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Advantages of large family sizes

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A most enlightened piece of legislation has been proposed by former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, with her son Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado Arroyo as co-sponsor. The bill amends Republic Act 8187, otherwise known as the Paternity Leave Act of 1996, and proposes that married male employees should be entitled to paternity leaves beyond the current limit of four deliveries and in all succeeding deliveries of their respective spouses.

Posted: January 30th, 2013 in Blog,Columnists,Inquirer Columns | Read More »

Providing housing for low-income families

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Among the basic needs of the poor living in urban areas, the one that makes the biggest contribution to enhancing their human dignity is decent housing. If we consider that food, shelter, clothing and education are among the most basic of their needs, it is shelter that is the most visible manifestation of the dignity of a human being. The poor can survive on rice, fish and vegetables and maintain their dignity vis-a-vis the well-to-do.

Posted: December 20th, 2012 in Blog,Columnists | Read More »

Moderating the Filipino First policy

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Those of us who are advocating for a freer foreign investment regime should celebrate the first victory: The leaders of both the Senate and the House of Representatives are convinced that the very restrictive economic provisions against foreign investments in the Philippine Constitution should be amended. There is hope that the legislative process of amendment through Charter change (Cha-cha) can happen during the 2013-2016 term of Congress.

Posted: November 16th, 2012 in Blog,Columnists | Read More »

Strengthening family ties through sports

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I wouldn’t exactly include it in my “bucket” list. I was, however, extremely glad that I was part of the fourth Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines held in Mactan last August 5. Don’t get me wrong. I am no triathlete (the only bicycle I ride is the stationary one for aerobics!). I had the chance to hobnob with world triathlete champions like Pete Jacobs of Australia and Arland Macasieb of the Philippines, Formula One star Jenson Button and actor Piolo Pascual because my nephew Mike Arcenas of Nike Palace asked me to manage an amateur team of professionals in their fifties and sixties who participated in the relay portion of the triathlon event.

Posted: November 6th, 2012 in Blog | Read More »

Making real friends on Facebook

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Once again, I am indebted to Colloquy, quarterly publication of the Gradual School of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University for its alumni, for a very insightful article reporting on the findings of a team of Harvard sociologists who addressed “one of the great unsolved puzzles of social science—do we form friendships with people because we share similar interests, or do we share similar interests with people because they are our friends?” The answer is that peer influence may be far less compelling than the “likes” on a Facebook status might imply.

Posted: October 11th, 2012 in Blog,Columnists | Read More »

Prospects of a real-estate bubble

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With the feverish rate of construction of condominium units all over Metro Manila and to a more limited degree in other urban areas like Metro Cebu, the question of the possibility of a real-estate bubble is now more frequently asked. It is difficult to give an answer without an accurate estimate of the potential supply and the approximate demand for these units over the next three to five years, the average construction period.

Posted: September 13th, 2012 in Blog,Columnists | Read More »

Workers can own their businesses

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A distinct advantage of emerging markets like the Philippines in the next two to three decades is the demographic dividend that endows them not only with large domestic markets but also with a young and growing work force, in contrast with the aging societies in the developed world. Even in this era of highly advanced technology, human labor will continue to be a competitive advantage of the so-called “breakout” nations, to use a term of Ruchir Sharma of Morgan Stanley. It is important, therefore, that there be more innovative approaches to organizing workers for both productive and inclusive growth. One of these innovations has already been introduced to the Philippines by some pioneering labor leaders and is about to benefit from the work of enlightened legislators who are introducing a bill “to further strengthen the standard of protection and enhancement of the welfare of self-employed workers and craftsmen and the promotion of entrepreneurship, thereby amending Section 8 of Republic Act 8282, otherwise known as the Social Security Act of 1997.”

Posted: September 3rd, 2012 in Blog | Read More »

Attracting tourists through Manila galleons

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Asia will not only be the epicenter of the global economy in the next two decades at least. It will also enjoy the highest growth in both domestic and foreign tourism, especially with the participation of such emerging markets as China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia. History has been a magnet for tourism in Old World countries like Greece, Egypt, Italy and Spain. It will be no different for tourism in Asia. Already tourists from all over the world are attracted to the centuries-old Buddhist and Hindu temples of India, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. As I reported in a recent column, I myself was enchanted by the Buddhist and Hindu historical monuments of Sri Lanka.

Posted: August 17th, 2012 in Blog,Columnists | Read More »

Another reason to promote football

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My favorite soccer commentator is Rob Hughes of the International Herald Tribune (IHT). He never limits himself to the technical aspects of the beautiful game.

Posted: August 10th, 2012 in Blog,Columnists | Read More »

Philippines as a fashion capital

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As the Filipino middle class expands more rapidly in the coming years, one of the sunrise industries catering to the domestic market is fashion. Filipino fashion designers and fashion companies will have a reasonable chance to compete with the foreign brands that are increasingly appealing to the large youth market. Having been nurtured in a multicultural society, Filipino fashion designers are among the most creative in Asia and can actually influence fashion trends in the whole of the Asia-Pacific region. There is an opportunity for such cities as Manila and Cebu to follow the examples of fashion capitals in Europe like Paris, Milan, Madrid and Barcelona. Leadership in fashion, however, will not be handed to the Philippines on a silver platter. Another strong contender for fashion leadership is Jakarta where the fashion industry faces an even larger domestic market of 250 million consumers.

Posted: June 27th, 2012 in Blog,Columnists | Read More »

OFWs did it again

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Once again, the unsung OFWs contributed some $23 billion in foreign exchange remittances to the Philippine economy in 2011, boosting our international reserves, filling our banks with savings, stimulating the housing market, investing in human capital through the education of their children and contributing significantly to a consumption-led growth as investments grew very slowly in the public sector. We cannot thank them enough for the sacrifices they are making for their respective families and for the entire nation.

Posted: June 8th, 2012 in Blog,Columnists | Read More »

Romantic encounter in Barcelona

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The first wedding of the year I attended was that of a beautiful couple whose romance blossomed in the equally gorgeous city of Barcelona. I am referring to the nuptials of Ryan Velasco and Candice Cepeda, two of the friends I have made as a result of my spending some years in Barcelona as a visiting professor of the famous IESE Business School, one of the top business schools in the world today.

Posted: March 26th, 2012 in Blog,Columnists | Read More »

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