Monday, March 8, 2010
Matt, Serena and I (Aileen) are sitting at our friend's apartment in Manila having a few last San Miguels and some vodka and mango juice.
Earlier this evening, we saw my friends reading our blog; it was a strange experience peering at them peering into how we were peering into their lives. Does that make sense?? If not, blame it on the San Miguels.
Check out today's headline on the Inquirer. Joey Salceda was cited as GMA's top adviser proclaiming to the country that while GDP had grown, the rich-poor income gap has widened. Didn't we have a discussion just like that only a few days ago?
A screenshot of the article is posted here.
Now, then, here are a few photos from last week that didn't make it up in real time:
Monday morning: Eric Isham and Laura Rosen confer before a talk at the Asia Foundation:
Thursday morning: Legaspi goes to work
Friday afternoon: Donsol scenes
Saturday morning: Mount Mayon as seen from Legaspi Airport
Saturday afternoon: Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I'd also be remiss if I didn't express gratitude to everyone here in the Philippines who set aside their valuable time to meet with us. We met with so many people who have major responsibilities, and they welcomed us into their offices and took our questions seriously.
I'll write another longer, blog entry later with some more details and observatons about our meetings, but I'll sign off this one by posting a photo from last Sunday that I've been meaning to put up:
That's Alan Deardorff, our favorite trade economist in the world and one of the two faculty members on the trip.
Tomorrow: swimming with sharks. Literally.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
Yesterday, we had the opportunity to meet with the Honorable Rene V. Sarmiento, one of the Commissioners of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC); he provided some updates on the all-electronic voting process the country will undertake in the June elections.
After our meeting, I asked my colleague Tim, a former Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines, to offer up a comparison of an official in the United States that would have the same level of influence as Mr. Sarmiento. His response? "We basically just met someone who's essentially a Supreme Court judge when it comes to defining the election outcome."
So, as you can imagine, our knowledge of this country grows by the moment -- but we're not stopping now. Off to another day of interviews!
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Dear friends and faithful readers,
Tomorrow morning, we finally depart for our trip to the Philippines. !!! After weeks of researching, presenting, and sharing; months of planning and contacting stakeholders; and 10 years of IEDPs before us, we embark on the penultimate stage of our program (our ultimate stage will be presenting our findings to the university community).
We are truly grateful to our many supporters. Financially, we raised enough funds to fully support our program from generous donors by the end of last week. Academically, numerous professors and experts have spoken to us. The likes of Sharon Maccini, Dean Yang, Linda Lim, and Mrs. Weller have enlightened us with their research and knowledge. Our faculty adviser, Tony Chen, has extensively researched various theories and issues of development, encouraging us to examine the broader picture amidst policy team presentations that focused on a specific policy area.
While by no means we consider ourselves to be experts on development in the Philippines, this semester has taught us about the complexities of development, the specificities particular to the Philippines, and the varieties of approaches in policy-making in the areas of economics (FDI, Migration & Remittances), health, human rights, governance, and urban policy.
There is still much more to learn, and what better way than to meet with actual policymakers and stakeholders in the Philippines? As we hear from a wide array of perspectives, including those from the government, civil society, and the private sector, we will continue to blog so that we can share our learnings and experiences there.
Some examples of the stakeholders we will be meeting with include the National Housing Authority (NHA), the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), the US Embassy, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), and many more.
We hope you continue to support us through reading this blog. Your support has been invaluable, and we want to share our experiences in the Philippines with you!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Thank you all for your consideration and supportive giving -- and for continuing IEDP's long-standing tradition of providing an exceptional learning opportunity for its participants without incurring any financial hardship. It is our hope we make the most of this learning experience, and we greatly appreciate your help in doing so!
Friday, February 19, 2010
And the article comes just in time for the governance team's presentation next week. It's a great read, it's really short, and it comes highly recommended.
Thanks for the heads-up, Alan!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
On Monday, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas announced December 2009 remittance data, calling cumulative remittances from overseas Filipinos “stronger-than-expected in 2009, growing year-on-year by 5.6 percent to US$17.3 billion”(1). According to the bank, December remittances grew by 11.4 percent and amounted to US$1.6 billion. This brings the total for the year to 10.8 percent of GNP.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
So far, we have received $665 from 11 donors.
Whatever you might believe, it's hard to deny that rap is big in the Tondo district, a poor area of northwest Manila. Yesterday, we talked about life in the Baseco Compound, one of several neighborhoods in Tondo. This story, filed by a correspondent for AlJazeera English, gives us a brief glimpse at a community of gangsters-turned-rappers based in Tondo.
According to this article in the New York Times, the gangs of Tondo are the subject of Tribu, a prize-winning movie that is continuing to garner widespread acclaim and attention. Written and directed by Jim Libiran, a television journalist who himself grew up in Tondo, Tribu won the best picture award at the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival in 2007. The film tells the story of a 10-year-told boy living in a neighborhood caught up in the deadly cross-fire of a gang war.
TRIBU the Filipino Gang movie
MS 13 LA Mara Salvatrucha X3 PHILIPPINES | MySpace Video
This article from Philstar.com reveals that some of the film's stars have gone on to record and produce their own rap songs. OG Sacred, who plays a gang leader in Tribu, is the main force behind up-and-coming rap group Sigaw ng Tundo, whose tuneful and catchy track "Buhay ng Gangsta" is a smash hit on YouTube.
The group has their own web site here.
Monday, February 15, 2010
IEDP Policy team: Urban policy – slum development and land reform
Yr/Program: 2nd year MPP
Area of focus/concentration: human rights, international development
Home State/Country: little hills (Cerritos), CA
Interests: cafes, communities, ideas, stories, typography, theology
What excites me most about PH: reuniting with PH friends; exploring with UM friends; learning more about the complexities and possibilities of development in PH
Will you try balut in PH? once was enough… but this time around, I will if the vegetarians do.
Shout-out: currently lobbying for Team IEDP shirts… suggestions/design submissions welcome. =)
Saturday, February 13, 2010
The new facility is located in a high-tech business district called McKinley Hill Cyberpark. Other firms with operations there include Hewlett-Packard, Accenture, Safeway, and Western Union. Recently, McKinley Hill Cyberpark was officially proclaimed an Information Technology (IT) Park by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
In 2007, McKinley Hill Cyberpark was certified an ecozone by the Philippines Economic Zone Authority (PEZA). Companies locating there may enjoy a bevy of economic benefits, including "income tax holidays of up to eight years (and thereafter, payment of 5% tax on gross income in lieu of all national and local taxes and licenses), exemption from duties and taxes on capital equipment, permanent residence status for foreign investors, employment of foreign nationals, and the remittance of earnings from investments – the last of which applies to majority or wholly foreign-owned BPO firms – among others."
The cyberpark is part of McKinley Hill, a mixed-use township developed by the Megaworld Corporation, a publicly listed, Philippines-based company. Megaworld is a pioneer of the "live-work-play" model of development that has proven immensely appealing to the growing Filipino middle class. Megaworld is controlled by "taipan" Andrew Tan, who was ranked by Forbes Asia in 2008 as the fourth-richest man in the country. Tan's holding company, Alliance Global Group, owns a controlling stake of Megaworld.
McKinley Hill is located just south of Bonifacio Global City in the southeastern area of metro Manila.
Developments of this sort may help contribute to economic growth, but can they also help to reduce poverty?
Friday, February 12, 2010
IEDP Policy Team: Health
Yr/ Program: 3rd Year; MHSA/MPP
Area of Focus/Concentration: International Health Management
Home State/Country: Yellow Brick Road, USA
Interests: traveling, cooking, guitar, playing football, and reading anything Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote
What Excites Me Most about PH: The sites, sounds, and debauchery that will surely accompany a group of 24 graduate students half-way around the world!
Will You Try Balut in PH: Hell Yeah - and I'll wash it down with some San Miguel
Now, in an effort to promote real justice and free speech, the European Union is contributing €3.9 million to combat extrajudicial killings.
Read the whole article.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
IEDP Policy team: Economic 1 - FDI
Yr/Program: 1st year MPP
Area of focus/concentration: International Finance / International Development
Home State/Country: Paris, France
Interests: Coffee, finance, theater, politics and punk rock. More generally, finding evidence that American clichés are true (deep-fried mac’n cheeseburger pizzas exist).
What excites me most about PH: Having a first field experience of development, understanding the challenges faced by policymakers and professionals working in development economics, trying balut.
Will you try balut in PH? I eat frogs, snails & goose livers à I’ll try balut.
The government may be able to pay a very good rate of 2.24 to 2.34 percent for the bonds. Last July, Indonesia paid 2.73 percent on a comparable issuance. The yield over Japanese government bonds has grown since last summer, and some observers believe that demand is rising for emerging market debt.
Also, a portion of the issuance is reportedly guaranteed by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
The sale will comprise a substantial portion of the $2.5 billion that the government hopes to raise overseas in order to to finance a budget deficit that is expected to come in around $6.3 billion. It raised $1.5 billion in 10- and 25-year, dollar-denominated notes last month.
IEDP Policy team: Governance
Yr/Program: 2nd Yr MPP / MA in Russian & East European Studies
Area of focus/concentration: I’ve recently come to the revelation that all of my main substantive interests are connected by the concept of human rights (political and civil as well as economic, social, and cultural rights). More specifically, the human rights issues that I focus on tend to be international development, education, and democratization. My thesis topic—Roma education in Eastern Europe—tries to pull a lot of these concepts together. Additionally, I have been trying to build upon my quantitative analysis skills while at the Ford School.
Home State/Country: California
Interests: traveling/exploring, finding out how amazing the world/people can be, volunteering, and leaving the world a little better than when I found it
What excites me most about PH: Even though I’ve had an international focus in my studies since my first year as an undergraduate at Berkeley, I’ve never really studied South-East Asia in any depth. It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to learn so much about the Philippines, add a new stamp to my passport, and—best of all—pick the brains of important local stakeholders. The sight-seeing doesn’t hurt, either. J
Will you try balut in PH? Nope—I’ve been a vegetarian for many years now, and while I’m technically a lacto-ovo vegetarian, balut seems to cross the line. Generally, I rarely eat eggs anyway, even when they aren’t fertilized. I’d love to try any other veggie-friendly, nut-free food while we’re in the Philippines, though my impression of the cuisine is that vegetarianism isn’t exactly widespread…
IEDP Policy team: Microeconomic Policy: Remittances & Migration
Yr/Program: 2nd year MPP
Area of focus/concentration: Economic development & international development policy
Home State/Country: Texas
Interests: Traveling, yoga, cooking, hiking
What excites me most about PH: Studying remittances & migration + warm weather over Spring break!
Will you try balut in PH? No, I’m nearly a vegetarianJ
IEDP Policy team: Human Rights
Yr/Program: 2nd year, MPP
Area of focus/concentration: Urban policy, Poverty policy
Home State/Country: Illinois, USA
Interests: reading, collecting records, running, travelling, watching films, cooking
What excites me most about PH: the opportunity to learn from policymakers in the field, delicious food, warm weather, new landscapes
Will you try balut in PH? No way, no how.