Ser Percival K. Peña-Reyes

36 posts
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Quality quandary

A national quality award is part of a larger effort by a government to make its local businesses more competitive in the world economy. The awarding institutions are generally either government departments/ministries or nonprofit organizations with government ties. In many countries, the awarding institutions are consortia of businesses. Candidate companies compete in award-specific assessments of business quality and excellence criteria.

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Anomaly or pure chance?

ON October 1, 2022, a total of 433 bettors won the 6/55 Grand Lotto jackpot prize worth P236,091,188.40. Based on the 9 p.m. draw of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, 433 people got the winning combination of 09-45-36-27-18-54. Each of them will take home P545,245.24.

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Deflating inflation

The Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development conducted a briefing on August 25, 2022 dubbed “Moving On and Moving Up: Bold New Directions for the Philippine Economy.” There were three presentations in that briefing, and this opinion article summarizes the first presentation delivered by Dr. Alvin P. Ang. His presentation focused on the issue of inflation.

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Revisiting plans

Planning, by definition, is a process of deciding in advance where people want to be (i.e., their goal) and how they will get there. It is important for several reasons. It helps people identify their goals clearly. It makes them decide concretely what they need to do to have the effect on society that they want.

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Filipinos with higher FQ

A review of the existing development vision (AmBisyon Natin 2040) and strategies (Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 and National Strategy for Financial Inclusion) shows that the government plans to use financial education as the primary pathway to achieve financial literacy and financial inclusion, which are expected to lead to financial security, which would, in turn, contribute to economic resilience. Nevertheless, is financial education—the way it is being conducted right now—really the solution to Filipinos’ financial problems?

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A guided review

Like any science, economics is concerned with explanations of observed phenomena. Economic theories are ideas or principles that aim to describe how economies work. Economic models are formal statements of theories—usually mathematical statements of presumed relationships between variables. These models naturally become the basis for making economic predictions.

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Economic pace and space

“Pace and space” is a popular trend in basketball today. It is worth recalling that before 1979, every shot in basketball, no matter the distance, was simply worth two points. When the three-point line was introduced in 1979, the three-point shot was merely a novelty shot, and teams still heavily favored dominant low-post players over outside shooters and guards. Thus, a big man who could post up was often the most valuable player to a team. This trend continued its dominance until the mid-2000s, when coaches such as Mike D’Antoni and Erik Spoelstra introduced the concept of “pace and space” into the game.

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For confidence and continuity

AS basic economics textbooks spell out, the government has six legitimate roles to play in the economy: 1) provide for a stable set of rules and institutions, 2) maintain competition, 3) correct for externalities, 4) provide for public goods and services, 5) correct undesired market outcomes, and 6) ensure economic stability and growth. Of particular interest in today’s column is the last role, which is typically gauged by the so-called “PiTiK” test.

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Traffic as an indication of economic recovery?

Philippine economic managers have recommended the nationwide shift to Alert Level 1 amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The economic team has suggested some measures to alleviate the impact. Among these measures are opening all schools for face-to-face classes to increase domestic economic activity and raising the fuel subsidy program for public utility vehicle drivers. Given its delicate fiscal position, the government will employ targeted subsidies to forestall a chain reaction of increased public transport and freight costs, which could lead to generally higher domestic prices of a wide range of products and trigger higher wage demands.

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You are what you eat

The title is a metaphorical expression implying that what people eat eventually affects their lives. If they eat healthy food, they will feel healthy; if they eat junk food, they will feel unhealthy. Stated simply, food can define one’s physical character.

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Securing the digital economy

Today’s so-called digital economy is fostered by the “new-normal” way of doing things, such as retail sales, meetings, events, education, entertainment, payments, and more. As the UNCTAD notes, amid slowing economic activity, Covid-19 has led to a surge in e-commerce and accelerated digital transformation. Businesses and consumers have increasingly gone digital to provide and purchase more goods and services online. Such behavioral changes have raised the share of e-commerce in global retail trade from about 14 percent in 2019 to about 17 percent in 2020.

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Philippine GDP halftime report

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released Q2-2021 gross domestic product data on Tuesday, August 10, 2021. Now, the country has official data for the first half of its 2021 economic performance. Economic analysts and reporters have been trying to make sense of the published statistics. So, this week’s column presents a halftime report that attempts to answer two important questions that inquisitive minds have been asking.

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A bright spot in a gloomy economy

Last week, space was devoted to discussing the tourism industry, which, by all accounts, appears to have been severely affected by the pandemic. This time, though, space will be devoted to another services subsector that has performed quite well.

Probabilities and the pandemic

ON Monday, March 29, 2021, it was reported that a lone bettor from Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur won the jackpot in the 6/55 Grand Lotto draw held on Saturday, March 27, 2021. The player picked the winning six-number combination of 38-35-11-22-39-47, which had a total jackpot prize of P298.77 million.

Probabilities and the pandemic

ON Monday, March 29, 2021, it was reported that a lone bettor from Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur won the jackpot in the 6/55 Grand Lotto draw held on Saturday, March 27, 2021. The player picked the winning six-number combination of 38-35-11-22-39-47, which had a total jackpot prize of P298.77 million.

Would anyone care to bike now?

IT has been argued that the long-run solution to the choking traffic in Metro Manila and its surrounding areas lies in not only providing a world-class public transport system but also getting more people out of motor vehicles, i.e., getting them to ride bicycles. Three practical reasons are worth mentioning. One, bikes, being generally cheaper than cars, are more accessible to Filipinos. Two, bikes are environment-friendly, as they do not dump pollutants into the atmosphere and are also much quieter than motor vehicles. Three, bikes help to promote a healthy lifestyle through cardiovascular exercise, whose benefits should be obvious, as well as mental health, since biking can be a way for people to temporarily escape the confines of their own homes.

Covid-19 and trade-offs

The subject of economics is usually premised on the notion of scarcity. Time and resources are limited, so people are compelled to make choices. In choosing one thing, one must forgo another thing. This is what trade-offs basically mean.

Can ≠ Should

Dodong tells an interesting story. A local bank has been bugging him, through several text messages and phone calls, to avail himself of its credit-to-cash arrangement. This means that Dodong can convert the available limit of his credit card to cash. He will just pay a certain amount per month for 36 months at a “low” monthly add-on rate of 0.59 percent.

When good economics makes good politics

Princeton economist Alan Blinder provides an interesting description of what he calls the Lamppost Theory: Politicians typically use economics the way a drunk person uses a lamppost—for support, not illumination. This means that politicians, for better or worse, decide their positions on political criteria, and then they sometimes seek economists to bless those positions.

A tricky yet indispensable business

Like any science, economics is concerned with the explanation of observed phenomena. Theories are developed to explain these observed phenomena in terms of a set of basic rules and assumptions. With the application of statistical and econometric techniques, theories can be used to construct models from which quantitative predictions can be made.

Musings on agriculture

Dr. Gunnar Myrdal, a Nobel laureate in economics, is known for this assertion: “It is in the agricultural sector that the battle for long-term economic development will be won or lost.” A previous Eagle Watch article written by Ms. Clarice Manuel featured small-scale corn farmers’ misfortunes, which illustrate the dire implications of Myrdal’s view. Perhaps, further reflection is warranted, since current events appear to be intimately linked with the pitiful state of Philippine agriculture.

Pension systems

This month is graduation season, which formally marks the commencement of young Filipinos’ new lives in the world—in other words, the beginning of their professional or working lives. At the same time, news reports feature the Social Security System (SSS), whose fund life is projected to last for just seven more years (until 2026), if the second tranche of pension hike were to be implemented next year without a corresponding contribution hike. Understandably, retirement planning might not yet figure prominently in a fresh graduate’s list of priorities, but it pays to be aware of some basic concepts regarding pension systems as early as now.

Why a free market for news could be undesirable

An interesting quote by Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque Jr. has made the rounds of the Internet recently. According to him, if there were no fake news, people would not really get to know what true news is. Roque suggests that there should just be a “free marketplace of ideas”—that is to say, a free or unregulated market for news, where society simply allows fake news to compete with true news.

Insights on financial markets and economic performance from PES 55

Over the next five years, the Philippine Development Plan will aim to build a solid foundation for more inclusive growth, a high-trust and resilient society and a globally competitive knowledge economy. Posing a threat to achieving these goals, however, are domestic and international risks, such as delays in the much-awaited “Build, Build, Build” program and comprehensive tax reform, peace and security issues, American protectionist policy and Brexit. With “Growing Amidst Risk and Uncertainty” as its chosen overall theme, the Philippine Economic Society (PES) held its 55th Annual Meeting at Novotel Manila, Araneta Center, on November 8 to discuss how the Philippine economy would be able to cope with internal and external risks.

Where is the market failure?

This issue involving Uber, Grab and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has caused quite a stir recently, as people protest a seemingly heavy-handed intervention in the workings of a free market. Indeed, government intervention becomes warranted when there is market failure, a situation where unregulated markets are inefficient because prices fail to provide proper signals to consumers and producers.

Risk awareness and control appreciation

The title of my essay comes from a seminar organized by Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) some years ago when I was still a junior officer assigned to the BPI Consumer Banking Group. As a matter of fact, all branch officers and staff were required to attend that seminar, so it was quite a big deal back then.

What are the financial markets responding to?

April 11 ended with the peso going back to 49.58, while the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) reached 7,601.40. At these levels, the peso has already appreciated by 1 percent and the PSEi has gained 11.4 percent year-to-date. Just about two weeks ago, investors have been jittery over the sideways and lackluster movement of the PSEi and the seeming freefall of the peso toward 51. What is happening with the financial markets? Usually, they move in relation to economic and political news. The most recent economic data that came out points to some weakening to the otherwise strong growth performance last year. Specifically, unemployment rate for January 2017 rose to 6.6 percent of the labor force, up from 4.7 percent posted in October 2016 and from the 5.7 percent in January 2016. Inflation, meantime, reached 3.4 percent, the highest in the last 30 months. The peso breached 50 to $1 in mid-February and the recent pronouncement of Credit Suisse that the country’s current account is reaching deficit levels and that could lead the peso to breach 51 in 12 months.

Reversing the tragedy of the commons

An interesting video posted by TV Patrol has made the rounds of the Internet recently, and it features an estuary in Purok de Oro, Barangay Poblacion in Iligan City. What used to be an unsightly, foul-smelling canal has now become home to more than a hundred colorful koi fish, attracting many tourists to the area.

Insights on financial literacy and inclusion from PES 54

eagle-watchWITH the theme “Ramping up Towards Philippines 2040”, the Philippine Economic Society (PES) held its 54th annual meeting at Novotel Manila, Araneta Center, on November 8. The theme alluded to “AmBisyon Natin 2040”, a long-term vision for the country that is now being translated into a socioeconomic development plan. The event served as an appropriate venue for the nation’s top economists to participate in the discourse.

Amla, secrecy of bank deposits and the greater good

eagle-watchThe Senate Blue Ribbon Committee held a hearing early this week to probe the alleged involvement of Philippine banks and casinos in a $100-million bank heist in the US. Computer hackers reportedly stole funds from the account of the Bangladesh Central Bank, and that a bulk of these funds was laundered through the Philippine banking system. Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) disclosed the laundered money was deposited in its Jupiter branch in Makati City. Despite a stop-payment order, these funds were released.