ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | October 25, 2022

October 25, 2022

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

PHL may miss growth goal in 2023

The Philippine economy’s expansion in 2023 and 2024 is expected to be below the government’s 6.5-8% target, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said. According to the highlights of the Monetary Board’s Sept. 22 meeting, monetary authorities expect the economy to maintain recovery momentum this year. In the first half of 2022, GDP grew by 7.8%. Third-quarter GDP data will be released on Nov. 10. Citing the latest Philippine Business Cycle reading, which remained in the positive territory for the fifth straight quarter, the BSP said this indicates continued growth momentum. The BSP also noted mobility indicators have been increasing since May as most areas retained their most relaxed alert levels.Inflation quickened to 6.9% in September, marking the sixth straight month that inflation breached the BSP’s 2-4% target. In its latest World Economic Outlook the IMF slashed the global GDP growth outlook to 3.2% from 3.6% this year and to 2.9% from 3.6% for 2023. The IMF also expects the Philippine economy to expand by 6.5% this year.

PH braces for even higher food prices in Q4

Over the past four weeks, four tropical cyclones entered the Philippine area of responsibility, including Super Typhoon Karding which wiped off about P3.2 billion worth of crops, livestock, and other goods from the country’s gross domestic product. Of the total value lost to Karding, rice accounts for P2 billion. Chances that the La Niña climate phenomenon will continue to prevail in the next three months are now 75 percent from the 91 percent forecast in September. In September, when another super typhoon — Josie — ravaged farms, inflation in the Philippines rose to 6.9 percent from 6.3 percent in August. In the said month, inflation for food alone was pegged at 7.7 percent — meaning prices were that much higher compared to prices in September 2021. This was faster than the 6.5 percent overall inflation recorded in August.

Transport dep’t to set up road safety office

The Transportation Department said it will create a road safety management office which will undertake initiatives such as roadworthiness vehicle testing and raising the standards for issuing drivers’ licenses. According to Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista, the Department of Transportation has committed to the United Nations decade of action for road safety, which calls for improved road safety management, safer roads, safer vehicles, safer road users, and improved trauma care and rehabilitation. The department is studying recommendations from Southeast Asian neighbors to address issues and gaps in road safety policy.

Legal opinion on foreign ownership seen unlocking investment in renewables

The Philippines has the opportunity to open up its renewables market after a legal opinion issued by the Department of Justice, which found that the industry is not subject to foreign investment limits, Denmark’s ambassador to the Philippines said. Ambassador Franz-Michael S. Mellbin told reporters that Denmark, a major exporter of wind turbines and rated the world’s most sustainable country by the 2022 Environmental Performance Index, stands ready to assist the Philippines in its transition to renewable energy (RE), he added.

Government eyes comprehensive roadmap for e-vehicle development

The Department of Energy and other agencies are targeting to come out with a comprehensive roadmap for the electric vehicle industry by the first quarter of next year. The roadmap will be developed in cooperation with partner agencies such as the Department of Transportation, Department of Trade and Industry, and Department of Science and Technology to further guide the electric vehicle industry on the objective of the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act or EVIDA. It is expected to provide an annual work plan to accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of electric vehicles in the country. According to Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, there are around 9,000 registered electric vehicles and 300 charging stations deployed nationwide. He is urging industry stakeholders to accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of EVs as an alternative fuel for the transport sector.

Marcos to allow voluntary mask wearing indoors

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos is set to issue an executive order to make indoor mask wearing voluntary across the Philippines, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said. Mask wearing, she stressed, would still be required in public transportation and medical facilities. Masks are "highly encouraged" for Filipinos who have comorbidities, are senior citizens, and have yet to receive COVID -19 vaccines, Frasco said. "But generally, the direction of the Marcos administration is to lift the remainder of travel restrictions into the Philippines, and that includes easing of mask mandates to allow our country to be at par with our Asean neighbors who have long liberalized their mask mandates," she said.

Cebu businesses urged to tap huge EU market

The government of Switzerland is urging Cebuano traders to take advantage of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) to tap the huge consumer base in the entire European continent. In a lunch briefing hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP-Cebu), Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Alain Gaschen said while there has been availment of tax-free perks by Filipino exporters, including Cebu, it is still underutilized. According to the Ambassador, Switzerland could be the entry point for exporters to tap the entire European market, especially for products that have great sustainability stories or are produced by social enterprises.

DTI to give more support to promising MSMEs

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that it is in the process of identifying micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in its registry that it can help scale up to become larger firms, an initiative brought about by the current trend that not a lot of small-time businesses are able to scale up their operations. Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said they were making an inventory of all the MSMEs in their roster to determine how many were able to expand their businesses but that an initial assessment showed them that there is not much movement among these entrepreneurs. The trade official said that the government’s MSME development plan currently focuses on three key areas: business environment, business capacity, and business opportunities.

Airport rehab, seaports needed to boost logistics

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) raised the need to develop airports and maritime facilities further in order to better handle cargo movements across the country. According to Timothy John Batan, Undersecretary for Planning and Project Development of DOTr, the government was keen on pushing for the rehabilitation and capacity expansion of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the country’s main gateway, through a public-private partnership (PPP). Included in the PPP pipeline were several regional airports such as New Bohol International Airport, Laguindingan Airport, Bicol International Airport, Iloilo International Airport, Puerto Princesa International Airport and more, he enumerated. As for the maritime sector, Batan said that the agency was pursuing the New Cebu International Container Port to expand cargo-handling capacity of the country. Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista previously said that the agency had ongoing projects in seven provincial ports, which were seen to support more transport of goods.

DTI chief pushes digitalization to LGUs

In a bid to improve the ease of doing business in the country, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is urging local government units (LGUs) to shift toward digitalization. The Trade department said that the ease of doing business and anti-red tape initiatives are central to the Marcos Administration’s campaign for bureaucratic efficiency and creating a business environment that attracts and sustains foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the country. It added that promoting ease of doing business, especially at the LGU level, helps eliminate corruption, promote good governance, and improve competitiveness. Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual added the importance of the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) program. Through the insights that can be derived from the CMCI Data Analytics Platform, the DTI said policymakers and local chief executives can formulate concrete plans and programs to strengthen their competitiveness and promote local communities as viable investment destinations of choice for new and existing investors.

Domestic trade slumped in Q2

The value of goods traded within the Philippines during the second quarter of 2022 shrank by 18 percent year-on-year to P190 billion from P231.5 billion in the same three months of last year as the initial surge from economic reopening in 2021 waned. Preliminary data at the Philippine Statistics Authority show that, also, the volume of shipments fell by 24 to 3.9 million tons from 5 million tons in the same quarter of 2021.Of all goods traded in the second quarter, food and live animals contributed the largest volume at 910,000 tons or 24 percent of total. In terms of value, machinery and transport equipment accounted for P70.2 billion or 37 percent of total.

Underutilized seaports face shutdown – DOTr

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) plans to close down seaports that are no longer performing to their intended capacity as part of the government’s strategy to modernize the maritime industry. Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista told reporters the DOTr would ask for financing from a multilateral lender to craft a masterplan involving the construction and upgrade of seaports. The masterplan will also identify seaports that can be shut down due to lack of utilization and renovated into another asset. Bautista said his agency would seek the expertise of either the World Bank or Asian Development Bank in doing the masterplan. Transportation Undersecretary Elmer Sarmiento earlier said the DOTr would come up with a masterplan identifying how many seaports have to be built to link all the country’s islands. He said the Philippine Ports Authority and Maritime Industry Authority will be tasked to do this, with the financial and technical assistance of a multilateral. Under the 2023 budget, the proposed funding for the DOTr more than doubled to P167.1 billion, with the bulk of it at P105.2 billion allocated for railway construction.

Philippine highlights digitalization to boost tax collection

The Philippines maintained that improving digitalization efforts would increase revenue collection of the government and boost needed economic recovery from the pandemic. Data showed that the shift to digital payment systems led to a five percent increase in taxpayers and an 84 percent jump in electronic payments last year. This allowed revenue collections to expand by 5.2 percent and exceed government’s targets by four percent. According to Finance chief Benjamin Diokno, the digitalization of the operations of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC), the country’s largest revenue generating agencies, resulted in the efficient tax administration through electronic means, and the move resulted in the steady inflow of revenues that gave the government the fiscal space it needed to orchestrate COVID response programs. 

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