ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | March 28, 2023

March 28, 2023

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

S&P hikes PHL growth forecast

THE PHILIPPINE economy is likely to expand by 5.8% this year, although elevated inflation and higher borrowing costs may dampen growth, S&P Global Ratings said.  “The momentum of domestic demand has stayed stronger for longer than we had expected, causing us to raise our 2023 forecast to 5.8%,” S&P Senior Economist Vincent Conti said in an e-mail. The debt watcher’s latest Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) growth estimate is faster than the 5.2% forecast it gave in November.

FIRB moves to resolve VAT issue

THE FISCAL Incentives Review Board (FIRB) said it is fast-tracking the resolution of the issue on value-added tax (VAT) zero-rating for local purchases made by exporters. This as exporters warned the failure to resolve the VAT zero-rating issue may force them to consider imports instead of local purchases, and even move their operations overseas.

Marcos vows to build more roads, bridges to spur interconnectivity

He issued the promise during the inauguration of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Connector from Caloocan to España Section. “We will continue to push for the interconnectivity of major roads and expressways, as well as build even more roads and bridges in strategic places within the archipelago,” Marcos said in his speech. He said his administration will also continue and complete infrastructure projects started by previous administrations “as efficiently as we can,” saying they are crucial in achieving the country’s development goals. The President said his administration will also keep developing a “highly-interconnected road network” to support the country’s rapid, inclusive and sustained economic growth.

RCEP to help PH pursue energy blueprint: DOE exec

An energy official said on Tuesday the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will help the Philippines achieve its long-term plan for energy security while contributing to mitigating the impacts of climate change. “We are utilizing this agreement to pursue the Philippine Energy Plan that works towards energy security,” Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on RCEP. Under the Philippine Energy Plan 2020-2040, the DOE is paving the path in moving toward a clean energy future by pursuing policies that would attract more investments in renewable energy, institutionalizing energy efficiency and conservation programs, and promoting the use of clean energy. Fuentebella said concurring the regional free trade agreement (FTA) will allow the country to attract more energy investments, which is capital-intensive and would require technology transfer

More than 1.3M foreign guests in PH in first quarter of 2023

More than 1.3 million foreigners have arrived in the Philippines so far in 2023, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Monday. “Ngayon, hindi pa natatapos yung ating first quarter, umabot na po tayo sa over 1.3 million international arrivals, tsaka over 90 percent noon yung international foreign guests,” said Secretary Garcia Frasco. “So we’re seeing the momentum for recovery for tourism,” she added. Frasco also noted that many tourist spots in the country seem to be welcoming more visitors this year, after having been badly hit by lockdowns imposed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

30 percent of SIMs registered as of March 27: NTC

At least 50.34 million SIMs have been registered as of March 27, National Telecommunications Commission Director Engr. Imelda Walcien said on Monday. The total is equivalent to 30 percent of all active SIMs in the country, Walcien told Teleradyo. The NTC urges citizens to register their SIMs before the April 26 deadline to avoid deactivation. Walcien said the agency is still studying an extension to the deadline.

BIR: No penalty for payment of annual income tax return 'anywhere' until April 17

The Bureau of Internal Revenue said on Monday it has authorized the filing and payment of the 2022 annual income tax return (AITR) anywhere in order to expand services. This was made possible with the release of Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 32-2-2023, which allowed taxpayers to settle their dues anywhere on or before April 17, 2023, without penalties imposed for wrong venue filing, the tax bureau said in a statement. “I wanted to improve the services that we offer to the taxpaying public. My ultimate goal here is to provide each one of us the luxury of filing and paying our correct taxes at our most convenient time and place without any penalties involved. I am encouraging everyone, avoid the rush! File and pay as early as now before the April 17 deadline”, BIR Commissioner Romeo D. Lumagui, Jr. said. 

BSP: Deposit rates up with key rate hikes

The successive key policy rate hikes have already passed through to deposits of Filipino account holders, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) disclosed. Data shared in a recent briefing from BSP Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila Jr. showed interest rates for short-term deposits have increased by 310 basis points (bps). The average interest rate for short-term deposits has reached 3.68 percent in 2023. The same deposits carried an interest rate of 0.58 percent in May 2022.

BSP may pause tightening — Diokno

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is likely to pause its current tightening cycle in May, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said. However, some analysts still expect the central bank to continue raising borrowing costs as inflation remains above the 2-4% target range. “Contrary to some analysts’ view that the BSP Monetary Board could even push its policy interest rate higher than 6.5%, I think that the BSP is leaning towards a pause in its policy meeting in May,” he said. The Monetary Board hiked its benchmark rate by 25 basis points (bps) to 6.25%, the highest rate in nearly 16 years or since the 7.5% in May 2007.

Removal of rooftop solar restrictions expected to reduce PHL dependence on imported fuel

The 100-kilowatt (kW) restriction on solar rooftops should be removed to encourage the installation of more such facilities by homes and businesses to reduce the Philippines’ dependence on imported fuel, Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian said. “Rooftops are the new real estate. They cannot install more than 100 kilowatts, for a factory that is small… we need unlock that potential by removing the 100-kW cap. To harness potential of rooftops no matter what the size is, we have to remove that,” Mr. Gatchalian, vice-chairman of the Senate’s energy committee said.

Government prepares for possible rice shortage amid El Niño

The government is preparing for the worst-case scenario on the country’s rice supply amid the threat of El Niño phenomenon, a ranking official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said. In a radio interview yesterday, Agriculture Assistant Secretary and deputy spokesman Rex Estoperez said the DA treats El Niño just like other calamities as its effects on agricultural production could be similar to typhoons. “The impact could be similar if we have calamities like typhoons as it could affect our rice production. The NFA (National Food Authority) is tasked to buy palay for the country’s buffer stock, but if worse comes to worst based on Republic Act 11203, we have the Rice Tariffication Law. We can import in case there would be a shortage in the rice supply,” Estoperez said.

DENR scales up effort to avoid water crisis

Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has called on stakeholders to scale up efforts to address the global water crisis. “Now more than ever, we need to accelerate our efforts to address the water crisis. We need to act urgently, and we need to act now, in partnership and in cooperation with other stakeholders,” Yulo-Loyzaga said over the weekend. Yulo-Loyzaga attended the United Nations 2023 Water Conference in New York from March 22 to 24.The conference was aimed at fostering greater discussion on water-related issues, including access to safe drinking water and sanitation, sustainable development, climate resilience and international water cooperation.

PPP tapped to fund infrastructure program

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno reiterated the government’s plan to tap into the public-private partnership (PPP) mechanism to help  finance massive infrastructure programs. “PPPs can be undertaken through various modes, such as the Build-Operate-Transfer Law. Its recently revised Implementing Rules and Regulations addressed stakeholder concerns on the financial viability and bankability of PPP projects, potential delays, rigid processes, and ambiguous provisions,” Diokno said, speaking before members of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. late last week. The PPP Act was approved by the House of Representatives on third reading in December last year and is now pending at the Senate.

Groups seek extension of rice enhancement fund

Local officials and farmers organizations are seeking for an extension of  the implementation of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) that is set to end in June 2024, according to the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech). “During the social preparation and training phases for qualified farmers’ groups and the actual distribution of farm machines under the RCEF-mechanization program, we get pleas from both farmers and local officials to have the RCEF extended beyond June 2024,” said Dionisio Alvindia, PhilMech executive director,  in a statement. PhilMech said some farmers from Kalinga want an extension of six years. PhilMech is implementing the RCEF-mechanization program with an allocation of P5 billion per year from 2019 to 2024, representing 50 percent of the P10-billion annual allocation for the fund.

NGCP warns of power interruptions

THE NATIONAL Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has warned of possible power interruptions this summer after the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) junked its request to extend its monthly ancillary services (AS) agreements. The grid operator said in a statement that many of its AS deals have already expired, forcing it to extend existing agreements on a month-on-month basis “to ensure the sufficiency of services while the procurement process is ongoing.”.      

OECD cites need to build Southeast Asian resiliency by upskilling workforce

SOUTHEAST ASIA needs to upskill its workers to support productivity growth and improve resiliency against global crises, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said. “In Southeast Asia, workers are struggling to reskill and upskill quickly enough to adapt to changes in the world of work, and employers who often encounter difficulties in finding the skills they need as productivity becomes a more important driver of the region’s economic growth,” the OECD said in a report. “To thrive in the world of tomorrow, people in Southeast Asia, especially those from disadvantaged groups, need access to high-quality opportunities to develop and use their skills over the life course, which would help them transition out of informality, boost productivity and promote individual and societal well-being,” it added.

DA exec warns of possible pork shortage by April

A shortage in the supply of pork could be felt starting next month amid the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in the country, an official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) said. Agriculture Assistant Secretary and deputy spokesman Rex Estoperez confirmed the earlier warning of the National Livestock Program (NLP) that there would be a shortage of at least 46,104 metric tons in the pork supply this June, compared to the demand of 145,849 MT. “That’s the projection. We still need to verify if the projection is correct, but it may be too late,” Estoperez said, referring to the shortage starting April.

Philippine contributes $20,000 to vaccine institute fund

The Philippines has announced a $20,000 voluntary contribution to the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) fund for 2023. The Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday that Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Theresa Dizon-de Vega made the announcement on the occasion of the inauguration of First Lady Kim Keonhee as the fifth honorary president of the Korea Support Committee for IV on March 9 at the IVI Seoul headquarters. A commemorative ceremony for the funding contribution was held before the Vaccine Diplomacy Day activity where De Vega and IVI Director General Jerome Kim discussed the voluntary contribution and affirmed cooperation on future projects.   

  • Europe-PH News

  • April 12, 2024

    Digitalization initiatives to drive financial services and employment opportunities in the PH

    Makati City, Philippines – The release of latest ... Read More

  • April 05, 2024

    Unleash Hell in Makati: The Ultimate MMA Festival Showdown at Kombat Sports Kalayaan!

    Get ready to witness the ultimate showdown as Kombat Spo... Read More

  • March 18, 2024

    Milestone Achieved: ECCP Celebrates Restart of EU-Philippines FTA Negotiations

    Manila, Philippines – The European Chamber of Commerce of the Phil... Read More