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Opening Remarks for the launch of Philippine Institutions: Growth and Prosperity for All

Dr. Cayetano Paderanga, Economic Planning Secretary,

Dear guests,

Friends in AER, Partners, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The publication we are launching today has come a long way. I understand that the numerous meetings were painstaking, and the coordination work was at times strenuous, to the point of testing the limits of patience of everyone involved. But such is the common tale of collaborative endeavors. To me, what is important tonight is this: the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Philippine Office is a proud partner in this undertaking.

What led us to this evening?

NGO launches book about strengthening Philippine institutions

It wasn’t exactly the best time to discuss Facebook.

After all, it was the launch of a book about how Philippine institutions, harnessed properly, could effect meaningful change in a country famously desperate for reform.

But on August 4, the date of the book launch, Berthold Leimbach, the Philippine resident representative of the German foundation Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), brought the matter up in any case.

“We only have a limited time on earth,” he said at the Sining Kamalig art gallery in Gateway Mall in Quezon City, surrounded by a few reporters. “Why waste all that time on Facebook?”

AER has a new home

Action for Economic Reforms has transferred to a new office. We are now at Unit 1403 West Trade Center, 132 West Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines 1104. You can still contact at us at (632) 426 5626 and (632) 426 5632.

Launch of Philippine Institutions: Growth and Prosperity for All

To quote the Harvard economist Dani Rodrik, “institutions rule.” The evidence is overwhelming that the quality of institutions predicts long-term growth and prosperity.

The rebuilding of institutions is critical to the task of administration of Benigno Aquino III. The commitment of President Aquino to fight corruption and promote good governance is essentially a question of rebuilding institutions.

Health Promotion Funding and Tobacco Tax Seminar

Action for Economic Reforms, in collaboration with the Department of Health, World Health Organization, University of the Philippines College of Law, SEATCA Initiative on Tobacco Tax (SITT), and HealthJustice will be holding a Health Promotion Funding and Tobacco Tax Seminar on June 22, 2010, Tuesday, 8:00AM- 12:30PM at the Malcolm Theater, UP College of Law, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. This event will feature Dr. Ayda Yurekli, a Senior Economic Adviser from the World Health Organization.

The main objectives of this Seminar are: (1) to enhance the participants’ understanding of the health promotion funding concept and how tobacco taxes can be used as a source of funding for priority public health programs; and (2) to draw broad-based support for the tobacco tax increase and health promotion funding.


In a few days, Congress will resume its session. Under the original legislative calendar, this is scheduled on May 31. However, the Senate and the House of Representatives have decided to advance the resumption to May 24 to facilitate an earlier canvass of the votes for the President and Vice President.

The Right to Know. Right Now! Campaign is prepared to make a determined push for the passage of the Freedom of Information Act. The bill, after having hurdled reconciliation by the bicameral conference committee, only needs ratification by the Lower House (the Senate has already fulfilled its ratification last February 1) before it is enrolled and transmitted to the President for her signing into law.

We call on you to join us in the activities that we have lined up for the coming weeks. Your support will add inspiration and muscle to the campaign, and improve the chance of the FOI bill finally becoming law after more than two decades since the ratification of the 1987 Constitution.