Southeast Asia Braces for El Niño Drought, Crop Losses

Southeast Asia Braces for El Niño Drought, Crop LossesFilipino officials have implemented a program to provide a kilo of rice to rice farmers’ families for every 10 rat tails turned in to the government, an attempt to both minimize crop losses and provide food at a time when El Niño, the recurrent weather phenomenon that cyclically disrupts production, is beginning to tighten its…

Money Sent Home by Overseas Workers: Blessing or Curse?

Money Sent Home by Overseas Workers: Blessing or Curse?In a sense, two of the Philippines’ most notable overseas workers face destiny this week.  One is Mary Jane Veloso, who left home carrying a backpack, was given a borrowed suitcase filled with heroin, and was due to be shot in Indonesia.  The other is boxer Manny Pacquiao, who faces the richest paycheck from a…

Asian Debt and Oil

Asian Debt and OilIs Asia’s rising debt a threat to growth? The Asian Development Bank’s Asian Development Outlook for 2015 poses the question but singularly fails to answer it. That in itself is hardly surprising given the diversity of economies and their debt profiles. Yet it does eventually draw attention to a few countries that clearly need to…

The Lessons from Typhoon Hagupit/Ruby

The Lessons from Typhoon Hagupit/RubySuper Typhoon Hagupit has been tamed by the Philippines’ topography and was downgraded to a tropical storm on the afternoon of Dec. 8 before it could drive northeast far enough to drown Metropolitan Manila, bulging with more than 25.5 million people, vast numbers of them in substandard, flood-prone housing. While in general  the government did…

Why Can’t the Philippines Cha-Cha?

Why Can’t the Philippines Cha-Cha?The Philippines, where fevered political rhetoric is almost an art form, is in the midst of another round of dire fears, appeals to the past and dark mutterings about dictatorship lurking in the shadows. All this when there is no apparent crisis, the country is more peaceful than it has been in years and the…

The Philippines Gets a B+ Report Card

The Philippines Gets a B+ Report CardWith Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III now effectively two-thirds through his term, attention is shifting to how far economic, social and administrative progress is likely to be sustained past 2016. Whether or not he is succeeded by a president equally committed to improving standards of governance lies the question of whether there is sufficient…

Manila Traffic Madness

Manila Traffic MadnessFor anybody who has ever tried to navigate a car through Manila’s heaving traffic, dodging jeepneys, smoking buses, weaving motorcyclists and rapacious traffic policemen, brace yourself. In what critics are calling Armageddon in the packed city, the Metro Manila Development Authority is warning commuters things are going to get worse. And stay that way for…

A Revolutionary Rice Goes Into Production

A Revolutionary Rice Goes Into ProductionFifteen years of painstaking international research into revolutionary new rice that is hardier and more productive, growing on less water and less fertilizer, are finally coming to fruition. What is known as Green Super Rice, produced by a consortium of scientists across the world, is going to farmers’ fields in Asia and Africa. And, unlike…
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