Bernardo M. Villegas
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Palawan As A Mini Thailand

            Today, Thailand may have lost some of its economic lustre because of political and demographic problems.  It has reverted to military rule and is already facing, very early in its development process, a demographic crisis.  These challenges, however, do not take anything away from its outstanding success in tourism and agribusiness.  More than twenty years ago, Thailand surpassed the Philippines in per capita income because of the way its leaders focused on building first class infrastructures for its countryside and agricultural sector.  Already in the 1980s, there was not a single small farm in the remotest parts of Thailand that was not within one kilometer from a good road.  The admirable focus on farm-to-market roads, irrigation systems, post-harvest facilities and other rural infrastructures (including regional airports) killed two birds with one stone.  It made the small farmers rich by helping them improve productivity and transport their produce to the markets cost effectively.  At the same time, it opened up its tourism destinations to millions of tourists who used the same roads and other rural infrastructures as the farmers did. Furthermore, the rich farmers led to a boom in the domestic market for cars and other manufactured goods, enabling Thailand to develop its industries ahead of the Philippines.

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       The historical trends, empirical findings, and policy updates are discussed in detail in the essays compiled in this book. The most convincing argument that supports the thesis of the book, i.e. that population growth is a poitive factor in attaining sustainable human development, is found in the foreword to the book, which is adopted from an article written by Mr. Roberto de Ocampo, former Finance Secretary of the Philippines and multi-awarded finance official in Asia. Thanks to the continuing growth of the Philippines population, Filipinos are in more than 100 countries all over the world, contributing much-needed foreign echange and purchasing power to the Philippine economy and fostering the human and spiritual development of the most diverse of peoples and cultures on this planet.

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Inside Business: Critique on RH Bill

ANC Interview by Coco Alcuaz regarding the RH bill and the Philippine economy.