ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | October 21, 2022

October 21, 2022

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

Economic growth seen to slow to 6.2% in 2023

PHILIPPINE economic growth is expected to slow in 2023, amid higher interest rates. “We expect GDP (gross domestic product) growth in the Philippines to come in at 6.6% in 2022 and 6.2% in 2023, after the economy grew by 7.8% in the first half of this year,” Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research Head of Asia Country Risk Raphael Mok said in a webinar on Thursday. Fitch Solutions maintained its Philippine growth outlook, which is at the low end of the government’s 6.5% to 7.5% full-year target. Mr. Mok said the Philippine economy benefited from the reopening of borders and election-related spending in the first half. “However, we believe that these tailwinds will start to fade, while growth headwinds such as higher domestic interest rates and a deteriorating external position intensify, leading to a slowdown in growth over the coming months,” he said.

Solicited offers preferred for airports

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is hoping the private sector will participate in the solicited proposals for the rehabilitation and operation of the country’s premier gateway, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), as well as other regional airports with the new rules for public-private partnerships (PPP). The plan for NAIA is to offer it to the private sector in a PPP arrangement, said Jaime Bautista, DOTr secretary, at the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines forum. This is because in the past administration, conglomerates submitted an unsolicited proposal but they were not able to close the deal with the government due to risks like the Material Adverse Government Action. Solicited proposals are offers on projects identified by government agencies where the private sector is invited to participate in the bidding.

DOTr: Public transport modernization, jeepney phaseout to continue

The Department of Transportation is reviving the push for modernizing public utility vehicles after the project slowed to a halt during the Duterte administration because of the pandemic, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said. The delayed and contentious program aims to replace old jeepneys, among Filipinos’ primary modes of transportation, with new ones equipped with a cashless payment system and GPS tracking device. The reform would also see jeepneys powered by more environment-friendly fuels. "It's an important project of the DOTr as far as having electric vehicles for public utility...We're working with certain groups already that have acquired electric vehicles," he said at a luncheon organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

NEDA prepares issuance of Public Service Act IRR

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is looking to issue the implementing rules and regulations of the amended  Public Service Act (PSA) within the month. NEDA, however, is looking at a graduated issuance of the rules as there are many agencies involved that need to sign the IRR. Republic Act 11659, which amended the PSA, was signed by former president Rodrigo Duterte last March 21. Under the amended PSA, full foreign ownership will be allowed in telecommunications, domestic shipping, railways, subways, airlines, airports, expressways and tollways.

DOTr unveils major projects up for PPP

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) yesterday rallied investors to take part in some public-private partnership (PPP) projects to ensure that big-ticket infrastructure are delivered, as the government faces a widening budget deficit. Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said the Marcos administration has to cut its financing for several large-scale projects, as the government rebalances its cash flow after spending hard for pandemic measures. As such, Bautista called on the private sector to review the menu of PPP projects available for them.

Marcos vows to boost local markets, attract more FDIs

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. told the business community that he would ensure the growth of local markets, as well as attract more foreign direct investments (FDIs). “I reiterate my vision of improving our business climate and elevating the status of the Philippines as a top investment destination through various endeavors. As such, we continue to harmonize efforts of all investment promotion agencies, government agencies and local government units to effect greater synergies,” he said. While the country wants to attract more foreign direct investments, Mr. Marcos said he wants to further develop the domestic market.

Illicit alcohol tax leakage in PH hit $438 M — study

The Philippines registered the second biggest loss in illicit alcohol at $438 million in terms of tax leakage among ASEAN countries, according to a report. The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) cited this figure in a report titled “Tackling Illicit Alcohol in Southeast Asia” published in September 2022 by the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT) and co-authored by the Asia Pacific International Spirits & Wines Alliance, the Alliance Against Counterfeit Spirits and the EU-ASEAN Business Council. TRACIT also cited the e-commerce Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which the IPOPHL helps implement, as a best practice in cultivating trust online to deter illicit alcohol trade in the ASEAN region. Aside from these platforms, other signatories include European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

Transport groups seek ‘surge’ charge on fares during rush hour

JEEPNEY and bus operators want to impose a “surge” charge on top of base fares during rush hour, amid worsening traffic conditions and rising oil prices in Metro Manila. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Tuesday said it had received a petition from three transport groups that seek to charge commuters an additional P1-P2 during peak hours of 5-8 a.m. and 4-8 p.m., Monday to Saturday due to the spike in pump prices. Pasang Masda, Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (ALTODAP) and Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO) filed the petition before the LTFRB on Oct. 14. Traditional and modern jeepneys want to impose an additional P1 on top of the current minimum fare during peak hours, while buses are seeking additional P2.

DOTr: Efficient port operations to prevent fee hikes

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said it has set its sights on making port operations more efficient so that the government would not have to increase fees and charges, which would burden businesses. During the plenary session of the 48th Philippine Business Conference and Expo (PBC&E), Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said his agency is evaluating processes and determining areas where port operations could be streamlined or improved. Bautista also noted that port charges in the Philippines are “quite high” and expensive. 

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