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ECCP@Work Featured News Articles | June 15, 2020

June 15, 2021

ECCP Online

COVID-19 vaccine deliveries and rollout in the Philippines

Only 1.7% of 108 million Filipinos have fully completed their doses, three months after the government started the simultaneous vaccine drive in the country.

Metro Manila, Bulacan ease to GCQ with 'some restrictions' by June 16

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the only difference in the GCQ with "some restrictions" classification in Metro Manila and Bulacan is that gyms and indoor dining are allowed to operate at up to 30% of the seating capacity. He said it may be increased to 40% once they obtain a safety seal from the Trade Department. The quarantine level in the two areas will last until June 30. Meanwhile, the provinces of Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite will remain under general community quarantine with "heightened restrictions" for the remainder of June.

Metro Manila mayors agree to shorten curfew

The 17 mayors of Metro Manila unanimously voted to shorten curfew hours in the capital region in a bid to spur economic activity, an official said on Monday, pointing to the area's improving COVID-19 figures. The region's coronavirus average daily attack rate, or the total number of new cases divided by the total population, has gone down to 6.76 percent. Meanwhile, the bed occupancy rate also went down to 36.3 percent, said Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairperson Benhur Abalos.

Palace: Duterte to announce new quarantine classifications; ‘normal’ GCQ likely in NCR Plus

President Rodrigo Duterte will announce new quarantine classifications over several areas in the country on Monday night, Malacañang said, adding that a shift to a “normal” general community quarantine (GCQ) over NCR Plus is likely. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will meet on Monday afternoon to discuss their recommendations on the new quarantine classifications. After deciding on the matter, they will then submit their recommendations to the President.

Drilon wants full accounting of govt.'s budget for COVID-19 vaccines

In a statement, Drilon said he's asking for a full accounting of the P82.5-billion COVID-19 procurement budget before the government can ask for more funds. He also urged more transparency “about the pricing of the vaccines in order to strengthen public confidence in the vaccination program, which he described as 'usad pagong' [moving at a slow pace]." Drilon has asked vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. to provide the Senate with a consolidated report on vaccine procurement by the national government, local government units and the private sector.

PCC bucks extension of suspension of its merger and acquisition review

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), the anti-trust authority in the country, has expressed opposition to any extension on the suspension of its motu proprio review power on mergers and acquisitions (M&As). PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said this at the virtual “Enhancing Competition for Competitiveness and Economic Recovery” forum organized by the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) of the Philippines, noting that the suspension of its motu proprio review power as provided in the Bayanihan 2 law will lapse in September this year.

BIR starts enforcing 12% VAT on exporters, citing TRAIN law

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued rules over the weekend setting a 12% value-added tax (VAT) on export sales of companies that had previously been exempt, a move it said was authorized by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. Transactions covered under the new rules are export sales of raw materials and packaging items to a foreign buyer that will be delivered to a resident export enterprise for manufacturing in the Philippines.

Energy efficiency industry bats for inclusion of vehicles in DoE

The Philippine Energy Efficiency Alliance, Inc. (PE2) said it is pushing for the inclusion of gasoline and diesel-powered motor vehicles in the Department of Energy’s (DoE) energy labeling guidelines. The DoE’s Philippine Energy Labeling Program (PELP) requires sellers to affix labels on TV sets, refrigerators, cooling products, and lighting products, detailing their respective energy-efficiency ratings, monthly energy consumption, and power input in watts, among others.


Philippines ranks 8th among 10 in ASEAN vaccine rollout

Data provided by international think tank Our World in Data this month showed that the Philippines has vaccinated only about 4.23 percent of its total population as of June 8, with 6.31 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered so far. In terms of doses administered the Philippines is second to Indonesia, which had deployed 31.2 million doses. The Philippines is trailed by Thailand with 5.67 million, Cambodia with 5.13 million, Singapore with 4.39 million, Malaysia with 4.1 million, Myanmar with 2.99 million, Vietnam with 1.41 million, Laos with 1.08 million and Brunei with 61,000.

Public debt seen peaking at 58% of GDP

The country’s public debt stock may further balloon and peak at 57.7 percent of total economic output by 2022, but this is justified by the need for massive stimulus during this prolonged coronavirus pandemic, think tank Fitch Solutions said. As such, it expects the government’s fiscal deficit to remain high at 7.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year from 7.6 percent last year with higher spending on COVID-19 support measures. By 2022, the deficit is expected to ease to 6.5 percent of GDP.

Airline industry sees long-term rebound for sector

In its latest look at trends for the sector, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it doesn’t expect world air traffic to resume to its pre-pandemic level before 2023. But over 20 years, air traffic should almost double, from 4.5 billion passengers in 2019 to 8.5 billion in 2039. That is, however, a drop of one billion passengers from IATA’s pre-crisis forecast.

ING cuts 2021 growth forecast for PH

In a June 10 report, ING Asia-Pacific research head Robert Carnell said they cut their gross domestic growth (GDP) growth forecasts for India, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand due to extended movement restrictions which “do most of the damage to economies.” In the case of the Philippines, ING’s latest projection of 4.7% was lower than its previous 5-percent growth forecast. It was also below the government’s downgraded target range of 6-7 percent.

Rice prices still rising despite higher production, imports

The disconnect in the country’s agricultural value chain remains evident in the rice industry, as the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported a continued uptick in rice prices despite an increase in palay production and decline in farmgate prices in the first quarter. The availability of imported rice, made possible by the Rice Tariffication Law, seemed to have little effect on the retail prices of the staple. This suggests how the different stages in the supply chain—from the farms or the ports (for imports) to the retail market—can easily bloat retail prices.

CHED eyes expansion of limited face-to-face classes to other degree programs

The Commission on Higher Education plans to seek President Rodrigo Duterte's approval for the expansion of limited face-to-face classes to other degree programs that require hands-on experience. CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera III told CNN Philippines on Saturday the scope of their proposal includes engineering, information technology, and maritime students.

Drive-through vaccination site for Manila trike drivers eyed to open on June 20 — Robredo

A drive-through COVID-19 vaccination site is expected to open in the city of Manila next week to cater to tricycle drivers and operators, Vice President Leni Robredo said. The tentative launch date is on June 20 if the vaccine supplies procured by the local government unit arrive as scheduled, Robredo said during her weekly radio show. The initiative is a joint project of her office and the Manila LGU.

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