ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | July 25, 2023

July 25, 2023

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

BUSINESS LAUDS ECONOMIC, SOCIAL DEV’T AGENDA : Sustaining economic gains a challenge 

The ECCP said it is highly encouraged by the President’s emphasis on key economic priorities, namely the easing of inflation, increasing of production, promoting industry development, accelerating infrastructure development, advancing human capital development, boosting job generation, and ensuring social protection. The ECCP in a statement said it greatly welcomed the recognition of critical areas such as investments toward hard and soft infrastructure, the enabling of a sound business and economic landscape in the country, and the continued promotion of structural reforms that aim to sustain and shore up investor confidence in the Philippines.

Gains made but challenges remain [mention]

The government still has to act on numerous challenges, despite gains touted by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during his State of the Nation Address (SONA), initial private sector reactions to Monday's policy speech indicated. The ECCP said the Philippines needed to make itself more attractive to investments. "The ECCP extends its appreciation to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for delivering the 2023 SONA and for the current administration's commitment to addressing the nation's many pressing challenges," ita also said in a statement.

Marcos lifts COVID-19 public health emergency 

After over three years, the country is no longer under a state of public health emergency due to COVID-19, following a proclamation issued by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Marcos has issued Proclamation No. 297 which puts an end to the public health emergency first declared by former president Rodrigo Duterte in March 2020 due to the pandemic. Marcos declared, however, that all emergency use authorizations (EUAs) issued by the Food and Drug Administration shall remain valid for one year from the release of the proclamation “for the sole purpose of exhausting the remaining vaccines.”

Concepcion bucks higher tax on sweetened beverages [mention]

Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion is opposing proposals to increase the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, saying this would affect many small businesses especially in the provinces. Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual gave assurance that there would be public consultation on the proposal to increase the tax. The Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC) earlier urged the government to reconsider proposals to impose new taxes on junk food and increase the existing tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

Upskilling needed for digital transformation [mention]

Reforming educational programs, including the upskilling and reskilling students, should be the focus if the Philippines is to embrace digitalization, the official of the ILO Country Director Khalid Hassan said. "Many of the existing jobs that we have in the different sectors will be automated soon. But when they become automated, it doesn't mean that jobs will be lost. It would require a high level of training and a high level of education," he said during the ECCP luncheon meeting.

Foreign, local business groups join fight vs. PPA’s TOP-CRMS [mention]

In a strong show of solidarity, 24 business groups, including the prominent foreign chambers in the country, have joined forces to urge President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to scrap the Philippine Port Authority’s (PPA) contentious container registry, monitoring, and storage program (TOP-CRMS). In a joint statement, the business groups also implored President Marcos to remain vigilant against interest groups pressuring his administration to enforce a flawed program that has consistently faced opposition from both the public and private sectors.

London source trade show 2023 exhibits 8 Filipino brands [mention]

FAIRS & More Inc., a subsidiary of the ECCP joined the Source Trade Show in Kensington Olympia, London on July 16-18, 2023, an event organized by the Hyve Group to help promote international companies showcase their products in the UK, particularly in the fashion industry. And for the very first time, 8 Filipino brands were exhibited in the trade show. The exhibitors from the Philippines were also assisted by the Philippine Embassy UK and Sir Teodoro Locsin and his wife were there to spearhead the ribbon cutting on the first day of the event.

Maharlika to 'accelerate' implementation of priority infra projects: Diokno

The Maharlika Investment Fund is seen to accelerate the completion of the government's priority projects by opening new funding sources, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.  The MIF, which was recently signed into law by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., will invest in high-yielding infrastructure projects, among others. Diokno said the MIF could have at least P100 billion in available funds by the end of the year. The MIF's implementing rules and regulations may be completed by the end of August while the entire board might be named by September.

DOE: Malampaya SC 38 extension opens door to more gas, energy projects

The DOE cited the renewal of the Malampaya service contract as one of the major accomplishments of the current administration that focus on indigenous energy sources for reliable, stable and affordable electricity supply. The DOE said the extension of Malampaya’s Service Contract 38 until February 22, 2039 was a key indicator of progress in the development of the natural gas industry in the Philippines.

Debt servicing balloons to P819B

The National Government’s (NG) debt service bill ballooned to P819.526 billion as of end-May, data from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) showed. The debt service bill nearly doubled to P819.526 billion in the January-to-May period from P414.069 billion in the same period a year ago. In the first five months of the year, almost three-fourths or 71.99% of the debt service bill went to amortization. As of end-May, the NG’s total outstanding debt hit a record P14.1 trillion, 1.3% up from the previous month due to the net issuance of domestic and foreign debt and the peso depreciation against the US dollar.

PHL to address remaining FATF deficiencies in 2-3 months

The BSP is confident that the Philippine government will be able to address the remaining strategic deficiencies identified by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) within the next two to three months. BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier said the Philippines has already addressed four of the eight remaining action plans of the FATF, which are needed to exit the “gray list.” Ms. Fonacier told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of the event that the BSP is confident the Philippines will be able to exit the FATF’s gray list by January 2024.

Government infrastructure spending rises to P104 billion in May

The Marcos administration jacked up its infrastructure spending in May by nearly 30 percent to P104 billion following a low base in the same period last year due to the election ban, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said. Based on the latest national government disbursement performance report of the DBM, state infrastructure expenditure and other capital outlays jumped by 29 percent to P103.8 billion in May from P80.5 billion in the same period last year. The DBM attributed this mainly to the larger disbursements of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) due to the fast-tracking of implementation and completion of ongoing projects.Nonetheless, the DBM said robust disbursements were still recorded such as the local counterpart funds for various foreign-assisted projects of the Department of Transportation (DOTr). These include the North-South Commuter Railway Project and the Metro Manila Subway Project Phase I, as well as accounts payables for various airport projects and the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project.

Sugar planters want early start of milling

Planters are asking  the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to consider advancing the start of   the milling season by a month to August instead of September, saying  sugar canes that were planted early need to be harvested soon to avoid a drop in their quality. The group said Typhoon Dodong which brought torrential rains and strong winds also caused mature sugarcanes to lodge and if left unharvested, will have lower purity and weight. The Sugar Council warned  any delay in milling will lower the weight and sugar yield of canes, resulting to lower sugar production and lesser returns to farmers. The group also said producers especially small farmers need fresh income  after months of no work in the farm. The Sugar Council also warned  starting the operations of mills by September can also create “an overwhelming demand for farm workers” and hauling services of truckers which are now  in short supply.

Marcos expects NGCP to ‘complete all its deliverables’ 

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. expects the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to deliver all projects that will improve the interconnection of electricity throughout the country. In his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday, Marcos cited an Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) report that 68 grid connection projects are “much delayed”. Grid interconnection projects across the country are vital to ensure power supply in the islands. With an interconnected grid, the country can efficiently operate under a unified grid, and the one electricity market for the entire country can be implemented. “The ‘One Grid, One Market’ will enable more efficient transfers and more competitive pricing of electricity throughout the country,” the Chief Executive said.

Marcos vows to forge more int’l partnerships

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Monday his administration will further expand the country’s partnerships with the international community, especially in terms of strengthening economic and trade relations. In his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), Marcos said that since the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) entered into force in the country, the Philippines now have competitive access to the markets of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, Australia, China, Japan New Zealand, and South Korea. Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual earlier said the new bilateral trade deal is now up for signing, and both countries hope to sign the FTA within the year. Recently, the trade chief said the European Union (EU) is interested in restarting the scoping study to continue the EU-Philippines FTA negotiations.

PBBM: PH is service export powerhouse

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday dubbed the country as a “service export powerhouse” during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA). Marcos said that since the services sector is a strength of the Philippines, his administration will nurture the information technology and business process outsourcing (ITBPO) and tourism industries. “As we address our weaknesses and develop our competitiveness in other potential areas, we must also play to our strengths,” he said. He said the tourism sector has been the country’s reliable pillar of economic growth and has provided livelihood and jobs to over 5 million Filipinos. Marcos said with the reopening of the economy and the phenomenon of “revenge travel” after the height of the pandemic, the tourism sector is expected for a great rebound.

PBBM overseas trips yield P3.9T investments, 175K jobs 

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday said his official overseas visits since he assumed office have attracted investments into the country that will create employment for Filipinos. In his second State of the Nation Address, Marcos said his foreign trips have yielded an estimated total investment value of PHP3.9 trillion (USD71 billion), with the potential to create 175,000 new jobs. Among the foreign trips of the Chief Executive include visits to Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, United States, China, Japan, and European countries. “BOI (Board of Investments)-approved investment projects have reached PHP1.2 trillion during our first year,” he added. The President also assured investors that the implementation of recent economic reforms is underway, which include the green lanes for strategic investments launched last July 18.

Maharlika fund to finance high-priority infra projects 

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday said the newly established Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) would be used to fund high-priority projects. "For strategic financing, some of the nation’s high-priority projects can now look to the newly established Maharlika Investment Fund, without the added debt burden," Marcos said in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA). The MIF is the Philippines’ first-ever sovereign wealth fund designed to catalyze economic development by mobilizing government financial assets. "In pooling a small fraction of the considerable but underutilized government funds, the Maharlika Fund shall be used to make high-impact and profitable investments, such as the 'Build Better More' program," Marcos said. He said the gains from the Fund shall be reinvested into the country’s economic well-being.

Congress urged to pass essential tax measures 

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday appealed to Congress to pass the essential tax measures under the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework. In his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), Marcos said these include the excise tax on single-use plastics, value added tax (VAT) on digital services, rationalization of mining fiscal regime, motor vehicle user's charge or road user's tax, and the military and uniformed personnel (MUP) pension. These tax measures disclosed by the Department of Finance (DOF) last year aim to steer the country back to a high growth trajectory.

Marcos vows to pursue gas explorations 

 In pursuit of searching for new indigenous energy sources, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has vowed to push for gas explorations in the country. “Aside from Malampaya, we will also push for more gas exploration in other parts of the country,” Marcos said during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday. The Chief Executive said the national government has partnered with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in energy exploration, development, and utilization within its territorial jurisdiction. “We therefore expect to see renewed investor interest in its promising sites,” he added. Marcos also highlighted the importance of the country’s lone natural gas-fired power facility, the Malampaya gas field, which energizes 20 percent of the Luzon grid.

Liberalizing RE accelerates PH clean energy goals 

Amendments in the Renewable Energy (RE) Act of 2008 by allowing 100-percent foreign ownership in RE projects have helped in accelerating the country’s clean energy goals, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Monday. In his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), the President said 126 RE contracts have been awarded by the Department of Energy (DOE) since last year. These RE contracts have a combined potential capacity of 31,000 megawatts. This led the DOE to amend the implementing rules and regulations of the Renewable Energy Act allowing foreign investors to fully own RE projects in the country.

Marcos admin switches on 8 new power plants

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday that eight new power generation facilities were built during the first year of his term. “This brings to 17 the total number of power generation facilities that have been switched on across the country since last year, substantially increasing our energy production by 1,174 megawatts," he said. These additional power plants built since he assumed office have contributed to the increase of power supply in the country. The Chief Executive said these new power plants also helped in the electrification efforts of the government.

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