May 04, 2021
ECCP at Work
The latest data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed that, as of March 31, P5.14 billion in the 2020 National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund (NDRRMF) — more popularly known as the calamity fund — remained unreleased. The calamity fund for 2020 amounted to P16 billion, portions of which had been released following the series of typhoons that hit the country that year but still unreleased in last year’s NDRRMF was P439.2 million in the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Program (NDRRMP).
The joint House committees on economic affairs and social services approved on Friday a P405.6-billion Bayanihan 3, which includes two rounds of cash aid amounting to P1,000 per Filipino, according to House Deputy Minority Leader Stella Quimbo. The bill, she said, could be up for plenary debates when the House resumes session on May 17.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua is pushing for a less stringent community quarantine status in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area by the middle or end of May for the country to achieve its economic targets. Chua said the Development Budget Coordination Committee has projected a 6.5 to 7.5 percent gross domestic product growth in 2021, and 8 to 10 percent growth in 2022.
PCCI president Benedicto Yujuico said the Philippines must adopt global safety standards and help businesses secure the “safe travel stamp” that will effectively allow the country to be part of travel bubbles in the region and beyond. The country's largest business group particularly noted the World Travel and Tourism Council Safe Travels Stamp, the first safety and hygiene stamp for travelers which allows them to identify governments and businesses that have adopted global health standardized protocols.
In a statement Sunday, Bayan Muna party-list lawmakers said they filed House Bill 9260, which regulates cross-ownership between distribution utilities (DUs) and power generation companies (gencos). If enacted, the law will prohibit shareholders and officers of the electricity distribution company and their relatives within the fourth degree; any entity with financial interest in the power distribution company; and shareholders and officers of the same entity and their relatives within the fourth degree, from holding any interest with any person engaged in electric power generation or electric supply.
The House Transportation Committee started discussing on Friday two proposed measures seeking to regulate the charges imposed by international shipping lines. House Bill No. 4316 filed by Bagong Henerasyon Party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy seeks to regulate the application of fees charged at origin and destination by shipping companies. Meanwhile, House Bill No. 4462 filed by Ang Probinsyano Party-list Rep. Ronnie L. Ong seeks to empower the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to ensure fairness and transparency in shipping charges levied by forwarders and agents of international shipping lines.
“As of April 28, 2021, we have secured loans total of around $18.4 billion from external sources,” Undersecretary Mark Dennis Y.C. Joven said in a Laging Handa briefing. Pressed for details, Mr. Joven said the government’s coffers were boosted by the recent issuance of the yen- and euro-denominated bonds. Mr. Joven said $16.6 billion will be for budget support while the remaining will be for project financing.
Inflation during the month likely reached between 4.2% to 5%, BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said. This is above the 2-4% target of the central bank. He added the BSP’s point inflation forecast for April is at 4.6%, which, if realized, will be faster than the 4.5% in March and the 2.2% a year earlier. The April inflation data will be released by the Philippine Statistics Authority on May 5.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez is hoping to roll out soon the proposed wage subsidy for private workers to aid the employees. The program aims to provide subsidy of P8,000 per month for a maximum of three months to struggling workers, to be given via the establishment’s payroll system. The proposed program, which is under the P1.14-trillion National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS), targets to benefit 1 million workers. The budget for the planned wage subsidy initiative is still under review.
Data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed the amount of gross borrowings from January to March this year was higher than P956.72 billion in the same period in 2020. Gross domestic borrowings surged by 60.7 percent to P1.3 trillion in the first quarter of this year from last year’s P810.03 billion.
The Department of Health (DOH) is looking to wrap up COVID-19 immunization for those under the five Priority Groups Category A within the next two months. Those under Category A are frontline health care workers (A1), senior citizens (A2), persons with comorbidities (A3), frontline essential workers (A4) and the indigent population (A5).
The Bureau of Immigration reminded the public that only foreigners who already have immigrant and non-immigrant visas may again enter the country as travel restrictions are slightly relaxed. In a statement, the Bureau of Immigration reiterated that the country only reverted to implementing the travel international guidelines that existed prior to March 22, when the government imposed a ban on the entry of all foreigners due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.
The World Health Organization listed the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use Friday. This is the fifth coronavirus vaccine listed for emergency use by WHO. Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, the Serum Institute of India and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine arm have also received emergency use listing.
JFC Meeting with Former NREB Chairperson Atty. Monalisa Dimalanta | 3 May
Last 3 May, the ECCP hosted a Joint Foreign Chambers meeting with Former NREB Chairperson Atty. Monalisa Dimalanta to talk about key renewable energy policies in the Philippines. This discussion focused on the group’s position to promote and provide increased opportunities for foreign participation in the said sector