• By Beatrice M. Laforga, May 27, 2020; Business World https://www.bworldonline.com/dbm-sees-only-p130-billion-in-budget-realignments-for-stimulus The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the government has about P130 billion on hand from savings and budget realignments with which to fund stimulus measures, much less than various proposals now being considered in Congress. Undersecretary Laura B. Pascua told BusinessWorld that the total comes from national government savings and suspended programs, activities or projects (PAPs) from 2020 and leftover funds from 2019’s General Appropriations Act (GAA). “We can only find funding for them from savings from discontinued PAPS from the 2019 & 2020 GAA. Hence, the economic Read More…

  • By Filane Mikee Cervantes, May 26, 2020; Philippine News Agency https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1103931 MANILA – The House Defeat Covid-19 Committee (DCC) approved on Tuesday an economic stimulus package worth around PHP1.3 trillion to help the economy recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, the chairperson of the DCC, said the proposed Philippine Economic Stimulus Act (PESA) aims to restore economic growth, maintain employment levels, and expand the productive capacity of the country in the aftermath of Covid-19. “The economic stimulus program is meant to ensure business operations and job retention in this time of Covid-19 pandemic,” Romualdez Read More…

  • By Ian Nicolas Cigaral, March 31, 2020; The Philippine Star https://www.philstar.com/business/2020/03/31/2004536/world-bank-follows-rest-paints-bleaker-growth-outlook-due-covid-19 Manila, Philippines — Consistent with government projections, the World Bank becomes the latest institution to sharply lower its projections for the Philippine economy, a picture also painted across East Asia and the Pacific battling the effects of the global coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In its latest report detailing the impact of COVID-19 in the region, the multilateral lender forecasts the local economy to either grow 3% under a “baseline scenario” or contract by as much as 0.6% under a “lower case scenario.” The economy grew 5.9% in 2019. The Read More…

  • By Jovee Marie de la Cruz, April 1, 2020; Business Mirror http://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/04/01/govt-to-activate-network-hubs-to-ensure-sufficient-supply-of-food-during-ecq/ The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) is setting up a network “hubs” to address supply chain concerns and bottlenecks in the supply, distribution and movement of essential goods and services, amid the implementation of an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, President Duterte said, even as he assured that the country’s food supplies will last up to 75 days. In an 18-page report dated March 30 to Congress as mandated by the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, President Duterte said these “hubs” would serve as a network Read More…

  • By Ben O. de Vera, March 30, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer https://business.inquirer.net/293680/ph-eyes-aiib-health-infra-financing The Philippines is con­sidering the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) pitch to finance more health infrastructure across the region in order to better respond to future health crises. “Together with the Department of Health, we will evaluate the AIIB’s offer, as future-proofing our health care system is definitely a key element in our program,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said. Last week, the Beijing-based AIIB, in which the Philippines is a founding member, said it was “working to scale up infrastructure investment—including in public health, healthcare and Read More…

  • By National Economic and Development Authority, March 29, 2020; National Economic and Development Authority http://www.neda.gov.ph/neda-urges-lgus-outside-ncr-to-better-combat-covid-19/ Local government units (LGUs) outside the National Capital Region must effectively implement better strategies to contain the spread of COVID-19 in their respective localities, the National Economic and Development Authority said. “COVID–19 is a novel coronavirus, which means that there is a lot that we do not know about it. Extensive monitoring and health surveillance systems need to be undertaken to build the knowledge base, so that prevention, management and treatment can be improved. LGUs can help in the conduct of these systems. Smart LGUs Read More…

  • By Luz Wendy T. Noble and Beatrice M. Laforga, March 30, 2020; Business World https://www.bworldonline.com/phl-may-go-into-recession-diokno/ The Philippine economy could go into recession this year, central bank Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said on Sunday, as the coronavirus pandemic brings everything to a standstill. “We’re looking at negative to maybe 1% [growth] given this development,” he told the ABS-CBN News Channel. The global economy has now entered a recession — a period of economic decline where output falls for two successive quarters — that could be as bad or worse than the 2009 downturn, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva Read More…

  • By Czeriza Valencia, March 25, 2020; The Philippine Star https://www.philstar.com/business/2020/03/25/2003170/neda-warns-lower-negative-gdp-growth Manila, Philippines — The prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 crisis will likely slow down Philippine economic growth this year to a range of between negative 0.6 up to 4.3 percent this year, if the adverse impact of the contagion on the economy is felt until June, according to a report by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). In the report, titled “Addressing the Social and Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” the country’s lead socioeconomic planning agency said the combined effects on both the supply and demand side Read More…

  • By National Economic and Development Authority, March 24, 2020; National Economic and Development Authority http://www.neda.gov.ph/seamless-coordination-comprehensive-plan-needed-to-mitigate-impact-of-covid-19-neda/ Well-coordinated measures guided by a comprehensive plan are crucial to contain the spread of the COVID-19 and to mitigate its social and economic impact, the National Economic and Development Authority said. “This public health emergency brought about by COVID-19 shows us how crucial it is for us to have a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach in addressing this challenge,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia. “The response measures should delicately balance the health and economic objectives, particularly as the impact varies by economic class. Otherwise, Read More…

  • By Cai Ordinario, March 23, 2020; Business Mirror http://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/03/23/msmes-import-export-bloc-need-%e2%82%a733-2b/ To cope with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) as well as large firms that export and/or import would require a bailout of P33.2 billion this year, according to estimates by economists from the University of the Philippines. In a discussion paper titled “Vulnerable to the Virus: Globally Oriented Manufacturing Firms at Risk From the Spread of Covid-19,” UP School of Economics assistant professor Karl Jandoc; UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies Research Associate Adrian Mendoza; and Representative of the 2nd District of Marikina Stella Read More…

  • By Ben O. de Vera, March 20, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer https://business.inquirer.net/293053/dbm-gives-agencies-more-time-to-submit-2021-budget-proposals-online-amid-covid-19-pandemic Manila, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has given agencies more time to submit their 2021 budget proposals while enjoining them to do so online amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado on March 17 said via National Budget Memorandum (NBM) No. 134 that the Online Submission of Budget Proposals System (OSBPS) will be accessible and operational during the one-month enhanced community quarantine of Luzon, which will end on April 13. “Since it is a web-based system, agencies shall continue to have access Read More…

  • By Melissa Luz Lopez, March 19, 2020; CNN Philippines https://cnnphilippines.com/business/2020/3/19/BSP-rate-cut-coronavirus.html Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 19) — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) slashed interest rates by half a percent on Thursday, in a bid to spur the economy amid the slowdown due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno announced that the Monetary Board pulled down the key interest rate to 3.25 percent, 50 basis points (bp) lower than the current level to lower cost of borrowings that can in turn encourage more business activities that could soften the impact of the coronavirus. “With a manageable inflation Read More…

  • By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat, March 19, 2020; Manila Bulletin https://business.mb.com.ph/2020/03/19/business-urges-govt-to-grant-tax-holidays-relief-measures/ Business groups have urged government to grant tax holidays and relief measures to industries to help mitigate the economic impact brought about by this month-long lockdown in Luzon to fight the local transmission of COVID-19. In a statement, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) headed by Ambassador Benedicto V. Yujuico has identified 14-point recommendations to the government. The Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands president Jose Luis Yulo Jr. also urged government urged to grant tax holidays and extend deadline for tax filing of taxes until such time Read More…

  • By CNN Philippines Staff, March 18, 2020; CNN Philippines https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/3/18/world-bank-ph-coronavirus-loan0.html Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 18) — The World Bank has provided the country a loan of $100 million to help fight the coronavirus disease pandemic, the Department of Finance said Wednesday. The DOF said the amount is a “fast-track loan” which the country can receive in “a matter of weeks.” The loan will enable the Department of Health to procure more personal protective equipment for health workers and testing materials, it added. The country is also eligible for a waiver for the first year of commitment fees. On March Read More…

  • By Cai Ordinario, March 20, 2020; Business Mirror http://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/03/20/study-finds-weak-spots-in-governments-health-decentralization-program/ Insufficient health budgets prevent local government units (LGUs) from improving health services in their respective localities according to a study released by the state-owned think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). In a study, titled Fiscal Decentralization and Health Service Delivery: An Assessment, PIDS Supervising Research Specialist Janet S. Cuenca said this is due to the mismatch between the cost of devolution and the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of LGUs. “The findings of the DID [difference-in-differences] analysis suggest that greater health decentralization has negative impact on access to hospital inpatient Read More…

  • By BusinessMirror, March 17, 2020; Business Mirror http://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/03/17/bsp-seen-to-cut-rates-by-25-bp-on-virus-woes/ The Monetary Board (MB) might trim the interest rates of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) by 25 basis points (bp) this week to aid the economy currently in slump due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. In an economic research, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. said that the policy cut was backed by declining inflation rate and “easing of external monetary conditions.” The possible interest rate cut, JPMorgan said, would bring the overnight reverse repurchase (RRP) rate to 3.5 percent. In February, MB cut BSP’s RRP by 25 bp to 3.75 percent, Read More…

  • By Cai Ordinario, March 16, 2020; Business Mirror http://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/03/16/government-announces-p27-1-billion-stimulus-package-to-fight-covid-19/ The Duterte administration has announced a P27.1 billion package to finance efforts to fight 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The largest chunk of the package is P14 billion for programs and projects of the Department of Tourism (DOT) amounting to P14 billion from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) to support the tourism industry. The smallest allocation was P1 billion for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for its Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-Asenso (P3) Microfinancing special loan package of the Small Business Corp. (SBC) for affected micro entrepreneurs/micro, Read More…

  • By Cai Ordinario, March 11, 2020; Business Mirror http://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/03/11/phl-affirms-goal-of-11-poverty-rate-despite-virus/ The President’s economic team played down the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) on the country’s poverty rate, saying the Philippines remains on track to cut poverty to 11 percent by 2022. In a briefing on Tuesday, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said the impact of COVID-19 would be “transitory, if at all.” The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said around 66 firms have implemented adjusted work arrangements and 19 of them temporarily stopped operation due to COVID-19. “The estimated job losses Read More…

  • By CNN Philippines Staff, March 10, 2020; CNN Philippines https://cnnphilippines.com/business/2020/3/10/House-approves-public-service-act-amendments.html Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 10) – The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on final reading the bill which will amend the decades-old Commonwealth Act No. 146 or the Public Service Act, lifting foreign ownership limits in certain sectors. House Bill No. 78, authored by House Ways and Means Committee chairperson Joey Ma. Salceda, received 146 approval votes, 43 voted against the bill, and one abstention. If approved into law, the bill will also open the telecommunications and transport sectors to foreign ownership. The 1987 Constitution provides that 60-percent Read More…

  • By Louise Maureen Simeon, March 8, 2020; The Philippine Star https://www.philstar.com/business/agriculture/2020/03/08/1998953/year-tariffication-farmers-feel-worse-off Urdaneta, Pangasinan, Philippines –Sixty-five year old Pepito Parahas has been farming for 40 years and last year has been by far the most difficult with palay (unhusked rice) prices hitting record lows. The farmgate price for palay plunged to P10 per kilo – the lowest level Parahas has ever seen in four decades of tilling the soil – from its peak of P23 in September 2018. The passage of the Rice Tariffication Law in February 2019, which the Duterte administration and its political allies said would help farmers improve Read More…

  • By Mary Grace Padin, March 9, 2020; The Philippine Star https://www.philstar.com/business/2020/03/09/1999184/economic-cluster-discuss-covid-19-impact Manila, Philippines — The Duterte administration’s Economic Development Cluster is set to meet tomorrow to discuss the potential economic impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Department of Finance (DOF). In a press briefing last Friday, Finance Secretary and cluster head Carlos Dominguez said the economic cluster would examine COVID-19’s impact, particularly on tourism, manufacturing and construction. “We’re meeting on Tuesday, the Economic Development Cluster (EDC) to really take a look at the potential impact on the different sectors of our society, including tourism, Read More…

  • By Ben O. de Vera,March 7, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer https://business.inquirer.net/292034/boc-modernization-project-okd Economic managers on Friday green-lighted the planned P5.5-billion project to mo­dernize the Bureau of Customs (BOC) which was aimed at further boosting the government’s tax revenue. The National Economic and Development Authority’s (Neda) Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee approved the Philippines Customs Moder­nization Project, which would be partly financed by the Washington-based World Bank, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said after their meeting. The World Bank will finance the bulk or 84.5 percent of the project. World Bank documents had shown that its board was sche­duled to approve the Read More…

  • By Ben O. de Vera, March 5, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer https://business.inquirer.net/291870/pernia-resuming-talks-with-banned-donor-countries-to-benefit-infra-buildup Manila, Philippines — Resuming the negotiations for loans and grants from the 21 countries that wanted to scrutinize the Philippines’ human rights record will help the government’s infrastructure development push, the country’s chief economist said. The Duterte administration last year deferred talks for financing deals from countries that voted for or supported the United Nations’ probe of alleged human rights abuses in the Philippines due to its war on illegal drugs, but lifted this suspension last week. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told the Inquirer on Wednesday Read More…

  • By Leila B. Salaverria, March 5, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer https://business.inquirer.net/291840/ban-lifted-on-loans-from-18-countries Manila, Philippines — Malacañang is now open to getting loans and grants from countries that had backed Iceland’s resolution in the Human Rights Council seeking an investigation into the rights situation in the Philippines. A Feb. 27 memorandum from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea lifted the suspension of negotiations and the signing of loans and grant agreements with the 18 countries that cosponsored and voted in favor of the July 11, 2019, Iceland resolution. On Aug. 27 last year, the country suspended negotiations for loans and grants with Argentina, Australia, Read More…

  • By Angelie Villapando and Kate Shiene Agna and ARTA, March 4, 2020; Philippine Information Agency https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1035675 The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) launches its flagship program NEHEMIA aimed at reducing costs and processes in government transactions in order to help speed up the socio-economic agenda of the Duterte Administration. Program NEHEMIA or National Effort for the Harmonization of Efficient Measures of Inter-related Agencies is a sectoral-based streamlining effort which targets to reduce the time, cost, requirements, and procedures in sectors of economic and social significance by 52% within 52 weeks. “Through the reforms that will be created by Program NEHEMIA, we Read More…

  • By Business Mirror, March 4, 2020; Business Mirror https://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/03/04/covid-19-prompts-fitch-to-cut-growth-forecast/ International think tank Fitch Solutions has cut its growth forecast of the Philippine economy for 2020, as the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is likely to affect four of the country’s main economic streams. Fitch Solutions—the research arm of Fitch Group—said in an announcement on Tuesday that it has lowered its projection for Philippine economic growth to 6 percent, down from the earlier forecast of 6.3 percent. “We expect the Covid-19 outbreak to weigh on growth in the first half of 2020. As such, we have lowered our 2020 growth forecast […] to Read More…

  • By Consuelo Marquez, March 3, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1236457/pasay-govt-installs-online-application-for-building-permits Application for building permits in Pasay can now be done online to fast-track business transactions in the city. In a statement on Tuesday, Pasay Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano said the online process would allow anyone to apply for building permits through their personal computers. “They no longer need to go back and forth in city hall just to comply with certain requirements,” the mayor said. The online application form for a building permit can be accessed at “Xerxys” which can be found at pasay.gov.ph. Digitalization of permit application is in compliance Read More…

  • By Bernadette D. Nicolas, March 2, 2020; Business Mirror http://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/03/02/govt-share-to-adb-grant-fund-seen-to-bolster-regional-growth/ The Philippine government’s first-ever contribution to a grant facility of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will not only bolster the economic growth of the country but also that of the Asia-Pacific region, the finance chief believes. In a statement on Sunday, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the growth of least developed countries (LDCs) will provide the Philippines and the rest of the region with new potential markets to further boost domestic and regional economic expansion. Dominguez added the Philippines’ contribution to Asian Development Fund (ADF) is set to Read More…

  • By Melissa Luz Lopez, March 3, 2020; CNN Philippines https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/3/3/Bribery-corruption-fraud-PwC.html Bribery and corruption in the Philippines have spiked in the last two years, with a fifth of businesses saying they were made to pay grease money, a global survey disclosed. A study done by PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC, showed that 42 percent of companies reported experiencing fraud in the past two years, losing anywhere between $5 million and $50 million (about ₱254 million to ₱2.54 billion) since 2018. A total of 101 businesses were covered by the survey, which involved a balanced mix of local firms and multinational companies. Of them, Read More…

  • By Cai Ordinario, March 2, 2020; Business Mirror http://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/03/02/sufficient-data-budget-to-help-improve-irrigation-systems-study/ Adequate data and the provision of “realistic” resources would help improve irrigation systems, according to a study released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies. The study, titled “Assessing the Resurgent Irrigation Development Program of the Philippines-National Irrigation Systems [NIS] Component,” said data on potential irrigable areas have been inadequate, particularly on field-based information on soil texture and land suitability. Resources have also been lacking particularly for the operation and maintenance (O&M) of irrigation systems, as well as the completion of irrigation projects. “NIA [National Irrigation Administration] should allocate realistic resources Read More…

  • By Roy Stephen C. Canivel, February 29, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer https://business.inquirer.net/291546/one-stop-shop-for-one-person-firms-launched The Anti-Red Tape Authority (Arta) launched a one-stop shop for one-person corporations in a bid to streamline business applications in the country. Arta inaugurated the National Business One-Stop Shop (NBOSS) on Friday, which puts offices of five government agencies in one location. The agencies are the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig). The first NBOSS is located at the Philippine International Convention Center. Trade and Industry Read More…

  • By Czeriza Valencia, March 1, 2020; The Philippine Star https://www.philstar.com/business/2020/03/01/1997080/more-lgus-take-interest-ppp-projects Manila, Philippines — More local government units (LGUs) have expressed interest in pursuing projects through public-private partnership (PPP) by reaching out to the government for technical assistance. Three LGUs recently signed with the PPP Center a memorandum of agreement for collaboration in terms of project assistance, capacity building, and drafting or review of PPP/joint venture ordinance, policies and guidelines. These agreements also outline the duties and responsibilities of both parties during the course of PPP project development and implementation. The government is offering to the private sector the rehabilitation of Read More…

  • By Krissy Aguilar, February 27, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1234079/duterte-orders-elimination-of-overregulation-to-hasten-govt-processes Manila, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered government agencies to eliminate overregulation to hasten its processes and improve the ease of doing business in the country. Duterte, through Administrative Order No. 23, said all processes in excess including those which are “redundant or burdensome” to the public shall be removed. “They shall retain only such steps, procedures, and requirements as may be necessary to fulfill their legal mandates and policy objectives,” Duterte said in his order signed last Feb. 21 which was made public Thursday. “The imposition of tedious Read More…

  • By Romina Cabrera, February 22, 2020; The Philippine Star https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/02/22/1995121/strengthen-public-institutions-first-foreign-ownership Manila, Philippines — Public institutions have to be strengthened first before any constitutional amendment to open up the country’s economy to foreign ownership should be considered, political analysts said. Speaking with One News’ “The Chiefs”, Edmund Tayao of the Ateneo School of Government said there could be a problem regulating foreign companies if they are given free rein once economic limitations are lifted. “We have weak public institutions. Before you open up, you have to make sure your institutions can rein in these foreign companies coming in. Our institutions are Read More…

  • By Filane Mikee Cervantes, February 18, 2020; Philippine News Agency https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1094146 Manila — The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on second reading a measure amending the 84-year-old Public Service Act. The chamber passed via voice vote House Bill No. 78, which seeks to provide a clear statutory definition of a public utility. Under the bill, public utility refers to a “person that operates, manages, and controls for public use” any of the following: electricity distribution, electricity transmission, and water pipeline distribution or sewerage pipeline system. The bill also proposes that the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretariat, in Read More…

  • By Mary Grace Padin, February 15, 2020; The Philippine Star https://www.philstar.com/business/2020/02/15/1993167/bir-partners-paymaya-digital-tax-payments MANILA, Philippines — In another effort to make its services more convenient for Filipinos, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) yesterday officially welcomed PayMaya as a new digital channel where taxpayers can easily pay their taxes. According to the BIR, individual taxpayers may now use the PayMaya mobile app to settle their tax payments, making the process more convenient and accessible for Filipinos. Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Lanee David said the initiative is part of the BIR’s journey to becoming a digitally transformed government institution by 2030. “Over the Read More…

  • By Emme Rose S. Santiagudo, February 16, 2020; Business World https://www.bworldonline.com/house-panel-approves-iloilo-ecozone-and-free-port-bill Iloilo City — A bill creating the Metro Iloilo Special Economic Zone and Freeport Authority has been approved at committee level in the House of Representatives. Iloilo City Rep. Julienne L. Baronda said House Bill 5794 or the proposed Act Creating the Metro Iloilo Special Economic Zone (MILOECOZONE) and Freeport Authority, was passed on Feb. 11 by both the House committee on economic affairs and the committee on trade and industry. “By giving the Ilonggos your respective seals of approval, you are letting us get closer to our dream Read More…

  • By Bernadette D. Nicolas, February 17, 2020; Business Mirror http://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/02/17/with-industries-hurting-virus-seen-to-hit-tax-take/ The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is expecting to lose billions in tax revenue as different industries are already hurting from the impact of the novel coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19). BIR Officer in Charge-Assistant Commissioner Manuel V. Mapoy of the Large Taxpayers Service (LTS) told the BusinessMirror that they are looking at a “very gloomy” picture, especially in the tourism and the gaming industry. Mapoy said several large taxpaying industry players, particularly hotels, malls, and even a distributor or manufacturer of alcoholic products, have informed them that they are experiencing weak Read More…

  • By Arjay L. Balinbin, February 13, 2020; Business World https://www.bworldonline.com/lrt-1-cavite-extension-on-track-to-partly-operate-by-end-2021 Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC), operator of Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1), said it is on track to meet the Department of Transportation’s (DoTr) timeline to open the first phase of the Cavite extension project for partial operations by the last quarter of next year. “The DoTr is pushing us to finish as early as possible. I think kaya naman (it’s possible) based on the timeline nila (of the department). They requested to finish by next year. We are coordinating with them. Right now it seems na kaya naman Read More…

  • BY Ben O. de Vera, February 13, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer https://business.inquirer.net/290388/govt-hopeful-on-hitting-2020-growth-target While first-quarter growth would take a hit from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), the country’s chief economist sees domestic consumption and public infrastructure spending compensating for an expected slowdown in inbound tourist arrivals. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told reporters that if the new virus persisted longer, then it would also weaken global economic growth. “It will affect exports—our exports to China will be curtailed,” said Pernia, who heads the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda). Pernia noted that the Philippines mostly shipped Read More…

  • By Beatrice M. Laforga, February 11, 2020; Business World https://www.bworldonline.com/govt-agencies-2019-fund-utilization-unchanged-at-97-despite-budget-delay The fund utilization rate posted by government agencies remained at 97% in 2019, despite the delayed budget passage last year, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). The indicator, as measured by usage of a DBM fund-release mechanism known as the Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA), was 97% during the last two quarters of the year, down from the 99% and 98% performance during the first and second quarters, respectively. DBM Undersecretary Laura B. Pascua said the high levels of fund utilization were “proof of (the) catching up Read More…

  • By Czeriza Valencia, February 12, 2020; The Philippine Star https://www.philstar.com/business/2020/02/12/1992295/bill-turning-neda-cabinet-level-agency-passes-house-committee Manila, Philippines — The House committee on economic affairs yesterday approved the bill that will turn the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) into a Cabinet-level department with greater powers over socioeconomic planning activities and increased resources. The bill, also known as the “Economics and Development Planning Act of 2020,” authored by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, will turn NEDA into the Department of Economics and Development Planning (DEDP), which will serve as the country’s primary agency for socioeconomic planning and investment programming. NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said as such, NEDA Read More…

  • By Beatrice M. Laforga, February 10, 2020; Business World https://www.bworldonline.com/bsp-seen-cutting-rates-by-25-bps-after-march J.P. Morgan said it expects the Monetary Board to further reduce benchmark interest rates by 25 basis points (bps) next quarter to stimulate the economy in response to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) outbreak. In its “Global Watch: Asia” Economic Research note published yesterday, the bank said the outbreak could further magnify downside risks to economic growth, first manifesting in the “lackluster capex (capital expenditure) outlook this year.” “In our view, downside risk to GDP (gross domestic product) growth has intensified owing to potential economic impact from the current 2019-nCov outbreak Read More…

  • By Genalyn Kabiling, February 10, 2020; Manila Bulletin https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/02/10/govt-to-create-cabinet-cluster-on-ncov/ A small cluster of Cabinet Secretaries will be created to oversee government efforts in looking after the health of the people as well as the local economy amid the threat posed by the new coronavirus. As the government moves to curb the spread of the respiratory illness, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the new Cabinet group includes the Secretaries of Health, Trade and Industry, Tourism, Finance, and Communications Departments. “We really need to manage the situation. We really need to make sure na everybody is safe and secure,” he said over Read More…

  • BY Cai Ordinario, February 11, 2020; Business Mirror http://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/02/11/psa-data-show-spike-in-phl-maternal-deaths/ With only a decade left to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the number of women dying from childbirth in the country increased, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed. The data further showed maternal deaths increased to 1,616 in 2018 compared to 1,484 in 2017, or a two year high when maternal deaths reached 1,721 in 2015. Based on the SDGs, countries must bring down the number of maternal deaths to 70 per 100,000 live births. In the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), the Duterte administration aims to bring Read More…

  • By Tina G. Santos, February 7, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer https://technology.inquirer.net/96067/test-run-of-mobile-voting-app-approved The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has approved the test run of a mobile application that will allow people to cast their votes online in future polls. “The @Comelec En Banc has approved a test of mobile app voting to see if it is useful for overseas voting etc.,” Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said in her Twitter account (@commrguanzon). The Comelec official said the mobile voting app may also be tapped for future use by voters belonging to vulnerable sectors, such as persons with disability, the elderly and pregnant women.

  • By Butch Fernandez, February 5, 2020; Business Mirror http://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/02/05/senators-mull-over-shift-from-neda-board-to-council/ The Senate started committee consideration on Tuesday of two related bills separately filed by Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Imee Marcos to convert the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) into a council “to be headed by the President.” Gatchalian, chairman of the Committee on Economic Affairs, was earlier tasked to conduct hearings on Senate Bill 169, which he authored, and Senate Bill 1256 filed by Marcos, which have similar titles. SB 169 carries the title “An Act institutionalizing the National Economic and Development Authority as the independent economic and planning agency Read More…

  • By Raymund Antonio, February 4, 2020; Manila Bulletin https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/02/04/govt-focuses-anti-hunger-efforts-on-32-priority-provinces/ The Duterte administration is focusing on reducing hunger incidence in “32 priority provinces” by 2022, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Tuesday. Nograles, head of the anti-hunger task force, said the government set a target of a 25 percent decrease in the number of Filipinos experiencing hunger by the end of President Duterte’s term. “One of our action plans is to prioritize the 32 provinces because if we will be able to do that, I think we will be able to meet our goals,” Nograles said at the Pandesal Forum held Read More…

  • By Renzo Acosta, February 3, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1223416/opening-of-skyway-stage-3-delayed-due-to-recent-fire Manila, Philippines – The opening of the Skyway Stage 3 will be delayed until July due to damage caused by the recent Pandacan fire, said San Miguel Corporation (SMC) in a statement on Monday. “Rest assured, we will work 24/7 to endeavor to complete the entire project in five months,” SMC President Ramon Ang said. “This is just a 3-month delay from the original opening target.” According to SMC, their initial investigation showed that the fire was a “freak accident” that emanated from a construction yard that eventually spread to Read More…

  • By Maila Ager, February 3, 2020; Philippine Daily Inquirer https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1223409/senate-resolution-asking-duterte-to-rethink-vfa-abrogation-filed Manila, Philippines — A resolution was filed in the Senate on Monday requesting President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his planned revocation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States pending its review by the chamber. Senate Resolution No. 312 was initiated by Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Senator Panfilo Lacson, and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon. Sotto, in a text message, said he expects that “most, if not all” members of the chamber would support the resolution. “A careful deliberation of these matters must Read More…