreements under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade-Uruguay Round (GATT-UR). The GATT_UR has a 10-year implementation period that ends on 31 December 2004. The objective is to sustain the dominance of the WTO agenda of ever-deepening liberalization. Anti-globalization activists, on the other hand, will also come in full force on the streets of Cancun and in the WTO member country capitals, calling for the dismantling of the WTO.

Statement on the New Issues

This short piece looks at the areas of new issues — government
procurement, investments, and competition policy. Negotiations on
whether the WTO’s mandate and power will be expanded to cover these new issues will be discussed in September in Cancun, Mexico. This paper argues that multilateral agreements in these said areas will only serve to restrict national policy space and incapacitate development countries from conducting appropriate agricultural, industrial, and development policies.

The CODE-NGO PEACE Bonds: A Case of Impermissible Rent-Seeking

Much heat has been generated by the national government’s issuance of the PEACE Bonds that resulted in the transfer of PhP1.4 billion to the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO). For one, an esteemed colleague in the human development advocacy, Solita Collas-Monsod, has written that the critics’ accusation of cupidity or stupidity against ” everyone involved [with the PEACE Bonds]…reflects on their ignorance, or envy, or political opportunism.”

But a good number of critics are not the ignorant, envious and opportunist type. Our opposition to the PEACE Bonds stems from a cold analysis that CODE-NGO was engaged in impermissible rent-seeking to obtain the PhP1.4 billion.

Defining Rent-Seeking

The principal theorists on rent-seeking (J.M. Buchanan, R. Tollison, and G. Tullock) define it as “the resource-wasting activities of individuals in seeking transfers of wealth through the aegis of the state.” Similarly, R.B. Ekelund and Tollison describe rent-seeking as “activities whereby individuals seek returns from state-sanctioned monopoly rights.” Tullock views rent-seeking as “the activity of setting a monopoly or getting some other government favor.”

Comments on the Draft Bicam Report of the Electric Power Bill

Upon presentation by the Action for Economic Reforms (AER) of its
position paper during the 16 February 2001 public consultative hearing
conducted by the Bicameral Conference Committee on the proposed
Electric Power Industry Reform Act, the Honorable John H. Osmena,
Chairman of the Senate Panel of the Bicameral Conference Committee on the Power Bill, requested AER to submit its proposed specific
amendments to the bill following the issues that it raised. In response
to this request, the AER submits this updated version of the position
paper, with the section spelling out its proposed specific amendments
to the bill presently under consideration by the Committee.