ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | October 17, 2023

October 17, 2023

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

ECCP recognizes sustainability champions at the 2023 Europa Awards

The ECCP has unveiled the winners of the 2023 Europa Awards during its recent award ceremony at Raffles and Fairmont Makati. Now in its 3rd year, the Europa Awards continues its tradition of honoring European and on-European companies operating in the country for their exceptional performance and contributions in promoting sustainability in line with the United Nations’ SDGs and the Philippine Development Plan. The event also featured a messages from Department of Energy and Natural Resources Secretary Maria Antonia “Toni” Yulo-Loyzaga EU Delegation Minister Counsellor and Head of the Economic Trade Section Mr. Philipp Dupuis, and United Nations Development Program deputy resident representative Mr. Edwine Carrie. The Chamber also launched the third edition of its Sustainability Whitebook which was presented by ECCP Executive Director Florian Gottein. 

PSA: Import costs grew faster in past 4 years

Import costs have been increasing faster than export costs for the past four years, according to the newly released Unit Value Index (UVI) of the PSA. The UVI showed that unit cost of imports posted double-digit growth in 2022 at 10.8 percent while exports grew 5.6 percent during the same period. Despite this, the latest data is not enough justification for a stronger peso, according to NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan. Balisacan told BusinessMirror over the weekend that the peso moves according to several factors and not just in terms of trade.

Bongbong Marcos approves P270B worth of key projects

President Marcos on Friday approved programs and projects worth an estimated P269.7 billion that are meant to boost tourism and address gaps in the country’s health-care system, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said. The President cleared a total of six projects at the meeting of the Neda board, which is chaired by the President, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a press conference in Malacañang. The approved projects—along with others that are part of the administration’s P9-trillion “Build Better More” infrastructure program—would “aggressively advance infrastructure development to attain our medium-term development goals of more high-quality jobs,” Balisacan said. 

DOE exec cites ‘game changers’ in PHL’s bid to boost RE development

An executive order meant to hasten the rollout of offshore wind (OSW) projects in the country and a smart green grid plan (SGGP) aimed at ensuring the seamless integration of additional RE into the grid are the energy “game changers” of the Marcos administration. Executive Order (EO) 21 mandates a policy and administrative framework for the optimal development of OSW resources in the country through a clear and streamlined process and timelines that eliminate red tape, facilitate efficient permitting process and promote greater investment in OSW projects, which in return, would accelerate the RE capacity in the country from the current 22 capacity to 35 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040. The private sector, according to Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, plays a crucial role in boosting RE as the central pillars in achieving sustainable energy.

PHL ranks 3rd global tourism FDI recipient in ’18-’22

According to a report co-produced by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and fDi Intelligence, there were 2,415 greenfield FDI recorded with a total capital investment of US$175.5 billion from 2018 to 2022. These projects created an estimated 388,000 jobs. Said capital investments in the Philippines went into 26 projects, that represented 5 percent of the market share for projects in Asia Pacific. The region recorded a total of 517 projects for the period.

Palace issues EO mandating Food Stamp flagship project

Malacañang has issued Executive Order (EO) 44, establishing the “Walang Gutom 2027: Food Stamp Program” as a flagship program of the national government. “The DSWD, as the primary government entity responsible for the implementation and management of social welfare development programs in the country, shall be the lead implementing agency of the Food Stamp Program,” said the EO. Its implementation is in line with the Philippines’s commitment to realize the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 2 of ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture by 2030.

Give ₱2-B mandated fund in full, SRA asks lawmakers

SRA Administrator Pablo Luis S. Azcona said the government-owned and -controlled corp. would push for the restoration of its Sugarcane Industry Development Act (SIDA) budget during its Senate budget hearing this Tuesday. “This year, we tried to push for the P2 billion and we lined up all projects based on P2 billion and only P1 billion was approved,” Azcona said in a recent press briefing here. The SRA is also now fast-tracking the approval of its spending plan so that it can implement the SIDA programs as early as the start of next year. The SRA chief emphasized that having the full SIDA budget would be a “big help” for sugarcane farmers who have been challenged by rising production costs and climate threats like El Nino.

El Niño dry spell seen to prolong consumer price risks in PH

Factors that may contribute to high food inflation in the Philippines appear to be still firmly rooted as the El Niño climate phenomenon could prevail through the country’s hottest months into 2024. According to the latest bulletin from the United States-based Climate Prediction Center (CPC), there was an 80 percent chance that El Niño would continue through March to May next year. In their respective latest monthly bulletin, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations said its benchmark for international food commodity prices was “broadly stable” in September. “At this level, the index is 10.7 percent below its value a year ago and 24 percent below its all-time high reached in March 2022,” the UN agency said.

PEZA-approved investments reach P131.76 billion

Investments approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) soared by over 230 percent to P131.76 billion from January to Oct. 6 compared to only P39.6 billion in the same period last year. In the first week of October alone, the PEZA approved P20.55 billion worth of investments for 25 projects, a 100-percent increase from a year before. These projects include 13 export-oriented projects, logistics projects, six information technology projects, two ecozone facilities projects and one ecozone development project. According to the PEZA, the projects are expected to create goods for the export market valued at $643.321 million and employment for more than 5,000 Filipinos.

Cebu Pacific raises international capacity by 63 percent

 Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific is set to end the year with 700,000 more seats for its international flights as a result of its expansion not only of fleet, but also of routes. Cebu Pacific, in its projection, believes that its global reach will broaden by 63 percent above its pre-pandemic level, as its decision to expand both fleet and routes are starting to pay off. To support its overseas growth, Cebu Pacific has accepted a total of 12 aircraft so far for the year. The airline is scheduled to receive seven more before the close of the year, as it braces its fleet for a resurgence in air travel from 2024 onward.

Foreign borrowings hit $11 billion

The Philippine government borrowed more from offshore creditors as foreign borrowings approved by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) jumped by 29 percent to $10.99 billion from January to September compared to last year’s level. The BSP said the approved borrowings for the third quarter consisted of four project loans worth $1.95 billion and one program loan amounting to $750 million. “These borrowings will fund the national government’s program on economic recovery, environmental protection and climate resilience, as well as projects for the transport and agricultural sectors,” the BSP said.

Digital service exports can help Philippines development – WB

“Global uncertainties and challenges lie ahead for the Philippines and other developing economies. Exports of digital services will put them in a strong position to meet those challenges,” World Bank lead country economist and program leader for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions Group Souleymane Coulibaly said in the multilateral lender’s blog. To promote the growth in services exports, he said the Philippines will have to address several constraints, such as weak infrastructure, high trade costs, low foreign direct investments, and weak learning outcomes and skills retention. He said this development is important because extending access to high-speed internet and expanding e-commerce can facilitate the global value chain participation of small firms.

FedEx expands shipping points in Philippines

Courier giant FedEx Corp. has broadened its touchpoints in the Philippines to more than 1,100 outlets to provide customers with additional options for sending off their packages. FedEx Philippines managing director Maribeth Espinosa said the company is widening its reach for ease of access of customers. Likewise, FedEx believes that collaborating with local firms would open up new opportunities for them. “The service enhancement will bring significant benefits to the fast-growing e-commerce sector. It will also offer better flexibility for consumers,” Espinosa said. Citing an outlook from GlobalData, FedEx said that the e-commerce market in the Philippines is expected to grow by 23 percent to $12 billion this year.

PHL trade outlook dims as global economy slows

“Although exports held up well in August, a slowing global economy will keep a lid on demand from key markets,” Moody’s Analytics said in a report dated Oct. 13. The Philippines’ trade deficit narrowed to $4.13 billion in August, its lowest level in two months as an increase in exports offset the drop in imports, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed. Moody’s Analytics said that latest exports data from the Philippines showed that the global tech cycle has “bottomed.” “The Philippines is a regional hub for the testing and final assembly of semiconductors, but its exports of electronic products have been vulnerable to the semiconductor downcycle over much of the last year,” it said.

Filipinos’ declining English proficiency alarms foreign business groups

The Philippines’ advantage in English has strengthened the country’s position as an attractive destination for international trade and investment, said Paulo Duarte, president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP). However, the Philippines slipped four notches to 22nd place out of 111 countries in the 2022 edition of the English Proficiency Index (EPI) by global education company Education First (EF). Ms. Pacquing noted different factors contributing to the decline in English proficiency within the business process outsourcing industry, which points toward a systemic and adaptive challenge. These factors include the diversification of clients’ needs and investments, which has led to reduced demand for voice services, alongside the increasing integration of technology in the form of chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI), she said.

Disasters cost farm sector $23-billion damage in 30 years–FAO

This was part of the findings of the FAO’s report titled, “The Impact of Disasters on Agriculture and Food Security 2023,” its first-ever global estimation of the impact of disasters on agriculture. FAO said the estimate covered 565 disasters that hit the country since 1990. The report said 85 percent of the sources of the country’s production are susceptible to disasters, and 50 percent of the country’s territory is also considered economically at risk. The report reveals that over the last three decades, disasters —defined as serious disruptions to the functioning of a community or society—inflicted the highest relative losses on lower and lower middle-income countries, up to 15 percent of their total agricultural GDP. 

New rice varieties, tech will plug food shortage–Marcos

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday called for the development of more new rice varieties and technology to address the growing “existential threat” of food shortage. He urged other government agencies and the private sector to collaborate with the Laguna-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to develop such new solutions and mechanisms for such a crisis. Among the new technologies from IRRI is the ultra-low glycaemic index rice, which was presented to the President during the IRC, to help curb rising diabetes globally. He said he hopes the IRC will help create more similar innovations, which can be rolled out to benefit not only consumers but also farmers.

100K visitors expected

The Philippines is projected to have 128 ports of call or cruise calls in 2023 across 33 destinations which are expected to bring in more than 101,000 passengers and some 50,000 in estimated crew. Secretary   Christina  Frasco of the Department of Tourism (DOT) disclosed this at the  World Cruise Awards on Sunday in Dubai, United Arab Emirates where the Philippines was named Asia’s Best Cruise Destination 2023. In her speech, Frasco said the  award “augurs well for our strategic objective to equalize tourism development, as we put the spotlight on lesser-known destinations by expanding our cruise tourism portfolio to include new tourism destinations in time to come.

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