ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | April 2, 2024

April 02, 2024

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work


The DOLE recently discussed its strategic priorities for 2024 during a courtesy meeting with the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines. Secretary Laguesma tackled key policies and updates on improving the ease of employment of foreign nationals in the country, Department Order 242 on the “Service Charge Law,” the working visa processing of foreigners, developments on the wage hike legislation, and possible areas of cooperation.

EU-Asean council sees 3-year timeline for PHL-EU pact

“So we’re probably looking at a two and a half to three-year timeline perhaps to get this deal over the line. That is already extremely rapid for an FTA negotiation,” Chris Humphrey, Executive Director of the EU-Asean Business Council (EU-ABC) said. “The view is shared by the European chamber in the Philippines is that these talks could actually move pretty swiftly. We’re not seeing any major roadblocks that you might see in other countries in the region,” Humphrey said.

World Bank raises Philippine GDP growth projection for 2025 

In its latest East Asia and Pacific (EAP) Economic Update, the World Bank said it expects Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 5.8% this year, the fastest in Southeast Asia along with Cambodia. The Philippines and Cambodia are seen to expand faster than Vietnam (5.5%), Indonesia (4.9%), Malaysia (4.3%), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (4.0%), Timor-Leste (3.6%), Thailand (2.8%) and Myanmar (1.3%). For 2025, the World Bank raised its GDP forecast for the Philippines to 5.9% from 5.8%.

BSP sees 3.4-4.2% inflation for March

Inflation likely settled within 3.4% to 4.2%, the central bank said. The upper end of the BSP’s forecast could have exceeded the 2-4% target for the first time in three months. The lower end of the forecast would be unchanged from 3.4% in February.

DTI to address constraints as exports fall short of target

Exports of goods and services hit record in 2023 but fell short of the target set under the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2023-2028. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in a statement cited Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas BPM6 data which showed last year’s exports rose 4.8 percent to $103.6 billion in 2023 from $98.83 billion in 2022 but it is $23.2 billion lower than the PEDP target of $126.8 billion for the year.

Senator seeks probe of taxes on cross-border services

“This could hike the cost of doing business in the Philippines, which will further erode the country’s competitiveness in attracting foreign investors,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, who filed Senate Resolution No. 955, said. He was referring to a Jan. 10 memo issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), which imposed taxes on services rendered by nonresident foreign corporations.

Dry season capacity additions to power grid seen topping 300 MW

“We see that we will have approximately more than 300 megawatts of additional supply of electricity. These power plants will enter operations this summer,” Energy Assistant Secretary Mario C. Marasigan said. The new facilities include a coal-fired project with output of about 150 MW. The rest will be supplied by renewables like solar energy, biomass, and hydropower, he said.

‘State-built factory to meet textile-export demand’

Garment industry players are urging the government to build wearable-textile factories to keep up with export orders particularly from the European Union (EU), according to the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport). Philexport Trustee Robert Young said a single factory is all that’s needed.

Securing ‘A’ credit rating difficult as fiscal issues remain

Securing an “A” level sovereign credit rating by the end of the Marcos administration may be difficult as persistent underspending and the lack of reforms to improve revenue generation continue to constrain the Philippines’ growth prospects, analysts said.

Marcos gov’t told to turn to Japan for infra funding

The government of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. should turn to Japan for funding assistance to fast-track stalled infrastructure and development projects initially designed for funding by Chinese loans, according to economists. “The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) remains the nation’s top development partner in the last few years, providing loans and aid to various projects,” Terry L. Ridon, a public investment analyst and convenor of think tank InfraWatch PH.

PHL Jan. debt service up threefold to P159B

The National Government’s (NG) debt service bill more than tripled to P158.898 billion in January as both principal and interest payments rose, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) reported. According to data from the latest Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing, the NG’s debt service program this year is set at P1.91 billion, composed of P670.5 billion in interest payments and P1.24 trillion in amortization payments.

IEMOP: Dry season demand to drive up spot prices

Electricity prices in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) are expected to increase during the dry season this year due to a surge in demand, the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) said. “In terms of the WESM prices, I think it will increase at around P5 to P7 [per kilowatt-hour] since as we can see the demand from February going to March is increasing as the… hot weather increases,” Chris Warren C. Manalo, assistant manager of IEMOP’s market simulation and analysis division, said at a briefing last week.

Vehicle sales accelerate by 23% in February

New vehicle sales jumped by an annual 23.2% in February, the fastest growth in seven months, according to a joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA). The industry report sent Tuesday night showed that vehicle sales increased to 38,072 units in February from 30,905 units in the same month a year ago. At 23.2%, this is the highest year-on-year growth in seven months or since the 33.3% sales growth in July 2023.

FAO grant funds 3 PHL agri feasibility studies for $1 million

The Philippines has received grants worth $1 million from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to support technical cooperation projects focused on the agri-fisheries sector. The Department of Agriculture (DA) said that the projects involve agrifood system transformation, protection for El Niño-affected areas, and aquaculture and seaweed production.

PPP rules must consider LGU officials’ short tenures — PCCI

THE short tenures of local officials could pose a challenge in implementing Public-Private Partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects at the local level, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said. PCCI President Enunina V. Mangio said in a Viber message that local projects must be weighed with an eye towards the short terms in office for local officials. “The budgetary commitment may be compromised with frequent changes of administration. In the past PPP projects tended to overrun cost projections, and government was saddled with debt servicing,” Ms. Mangio said.

Philippines expected to ratify South Korea FTA by midyear

The Philippines could ratify the free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea by the middle of the year, with no issues expected to arise from the deal, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Trade Undersecretary and Board of Investments Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said the timeline takes into account the runup to the South Korean elections.

CREATE MORE’s WFH features seen attracting talent to IT-BPM industry

AN AMENDMENT permitting alternative work arrangements under a law designed to revive the post-pandemic economy will help attract talent to the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) industry, an industry official said, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) President and Chief Executive Officer Jack Madrid said the amendment to the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act allowing IT-BPM employees to work from home will also help in employee retention.

House remains firm on ‘Cha-cha’ despite public resistance in Pulse poll

THE HOUSE of Representatives leadership reaffirmed its support for Charter change (“Cha-cha”) despite a Pulse Asia Research, Inc. poll last month showing 74% of Filipinos are against it regardless of timing. Foreign ownership restrictions in power utilities, education and advertising must be lifted to attract foreign direct investments (FDI), Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. David C. Suarez said in a statement on Sunday.

Infra spending hits P1.2T

The government’s expenditures for infrastructure soared to P1.2 trillion last year, posting a double-digit increase year-on-year as well as versus target. Data released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed expenditures for infrastructure and other capital outlays surpassed the P1.04 trillion program by 16.2 percent. It also saw a year-on-year increase of 18.7 percent versus the P1.02 trillion spent in 2022.

Manufacturing posts modest growth in March

The manufacturing sector posted a modest improvement in March, as output slides into contraction for the first time since July 2022. The headline S&P Global Philippines Manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, an indicator of manufacturing performance, remained broadly unchanged from 51 in February to 50.9 in March. The report said the latest reading marked a seventh consecutive monthly improvement in operating conditions across the Philippines’ manufacturing sector, although one was modest overall.

Only 1% of PH firms ready vs cyberthreats

In Cisco’s 2024 Cybersecurity readiness index in the Philippines, 1 percent of organizations are at the mature stage of readiness, 35 percent are at the progressive stage, 61 percent are formative and 3 percent are beginners. The Philippines’ readiness is   lower than the global cybersecurity readiness index with only 3 percent of respondent organizations qualify for the mature category.

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