Philippine Weekly Update

2 - 8 January 2017

January 17, 2017 Philippine Weekly Update

POLITICS

Following President Duterte’s pronouncement of lowering tax rates, the Department of Finance (DOF) revealed that its comprehensive tax-reform package is still on track with the government’s target of being able to implement package one by the third quarter of 2017.


BUSINESS

According to the global technology giant IBM, security will continue to be a major concern in the Philippines with the ongoing digital transformation of large firms and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This digital transformation remains a bright prospect for the multinational, especially with its IBM Security which delivers an integrated system of analytics, real-time defenses and proven experts, Luis Pineda, IBM Philippines president and country general manager, mentioned.

Smart Communications Inc. recently partnered with Nokia to place itself as the first telco in the Philippines to achieve speeds of the future mobile-connection technology, aptly called 5G, by 2020.


ECONOMY

According to Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., despite heightened global uncertainties seen this year, the Philippines’ sound macro fundamentals would shield the domestic economy as the bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas continues to implement additional reforms to further strengthen the banking system.


INVESTMENTS

Investment commitments in 2016 surpassed its target, soaring 20.4 percent to P441.8-billion from the P366.7-billion recorded in the previous year, according to BOI. The jump in investment pledges was driven by the continued confidence of investors with the country’s sustained macroeconomic fundementals and  in President Duterte’s socio-economic agenda, Trade Secretary and BOI chairman Ramon Lopez mentioned.


ENERGY

The Department of Energy (DOE) awarded renewable energy contracts for eight hydropower sites and two geothermal areas auctioned under the second open and competitive selection process (OCSP 2).


ENVIRONMENT

In the first half of 2016, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was seen focusing on protecting the country’s wildlife and its habitat as well as taking steps to counter the ill effects of climate change. During the early part of the year, it declared a 612-hectare property in Misamis Oriental’s Magsaysay town as a critical habitat for hawkbill sea turtles. Almost two months later, the Philippines signed the landmark international climate agreement forged in Paris in December 2015.

 

AGRICULTURE

The DA is strengthening a joint program with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to increase productivity in rice farms which is crucial in developing a national strategy for farming and uplifting the lives of Filipino farmers, according to Agriculture Assistant Secretary Federico Laciste.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is planning to establish a P10-million lacatan (popular variety of banana in the country) nursery in Marinduque to boost production of the fruit in the province.


TOURISM

Philippine Airlines (PAL) launched flights to Incheon, South Korea from Clark International Airport recently, marking the start of overseas operations in the Pampanga air hub. This move aims to decongest Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The Philippines can take a page from Vietnam’s book and use electric vehicles in its tourist areas according to the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP).

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is allotting P100-million this year for the Tourism Industry Skills Program for capacity building activities and training to some 16,000 tourism front liners and stakeholders in the country. This two-year program aims to improve the level of competitiveness of tourism products and services in the country.

After the long-awaited implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 9353, or the Tourism Act of 2009, was finally issued, the Department of Tourism (DOT) expects hundreds of billions in investments in the tourism industry in the next five years,