ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | November 8, 2022

November 08, 2022

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

Economic growth likely slowed in Q3

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth likely slowed in the third quarter after easing to 7.4 percent in the second quarter from 8.2 percent in the first quarter, as inflation continues to bite, according to economists. Ruben Carlo Asuncion, chief economist at Union Bank of the Philippines, said the GDP expansion likely slowed to 5.7 percent from July to September. Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort said the GDP expansion likely slowed to six percent in the third quarter. Khoon Goh, head of Asia Research at ANZ, said the Philippine GDP growth likely grew by 6.6 percent in the third quarter, led by yet another quarter of healthy domestic demand.

Fewer Filipinos unemployed in September, but job quality worsens

The country's jobless rate declined in September to a new record-low since the COVID-19 pandemic, as more Filipinos also exited the labor market in the period, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed Tuesday. During a press briefing, PSA chief and National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the number of jobless Filipinos aged 15 and up hit 2.5 million in September, lower than the 2.68 million estimated in August. This is equivalent to a national unemployment rate of 5% from 5.3% a month prior. However, employed persons in September also fell to 47.58 million from August's 47.87 million, resulting in an employment rate of 95%.

PH inflation to stay stubbornly high

Inflation in the Philippines will likely remain elevated for longer than expected, as upward price pressures in the global food market remain, dragging on the recovery of domestic supplies ravaged by a recent series of typhoons. GlobalSource Partners said in a commentary that they raised their forecast for the average inflation in 2022 to 5.8 percent from 5.6 percent previously. The New York-based think tank did so after the Philippine Statistics Authority reported a 7.7-percent inflation in October, which brought the January to October average to 5.4 percent. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe Medalla himself said inflation in the Philippines might reach its peak either in November or December, after which this would slowly go down. Across the globe, the downtrend in overall food prices almost ground to a halt with the Food Price Index of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) registering at 135.9 points in October from 136 points in September.

Congress tackles budget, Ledac bills

The ratification of the P5.268-trillion national budget for 2023 and the approval of 18 Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) priority bills will be the top agenda of the 19th Congress in the remaining days of the year, Speaker Martin G. Romualdez said on Sunday. Senators also resume regular session on Monday, targeting to promptly pass its version of the P5.268-trillion 2023 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) that the House sent to it earlier.The Senate leadership is eyeing a final Senate-House reconciled version of the GAB before the Christmas recess to avert having the government running on the old (2022) budget by January. Romualdez also said he is confident that the House will approve 16 to 18 Common Legislative Agenda (CLA) listed by LEDAC during its first meeting in Malacañang last October 10. The Speaker added that the House will likewise try to pass on the third and final reading before Christmas break the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers and the Budget Modernization bills. Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri expects approval of the P5.268 trillion national budget by “the third week of this month.”

Govt urged to invest in exports devt, promotions

According to the Philippine Export Service Providers and Consolidators Association, Inc. (PESPCA), the government should focus on the development and promotion of Philippine export products in order to compete with other countries on a worldwide scale. Medina emphasized that the country's salesman at the frontline of government agencies have not learned how to effectively sell and reach out to determine which items should go to Filipinos abroad and which should go to mainstream markets. Medina also emphasized the importance of export consolidators in providing exposure to small merchants, stating that, in addition to promotion, the country must develop new items to compete on a worldwide scale. With this, he asked the government to implement measures that aid and facilitate exports, such as eliminating the 12-percent VAT levied on indirect exports under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law.

Economic zone regulator signs on to Swiss-backed sustainability initiative

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has agreed to promote sustainability among locators by subscribing to a program promoted by the Swiss government and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) that will make exporters more accountable for their environmental practices. In a statement issued Nov. 4, PEZA said the collaboration involving GRI and the Swiss government, will help make all components of the global supply chain more conscious of the sustainability of their operations. Thimon Fürst, deputy head of mission for the Swiss embassy in Manila, said an embrace of sustainability makes export enterprises accountable and transparent, which he said are important in creating trust all along the supply chain. Fürst added that the collaboration of the Swiss Confederation State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, PEZA, and GRI creates an enabling environment for export enterprises and help them adapt sustainability reporting in all aspects of their business. PEZA and GRI will form a technical working group that will include locators to outline future sustainability reporting practices.

Food security seen intertwined with transport, energy, health systems

Food security would be determined by how regulators handle allied businesses such as transportation, energy, and health, according to a report by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). According to Ian Jomari C. Panaga, a senior member of the Department of Agriculture's (DA) policy research office, the links between farmers and fisherfolk, local government units, and the commercial sector are essential points of interaction. The National Nutrition Council's Nutrition Surveillance division's officer-in-charge, Ellen Ruth F. Abella, has urged for increased health and nutrition literacy.

Poe to gov’t: Consult Stakeholders on SIM Registration Act IRR

Senator Grace Poe requested the government to confer with interested parties before crafting the Subscriber Identity (SIM) Registration Act's implementing rules and regulations (IRR). Poe, who was also a sponsor of the abovementioned act, said the IRR is important to guarantee the public that Republic Act 11934 or the SIM module registration act will be facilitated “efficiently and securely.” Poe continued, "The IRR must also highlight the legal precautions that will prevent security threats and data breaches, including remedies in the event of complaints." Currently, the government has less than 60 days to develop the IRR for the SIM Registration Act following its enactment on October 28, 2022.

Bongbong Marcos to attend Asean-EU summit

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will attend the ASEAN-EU (European Union) Summit in Brussels, Belgium, in December, where regional leaders are expected to discuss a free trade deal with the EU, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Before his trip to Belgium, the President will participate in the Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) Summit in Cambodia and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Thailand, Foreign Assistant Secretary Daniel Espiritu told a press briefing in Malacañang on Friday. In July this year, the EU, through a letter from European Council President Charles Michel, invited Mr. Marcos to visit its headquarters in Belgium to discuss bilateral relations and wider foreign policy issue

PH ranks 6th in APAC in sustainable trade

The Philippines ranked sixth  among economies in Asia-Pacific in the Sustainable Trade Index (STI)   released by the Institute for Management Development and the Hinrich Foundation.Globally, the country placed 12th in the STI  which ranks 30 economies’ behavior and effects of international trade on sustainability and economic prosperity.The report added the Philippines  also performs strongly in aspects such as renewable energy (indicator 3.06) and ecological footprint (indicator 3.05). The Philippines joins the ranks of the more progressive economies in the region like Japan and South Korea and emerging economies like Taiwan and Hong Kong among the top countries on sustainable trade, and outranked China and India. The STI looks at 70 indicators across three pillars: economic which quantifies how well economies are fostering economic growth through international trade; societal  which captures social factors contributing to economies’ long-term capacity to conduct trade, e.g., education levels and labor standards and; environmental which measures the extent to which a country uses natural resources. The Philippines ranked 5th on the environmental pillar, 17th on the societal pillar and; 19th on the economic pillar.

ARTA helping organize one-stop shop for shipping industry permits

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and other regulators aim to create a one-stop shop for shipping industry permit applications. The ARTA intends to sign a memorandum of agreement  which will lead to the formation of a technical working group to oversee the streamlining initiative. The Department of Transportation, Maritime Industry Authority, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Customs, National Bureau of Investigation, and local government units are among the government entities participating, according to ARTA.

Congress vows to pass ‘23 budget by yearend

Congress resumes its regular sessions today after a month-long Halloween break, with senators set to start plenary deliberations on the Marcos administration’s proposed P5.268 trillion national budget for 2023. Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said he expects the Senate to approve the 2023 General Appropriations Bill by the third week of November. On the other hand, Speaker Martin Romualdez vowed to prioritize the final approval of the budget measure and have it ratified before the end of the year. Senate minority leader Aquilino Pimentel III said there are more than P480 billion worth of programs, activities, and projects from various agencies which have no details that can be re-allocated for the government’s disaster and calamity response programs. Pimentel said the other allocations which lack details are the P10 billion requested by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), P13 billion in gross equity of an agency which he did not disclose, P140 billion for the unprogrammed Support to Infrastructure and Social Program (SIPSIP) of the Department of Budget and Management, and P300 billion to support foreign assisted projects. Sen. Francis Tolentino said the proposed national budget for 2023 must be adjusted into an annual government allocation program that is both flexible and receptive to future natural and man-made disasters. Romualdez said the House will also work to approve on final reading before Congress goes on a Christmas break on December 17 the measures that were identified by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory (LEDAC) last October 10. The 16 to 18 bills cover efficient public service, job creation, health, and economic recovery to protect the country’s most vulnerable sector from the endemic stage of COVID-19 and global inflation.

PHL seeks $600-M loan from WB

The Philippine government is requesting a $600-million loan from the World Bank (WB) to assist reforms aimed at creating a "resilient, inclusive, and sustainable financial sector." The World Bank board is expected to accept the Philippines' second financial development policy financing at its meeting on December 20. According to World Bank documents, the loan will help the Philippine government increase the financial sector's resilience, expand financial inclusion for individuals and businesses, and support climate, disaster risk, and sustainable financing. Among the projects funded by the second loan are the expansion of deposit insurance coverage by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp., the improvement of prudential supervision of banks and conglomerates, and the capacity of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to deal with banking risks, and others.

Tourism dep’t seeking phaseout of local govt entry restrictions

The Department of Tourism (DoT) said that it is in discussions with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to lift entry restrictions placed on visitors by local government entities (LGUs). During a discussion with the Filipino community in London on November 5, Tourism Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina G. Frasco expressed her hope that the relaxation of local travel regulations will inspire confidence in prospective tourists to the Philippines. The Department of Tourism (DoT) said that it is in discussions with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to lift entry restrictions placed on visitors by local government entities (LGUs). As of Oct. 25, the Department of Tourism said that tourist arrivals in the Philippines had totaled 1.83 million since borders reopened, above its projection of 1.7 million arrivals.

ERC determining extent of subsidies for marginalized power consumers

After the ratification of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) 11552, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is currently deciding the scope of subsidies to be offered to marginalized power users. The determination of the alleged "lifeline rates" will be governed by the IRR. RA 9136, also known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, allowing lifeline prices for vulnerable electricity consumers (EPIRA). The law known as An Act Extending and Enhancing the Implementation of the Lifeline Rate, or RA 11552, changes Section 73 of EPIRA. According to the ERC, the lifeline program gave nearly six million end customers an average monthly subsidy of P541 million in the first half. End-users receive an average discount of P90 for monthly consumption of seven to eight kilowatt-hours. The new system for calculating lifeline rates will improve targeting, according to Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla, to ensure that the subsidies are given to those who need them the most.

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