Economics for Good Governance | Atti. Denis Gorecho


Economics wasn’t my first choice when I took the University of the Philippines entrance exam in the mid-1980s, but another quota course, accounting.

I ended up cherishing my course, BS Economics, which is a four-year undergraduate degree in economic theory, econometrics, and applied economics, involving a deluge of formulas and graphs.

Quota courses are usually popular course choices for students, making these courses harder to take due to limited time slots and the resulting competition. It is certainly not an easy course, as it requires a high level of mathematical and statistical skills and the ability to apply economic principles and models to problems in business, finance and the public sector.

In general, economics is the study of scarcity and its implications for the use of resources, the production of goods and services, the growth of output and welfare over time, and a large variety of other complex issues of vital interest to society.

Economy is derived from the Greek word oikonomia, which in turn is made up of two words: oikos, which is usually translated as “household”; and nemein, which best translates to “management and dispensation.”

We read the book “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith (1723-1790), one of the most influential economists in history, in which he defended free trade, market competition and morality of private enterprise.

One of the basic principles that I recall is the law of supply and demand, which is a theory that explains the interaction between the sellers of a resource and the buyers of this resource.

This theory defines the relationship between the price of a given good or product and people’s willingness to buy or sell it: when the price rises, people are willing to supply more and demand less and vice versa. pays when the price drops.

We have covered the relationships between variables, formulas and graphs. A variable is simply a quantity whose value can change. A graph is a graphical representation of the relationship between two or more variables.

The UP School of Economics (UPSE) was established in 1965 and is known for its graduates who have been vigorously trained and prepared to become leaders in various fields.

Many of the key players in government, business, civil society and academia received their formal training in economics at UPSE. One of them is Vice President Leni Robredo of the 1986 batch.

I completed my BS Economics in 1991 and then went on to UP College of Law two years later. It is an anecdote that economics graduates cross the street to pursue their legal studies, because we constitute a large part of the candidates for the entrance examination to UP Law. Robredo was our guest speaker on my lot’s silver jubilee return in 2016.

UPSE alumni and students recently released a manifesto briefly outlining the path of hope and economic recovery for a better Philippines.

In said manifesto, they noted that the Philippines recorded a gross domestic product contraction of -9.6% in 2020, the worst in Asia that year and the worst in the Philippines’ economic history since post- Second World War.

Every country in the world was exposed to the same virus, but countries had different responses and policies.

The current administration in the Philippines has failed to “flatten the curve” of Covid cases and has instead succeeded in flattening the economy.

In addition to flattening the economy, the current administration has also dramatically increased public debt, from 8.22 trillion pesos (real and secured) in 2019 to 10.25 trillion pesos in 2020 and 12.15 trillion pesos in 2021. .

High public debt will require high and multiple taxes. The Philippines should avoid this situation of more taxes. The manifesto pointed out that Robredo has shown that having big agency budgets via big taxes and huge loans is no guarantee for real public service and improving the lives of Filipinos. ordinary.

The six-year budget (2017-2022) of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) was only 0.6-0.9 billion pula per year, still less than 1 billion pula per year. The total budget for 2022 is 5 trillion pula, while the OVP budget is only 0.7 billion pula, which is 0.0001 or 1% of 1%. So for every P100 in the total budget, the OVP budget is only P0.01, not even P1 but only 1 centavo.

Compare that to the President’s office budget of 8.24 billion pesos plus discretionary and intelligence funds of 65.10 billion pesos.

And yet, Robredo was able to inspire trust and transparency and attracted many private donations during the pandemic that enabled his office to provide PPE to many frontline health workers and Covid treatment kits to poor households.

The manifesto was signed by over 400 UPSE alumni and over 150 students expressing their support for Robredo and Kiko Pangilinan’s candidacy in the upcoming May 9 elections.

We need a leader who sees economics as a vital branch of knowledge and essential to good governance.

Atti. Dennis R. Gorecho heads the seafarers division of the law firm Sapalo Velez Bundang Bulilan. For any feedback, email or call 0917-5025808 or 0908-8665786.


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