ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | March 15, 2024

March 15, 2024

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

PHL to grow 6.4% this year — Fitch

Data from Fitch Ratings’ Asia-Pacific Sovereigns Credit Outlook for February showed that the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to expand by 6.4% this year. This will be the fastest growth in Southeast Asia, ahead of Vietnam (6.3%), Indonesia (5%), Malaysia (4.2%), Thailand (3.8%) and Singapore (2.3%).

DBCC may revisit growth targets — Balisacan 

The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) has a “good case” for revisiting its growth targets for this year amid a weaker global economic outlook, NEDA Secretary Balisacan said. Since the start of 2024, Mr. Balisacan said the global economy has not been growing as much as earlier expected. According to the IMF, global growth is projected at 3.1% this year, but risks remain.

Philippines slightly improves in Human Development Index

The Philippines jumped five spots in the latest Human Development Index, but remained one of the laggards in Southeast Asia, the UNDP said. The Philippines ranked 113th out of 193 countries in the UNDP’s index, which measures a country’s health, education and standard of living.

Philippines improves one spot in global connectedness index 

The Philippines inched up a spot in the latest ranking of the most globally connected markets in the world, according to Germany-based logistics giant DHL. In the DHL Global Connectedness Index, the Philippines ranked 65th out of 181 countries, with 2022 as its reference period. In 2021, it ranked 66th in the same index.

Auto industry split on exemption 

Industry players are divided over the grant of incentives on two-wheel electric vehicles (EVs) or motorcycles as well as on hybrid vehicles under a proposed expanded coverage of Executive Order (EO) 12 that waives duties on pure EVs for five years. Commenting on other industry recommendations on the policy, Willy Tee Ten, representing the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and founder of vehicle importer  Autohub Group, said the one- year duty exemption on e-motorycles is too short.

Jobs ‘master plan’ to focus on creatives

The local creative industry would be the top priority in crafting the government’s “master plan” meant to generate more employment in the country and improve the quality of jobs, the state’s socioeconomic planning chief Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said Tuesday. “Our pursuit of policies will be adaptive to the responsibilities of female workers and the evolving work landscape, with a focus on supporting vulnerable sectors, including those in the creative industry,” he added.

Marked fuel program generates P234B in 2023 collections

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) said it generated P234.18 billion last year as a result of the fuel marking program. “The Bureau remains steadfast in combating fuel smuggling. In 2023, the Bureau was able to mark 18.97 billion liters of fuel, resulting in the collection of P234.18 billion worth of taxes,” it said. The program was launched in September 2019 as a component of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law.

DFA’s Migrant Workers Affairs Office renamed to Migrant Affairs Office

The Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) will officially be renamed Office of the Undersecretary for Migration Affairs to focus on policy and non-migrant workers affairs, and end its overlapping mandate with the Department of Migrant Workers. “Because the DMW deals with full migrant workers but if they are tourists, students, or even permanent residents, we still deal with them,” DFA Undersecretary Eduardo De Vega noted.

PHL export earnings grow 9.1% in January 

Trade and Industry Officer in Charge Ceferino S. Rodolfo told reporters on Tuesday that the department welcomed the rebound in the country’s export performance in January 2024.The country’s export earnings grew 9.1 percent in January, a rebound from the contraction of 0.5 percent in December 2023 and 10.6 percent in January 2023. Imports, meanwhile, contracted 7.6 percent, a deeper decline from the 3.5 percent posted in December 2023 and a reversal from the 4.2-percent growth in January 2023.

PCCI to Congress: Go easy on low-carbon tax scheme

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) is calling on Congress to weigh the costs and benefits of the carbon tax and carbon trading system proposed in the Low-carbon bill as well as its potential impact on businesses financially. House Bill 7705 seeks to promote a low-carbon economy by establishing an emission trading system and implementation mechanism to achieve national climate targets. 

‘PHL must leverage mineral wealth on chip firms needs’ 

As a critical mineral-rich country, the Philippines should leverage on global semiconductor companies’ move to establish operations in other countries as they strategize to make their supply chains more resilient, according to US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The Philippines already has 13 semiconductor assembly, testing and packaging facilities. Let’s double it. It’s the moment now of growth. Your country has the talent. You have the historic and the expertise,” Raimondo said.

Vote of trust, confidence: Lawmakers welcome $1-billion US investment commitment to PHL

Lawmakers on Tuesday welcomed the $1 billion in investment commitments from the inaugural United States presidential trade and investment mission to the Philippines, considering such as a vote of trust and confidence in the government. During an official visit to Manila, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced that American companies would invest more than $1 billion in the Philippines.

Economic Cha-cha gets House OK on 2nd reading

The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading Resolution of Both Houses No. 7 (RBH No. 7), which seeks to revise the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution. The measure’s counterpart version at the Senate, RBH No. 6, is still being discussed in the subcommittee on constitutional amendments. Proponents of the bill seek to lift the 40 percent limit on foreign ownership in public services, basic education, and advertising to attract more foreign direct investments to the country.

McKinsey expects PH economy to stay resilient, expand by up to 6.1% in 2024

Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company said it expects the Philippine economy to grow between 5 percent and 6 percent in 2024. It said the Philippines ended 2023 as the fastest-growing economy across Southeast Asia, with a growth rate of 5.6 percent. This was driven by a resumption in commercial activities, increased public infrastructure spending and growth in digital financial services.

New wildlife tech aims to reduce bird strike incidents

The Mastermark’s Aerodrome 360 Framework from Southeast Asia’s largest bird and wildlife specialist company based in Singapore is being introduced in the Philippines to reduce bird strikes in the country’s airports. This followed the strategic collaboration between Mastermark Pte Ltd and Olongapo Maintenance Services (OMSI), which have extensive experience in airport grounds maintenance.

Open-access power, green energy option to be offered in Mindanao this month

Qualified power end-users in Mindanao will be allowed to choose their own electricity supplier with the launch of the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) within the month. In a circular dated March 1, the Department of Energy said that it will start commercial operations of RCOA, as well as the Green Energy Option Program on March 26.

Nuclear power plants seen starting operations by 2032 

The government expects nuclear power to start feeding into the grid by 2032 at the earliest, the Department of Energy (DoE) told a House committee on Wednesday. DoE Director for Energy Policy and Planning Michael O. Sinocruz said the Philippine Energy Plan contemplates the creation of eight small modular reactor units, each capable of producing 150 megawatts (MW), with consolidated energy output of at least 1,200 MW in the next decade.

BIR rules out deduction for stores honoring senior, PWD discounts

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said retailers who plan to honor the expanded discounts planned for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) have no legal basis at the moment to claim tax deductions. Agencies including the Department of Trade and Industry are currently drafting a joint administrative order increasing the discount entitlement for seniors and PWDs purchasing basic necessities and prime commodities.

PHL among most at-risk countries to food security shocks — Moody’s 

Food security risk in the Asia-Pacific region will remain elevated, as climate shocks are expected to persist in the coming years, Moody’s Investors Service said. Moody’s said the region’s food security is at risk due to the rising global demand for food, geopolitical tensions and disruptions to agricultural trade and production. The Philippines and Laos are among Southeast Asian countries that show both “higher exposure to shocks and lower resilience to shocks,” it said.

Mammography, ultrasound now covered by PhilHealth

PhilHealth approved Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa’s proposal to include mammography and ultrasound screening services in its “Konsulta” benefit package. “The target implementation will be by June 2024 or earlier, depending on the completion of operational details, such as IT system enhancements,” said Herbosa.

NEDA urges Filipino workers to upskill, embrace AI tools

NEDA Secretary. Balisacan said that the Trabaho Para sa Bayan (TPB) will be centered on programs that will retool and upskill workers to take advantage of the new opportunities, particularly the AI tools. These tools– varying from Grammarly to Chat GPT– should not be seen as something that would replace workers but an option that will enhance the individual’s employability, Balisacan said.

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