Philippine Weekly Update

18 - 24 October 2014

October 27, 2014 Philippine Weekly Update

POLITICS

The Department of Justice has created within the Office for Competition an international division tasked to formulate and review strategic international interests concerning competition policy and law.

Senate President Franklin Drilon expects significant progress on the upper chamber’s version of the Fair Competition Act or S.B. 2282, among other measures, before the month ends.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to approve the proposed P2.606-trillion national budget for 2015 on third and final reading in the last week of October.

ECONOMY

The Department of Trade and Industry is optimistic that the Philippines would become by yearend a beneficiary country of the European Union’s new Generalised Scheme of Preferences that will permit more goods to enter the EU market at lower or zero duties.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the country’s balance of payments surplus in September declined on year by 79 percent to $465 million as the year-to-date position remained in deficit.

The BSP approved an increase in local banks’ minimum capital requirement to as much as P20 billion for universal banks with more than 100 branches to further strengthen the local banking system in preparation for ASEAN integration.

The Bureau of Customs’ revenue collections in September increased on year by 27.2 percent to P32.87 billion, 4.9 percent below the agency’s target of P34.56 billion. Total customs collections for the January to September period grew on year by 18 percent to P265.79 billion.

The Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry called on the government to prioritize the adoption of trade facilitation measures to enable the Philippines to participate in advanced economic partnerships such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a free-trade agreement with the EU.

The Philippines, China and other 19 Asian countries signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

INFRASTRUCTURE

The National Economic and Development Authority Board approved P307.22-billion 13 infrastructure and other projects including the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway-Dike project; Metro Manila Interchange construction project Phase VI; operations, maintenance and development projects for Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao and Puerto Princesa Airports; and Davao Sasa port modernization project.

The Department of Budget and Management has released P297 million to the Department of Public Works and Highways for the repair of a farm-to-market road system in Compostela Valley, Davao.

ENERGY

The House Energy Committee has deferred to December its decision on the proposed joint resolution that will grant the President special authority to contract additional generation capacity to avert an anticipated power shortage early next year as the latest Luzon power supply-demand report submitted by the Department of Energy only indicated a minimal shortfall of 21 MW and 31 MW for the first and second weeks of April, respectively, and that there would be enough available supply for the March to June period.

AGRICULTURE

Italy is funding a P2.5-billion Agrarian Reform Community Development Support Program that will benefit more than 53,000 agricultural families in southern Philippines.

The Philippine Statistics Authority said the country’s unmilled rice output in the third quarter would reach 3.01 million metric tons due to higher yield attributed to sufficient water supply, lesser incidences of pests and diseases and more fertilizer usage.

TOURISM

The Department of Tourism said foreign tourist arrivals in August increased by 6.27 percent, bringing the number of tourists for the January to August period to 3.27 million or 2.72 percent more than in the same period last year. An estimated P144 billion in revenues was generated during the period from inbound tourist spending.

PROJECT BIDS

Five consortia have applied to prequalify to bid for the P24.4-billion Bulacan Bulk Water supply project rolled out by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System under the government’s Public-Private Partnership program: First Philippine Holdings and Abeima; Filinvest Development Corp. and Aqua; San Miguel Corp. and Korea Water Resources; Manila Water and Team Polaris; and Prime Water Infrastructure Corp. and Alloy Water.

The Department of Transportation and Communications has extended the deadline for the submission of bids for the first phase of the P9.7-billion LRT-2 viaduct extension project to 14 November (instead of 4 November).

The proposed rebidding of the P35.4-billion Cavite-Laguna expressway project is seen by various fund managers and think tanks to turn off prospective investors.