October 28, 2010
Economists Assert Defense of Freedom
is a Public Good
“The size of government is the only index where the Philippines
ranks high. This is not a conscious effort, but instead the failure
of our institutions like the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau
of Customs that are bad at revenue collection,” according
to Dr. Felipe Medalla, Chairman of the Foundation for Economic
Freedom. “Property rights in the country remain weak. Freedom
to trade is superficial,” he added.
Economic and Development Authority Director General, Dr.
Felipe Medalla and Philippine Economic Society President,
Dr. Arturo Corpuz
At the launch of the Philippine Edition of the Economic
Freedom of the World (EFW) 2010 Annual Report
28 October 2010 in New World Renaissance Hotel, the Philippine
(PES), Foundation for Economic Freedom
(FEF), Center for Research and
(CRC), and Friedrich Naumann Foundation
(FNF) reaffirmed their commitment to defend
Dr. Medalla, who served as Director-General of
National Economic and Development Authority
stressed that freedom is a value in itself. He explained that
higher economic freedom may not necessarily result in higher income,
but this cause and effect is “not as important as people’s
rational preference for freedom.” “When in doubt,
err on the side of freedom,” stated Dr. Medalla. He challenged
PES, FEF, CRC, and FNF to take the lead in promoting economic
freedom, “If not us, then who?,” Dr. Medalla dared.
for Research and Communication Mr. George Manzano
Mr. George Manzano of CRC and the University of Asia and the Pacific
(UA&P) pointed out that the world condition affects how we
value economic freedom. He cited the impact of the global financial
crisis where deficit spending became “fashionable.”
“Austerity is out, spending is in,” he quipped. Mr.
Manzano recognized the importance of the EFW report in providing
the framework in analyzing economic freedom and in monitoring
the improvement of countries through time.
The EFW Report analyzes the level of economic freedom
in 141 nations
. It measures economic freedom by 1)
size of government, 2) legal structure and security of property
rights, 3) access to sound money, 4) freedom to trade internationally,
and 5) regulation of credit, labor, and business.
report reflects 2008 data where the Philippines is in the middle
tier. The country’s ranking has been in steady decline since
Country Director Mr. Jules Maaten
PES President Dr. Arturo Corpuz noted that the Philippines improved
ranking would not yet show in the 2011 to 2012 EFW reports. “We
look forward to the publication in two years when the efforts
of the Aquino administration will be reflected in the statistics,”
said Dr. Corpuz.
Mr. Jules Maaten, FNF Country Director, underscored the significance
of economic freedom in promoting participation. “Economic
freedom allows people to engage others in pursuit of economic
benefits. It gives them the liberty to transact business and make
choices based on their own judgments. It empowers each of us to
take control of our own lives, which is the very essence of our
liberal advocacy,” he emphasized.
He announced that FNF would prioritize programs on fighting corruption
the coming year in support of the efforts of the Aquino government.