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PIDS Updates


IN FOCUS: ICT development in the Philippines

In today’s knowledge-based economy, the competitiveness of a country depends on the efficiency of its information and communications technology (ICT) sector.  As such, the Philippines needs to have a reliable ICT infrastructure and an ICT-competent workforce to keep up with the digital economy.

Currently, roughly three in every five (58%) Filipinos have access to the internet, according to the report, Digital, in 2017 by social media consultancy firm, We Are Social, and social media management platform, Hootsuite. This places the Philippines fifth in Southeast Asia in terms of the number of internet users, and slightly above the average global ranking based on internet penetration level, which is at 50 percent.

However, while the Philippines has experienced an incredible internet population growth since 2000, researchers Jose Ramon Albert, Ramonette Serafica, and Beverly Lumbera from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) still noted a relatively weak uptake of ICT services in the country. 

In their study, Examining Trends in ICT Statistics: How Does the Philippines Fare in ICT?, Albert et al. attributed this to the high cost of ICT services. In terms of telephone services, for instance, users usually pay around PHP 1,800 for their monthly fees, currently the most expensive in the region. They observed the same scenario in other ICT services, such as mobile cellular and fixed broadband services, where the Philippines has the second and third highest retail prices, respectively, in Southeast Asia.

Despite this high cost, the Philippine ICT environment remains significantly below the international standards. In a study, Rebooting Philippine Telecommunications through Structural Reform, Serafica, together with Ma. Kristina Ortiz and Jose Carlos Alexis Bairan, noted the country’s poor performance in ICT governance and regulation. Specifically, they cited the country’s failure to institute an independent regulatory body for the ICT sector, the presence of unnecessary and biased policy of requiring legislative franchise to authorize ICT service providers, and the nonissuance of unified license, as factors behind the ineffective regulatory environment in the country.

To achieve an ideal ICT environment, Albert et al. urged the government to explore partnerships with the private sector for building new and better infrastructures and for upgrading the capacities of ICT staff to keep up with the fast-changing technologies.

Meanwhile, Serafica et al. encouraged the creation of an independent regulatory body that has both decisionmaking powers and a stable and reliable source of revenue for their operations. They added that it should likewise have officials who have fixed terms of office that should not coincide with the tenure of the executive and legislative branches of government.

In a policy note, PIDS President Gilberto Llanto also stressed the crucial importance of revisiting the radio spectrum management policy. Under the current setup, the government—through the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)—assigns all radio frequencies to private companies and government agencies. The NTC grants licenses based on an entity’s financial and technical capacity to provide the capital and infrastructure required to optimally use the awarded spectrum bands. However, not all are using their allocated frequencies (nor paying the required fees), resulting in inefficient use of this scarce resource. Llanto suggests alternative approaches like market-based methods (e.g., auction).

Ultimately, PIDS researchers recommend the formulation of better laws, rules, and regulations; increasing ICT investments to upgrade infrastructures; monitoring and regulation of network interconnectivity; and enhancements in the capacity and accountability of offices that manage the ICT sector like the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

You may access the following publications as well as related studies from the PIDS website and the Socioeconomic Research Portal for the Philippines. Simply type the relevant keywords in the Search box.


August 24, 2017, 9-5PM
ERIA-PIDS-MinDA-AS Public Symposium on Building ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community and Nation Building
Venue: Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City

July 26, 2017, 9:30-11:30AM
Assessment of Tax Reform as Proposed under House Bill 5636 (Senate Economic Staff Forum Series)
Venue: Senate of the Philippines, Pasay City

July 11, 2017, 9:30-11:30AM
Seminar on "Have We Institutionalized DRRM in the Philippines?"
Venue: PIDS Conference Room, 18th Floor Three Cyberpod Centris - North Tower, EDSA cor. Quezon Ave., Quezon City





The Philippine Journal of Development is a professional journal published by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies. It accepts papers that examine key issues in development and have strong relevance to policy development. As a multidisciplinary social science journal, it accepts papers in the fields of economics, political science, public administration, sociology, and other related disciplines. It considers papers that have strong policy implications on national or international concerns, particularly development issues in the Asia-Pacific region.

CLICK HERE for the guidelines in the preparation of articles. Submissions and inquiries may be sent to PJD@mail.pids.gov.ph



  • PN 2017-14: Estimating Filipinos’ Vulnerability to Poverty
    by Christian D. Mina and Celia M. Reyes

    Natural disasters, together with other shocks, have contributed to the vulnerability of both poor and nonpoor Filipino households to poverty. While the government needs sufficient information to formulate appropriate interventions for these vulnerable households, the country’s official poverty statistics have not paid much attention to measuring the Filipinos’ vulnerability to poverty. This Policy Note provides an estimate of Filipinos’ vulnerability to poverty and finds that Caraga and Zamboanga Peninsula regions had the highest proportion of vulnerable households. Moreover, it reveals that vulnerable households tend to have younger and less-educated heads, have higher dependency ratio, are located in rural areas, and lack access to irrigation. It urges the government to continue implementing policies and programs that develop human capital, such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. It also recommends increasing the productivity of nonagriculture industries to improve labor absorption and provide more and better jobs. Click here for the full article.

  • PN 2017-13: Analyzing Housework Through Family and Gender Perspectives
    by Connie B. Dacuycuy and Lawrence Dacuycuy

    Housework shapes the invaluable role that women play in the society. However, given that the time allocated to housework affects the time spent on market work, this raises several critical issues based on economic and sociological perspectives. This Policy Note analyzes the role of wage and attitudes toward gender roles within the family in determining the time allocated to housework. Using the 2002 International Social Survey Program and instrumental variable technique, the study finds that the female respondents' wage positively affects husbands' time devoted to housework, which reflects the shifting dynamics of gender roles among households and in the labor market. It recommends government to address issues that severely increase the time outside of home and reduce family members' interaction, such as poor road conditions. To support parents who work, it also calls for the government to explore the provision of day-care and tutorial services at affordable costs to ensure that children are getting good supplementary care. Click here for the full article.

  • DP 2017-23: Scoping Study on Reducing Unnecessary Regulatory Burdens in the Philippine Food Manufacturing Industry
    by Nerlita M. Manalili, Suzette Simondac, Imelda V. Valenton, and Mara Michelle Q. Pangilinan

    The food manufacturing industry (FMI) is a major contributor to the country's total manufacturing output. However, despite the industry's performance in terms of job creation and income generation, it is constrained by existing regulatory procedures and processes. This scoping study assesses the Philippine FMI subsectors and the regulatory system governing them. The study reveals that the FMI faces four major regulatory burdens specifically related to 1) organizational matters, 2) regulation compliance, 3) trade and market access, and 4) consumer-related concerns. Thus, industry-wide plans covering both development tracks and the needed regulatory enhancements covering the abovementioned areas would be beneficial to all the food manufacturing subsectors. Read more about the results of the scoping study and possible options to address these regulatory burdens in the FMI.
    Click here for the full paper.

  • DP 2017-22: The Impacts of Roll-On/Roll-Off Transport System in the Philippines
    by Kris A. Francisco

    It is well recognized in the literature that a country's transport system plays a central role in its development. This paper shows the economic impacts of improvements in the transport system by studying the experience of the Philippines with the roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) policy promoting the use of Ro-Ro ferry terminal system. Using difference-in-difference strategies in analyzing agricultural household income and children's education, the study finds that the operation of Ro-Ro ports largely benefited the households living near the Ro-Ro ports. More specifically, estimates suggest that agricultural households gained higher income from the operation of these ports because both agriculture- and nonagriculture-related activities were stimulated. School attendance of children in municipalities near Ro-Ro ports also increased, which may be a result of the increase in family income experienced in these areas. Know more of the results of the research as well as the short- and long-run impacts of improving a country's transport system through this paper. Click here for the full paper.

  • DP 2017-21: A Review of Philippine Government Disaster Financing for Recovery and Reconstruction
    by Deanna T. Villacin

    The study assesses the disaster risk financing mechanisms in the Philippines. It looks at the sources and levels of disaster financing specifically for recovery and reconstruction. It also looks at the adequacy and execution of the current disaster risk finance and insurance mechanisms. Case studies presented showcase detailed analysis at the sectoral level. The study notes that the government has been mainly relying on budget allocations to fund recovery and reconstruction. The uncertainties in annual budget allocations and the protracted funds flow processes slow down reconstruction/rebuilding, thus, adversely affecting economic recovery of disaster areas. The paper suggests that the government develop a more adequate, effective, and efficient overall disaster risk financing and insurance program to mitigate the impact of disaster. Read more about the review and the policy recommendations to improve disaster financing in the Philippines. Click here for the full paper.



  • EID 2017 Vol. XVII No. 1: The Rise of Collaborative Economy in the Philippines
    by Rejinel G. Valencia

    Collaborative economy is an emerging trend of consumption that allows peer-to-peer economic exchange particularly among the young and the urban. This Economic Issue of the Day provides an overview of collaborative economy as a new business phenomenon in the Philippines and explores the regulatory issues that come with its rise in the country. It urges the government to revisit its regulation mechanisms and explore how to integrate businesses arising from it into the broader economy and make them legitimate economic entities. The end goal should be to lay down a set of coherent and evidence-based policies to maximize the fruits of this emerging economy for the benefit of the Filipino people. Click here for the full article.



2PIDS study calls to streamline regulatory policies in the food manufacturing industry

The Philippine government spends around PHP 2.2 billion to facilitate the regulatory service for the food manufacturing industry, a study of state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) revealed.

PIDS Consultant Nerlita Manalili and her co-authors said this figure is just a “conservative estimate of the total expenses incurred for regulatory purposes”, emphasizing that the country’s food manufacturing industry “is constrained by existing regulatory procedures and processes”. READ MORE

1PIDS study urges gov’t to increase women’s labor participation

Women are still bound by gender roles when it comes to labor force participation, according to a study published by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

The authors, PIDS Senior Research Fellow Connie Dacuycuy and Lawrence Dacuycuy, noted that despite being more empowered than women in other Asian countries, women in the Philippines still do most of the housework, resulting in minimal economic opportunities for them. READ MORE

1Major telcos and companies must comply with govt’s competition
law—PIDS study

With the recent buyout of San Miguel’s telecommunication assets, only two main players are left in the telco industry—PLDT and Globe Telecom.

This move, according to Philippine Institute for Development Studies Senior Research Fellow Erlinda Medalla, has “brought a cloud of doubt as to the motives” of the transactions, which she said, can “clearly reduce competition to just two players” in the industry. READ MORE

1Increasing nontariff measures limit PH capacity to trade in ASEAN region—PIDS study

The reduction of tariff barriers among member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has caused the emergence of other trade constraints, a study published by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies found out.

According to a discussion paper titled “Review of Intra-ASEAN Nontariff Measures (NTMs)”, NTMs in trade are “a more difficult obstacle to overcome”. READ MORE

1Ro-Ro transport system in PH has positive impacts

The implementation of the roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) transport system in the country has yielded positive results, according to a study released by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

Former PIDS Research Analyst Kris Francisco, in her paper, “The Impacts of Roll-On/Roll-Off Transport System in the Philippines”, found that the Ro-Ro program of the government has increased “household income by about 7 percent in municipalities near the Ro-Ro ports”. READ MORE

1‘Improve disaster risk financing programs for the rainy season’—PIDS researcher to gov’t

As the rainy season sets in, a researcher of state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies is urging government to enhance its overall disaster risk financing and insurance program and expand its mechanisms to mitigate the impact of calamities like typhoons, floods, and landslides, as well as fast-track reconstruction and rebuilding in disaster-stricken areas. READ MORE

1Asia’s economic experts push for SMEs’ clustering to sustain PH’s economic growth

To sustain economic gains in the country, Philippine Institute for Development Studies Board Member Alfredo Pascual urged the implementation of a cluster approach in doing business especially among small and medium enterprises.

“I think we need to promote the clustering of these enterprises so they can work closely with large anchor enterprises which can provide them with markets, production technology, and financing,” he said, adding that this strategy “will make the economic growth inclusive”. READ MORE

1PH think tank trains Bhutan delegates on data analysis

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies conducted a six-day training course on statistical analysis for technical staff from the government of Bhutan.

The workshop, which started Monday (June 19), aims to “build skills and competencies in survey report writing” using the Stata software “for carrying out data management tasks, generating statistics (including estimates of standard errors of survey estimates based on probability surveys), and producing tables and effective visualizations of statistics”. READ MORE

1PIDS study urges gov’t to provide mobile schools for PWDs

To address the low school participation rate of children with disabilities in poor areas of the country, a study by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies recommends to government to provide mobile special education schools.

PIDS Research Associate Adrian Agbon, who is part of the project, "Poverty Alleviation of Women and Children with Disabilities in Developing Countries”, explained that the presence of learning institutions in areas where persons with disabilities live can greatly affect their school attendance. READ MORE

1Inaccurate data on poverty have negative effects on poverty reduction programs — PIDS study

A study by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies revealed that inaccurate data on family income and household expenditure in the country can negatively affect policies on poverty reduction such as the proposed tax reform.

The discussion paper specifically mentioned two sources of data on household income and expenditures in the Philippines, namely, national accounts and the Family Income and Expenditure Survey. READ MORE


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