ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | March 31, 2023

March 31, 2023

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

ECCP, ING renew partnership to boost sustainable finance in EU-PH

It is against this backdrop that the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) and Dutch banking giant ING have announced their renewed partnership for 2023 with ING as the ECCP's exclusive banking partner for the year. "We have had a long-standing relationship with ING as our member since 1991, so we are honored to extend this partnership to focus and weigh in on areas of sustainability, as well as ESG financing and transition in business," said Florian Gottein, ECCP executive director.

RCEP to take effect in PHL by June — official

THE REGIONAL Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will likely take effect for the Philippines around June, a Trade official said on Tuesday. This as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) aims to deposit the instrument of ratification for the Philippines’ participation in the mega-trade deal by April 3. 

Infrastructure spending jumps 13% in 2022

State spending on infrastructure rose by 13.4% in 2022, as the government ramped up public works and transportation-related projects. The DBM said infrastructure spending also exceeded the government’s P979.3-billion program by 3.7% due to higher-than-expected disbursements by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Transportation (DoTr).

NG debt hits P13.75T as of end-Feb.

The National Government’s (NG) outstanding debt hit a record-high P13.75 trillion as of end-February as domestic borrowings increased, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said on Thursday. Overall debt grew by 13.7% from P12.09 trillion as of end-February 2022. Year to date, debt rose by 2.5% from the P13.42 trillion as of end-December 2022.

Businesses more upbeat on economy — BSP survey

Businesses now have a more optimistic economic outlook this year, amid a return to pre-pandemic normalcy and increased consumer demand, a survey by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed. The BSP confidence index (CI) rose to 34% in the current quarter, improving from the 32.9% a year ago and 23.9% in the fourth quarter. Businesses are more upbeat for the second quarter, as the CI jumped to 49% from 31.3% previously.

Panga appointed PEZA chief

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has appointed Tereso O. Panga as  director-general of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), Malacanang announced. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed Panga’s appointment on March 23, 2023. The appointment was also relayed by Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin to Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual, chairman of PEZA. Panga, who served as officer-in-charge of PEZA prior to his appointment as PEZA chief, was engaged in a leadership row with then PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza, who insisted she remains as head of the agency.

New incentive scheme for EVs eyed

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through Board of Investment (BOI) will recommend an Electric Vehicle Incentive Strategy (EVIS) to the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) for approval to ensure the creation of an enabling business environment for the country’s EV industry. In a statement, DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the EVIS is similar to the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program  which grants incentives for participants. This package will be on top of the incentives available to the EV industry. In his speech at the signing of a lease agreement  for Envirotech Vehicles Inc. on Tuesday, Pascual said  the Electricity Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA) Act provides fiscal and non-fiscal incentives  to encourage the purchase and utilization of EVs by Filipino consumers.

BSP sees cross-border payment connectivity in 2-3 years

CROSS-BORDER PAYMENT connectivity may be implemented in two or three years in the Philippines as it seeks to keep up with its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) peers, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) chief said on Tuesday. BSP Governor Felipe M. Medalla said he is looking forward to working with other central banks in the region to ensure cross-border payment connectivity is implemented. “Our vision really is to be one with ASEAN-5 to have cross-border payments,” Mr. Medalla said.

Council pushes measures  to strengthen healthcare

The Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Healthcare Sector crafted  several initiatives that would address challenges in the healthcare system, including the  strengthening the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

In a statement, PSAC said strengthening the PhilHealth system is one of three priority pillars that it has  identified from prior meetings with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and key government agencies. The others are providing greater drug accessibility, and building capacity and capabilities. In strengthening the  PhilHealth system, the ultimate goal is for Filipinos to be able to take advantage of a fully-implemented universal healthcare system by 2028, PSAC said.

UN adopts landmark resolution on climate justice

The UN General Assembly on Wednesday adopted by consensus and to cheers a resolution calling for the world body's top court to outline legal obligations related to climate change. Pushed for years by Vanuatu and Pacific islander youth, the measure asks the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to lay out nations' obligations for protecting Earth's climate, and the legal consequences they face if they don't. "Together, you are making history," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, emphasizing that even if non-binding, an opinion from the International Court of Justice "would assist the General Assembly, the UN and member states to take the bolder and stronger climate action that our world so desperately needs." The resolution, ultimately co-sponsored by more than 130 member states, had been widely expected to pass.

BCDA backs $250-M waste-to-energy project in New Clark City

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) supports the proposal to create a $250 million waste-to-energy investment project in New Clark City in Tarlac for its "sustainability," the agency's chief said.  The Metro Clark Waste Management Corporation and Plambeck Emirates in January announced the proposal to upgrade its sanitary landfill into a waste-to-energy facility that "will utilize waste as fuel."  BCDA President and CEO Aileen Zosa said the proposal is a "good fit" for the community's sustainability. 

Typhoon-prone Philippines plans cover on infrastructure losses

The Philippines is readying an insurance plan that will protect the Southeast Asian nation from infrastructure losses caused by natural disasters, seeking to better respond to climate change risks. The government will put in place a national indemnity insurance program to provide financial protection for strategically important assets like school buildings, hospitals, roads and bridges, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said in a mobile-phone response to Bloomberg queries. The program will “ensure immediate funding for the rehabilitation and repair of these critical assets,” he said.

Marcos pushes for MUP pension reform

The Finance Department warned of a possible “fiscal collapse” should the government fail to reform the pension system for retired military and uniformed personnel. At a Palace news briefing, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. will push for the passage of the bill seeking to reform the MUP pension program, saying the current setup is unsustainable and could lead to “fiscal collapse.” The government has set aside P120-130 billion for the pension program for this year alone.

DoE won’t intervene pending NGCP ancillary services appeal

The Department of Energy (DoE) said it is awaiting the Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) ruling on an appeal filed by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) to extend contracts to supply reserve power on a month-by-month basis. The NGCP sought DoE authorization to extend contracts which allow it to tap standby power capacity, agreements which are known as ancillary services (AS) contracts.

Peso bond market tops P11T in fourth quarter

The peso bond market rose 0.2% from the previous quarter to P11.2 trillion in the three months to December 2022, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said. Key developments in the period were a contraction in the government bond market coupled with slower expansion in corporate bonds, according to the ADB’s Asia Bond Monitor report. The region’s bond market totaled $23.2 trillion at the end of December, posting a growth rate of 1.2%. The Philippines’ quarter-on-quarter growth rate lagged those of Vietnam (6.5%), Indonesia (3.5%), and Singapore (2.4%).

NCR dry-season water demand seen rising by up to 15%

DRY-SEASON water demand in Metro Manila and nearby provinces is expected to exceed normal levels by up to 15%, according to Manila Water Co., one of the capital region’s two water suppliers. In the east zone, Nestor Jeric T. Sevilla, Jr., Manila Water’s corporate strategic affairs group head, said: “Normally, during summer, demand increases by about 10 to 15%.” 

LARGEST LENDER IN PH: DBP, Land Bank merger approved

The President has approved yesterday the merger of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and Land Bank of the Philippines, the country’s finance chief said. In a message to reporters, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Land Bank will remain as the surviving entity following the merger. The move will create a bigger and stronger bank to better serve the country’s development needs, with the combined branches of the two banks resulting in a wider network of its banking operations, Diokno added. “The merged bank will become the largest bank in the Philippines in terms of assets and deposit size,” Diokno said.

Philippine’s longest subsea cable for completion in April

The Philippine Domestic Submarine Cable Network (PDSCN) has reached Zamboanga City, one of the last few stops in its rotation, putting it on track for completion by April. Mobile giant Globe Telecom Inc. yesterday said the PDSCN has arrived in Zamboanga City, making the $150-million project on pace for activation in April as scheduled. The consortium made up of Globe, Eastern Communications and InfiniVAN Inc. committed to improve internet connectivity in Zamboanga City through the PDSCN.

ERC, NGCP should resolve ASPA issue – DOE

The Department of Energy (DOE) is keeping its hands off National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP)’s request for intervention on possible month-on-month extensions of its existing ancillary services contracts to prevent potential power outages this summer. The DOE, in a statement yesterday, said that the NGCP and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) would have to settle the issue. “There is a process for NGCP to submit the motion for reconsideration with the ERC. At this time, we need to wait for the ERC and NGCP to settle the matter,” the agency said.

PHL touted as potential hub for EV battery production

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it is seeking to establish the Philippines as a production hub for battery manufacturing for electric vehicles (EV), to tap the country’s mineral reserves. “Aside from our commitment to combat climate change through the use of EVs, the DTI also aims to aggressively position the Philippines in the battery segment of the global market,” Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said during his speech at the lease signing ceremony between Envirotech Vehicles and Berthaphil in Taguig City on March 28. “Given the presence of abundant nickel and cobalt reserves, the Philippine government is consistently promoting the country as a potential manufacturing hub for battery production,” he added. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau estimates that the value of metallic output rose 31.7% to P238.05 billion in 2022 as production rose.

Road connectivity named key gov’t priority

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said on Monday that he will pursue more projects interconnecting the country’s road networks. “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,” he said in a speech at the inauguration of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Connector Project’s first phase. The road is a five-kilometer elevated expressway running from Caloocan’s Circumferential Road 3 (C-3) to España Boulevard in Manila. The first segment is part of the NLEX-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Road Connector Project, an eight-kilometer, four-lane elevated expressway spanning C3 Road, España, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila and the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3.

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