April 16, 2021
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lifted a moratorium on new mineral agreements imposed in 2012, reopening the door to fresh mining investments as he seeks to boost state revenues to fund infrastructure projects and other initiatives. The executive order directs the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to formulate the terms and conditions in the new mineral agreements in order to maximise government revenues.
The House of Representatives will start deliberating next week the proposed Bayanihan 3 law that would provide another round of economic stimulus to businesses and cash assistance or ayuda to workers and low-income families affected by the pandemic. House leaders said the measure is expected to immediately pass the committee level in time for the plenary debate when session resumes on May 17.
The number of people dying of the coronavirus disease in Metro Manila has increased three-fold in recent weeks, OCTA Research Group revealed. Citing data from the Department of Health (DOH), the group noted that the case fatality rate (CFR) in the National Capital Region (NCR) was at 5.36 percent from March 28 to April 13, up from 1.82 percent recorded since the pandemic started.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P3.514 trillion to state offices and local government units (LGUs) as of end-March, and implemented cuts to the Agriculture and Education departments’ budgets, latest data from the agency showed. The amount released so far accounts for 78% of the P4.5-trillion national budget this year. This leaves P991.596 billion left to be released for the next nine months.
The measure amending the bank secrecy law is not part of the list of priorities identified by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) for passage within the next few months. However, Mr. Cua, chairman of the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries, said it is still “very possible” to approve the measure before 2022.
An official of the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday admitted that the Philippines is still well short of its vaccination target of inoculating 70 percent of the country’s population against Covid-19 this year. With the arrival of the additional 500,000 additional doses last Sunday, the DOH said that the total available doses in the country are now over 3 million doses, off which 93 percent have been distributed to different regions. This means a total of 2,801,020 doses have been distributed throughout the country.
In a virtual press conference on Asia Pacific economic developments late Tuesday, IMF Acting Director of the Asia and Pacific Department Jonathan Ostry cautioned of a weaker economic recovery, especially in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-5 bloc due to rising cases. Ostry particularly cited the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia as countries who are at risk to this scenario.
The proposed circular, which outlines the rules and documentary requirements for corporate dissolution, does not cover banks, banking, and quasi-banking institutions. It also does not cover preneed, insurance and trust companies, non-stock savings and loan associations, pawnshops, and other financial intermediaries, unless their dissolution is accompanied by “a favorable recommendation of the appropriate government agency.
President Duterte created the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Streamlining of Government Processes under Executive Order No. 129. The Presidential Adviser on Streamlining of Government Processes shall recommend to the President or the Anti-Red Tape Authority evidence-based policies and programs that would cut red tape in the Executive branch and local government units to expedite the delivery of services to Filipinos, the order read.
ARTA and other government agencies on Tuesday signed a joint memorandum circular (JMC) to standardize the online business registration process that would slash the number of required application forms to just one. Under the circular, all LGUs have to set up the electronic business one-stop shop or automate their business processing and licensing systems by June 17.
Public elementary and high schools should be used as isolation and vaccination centers only as a last resort, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said. She said schools being used as isolation or vaccination centers must be managed by local government units and activities would not be done simultaneously in one school.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. yesterday warned the public to brace for another surge in COVID-19 infections by June or July. While the government has started the mass inoculation program, he said the efficacy of the vaccines would be determined six to nine months after the start of the vaccination rollout.
Malacañang on Tuesday said it respects the plan of some senators to overturn President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to temporarily reduce the tariff rates on imported pork products. This, after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Cynthia Villar and Francis Pangilinan expressed their intent to revoke Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 128 through a joint resolution of Congress.
The updated list of financing that the DOF obtained to boost the COVID-19 war chest as of April 8 included the loans amounting to $500 million from the Washington-based World Bank, $400 million from the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB), and $300 million from the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). All three new loans were signed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on behalf of the government last month.
The Philippines is negotiating to secure 20 million to 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from American drugmaker Pfizer-BioNTech, the country’s vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said. Apart from these vaccines which will be procured by the government, the Philippines is also expecting to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 shots from the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility in the second quarter of this year.
Net inflows of foreign direct investments (FDI) surged by 41.5% to $961 million in January from $679 million a year earlier and nearly double the $509 million in December, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed. This was the biggest monthly FDI inflow since the $1.362 billion logged in December 2019, just before the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak started spreading around the world.
Latest DBM data showed infrastructure and other capital outlays jumped by 23.1% year on year to P56.1 billion in February. This was also 9.4% higher than the P51.3 billion spent in January. This brought total infrastructure spending to P107.4 billion for the two months, 14.4% higher than the same period a year ago.
In a memorandum circular uploaded on the SEC website, the corporate regulator said the deadline for audited financial statements for the calendar year ending Dec. 31, 2020 had been moved to May 17, 2021 from April 15, 2021. The SEC said the extended deadline is “without prejudice to the schedule on the filing of audited financial statements as may be required by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).”
A third round of economic stimulus is likely to be enacted and Congress is currently exploring with economic managers how to fund it without adding to the budget deficit, including withdrawing retained earnings from government corporations, the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on ways and means said. The third Bayanihan bill aims to support the economic recovery with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic remaining uncontained. Bayanihan III follows the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which was signed on March 24, 2020, and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, which was signed on Sept. 11.
National Economic and Development Authority Undersecretary Rose Edillion presented the subgroups under the A4 priority group. They will be vaccinated after the ongoing inoculation of senior citizens and people with co-morbidities. Conspicuously absent from the list are media workers, a change from previous lists of priority sectors.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) yesterday released the list of industries allowed to operate in modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) areas.
In a statement on Monday, the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) reported that 94.7 percent of the establishments in Metro Manila are following the much-needed health protocols during the health crisis. DTI-FTEB inspected 1,077 establishments in the first quarter in NCR, 931 of which were found complying with health protocols.