ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | July 21, 2023

July 21, 2023

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

24 groups ask Marcos to junk container monitoring policy

Twenty-four groups. Including the ECCP, are asking President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to junk the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) policy implementing the container registry and monitoring system, noting “certain vested interests have renewed their push to implement the controversial program to the detriment of Filipinos”. In an open letter published on July 20, the business groups urged Marcos to “urgently and explicitly confirm the repeal of PPA Administrative Order No. 04-2021”.

Approved investment pledges hit P698B as of end-June

The Board of Investments (BoI) said that approved investment commitments more than tripled in the first six months, driven by an increase in renewable energy projects after the Philippines opened the sector to full foreign ownership. In a statement, the BoI said it approved P698 billion worth of investments from 155 projects during the January-to-June period. This was more than three times the P230 billion worth of investments from 108 projects a year ago.

PEZA prequalifies P33-B ecozone projects in 1st half

Eight ecozone development projects worth a combined P33 billion were prequalified by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) in the first semester. PEZA said the eight approved projects consisted of three manufacturing ecozones, one information technology (IT) center and four IT parks. PEZA Director-General Tereso O. Panga said the P33 billion worth of prequalified ecozone development projects in the first half were almost seven times higher than P4.86 billion last year.

‘Green lanes’ touted as major selling point for investing in PHL 

The  Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said “green lanes” to ease the permit process for strategic investments will play a key role in attracting foreign investment. ARTA Director-General Ernesto V. Perez said Executive Order (EO) No. 18, which set up the green lanes will help the Philippines enhance its standing as a destination for investment in Southeast Asia.

ADB maintains PH growth outlook, downgrades forecast for Southeast Asia

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) maintained its growth forecast for the Philippines while slightly downgrading its outlook for Southeast Asia on the back of weaker global demand for manufactured exports. In its latest Asian Development Outlook, the ADB said economic growth forecasts for the country are maintained at 6.0 percent in 2023 and 6.2 percent in 2024, noting that robust investment and private consumption drove growth in the first quarter of the year.

PHL misses 2022 poverty, inflation, innovation goals

The Philippines missed its targets for 2022 core development indicators like poverty reduction, food inflation, and global innovation ranking, according to a report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). According to the Statistical Indicators on Philippine Development 2022 report released on Monday, poverty incidence in 2022 was 18.1%, which exceeded the Philippine Development Plan target range of 15.5-17.5%.

Digitalization initiatives to accelerate MSME growth 

DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual has unveiled major initiatives that will accelerate the growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), especially through digitalization. During the National MSME Summit 2023, Pascual, who is also the MSME Development Council chair, led the launch of the 2024 Presidential Awards for Outstanding MSMEs, the Philippine E-Commerce Platform (PEP), and the digitalization of the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Philippines.

ICAO technical mission in town for review of CAAP operations 

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said it is hosting an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) technical mission to assess CAAP’s operations. CAAP said that the mission intends to analyze CAAP’s air traffic management (ATM) and aeronautical information services or aeronautical information management (AIS/AIM) systems between July 17 and July 21.

Maharlika Investment Fund to help achieve PH's development goals 

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan lauded the signing of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) Act of 2023, saying this would help the country achieve its long-term development goals. Balisacan said the MIF would complement the country’s existing investment platforms and support the financing of the government’s flagship projects, particularly in the infrastructure sector.

MSMEs aided to shift online

The government marked the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Development Week by launching two initiatives that will take this sector online. The MSME Development Council chaired by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) rolled out the Philippine E-Commerce Platform (PEP) and the Digitalization of the One Town, One Product or OTOP Philippines. PEP is the first government omnichannel platform created to promote Filipino businesses and help them expand online.

House bill seeks to ban LGUs obstruction of national projects

A bill seeking to bar local government units (LGUs) from interfering with National Government (NG) projects has been filed at the House of Representatives. The proposed National Government Projects Implementation Act is expected to accelerate the rollout of NG infrastructure, health, education, and other projects. House Bill No. 8300 only allows LGU intervention when it is specifically requested by the agency in charge of implementing the project.

ICC rejects PH appeal to stop drug war probe

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) voted 3-2 on Tuesday to reject the Philippine government’s appeal to stop the ICC prosecutor’s investigation into the country’s drug war on the watch of then-President Rodrigo Duterte. This decision by a majority vote sets in motion a possible trial if not arrests of Philippine officials complicit in alleged crimes against humanity in the course of the drug war. The ruling, delivered in open court at The Hague by Presiding Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut of France, affirmed an earlier decision in January by the Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) to authorize an inquiry on the basis of the Philippine government’s lack of willingness to investigate or prosecute crimes relating to the drug war. The Philippines’ Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) said the majority of judges “refused to consider the Philippines’ jurisdictional challenge on the ground that the Impugned Decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber is not a decision on jurisdiction.” 

ERC authorizes 2024 generation cost collections of over P22 billion 

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said it will allow the collection of P22.64 billion worth of power generation cost starting next year. “We will issue an order because IEMOP (Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines) needs the authority to collect. This will be collected from the consumers, but not all gencos (generation companies) have claim Ms. Dimalanta said the Commission is planning to defer the collection of P22.64 billion over the next three years starting in 2024. She said that the Commission has computed the rates to be collected. She declined to speak in detail about the rates, but added that the payments will be too high if collected over one or two years. ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Monalisa C. Dimalanta told reporters. The Department of Energy has said that El Niño could result in the reduced output of hydropower plants, and raise demand for power due to warmer temperatures, which in turn could lead to higher power rates.

Negative sentiments on China impact PH shares, peso on Tuesday

Both the Philippine shares and the peso shed on Tuesday’s trading as China’s missed second quarter economic growth resulted to a ripple effect in Asian markets. The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) finished the day’s trading losing 21.96 points to 6,528.80, with All Shares also shedding by 10.89 points to 3,482.75 level. Philstocks Financial, Inc. research associate Claire Alviar said the negative sentiments in China affected other markets in the region, including the Philippines. China reported second quarter 2023 gross domestic product (GDP) expansion of 0.8 percent, far from economists’ forecast growth of more than 7 percent.

Business sector 'bullish' about MIF, but awaits next SONA

Stock market insiders welcomed Tuesday’s enactment of the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), but said the bullishness it will bring to trading will likely occur after President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. delivers his second State of the Nation (SONA) address next week. In an interview, Jeng Calma, operations head at A&A Securities, said the almost 22-point decline in the market on Tuesday should not be interpreted as investors’ cold reaction toward the new law, which in fact, promises to infuse immense sum into the local bourse. “There may have been other factors that influenced today’s lackluster trading. The signing (into law by the President) of Maharika (Investment Fund) was already anticipated and was discounted. We expect to feel it (market growth) after SONA,” she noted. Calma disclosed that numerous foreign investors have already positioned themselves in the exchange hoping to get a windfall once the MIF invigorates the market.

More investors in nickel sector sought

The Philippines needs to attract more investors in the nickel sector to support the growing demand for nickel ore, especially as investments in clean energy technologies such as electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to surge to more than $1 trillion globally in the next five years, according to a group of nickel mining players. In a statement, the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA) pointed out that the country only had two operating nickel processing plants despite increasing demand for the metal used for EV batteries and the development of smart cities. Bravo said local nickel production reached 29.2 million dry metric tons in 2022, and 3.9 million dry MT in the first quarter of this year through the Philippines’ 34 nickel mines. Each processing plant, however, needs at least 100 million tons of raw nickel ore to be considered viable, he added, and that additional investments could enable the further development of the country’s nickel reserves. 

‘Strong’ banks helped post-lockdown boost 

The strength of Philippine banks may have helped the country fight off the lingering effects of the lockdown on economic growth, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). While BSP Governor Eli Remolona did not elaborate on this point in a recent economic briefing in Canada, he noted that Philippine bank’s capital adequacy ratio and liquidity ratio have been above international standards. Remolona said the capital adequacy ratio of local banks was at 16 percent, above the 10 percent regulatory floor established by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. The liquidity ratio of Philippine banks, meanwhile, was at 188 percent, above the 100 percent standard globally.

Biz groups make wish list for priorities for inclusion in Sona

Local business groups have tagged better employment opportunities for Filipinos as one of the priorities they wish included in the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. Makati Business Club (MBC) Chairman Edgar O. Chua said the business group has listed down around nine priority measures that they wish to see in the President’s second Sona on July 24. However, Chua only zeroed in on the top three measures that the MBC is looking at. These three are the Ease of Paying Taxes, the Apprenticeship Bill and the Public-Private Partnership (PPP). On the first bill, Chua said, “Apprenticeship is one which will also address two things: one is enhancing the competency of our staff—of our people. And then second is it will lead to better employment opportunities for them.” In May 2023, the MBC released a statement urging the Senate to prioritize passage of their version of the measure.

ACEN bags Australia’s first indigenous people-led RE deal

Ayala-led ACEN Corp. is set to add up to 3 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity in its portfolio after partnering with the Yindjibarndi people of Western Australia, which is slated to be one of the largest indigenous community-led clean energy initiatives in the continent. ACEN inked an agreement in June with Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corp., the registered native title body corporate of the Yindjibarndi people, to form Yindjibarndi Energy Corp. and jointly develop wind, solar and renewable energy storage projects in the Pilbara region. According to ACEN, an investment of over 1 billion Australian dollars, equivalent to about P37 billion, is needed for the initial 750 megawatts of combined wind, solar and battery storage projects that will be developed “within the next few years.” The next stages will target an additional 2 GW to 3 GW of combined wind, solar and battery storage, surpassing the current output of Western Australia’s largest coal-fired power station, ACEN said in its stock exchange disclosure on Tuesday. The partnership requires approval from the Yindjibarndi people for the development of all sites on their native land at Yindjibarndi Ngurra, a 13,000-square-kilometer area within the Yindjibarndi Native Title Determination Areas.

ARTA, Australia partner on streamlining initiatives

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) eyes collaboration with the government of Australia  on streamlining initiatives that would benefit both sides. Ernesto Perez, ARTA director-general and  Hae Kyong Yu, Australian ambassador to the Philippines in a meeting recently agreed to partner in the establishment one-stop shops for foreign companies interested in having businesses in the Philippines. They also agreed to streamline the process of training and recruiting more Filipinos to work in Australia starting with the health sector. ARTA said the one-stop shops for foreign companies eyeing to operate businesses in the Philippines would streamline and fast-track the required processes involved, making it easier and faster for them to invest in the country. Perez said this partnership will also help ARTA coordinate with private sector stakeholders such as the Australian Chamber of Commerce to achieve our shared goal of attracting more investments and creating more jobs in the Philippines.

More electronic government systems launched to reduce bureaucracy

President Marcos led the national launching of the electronic local government unit system (eLGU) and the people’s feedback mechanism (eReport) – initiatives that he said would remove unnecessary bureaucratic layers and address criminality. The eLGU covers a wide range of local government services like business permit licensing, notice of violations, notification system, community tax, health certificates, local civil registry, business tax and real property tax. The eReport, meanwhile, enables citizens to relay their concerns about crime, fire incidents and other emergency situations.

ICAO technical mission in town for review of CAAP operations

THE Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said it is hosting an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) technical mission to assess CAAP’s operations. CAAP said that the mission intends to analyze CAAP’s air traffic management (ATM) and aeronautical information services or aeronautical information management (AIS/AIM) systems between July 17 and July 21.

NEDA Board approves NAIA upgrade

The NEDA Board approved three new infrastructure projects, including the P170.6-billion public-private partnership (PPP) project to upgrade the aging Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said the government prefers to invite bidders for the solicited proposal to rehabilitate, operate, expand and transfer the country’s main international gateway.

‘IP infrastructure upgrade to attract investors’

Improving the country’s intellectual property (IP) infrastructure could help the Philippines attract more investors, according to a US-based IP expert. “I think there’s an opportunity here to grow the infrastructure and to get the attention of people to see that I can protect my trade secrets. I can protect my proprietary tech, I can protect my patents in the Philippines,” Mark Cohen, head of the Asia IP Project at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology at Berkeley Law School told The Star on the sidelines of a briefing.

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