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EDITORIAL: Don’t Rely Too Much on Macroeconomics

The development of a country is not always a result of macroeconomic policies, programs, or projects. For developing countries like the Philippines, with a centralized unitary government and market economy system, we cannot compete with industrialized nations and still win. The elephants cannot be easily toppled down, in fact, when elephants fight the ants in the grass are the ones that are trampled down.

So, what must we do? Let us strengthen our microeconomic policies and area-based development strategies. Let us focus on local strategic planning and management. There is no hope to change our system into federalism, that is wishful thinking. The establishment will not allow that to happen. They will only be forced to fortify their structure and systems of unhampered wealth accumulation.

Macroeconomics is not even seriously taught fully in schools for students to understand how it works, who makes it work, and how the ordinary Filipino can benefit from it. International trade, consumer spending, business investments, and policies involving known but uncontrollable factors leading to abstract indicators: GDP, GNP, ICR, etc. are only taught in theories because they are complicated to understand. In fact, even our legislators are hard-up to make use of macroeconomic principles in their legislative functions.

Our legislators’ focus must be on microeconomics, or local development, where they are closer to realities and strategies that only deal with familiar and manageable factors necessary to translate into election-focused programs and projects. They must focus on the local area, people, and institutions as development variables, improving the supply and value chain, and internal market economic system to enhance family incomes and livelihood activities.

There are lots of things to do for local development – in the meantime that we are not yet, and maybe will not be ready, to understand the nuances of national development through macroeconomics. Microeconomics needs policies involving local investment initiatives, planning, and promotions; developing the local and sectoral supply and value chains; catalyzing industrial and MSME planning; inter-regional or provincial trading; development of agriculture; fishery, forestry, resource-based manufacturing, and processing; tourism, service enterprises; retail trades; entrepreneurship education, demand-driven vocational training; local banking and financing studies, area-focused Infrastructure development, and many more.

But to do this, there is a need for special programs in development management. In fact, there is a huge need to study basic principles in area-based strategic planning for our policymakers and local government functionaries. I am sure that CHED will allow the offering of this kind of academic program in local colleges and universities that are capable of implementing it.


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