ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | August 4, 2023

August 04, 2023

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

DTI sets eye on finishing EUFTA negotiations before 2028

Trade and Industry Secretary Pascual said the DTI will exert “all efforts possible” to finish the formal negotiations on the trade agreement between the Philippines and the European Union before the end of the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. “This endeavor is not just a priority for our government but also strongly supported by the business sector….The backing from European companies, as reflected in ECCP’s survey, further reinforces the importance of this strategic partnership,” Pascual also noted.

Groups back resumption of PH-EU FTA talks 

Business groups and chambers expressed strong support for the PH-EU FTA to continue. For the IT-BPM sector, this will help increase the country's market share to the EU, which can also create job opportunities. For the semiconductor and electronics sector, the PH-EU FTA will attract more foreign direct investments, which is beneficial for the sector's growth. ECCP President Paulo Duarte said that the country's continuous growth qualifies for the agreement. "The Philippines has enabling conditions now so it's a favorable tailwind. The macroeconomic indicators are very favorable such as the Philippines' 2022 gross domestic product (GDP), the highest in the last 47 years," he said.

Revenue agencies tasked to generate P4T in 2024

The government’s two largest revenue-generating agencies are expected to rake in over P4 trillion in revenues in 2024. According to the proposed Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF) for 2024, the Bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Customs (BOC) are programmed to generate P4.05 trillion next year. That figure is 15.19 percent higher than the P3.51 trillion program for this year. Of the said amount, the BIR will collect taxes amounting to P3.05 trillion, 15.44 percent higher than this year’s goal of P2.64 trillion.

DOTr seeks P164 billion funding for railways 

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is seeking P164 billion in funding for the construction and maintenance of seven rail lines within and around Metro Manila in 2024. Based on the 2024 National Expenditure Program, the DOTr is asking P187.21 billion from Congress for programs and projects it plans to undertake next year. The bulk of the budget, at P163.75 billion, will go to the rail transport program, as the DOTr eyes to speed up the pace of civil and rehabilitation works.

Panel OK’s mining fiscal regime bill

The House Ways and Means Committee approved a new substitute bill establishing a fiscal regime for the mining sector, which will impose a margin-based royalty and windfall profits tax on miners. Under the approved substitute bill, large-scale metallic mining operations within mineral reservations will be subject to a 3% royalty rate of the gross output of minerals or mineral products extracted. Large-scale metallic mining operations outside mineral reservations will be slapped with a margin-based royalty on income from metallic mining operations.

Gov’t urges traders to increase rice imports

The Philippine government plans to boost its rice inventory following the onslaught of two typhoons and in preparation for the impact of the El Niño weather pattern on domestic production. The DA called on the private sector to import over a million metric tons (MT) of rice amid worries over supply. A farmers’ group, however, said the target may not be met due to the absence of incentives for local traders, who have to deal with rising international prices and compete with foreign importers who can bid at a higher rate.

Outstanding debt hits P14.15-T as of end-June

The National Government’s outstanding debt reached a fresh high of P14.15 trillion as of end-June, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said. Data from the BTr showed that outstanding debt inched up by 0.4% from P14.01 trillion as of end-May, mainly due to the net issuance of domestic securities. Year on year, the debt stock went up by 10.6% from P12.79 trillion. It was also 5.4% higher than the P13.42-trillion debt as of end-December.

PHL factory activity perks up in July

Manufacturing activity in the Philippines improved in July due to the growth in output and new orders, S&P Global said. The S&P Global Philippines Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 51.9 in July from the 11-month low of 50.9 in June. “The latest PMI reading for the Filipino manufacturing sector signaled a stronger improvement in operating conditions at the start of the third quarter,” Maryam Baluch, economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said.

Advocacy program pushes crop farming in urban communities

The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) and Nestlé Philippines, through the Maggi Sarap Sustansya Advocacy, announced a collaboration that will advance efforts to promote urban agriculture to help Filipino communities achieve food self-sufficiency, while improving their access to and consumption of more plant-based food. Through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed earlier this year, the three-year partnership will enable DA-BPI and Maggi to jointly conduct skills-building activities that demonstrate sustainable ways of growing vegetables in the home, or underutilized areas of communities, schools and other urban spaces, Maggi said in a statement on Tuesday. Through this partnership, Director Glenn Panganiban of DA-BPI, said “we can teach more Filipinos to grow their own food by providing proper mentoring and assistance, as well as other forms of support from the government and private partners like Maggi.”

AUB wary on headwinds from hawkish MB stance

Improving consumer and business sentiment gives Asia United Bank (AUB) confidence that it will be able to sustain the gains it booked in the first six months of the year. A statement by the AUB read that the lender’s net income grew 42 percent to P4.1 billion in the first six months of the year. The bank noted this growth is among the highest so far reported among the country’s publicly-listed privately owned universal banks. With this, AUB said its first-half income translated to higher profitability ratios, with return on equity (ROE) at 20.3 percent and return on assets (ROA) at 2.6 percent.

DENR wants better lives for scavengers

Garbage pickers and scavengers may soon have a steady source of income as entrepreneurs as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reaffirmed its plan to look into their plight. “This sector is still locked out of the value chain of solid waste management, but they are in fact, critical and essential as part of the supply chain,” Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga said.

Environment dep’t backs waste-to-fuel processing operations to keep solid waste volumes in check 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said waste-to-fuel co-processing could be a sustainable solid waste management solution. The DENR issued the statement after Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga toured the new shredder platform of Republic Cement in Taysan, Batangas. Republic Cement maintains a waste-to-fuel co-processing operation under a joint venture between the Aboitiz Group and Irish building materials company CHR. Co-processing converts waste into an alternative fuel for cement manufacturing plants. Republic Cement uses alternative fuels and raw materials in cement manufacturing. It can reuse or recover the thermal and mineral properties of waste materials, such as residual plastic or rice husk, as alternative fuels.

PHL considering role for Singapore satellite company in digitization push

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has directed two departments to pursue talks with Kacific Broadband Satellites Group to explore how it can aid in digitizing the government, the Palace said. Mr. Marcos and the Secretaries of Information and Communications Technology and of Science and Technology met with the Kacific executives led founder and CEO Christian Patouraux to discuss the Philippines’ plans for going digital, the Palace said in a statement. Kacific, a Singapore broadband satellite operator based, is set to launch a second satellite, Kacific2, to expand and improve the reliability of its internet services. After the meeting, the president directed the two departments to “continue with the talks with Kacific to determine the specific terms on how the company can boost the country’s digital capability,” the Palace said.

Philippines has least monetary freedom in Asean – HSBC

The Philippines has the least monetary policy freedom in Southeast Asia, forcing the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to slash interest rates only when the US Federal Reserve starts doing so. In a report, HSBC Global Research said the Philippines has the least room to go against the move of the Fed among economies in the ASEAN region. This means the BSP is unlikely to slash the key policy rate, which is currently at 6.25 percent, ahead of the Fed, even as inflation is on a downward trend and even as the rest of the region starts cutting rates. As such, the HSBC unit expects the BSP to only cut rates by 25 basis points by the third quarter of 2024 and deliver another quarter of a percentage cut by the succeeding quarter.

Survey: 56% of PH employees eye new jobs 

A significant shift in the Filipino employment landscape has emerged, as a recent nationwide study conducted by specialist recruiters Michael Page Philippines showed that 41 percent—a little over two in five Filipinos—are actively seeking a new job at present. In addition, another 15 percent are planning to start a job hunt in the next six months, revealing a trend that showcases increased fluidity in the employment market and the growing willingness of individuals to explore new career opportunities. The study, entitled “The Invisible Revolution,” gathered insights from 1,306 workers across the country, highlighting a transformative change in the workforce’s relationship with their jobs since the pandemic began. The report showed that three in five employees have changed roles during this period, leading to a more “transactional” approach to work. “The pace of change is accelerating,” according to the Michael Page Philippines Talent Trends 2023 report. Nine in 10 Filipinos who started a new job last year remain open to new opportunities, signifying a flexible mindset towards career progression that has become the new norm. Job transitions are now perceived as a regular part of the employment journey.

DND lauds Japan’s support in beefing up Philippines’ MAD effectiveness 

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. has expressed his appreciation for the continued Japanese support in beefing up the country’s “maritime domain awareness” (MDA) capabilities. The International Maritime Organization defines MDA as the effective understanding of anything associated with the maritime domain that could impact security, safety, economy or environment. Teodoro made this comment following the August 2 courtesy call of Japan-Philippines Parliamentary Friendship League (JPPFL) headed by its chair, Hon. Moriyama Hiroshi. The JPPFL delegation was also joined by participants from the Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines. The DND chief also expressed his gratitude to Japan for assisting in the development of the country’s humanitarian assistance and disaster response capabilities through civil defense.”

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