ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | September 16, 2022

September 16, 2022

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

Calls to ratify RCEP raised anew

Foreign business chambers renewed their call on the Senate to ratify Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. In a message to The Manila Times, the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) cited the advantages of the regional trade and investment agreement, as well as the consequences if the Senate fail to ratify the landmark trade agreement, which is already in force in Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Korea, Laos, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The RCEP agreement is an economic treaty brokered by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its dialogue partners. It was signed last Nov. 15, 2020.


Moody’s affirms PHL credit rating

MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE on Thursday kept the Philippines’ “Baa2” credit rating with a “stable” outlook, as economic recovery is unlikely to be hampered by “challenging global credit conditions.” In a statement on Thursday, the credit rater affirmed the country’s long-term local and foreign currency issuer and senior unsecured ratings at “Baa2.”    “The rating action is driven by Moody’s view that the challenging global credit conditions will not derail the Philippines’ ongoing recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, although the severity of the pandemic shock has led to an erosion in the rating agency’s assessment of economic strength,” it said. Moody’s has kept its “Baa2” rating for the Philippines since December 2014.


IMF sees further global economic slowdown in Q3 2022

International Monetary Fund (IMF) spokesman Gerry Rice said, “Downside risks continue to dominate the global economic outlook, and some countries are expected to slip into recession in 2023, but it is too early to say if there will be a widespread global recession.” According to him, high-frequency data pointed to a further loss of momentum in the third quarter, given continued high inflation, supply chain problems, and tighter financial market conditions; even if some countries were technically not in recession, it would feel like a recession. 


FIRB allows BPOs to move to BOI to keep their perks

THE Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has decided to allow Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs) firms to transfer their registration to the Board of Investments (BOI) in order for them to continue enjoying their incentives. On the second day of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC)’s briefing on the 2023 National Expenditure Program in the Senate, the Department of Finance (DOF) explained that during the transfer, there will be no diminution in the incentives of these firms. The transfer of their registration, Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko said, would not require any physical transfer of these firms. The registration transfer period to BOI from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) will be between now and December 2022. Tionko explained that the transfer to BOI will also allow these  IT-BPO firms to operate on a work-from-home or hybrid arrangement while enjoying their incentives from the BOI.


‘Philippines now top investment destination’

The Board of Investments (BOI) recently held a roadshow in Metro Manila to present the strategic investments priorities plan or SIPP as part of efforts to attract more investments into the Philippines. In a statement yesterday, the BOI said it recently gathered business groups, industry associations and various concerned stakeholders in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog for a presentation on the SIPP. “The Philippines is now open for business against the backdrop of the pandemic,” BOI executive director for investments assistance Bobby Fondevilla said during the roadshow.


96.5% of 2022 budget released as of end-August

The government has already released 96.5 percent of the record P5.02-trillion 2022 national budget as of August, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said. In its latest report, the DBM said the government has released P4.85 trillion or 96.5 percent of this year’s budget as of end-August. This is an improvement from the 93.5 percent budget release during the first month in office of the Marcos administration in July. During the same period in 2021, the government had issued only 92.1 percent or P4.15 trillion of the P4.51-trillion budget for the year.


Nestle eyes running its Cagayan de Oro factory on renewable energy

Nestlé Philippines is planning to operate its Cagayan de Oro factory on renewable energy (RE) as part of its RE program. This was revealed during a forum “Promoting Renewable Energy Access in Mindanao” held last September 8 in Davao City organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP). This is in line with its commitment to achieve its global ambition of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. This is based on an article at Manila Times. Nestlé currently operates its factories in Luzon and main office in Makati on 100-percent RE.


Mask mandate may be revived if COVID cases surge – DOH

HEALTH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire yesterday said the mandatory use of face masks even in outdoor and non-crowded spaces would be revived if cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) surge again. In a press conference, Vergeire said the Department of Health (DOH) will push for the return of the mandatory wearing of face mask “once we reach the point that the key indicators increase, particularly the hospital admissions, severe and critical cases (and) deaths. “It will be discussed within the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) and also (we will) make recommendations to the President,” Vergeire said.


PPP TO DRIVE ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION

The government’s cabinet-level review committee has approved yesterday the proposed revision to the 2022 Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the amended Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, according to the country’s socioeconomic planning chief. “We see public private partnerships (PPPs) in infrastructure and development initiatives as pivotal to the rapid transformation of the Philippine economy,” Arsenio Balisacan, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) secretary, said in a social media post yesterday. Specifically, NEDA said, the amendments aim to address stakeholder concerns on the financial viability and bankability of PPP projects and clarify ambiguous provisions that could cause delays in the PPP process.


PHL declines in global economic freedom index

THE PHILIPPINES’ economic freedom ranking dropped three places, amid lower scores for regulation and trade freedom in a global report measuring 2020 data. The Philippines ranked 66th out of 165 economies in the Canadian conservative think tank Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom Index for 2020 with a score of 7.09. The score is 0.25 point lower than its 7.34 score in the 2019 index. The Philippines performed best in the category of sound money with a score of 9.58, higher than the 9.56 score in the previous index. This category covers money growth, inflation and freedom to own foreign currency bank accounts. On the other hand, the country’s lowest score was for legal system and property rights at 4.44, as the impartiality of Philippines courts weakened.


DOF: Digital tech will boost bid for fair, good tax systems

CREATING fair and efficient tax systems means adopting digital technologies which will be the thrust of the current administration in the medium term, according to the Department of Finance (DOF). Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said this is the thrust of the Marcos administration and asked tax professionals, particularly members of the Tax Management Association of the Philippines (TMAP), to help in this endeavor. Diokno recognized that tax professionals from the TMAP were instrumental in the government’s efforts to implement structural reforms such as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law and the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or CREATE Law. The Finance Secretary noted that digital transformation will help ensure the long-term recovery of the economy, modernize governance, and allow the Philippines to perform as well as, if not better than, its Asean neighbors.


DOF: Peso decline means lower budget deficit

FINANCE Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said the weakening of Philippine peso against the dollar has an upside, as the national government will be able to reduce its budget deficit by P7.6 billion for every peso-worth of depreciation. At a Senate Committee on Finance hearing on Wednesday, Diokno told lawmakers that the depreciation of the peso is “actually favorable” for the country, as it would result in “higher” revenue for the government. Furthermore, Diokno expounded that the additional revenues would help reduce the government’s budget deficit, he added. 


BIR aims to have 100% of tax payments  done online

THE BUREAU of Internal Revenue (BIR) is aiming to have all taxpayers file their returns and pay their taxes through electronic means. “Our objective is to make that a hundred percent — all taxpayers electronically filing and paying (taxes),” BIR Commissioner Lilia C. Guillermo said during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday. As of end-August, around 98% of taxpayers already use the BIR’s digital platforms. The BIR already has an Electronic Filing and Payment System, Electronic Fund Transfer Instructions System, and other e-payment channels. 


Balisacan: Neda revisits ‘methodology’ of estimating PHL poverty estimates

The National Government (NG) is now in the process of examining the methodology of estimating the country’s poverty estimates, particularly the computation of poverty thresholds, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda). In a Senate budget hearing on Wednesday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan explained the intricacies of estimating poverty, particularly the thresholds. He also assured senators that the government adjusts these estimates for inflation. “The purpose here is not so much what is a threshold that can afford to achieve a decent life. It’s not a methodology that we prescribe for example determining minimum wage or decent wage,” Balisacan said. “As we have shown, there are different kinds of thresholds, many food threshold, merong poverty threshold, just to see how sensitive the results are, especially the change over time,” he added.


Vehicle sales nearly double in Aug.

SALES OF VEHICLES in the Philippines nearly doubled in August, driven by strong demand for commercial vehicles as Congress considers a measure removing the excise tax exemption for pickup trucks. According to a joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA), local vehicle sales surged by 90.5% to 30,185 units in August, from 15,847 units sold in the same month last year. Commercial vehicle sales more than doubled to 23,452 in August, accounting for 78% of the month’s sales. 


Coca-Cola PH commits to water conservation, preservation initiatives

Coca-Cola Philippines continues to strengthen its commitment to provide access to safe, clean water to the country’s underserved communities by supporting Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, Inc., its social investment arm., as well as partnerships with likeminded organizations. Coca-Cola Philippines marked this year’s World Water Week by strengthening its commitment to support water conservation and preservation. Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. (CCBPI) was also recognized for its industry-leading water management practices during the first Europa 2021 awards, where it was awarded best in Water Resource Management by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP).


DOH seeks higher taxes on sweetened beverages, junk food

After getting P155 billion from sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol products, the Department of Health (DOH) now wants to slap additional excises, this time on sweetened beverages, junk food and “nonstaple” food high in salt and fat purportedly to control obesity in the country. At a press conference on Friday, Maria Rosario Vergeire, officer in charge of DOH, said that the Sin Tax Law, which slapped taxes on alcoholic drinks, traditional tobacco and heated tobacco products, is part of the DOH’s strategies to be able to regulate the “sustained increase” of lifestyle-related risk factors, such as obesity.


Central, South Luzon and NCR good places to invest in, says BOI

The Board of Investments (BOI) urged businessmen to invest in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Southern Tagalog regions. Last week, the BOI, the country’s lead investment promotion agency (IPA), gathered businesses, investors, business groups, industry associations in these regions to present the Strategic Investments Priority Plan (SIPP). “The Philippines is now open for business against the backdrop of the pandemic. The recovery is underway to make the Philippines an investment destination of choice,” Executive Director for Investment Assistance Bobby G. Fondevilla said.


Metro Manila’s COVID-19 numbers rising — OCTA Research

According to the independent analytics group OCTA Research, within one week, the growth rate of COVID-19 infections in Metro Manila spiked to 18 percent from -4 percent. Research fellow Guido David stated, "The previous peak in positivity rate in the NCR during this wave was 17.5% on August 5. There is a possibility that this current resurgence will exceed this number,” to which he attributed to the increase in mobility following the start of face-to-face classes. 

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