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PIDS Updates

TUESDAY / 30 AUGUST 2016
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IN FOCUS: Building a Resilient Philippines


A plethora of risks can potentially dismantle a country’s vision of sustained and inclusive growth. With overlapping risks of varied nature, the need to build multiple resilient communities has become a top priority, particularly for the Philippines—a country battered by shocks related to extreme weather events, high structural unemployment and underemployment, increasing food prices, and corruption, among others. It is no surprise, then, that state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and its partner-institutions center the celebration of the 14th Development Policy Research Month (DPRM) on “Investing in Risk Reduction for a Resilient Philippines”.

Although it became a buzzword only in the last decade, the term “resilience” originated in the 1970s in the field of ecology to refer to the ability of an ecosystem to absorb change and disturbance. Traditionally, resilience is associated with natural hazards, extreme weather events, or disasters. However, according to PIDS President Gilberto Llanto, building resilience should go beyond disaster risk reduction and management, as the Philippines has never confronted risks as interconnected and varied as they are today. The risk landscape has evolved into a web of various threat sources, which is made complex by overlapping economic, environmental, societal, geopolitical, and technological risks. Recognizing the fact that risks are intricately linked to one another—and that its effects can easily cascade across and among individuals, economies, and nations—is the first step toward building resilience.

Hence, this year’s celebration of the DPRM aims to encourage the country’s leaders and the general public to appreciate the role and importance of evidence-based policies, programs, and projects in building the country’s resilience to multiple risks. Appropriate interventions that help build absorptive, adaptive, and transformative capacities are vital. These capacities are needed to enable a community to respond to risks and shocks that cripple development gains, raise poverty incidence, and impede public services, among others. Higher absorptive and adaptive capacities to manage risks result in a transformed system that is more dynamic and responsive to change.

The theme chapter of the 2015–2016 Economic Policy Monitor (EPM), an annual publication of PIDS, explains further the relevance of this year’s DPRM theme. On this chapter, Llanto underscores the urgent need to view resilience in its totality. However, given the Philippines’ high exposure and vulnerability to risks, Llanto admits that building resilience is a herculean task. This is where evidence-based policy research and analyses are needed to inform policymakers’ decisions and help them have a good understanding of resilience thinking, risk analysis, and risk management. Likewise, the EPM and the DPRM celebration aim to engage other stakeholders in building resilient systems. Resilience building, therefore, should be a collective effort among policymakers and the academic/research, business, and civil society sectors.

Know what other PIDS studies have to say about resilience building. Visit the SocioEconomic Research Portal for the Philippines. Simply type “risk reduction”, “resilience”, and other related keywords in the Search box.

 
EVENTS

September 29, 2016
Inauguration of the PIDS Corner at the University of San Carlos (USC)
Venue: University of San Carlos, Cebu City

September 29, 2016
PIDS-USC Policy Forum on Social Protection and Risk Management (Results of the Impact Evaluation of the Government’s Community Mortgage Program and PCIC's Agricultural Insurance Programs)
Venue: University of San Carlos
Cebu City

September 22, 2016
2016 Second Annual Public Policy Conference on "Risks, Shocks, Building Resilience"
Venue: Marco Polo Ortigas Hotel, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
(Download Conference Poster)

September 08, 2016
PIDS-World Bank Workshop on "Increasing Philippine SMEs' Participation in Global Value Chains"
Venue: World Bank Philippines Office, Taguig City

September 05, 2016
Press Conference on the 14th Development Policy Research Month
Venue: PIA Conference Room, 3/F Media Center Building, Visayas Ave., Quezon City

September 01, 2016
Regional Press Conference on the 14th Development Policy Research Month
Venue: Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU), Butuan City

September 01, 2016
PIDS-MinDA-FSUU 2nd Mindanao Policy Forum on Nurturing Resilient Communities in Mindanao Toward Sustainable Development
FSUU, Butuan City

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SPECIAL FEATURES

14th Development Policy Research Month (September 2016)

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Visit http://dprm.pids.gov.ph to know more about the DPRM.

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PIDS ANNUAL REPORT 2015


NEW PUBLICATIONS

POLICY NOTES

Road funds coming from the Motor Vehicle User's Charge (MVUC) are funds reserved for specific programs or projects. The MVUC is collected by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) from motor vehicle owners. It is imposed through the registration fees of vehicles and payment of penalties for overloading. The collections are remitted to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) under four special types of fund. Key findings from this study indicate the mismatch between the records of the LTO and the BTr on the MVUC monies. Moreso, two special funds--the Special Local Road Fund and the Special Vehicle Pollution Control Fund--are seriously underutilized. This Policy Note recommends to make the recording of MVUC deposits transparent and efficient through automation, regular reconciliation of LTO and BTr records, and random audits. Establishing an impact evaluation system for all projects funded by the MVUC is also suggested. Click here for the full article.

The Agrarian Production Credit Program (APCP) is a credit program for smallholders designed and implemented by the Department of Agrarian Reform to provide smallholders with access to formal sources of credit. Under the APCP, documentary requirements for accessing credit have been streamlined to meet the level of financial education and literacy of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs). This Policy Note reviews APCP's capacity to effectively address ARBs' problem with accessing formal sources of credit. APCP may have provided credit to ARBs and agrarian reform beneficiaries' organizations, but loan repayment, not just provision of credit, should be equally emphasized to sustain the program. Smallholders need the full support of government on investments in rural infrastructure and communication, more effective extension services, and access to modern farming technologies and innovations to address binding constraints to productivity and growth. Click here for the full article.

The worsening traffic logjam along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) is a serious problem in Metro Manila. It has caused hardship and suffering on commuters, and tremendous costs in terms of losses in productivity and unnecessary fuel consumption. Various yet unsuccessful solutions have been tried. Thus, this Policy Note invites policymakers to consider applying "competition for the market" or competitive tendering/auctioning as a policy framework for rationalizing bus operation along EDSA. This framework proposes a way to effectively implement the bus consolidation strategy, which can create more traffic space and ease movement of traffic along EDSA. Click here for the full article.

 

DISCUSSION PAPERS

Using a global computable general equilibrium model, this paper analyzes the potential effects of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on the Philippine economy. The analysis comprises 80-percent reduction in tariffs and 10 percent in nontariff barriers within RCEP member-countries over a 10-year period. Results indicate trade creation within RCEP while exports of RCEP to nonmembers decline. Moreover, within RCEP, the improvement in exports of the six non-ASEAN members is relatively higher than the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members. Viet Nam benefits the most among ASEAN members; exports of the rest of ASEAN also increase including the Philippines. The entry of cheaper rice benefits the poor and the entry of cheaper textile benefits the garment industry. Overall, Philippine gross domestic product improves by 3 percent and welfare by USD 2 billion. Philippine poverty declines from 24.9 percent to 23.3 percent. Click here for the full article.

The National Greening Program (NGP) comes after a dip in the country's forest cover and a decade after a large reforestation program has been judged to be unsustainable. Large-scale reforestation globally has had limited success. As a jump-start mechanism that carpet bombed large denuded areas with reforestation effort, the NGP seems to have succeeded in at least two of its measured metrics. The uniformity and strict monitoring of the program, both in survival rates and financial flows, can be used to clean up the Department of Environment and Natural Resources bureaucracy if complaints can be acted on swiftly, and results are communicated to complainants. A succeeding program is needed to diversify methods based on scale, existing forest cover, and implementer's motivations. Digital media would also have to be taken advantage of for mapping, public buy-in, crowd-sourced strategies, and methods and transparency. Click here for the full article.

PRESS RELEASES

2016 Policy Research Month focuses on risk reduction and building resilience

Investing in risk reduction and building a resilient economy is the focus of this year’s celebration of the Development Policy Research Month (DPRM). Celebrated every September in accordance with Presidential Proclamation No. 247, DPRM is a nationwide information and advocacy event being led by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) since 2003. It aims at raising public awareness on the importance of policy research in nation building and at promoting broad-based literacy of development issues confronting the country.

This year’s theme, "Angkop na Kahandaan: Matatag na Ekonomiya at Lipunan” (Investing in Risk Reduction for a Resilient Philippines)”, highlights the need for in-depth reflections and analyses of resilience building, risk reduction, and structural transformation, and the role of appropriate policy interventions in building the country's resilience to various economic, environmental, political, and social risks and stresses. READ MORE

14th DPRM to kick off on September 1 in Butuan City

The second Mindanao Policy Research Forum will be the first of many activities slated for September’s Development Policy Research Month (DPRM) celebration. Partners Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), and Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) are co-hosting a policy forum that focuses on the theme “Nurturing Resilient Communities in Mindanao toward Sustainable Development”. A lunchtime press conference will formally open and discuss this year’s DPRM theme of “Investing in Risk Reduction for a Resilient Philippines”. These back-to-back events will be held on September 1 at FSUU in Butuan City.

Undersecretary Janet Lopoz, executive director of MinDA, will present on “Fostering Partnerships with Academic and Research Groups for Mindanao’s Sustainable Development”. Echoing the DPRM commitment to promoting the role of sound research evidence in policymaking, Lopoz’s presentation will focus on harnessing the talent and input of Mindanao’s research community in shaping the development and sustainable growth of Mindanao. READ MORE

Road users' tax fund underutilized, PIDS study says

A study by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) revealed that the funds collected through the motor vehicle user's charge (MVUC), popularly known as road users' tax, is underutilized due to the lack of a definitive operating procedure system on how to identify and prioritize projects.

The authors of the study—PIDS Consultants Sheilah Napalang and Pia May Agatep, PIDS Senior Research Fellow Adoracion Navarro, and Research Specialist Keith Detros—underscored that the processes of identification, approval, and implementation of proposed projects are problematic.

"Project identification does not follow the prescribed procedures. The approach is bottom up, rather than top down, [thereby] failing to incorporate a network perspective of accident black spots, and leading to projects that are not of the highest priority being approved and implemented," the authors explained. READ MORE

DATABASE UPDATES

GROSS INTERNATIONAL RESERVES

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Based on the preliminary data, the country's gross international reserves (GIR) rose to USD 83.97 billion as of end of June 2016. This is higher by USD 1.04 billion from USD 82.93 billion as of end of May 2016. The GIR remains ample as it can cover 10.3 months' worth of imports of goods and payments of services and income.

Source: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)

To view the time-series data on GIR, please refer to this link: http://econdb.pids.gov.ph/tablelists/table/181

 

INFLATION RATE

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The year-on-year headline inflation rate continued to go up to 1.9 percent in June 2016, from 1.6 percent in May. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) attributed the increase to higher annual increment in the heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index. Contributing also to the uptrend were the higher annual growth recorded in the indices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear; furnishing, household equipment, and routine maintenance of the house; health; recreation and culture; and restaurant and miscellaneous goods and services. Likewise, core inflation rate further went up to 1.9 percent in June, from 1.6 percent in previous month.

Source: PSA

To view the time-series data on year-on-year inflation rate, please refer to this link: http://econdb.pids.gov.ph/tablelists/table/876

 

EXCHANGE RATE

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The average peso-dollar exchange rate went down to PHP 46.4645 to USD 1.00 in June, from PHP 46.8023 in May. This shows that the peso became stronger compared to the US dollar for the month of June. Meanwhile, this figure is higher compared to PHP 44.9831 in the same period last year.

Source: BSP

To view the time-series data on monthly average peso-dollar exchange rate, please refer to this link: http://econdb.pids.gov.ph/tablelists/table/865


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© 2016 Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

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