Philippine Weekly Update

11 - 17 October 2014

October 20, 2014Philippine Weekly Update

POLITICS

The Department of Labor and Employment is proposing to Congress a measure that seeks to revise the existing provisions of the Labor Code by specifying penalties for the violation of the rules on the employment of foreign nationals. This follows the unregistered employment of Chinese nationals in a number of projects. ACR-Card holders are not affected.

ECONOMY

Philippine merchandise exports in August increased on year by 10.5 percent to $5.474 billion on the back of the strong performance of electronic products. For the January to August period, the country’s merchandise exports registered a year-on-year 9.2-percent increase to $40.748 billion.

Remittances from overseas Filipino workers in August grew on year by 7.2 percent to $2.274 billion, bringing the eight-month total to $17.232 billion, 6.5 percent higher than the $16.185 billion recorded in the same period in 2013.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P98.5 million to cover the operational requirements of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) in line with government’s efforts to promote quality Philippine exports globally.

BUSINESS

The Financial Intelligence Unit of the Department of Finance will start conducting post-entry audit of import transactions as part of President Aquino’s Customs Reform Agenda.

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is set to require locators, suppliers and contractors of the Subic Bay Freeport to sign the Integrity Pledge in line with its commitment to promote ethical business practices. It is sincerely hoped that other government offices would follow this example.

INVESTMENTS

Investments committed to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority for the January to September period increased on year by 6.18 percent to P148.213 billion.

The Department of Trade and Industry is in discussion with Volkswagen to encourage the automotive firm to consider the Philippines as a manufacturing hub in the region.

INFRASTRUCTURE

The House of Representatives has provided P54 billion in the proposed P2.606-trillion 2015 national budget for the government buyout and takeover of the Metro Rail Transit 3.

ENERGY

The House Energy Committee expects to pass within this month the lower house’s version of the joint resolution authorizing the President to establish additional generating capacity to deal with the imminent power shortage in Luzon next year. Chair Reynaldo Umali said the measure would be up for a vote by 22 October.

The Department of Energy projects that by March 2015 there will be a possible addition in power capacity of 447 megawatts to the Luzon grid as new and rehabilitated power plants come on stream and owing to the committed capacities of private companies under the Interruptible Load Program.

AGRICULTURE

The government has approved the release of P2.3 billion to the Department of Agrarian Reform to fund the implementation of capacity building support services for agrarian reform beneficiaries. The government has also earmarked P86.1 billion for the Agricultural Development Program to ensure food security and further boost self-sufficiency through improved rice production and irrigation, buffer stocking and research and development.

ENVIRONMENT

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the DBM signed a joint circular retaining a substantial portion of revenues generated by protected areas to be used for development activities and efforts to reverse rapid biodiversity loss in the country.

PROJECT BIDS

The National Food Authority has awarded the supply contract for the importation of 500,000 metric tons of rice for buffer stock to Thailand and Vietnam.

The Department of Public Works and Highways has extended the deadline for the submission of prequalification documents for the P123-billion Laguna Lakeshore expressway dike project to 14 January 2015 instead of 16 October 2014 to give bidders more time to form competitive consortia.

ASEAN

A House resolution has been filed urging the Department of Foreign Affairs to call for a single-visa scheme among the 10 ASEAN member states in a bid to boost the Philippine and regional tourism industry.