ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | September 26, 2023

September 26, 2023

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

Budget gap widens by 84.6% To P133B in August

The revenues collected by the national government in August declined by 6.58 percent to P310.6 billion from P332.4 billion in the same month last year as both tax and non-tax revenues dropped year-on-year, according to latest data released by the Department of Finance (DOF). DOF data showed the state’s tax collections during the reference month fell by 5.82 percent to P291.7 billion from P309.7 billion as earnings posted by the Internal Revenue and Customs bureaus declined.

Upside risks may prompt BSP to tighten policy in Q4

Last week, the BSP maintained key interest rates for a fourth straight meeting on Sept. 21 but signaled it might resume tightening later this year if inflation pressures persist. BSP Governor Eli M. Remolona, Jr. said a possible rate hike at its next policy review on Nov. 16 may not be the last amid risks to inflation. “If the inflation numbers had been just a bit worse, we might have gone for a hike this time. Nonetheless, the vote was unanimous, but the numbers were pretty close between hiking and not hiking,” he said.

DOF welcomes inclusion of single-use plastic tax, rationalization of mining tax in gov't priorities

In a briefing with the media, Diokno said the DOF backs the Public-Private Partnership Act, Package 3 on Real Property Valuation and Assessment Bill, Ease of Paying Taxes Bill, Automatic Income Classification of Local Government Units BIll, Excise Tax on Single-Use Plastic Bill and the Rationalization of the Mining Fiscal Regime."With the thrust of this administration to harness private capital in financing infrastructure development, this law ensures fair and equitable opportunities for the private sector," he said.

Big banks post slower asset, loan growth in Q2

BusinessWorld’s latest quarterly banking report showed the combined assets of 45 universal and commercial banks (U/KBs) jumped by 8.76% year on year to P22.67 trillion in the April-to-June period from P20.84 trillion in the same period a year ago. The pace was slower than the 11.72% growth in the second quarter last year, and the weakest since 8.38% expansion in the third quarter of 2022.

PSA data show highest and lowest paid workers in PHL

Based on the 2022 Occupational Wages Survey (OWS), the PSA said the overall average monthly wage rate of time-rated workers on a full-time basis was P18,423 in 2022. “This indicates an  11.7-percent increase from the average monthly wage rate of these workers in 2020 at P16,486 and a 1.7 percent increment from their average monthly wage rate in 2018 at P18,108,” the PSA said. “Four out of the 10 highest paid occupations were engaged in Insurance, Reinsurance and Pension Funding except Compulsory Social Security,” PSA said.

‘Govt must address distribution of rice’

According to Marcos, the government is already implementing the necessary reforms, “hoping that the public could soon feel the effects of those measures.” Marcos said rice prices will soon drop in the market with the start of harvest season. The President signed on August 31 EO 39, mandating a retail-price ceiling on rice nationwide. In the meantime, Marcos said the government has to implement measures such as the imposition of a price cap, the provision of cash aid to rice retailers and setting a new palay buying price range for the National Food Authority (NFA) to help farmers and secure inventory.

Biden’s trade, investment mission to PHL set in 2024

America’s top business leaders selected by US President Joe Biden himself are coming to the Philippines early next year, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said. Manalo hopes that the US Presidential Trade and Mission’s visit would “foster public and private partnerships as well as generate big ticket projects and priority areas.” “Our economic cooperation with the United States should keep apace with our defense-related activities. And in this regard, we aim to increase two-way trade and investments, especially in critical infrastructure, as strategic and sensitive sectors,” Manalo said in his remarks before the global nonprofit group Asia Society in New York. He assured foreign policy analysts that the “anxieties” on geopolitical tensions in the Indo-Pacific region “should not detract or prevent the region from the pursuit of economic prosperity and development.”

High interest rates prompt July U/KB lending slowdown

Data showed outstanding loans, net of reverse repurchase (RRP) placements with the BSP, expanded 7.7 percent year-on-year in July from 7.8 percent in June. “The growth in bank lending has continued to ease in line with the prevailing tight monetary policy stance of the BSP. Looking ahead, the BSP will continue to ensure that domestic liquidity and credit dynamics remain consistent with its price and financial stability objectives,” BSP said. The data showed the growth of outstanding loans to residents, net of RRPs, slowed to 7.7 percent in July from 7.9 percent in June. The increase in outstanding loans for production activities slowed to 6.2 in July after posting a growth of 6.3 percent in the previous month. “[This was] due to the continued increase in loans to major sectors, particularly electricity, gas, steam, and airconditioning supply [10.6 percent],” BSP said.

PHL lobbies UN for rules on devt, use of killer robots

The Philippines has called on the international community to launch negotiations for legally binding rules on the development and use of artificial intelligence-powered killer robots, or generally termed as lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS). Manalo, who represented President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in UNGA this year, reiterated the call of the President last year to create rules and norms “for responsible use of emerging technologies.” To put this agenda forward, the Philippines is hosting a meeting among Indo-Pacific partners in December to craft rules to govern LAWS.

DSWD to give cash to retailers after rice price-cap EO issued

Marcos has directed the DSWD to dole out cash to small rice retailers affected by the implementation of EO 39, which mandated a price ceiling of P41 per kilo for regular-milled rice and P45 per kilo of well-milled rice. Based on its latest report, the DSWD said that it has already released P92.415 million worth of financial assistance to 6,161 out of the 8,390-target micro and small rice retailers affected by the implementation of EO 39 nationwide. According to DSWD Assistant Secretary Romel Lopez, the government expects the rice distribution campaign to serve “as a stern warning to rice smugglers, hoarders and profiteers to think twice before engaging in illegal activities.” Lopez said that the commodity that they illegally imported may end up as DSWD donations to poor families.

DOTr entertains ‘solicited’ scheme for MRT 3, LRT 2 deal

Timothy John Batan, DOTr Undersecretary for Planning and Project Development, told reporters last week they would be engaging the Asian Development Bank and the International Finance Corp. for the terms of reference (TOR) for the MRT 3 and LRT 2 bundled contract. He said the DOTr was keeping its options open for both unsolicited and solicited bidding processes for the railway projects, just like what it did with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport rehabilitation project, before deciding on the final scheme. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) and Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corp. recently submitted an unsolicited bid to take over MRT 3. DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez confirmed that the office received the documents on Aug. 25. He noted, however, that San Miguel Corp. had also submitted an unsolicited bid during the previous administration. He said the Ramon Ang-led conglomerate was granted the original proponent status but has yet to undergo a challenge.

NAIA revenues seen returning to pre-pandemic level this year

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is projected to return to the pre-pandemic revenue level of P15 billion by yearend, just in time for the turnover of its operation and maintenance to the winning bidder by the first quarter of next year. Bryan Co,  officer-in-charge general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority said as of June, NAIA reported revenues of P7.2 billion. Co said domestic and international passenger volume has reached over 30 million as of August and is projected this year to exceed the 47.7 million passengers recorded in 2019. NAIA’s revenue is expected to grow further once the new operator takes over next year as the airport’s  passenger capacity will be increased.

LandBank loans to rice farmers reach P2.2-B

Of the total amount, PHP1.1 billion financed palay (unhusked rice) production of individual rice farmers listed under the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), while PHP507.5 million was earmarked for re-lending of cooperatives to its members. LandBank said PHP394.1 million was used for rice trading and milling while PHP222 million was allotted for the purchase of farm machinery and equipment. “LandBank is doing its share to strengthen local rice production by providing accessible and responsive financial assistance to rice farmers. In partnership with the DA, the ERCA-RCEF program forms part of our commitment to advance the agriculture sector and empower Filipino farmers,” said LandBank president and chief executive officer Lynette Ortiz.

BSP, banks deepen collaboration on cybersecurity

In a meeting with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Eli Remolona Jr., Bank Marketing Association of the Philippines (BMAP) president Mai Gacilo Sangalang said the group committed to further strengthen their long-standing partnership in the areas of consumer education and protection, financial literacy and inclusion, cybersecurity and fraud campaigns, among others. According to Sangalang, some of the collaborative initiatives include the development and amendment of the Banking Code for Consumer Protection, Banking On Your Future, Project BSP Reaches Out (Project BRO), Annual BSP FinEd Expo, cyber hygiene and Check-Protect-Report (CPR) communication campaigns. “These initiatives help in promoting savings consciousness, better money management, teach the value of saving, as well as make banks accessible and more affordable to more Filipinos,” she said.

Oil prices to slightly go down this week

Oil firms are set to implement a minimal rollback on fuel products starting Tuesday.Petro Gazz and Seaoil announced on Monday the oil adjustment decrease of ₱0.20 per liter for gasoline and diesel and ₱0.50 for kerosene. This comes after 11 consecutive weeks of fuel price hikes. On Sept 18, the Department of Energy said that the price adjustment resulted in a year-to-date net increase of ₱17.50/liter for gasoline, ₱13.60/liter diesel, and ₱9.94/liter for kerosene.

P700-M airport expansion waits

Expect a widening of the check-in area and other significant improvements at the Davao International Airport soon, even as the P700-million expansion project for the airport still requires a few more issues to be ironed out. In a recent interview, Airport Manager Rex A. Obcena, who is also the acting area manager of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines-Davao (CAAP-Davao), said the central office is already ironing out some issues concerning procurements. Once these are settled, Mr. Obcena said he is “very hopeful” that the P700-million expansion project, which entails the construction of a new terminal building beside the existing one, would begin and be completed in two years as targeted by the CAAP. 

DTI, BOI, Digital Pilipinas push to make PHL an investment and digital ASEAN gateway

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Board of Investments (BOI), in partnership with Digital Pilipinas, hosted an investment reception on Sept. 21, 2023 to bring together investment champions with a common goal of raising investor awareness on the opportunities presented by the country. The “Make it Happen in the Philippines” campaign, championed by the BOI, took center stage during the gathering and provided insights into the country’s competitive advantages as an investment destination and its pivotal role in the ASEAN region. The Philippine Investment Champions shared their experience and success story as a business in the country, aiming to inspire action and help position the Philippines as a prime investment hub and gateway to the ASEAN region and the rest of the world. Digital Pilipinas, in collaboration with the DTI-BOI, expressed profound gratitude to the Investment Champions and country partners who have played instrumental roles in positioning the Philippines as a premier investment hub and in elevating the nation’s status on both the ASEAN stage and the global arena.

Chinese companies expected to invest in electronics, renewables

The commitments were made on the sidelines of the China-ASEAN Expo, Ceferino S. Rodolfo, BoI managing head and Trade undersecretary, told reporters in an online briefing. “They can allot $1 billion to $5 billion for the Philippines and all of it they would like to put into renewable energy projects. The (funds) can come in as equity or for financing. And of course, they will be the technology partner,” Mr. Rodolfo said. Meanwhile, Mr. Rodolfo said that the second investor already has operations in Batangas and is involved in specialized segments of the consumer electronics market. “At this point, (it just wants) to penetrate the Philippine market for electronic products. It does not have any plans yet in investing in an assembly line which is what we would like,” Mr. Rodolfo said.

PHL financial resources further rise at end-July

Resources of banks and nonbank financial institutions increased by 6.7% to P28.796 trillion in the first seven months of the year, from P27 trillion in the same period in 2022. “The growth in the total assets/resources in the financial system and of banks is similar to the growth in loans; but still faster/better than the economic growth as consistently seen in recent years,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in a Viber message. “However, the slower growth in the total assets/resources of banks and nonbanks could be partly attributed to higher prices/inflation and higher interest rates,” he said. Based on data from the BSP, banking resources rose by 7.5% to P23.763 trillion at end-July from P22.095 trillion a year prior. Banks include universal and commercial banks, thrift banks, as well as rural and cooperative banks.

PPP bill approved on 3rd reading

In a 20-0-0 vote, legislators approved Senate Bill No. 2233 or the proposed PPP Act, which seeks to amend the Build-Operate-Transfer Law to attract more investment and boost the government’s infrastructure program. As of Sept. 1, there were 104 PPP projects in the pipeline at an estimated cost of P2.521 trillion. Some 180 projects are being implemented worth P2.639 trillion, according to the Department of Finance. “We are confident that through this measure, the identified bottlenecks and challenges in the PPP process will be effectively addressed, further fostering a more competitive and enabling environment for PPPs,” PPP Center of the Philippines Executive Director Maria Cynthia C. Hernandez said in a statement, commenting on the Senate’s approval.

Neda: 3, 4 decades before we see ‘aging PHL’

In a budget hearing at the Senate on Monday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said an aging society means a country has more seniors compared to the labor force. “[Aging occurs] when you have all these above 60 will grow much faster than the working population,” Balisacan said. “That [aging Philippines] will take a long time. The median age now is just in the 20s, low 20s so we can worry about that three decades, four decades from now when we are much richer.” The opportunity that a young population presents to economies, Balisacan said, is faster economic growth. Based on the history of the country’s peers, when they started reaping the demographic dividend, their economic growth increased by 2 to 3 percentage points.

  • 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