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ECCP@Work Featured News Articles | July 06, 2021

July 06, 2021

ECCP Online

Inflation eased to 4.1% in June

The prices of basic goods rose slower in June with food and transport costs driving the increase, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported. Inflation came to 4.1% during the month, compared to 4.5% the month prior and 2.5% in June 2020. The recent figure is also slower than the 4.3% point inflation forecast of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for June, falling within its 3.9-4.7% target range.

DOH sees ‘population protection’ by November

Asked at a press briefing if achieving population protection is doable in NCR four months from now, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said yes. “Based on speed and scale on how we do vaccination in NCR, it is possible,” she said, noting the target can be met if sectors most vulnerable to COVID-19 are inoculated against the virus. Population protection pertains primarily to the administration of jabs to health workers, senior citizens and people with comorbidities.

NCR job cuts outpace hirings in Q2 2020 — PSA

In its latest Labor Turnover Survey, the PSA said labor turnover in the National Capital Region (NCR) declined by 7.6% in the second quarter last year, worse than the -1.4% in the preceding three-month period and a reversal of the 1.1% expansion posted in the second quarter of 2019. The latest turnover rate is equivalent to a reduction of 76 workers for every 1,000 persons employed in these establishments during the period. The labor turnover rate is the difference between the rate of hiring (accession) and the rate of job termination or resignation (separation).

AMLC says implementation of freeze orders will be closely monitored by FATF

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) told covered entities to urgently follow freeze order processes, as the Philippines needs to show tangible progress in effectively implementing tighter laws on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) to be able to exit the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) “gray list.” The AMLC advisory comes over a week since the country was added to jurisdictions placed under the FATF’s increased monitoring, specifically the implementation of AML/CTF measures.

‘Sluggish’ vaccine rollout weighs on PHL recovery

The research arm of Moody’s Investors Service now expects the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 4.9% this year, a tad slower than the 5.3% estimate it gave in May. The latest forecast is also more pessimistic than the government’s 6-7% full-year target. The research arm of Moody’s Investors Service now expects the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 4.9% this year, a tad slower than the 5.3% estimate it gave in May. The latest forecast is also more pessimistic than the government’s 6-7% full-year target.

DOT chief: LGUs have final OK on tourists sans Covid testing

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said local government units (LGUs) will still have the last say whether or not they will accept vaccinated tourists in their leisure destinations without a negative RT-PCR test result. She added that the easing of travel restrictions would encourage individuals who have successfully completed their Covid-19 vaccination to finally go on holidays, she also warned against producing or presenting fake vaccination cards or RT-PCR results in opened tourism destinations.

DOH to LGUs: Prioritize vulnerable sectors amid vaccine supply issue

The Department of Health (DOH) appealed to the local government units (LGUs) to prioritize the most vulnerable sectors after some cities were forced to suspend their vaccination activities due to lack of vaccine supply in the country. On Sunday, Makati City suspended their vaccination for the first dose of A4 category scheduled on July 5. The city of Muntinlupa also was not able to receive their vaccine supply.

NG outstanding debt breaches P11T

The national government’s total outstanding debt stood at P11.07 trillion as of end-May, 24.5 percent up from the year ago level of P8.89 trillion as the government tapped various sources of funding over the past year for its coronavirus disease 2019 response. The national government’s total debt stock also slightly increased by 0.7 percent from its end-April 2021 level of P10.99 trillion, with the strong peso tempering further increases, the BTr said. Of the total debt stock, 28.5 percent was sourced externally while 71.5 percent are domestic borrowings.

Deadlier than Delta: Lambda strain detected in over 30 countries, says Malaysia

A new Covid-19 strain that is much more dangerous than the Delta variant has been detected in more than 30 countries in the past four weeks, says the Health Ministry of Malaysia. The Health Ministry also linked to report by Australian news portal saying the Lambda strain had been detected in the United Kingdom.The portal reported that six cases of the Lambda strain have been detected in the UK to date.

Taal Volcano's sulfur dioxide emission reaches new record high

The highest level of sulfur dioxide emission from Taal Volcano was recorded today, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs). In its advisory, Phivolcs said Taal spewed an average of 22,628 tonnes of sulfur dioxide per day - a new all-time high. This was higher than the average of 14,699 tonnes of sulfur dioxide per day recorded.

Philippines maintains lower-middle-income status amid pandemic

The country’s gross national income (GNI) per capita went down by 11% to $3,430 last year from $3,850 a year earlier, based on updated data posted on the World Bank’s website This fell within the lender’s income bracket for lower-middle-income economies of $1,046 to $4,095 GNI per capita, which was raised from $1,036-$4,045 last year to account for inflation. The Philippines targets to graduate to the upper-middle-income status by 2022. It is also seeking to get an “A” long-term credit rating next year, when it loses access to concessional loans.

Inflation likely eased, still above goal

Consumer prices rose by 4.3%, according to a median estimate of 14 analysts polled by BusinessWorld last week, matching the midpoint of the 3.9% to 4.7% estimate by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). That is faster than the 2.5% inflation a year earlier and the central bank’s 2-4% target for the year, but slower than 4.5% in May, largely due to lower food prices, analysts said. The Philippine Statistics Authority will report the June consumer price index data on July 6.

Govt measures vs Covid may help PHL meet SDGs

National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Director General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said that the government’s efforts to address Covid-19 can also help attain the SDGs. The government earlier disclosed that its Covid-19 response included the social amelioration program funded by the Bayanihan 1 and Bayanihan 2 laws, as well as the passage of legislations such as the Create (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises, or Republic Act 11534)  to reduce income tax payments of firms, among others. However, the ADB said more needs to be done to meet the SDGs. The Manila-based multilateral development bank is proposing the use of a new kind of SDG bond.

Exports pile up amid container shortage

A recent survey by the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) showed that 81.6 percent of the exporters’ products are ready for outbound shipments but have remained pending amid container imbalances. Furthermore, the exporters identified the following as their top shipping challenges: lack of space on international shipping lines (90 percent), increased freight rates (56.3 percent) and shortage of containers (45 percent).

P291B local purchases hit by new VAT rule

The sudden increase in the cost of goods and service of registered business enterprises (RBEs) in economic zones due to the imposition of value-added tax (VAT) could put in peril billions of pesos worth of annual purchases from local suppliers, according to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA). Pre-pandemic, annual domestic purchases of RBEs amount to P250 billion, according to PEZA data but this rose to P291B in 2020 despite the pandemic.

PH debt-to-GDP ratio lowest in Asean

The Philippines’ external debt remains at a manageable level, even being the lowest among the Asean-5 economies in terms of ratio to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the Department of Finance (DOF) said. The DOF’s economic bulletin showed that external debt-to-GDP ratio in selected Southeast Asian economies in 2020 is highest in Malaysia at 67.7 percent, followed by Indonesia at 39.4 percent. Vietnam is projected to have an external debt-to-GDP ratio of 38.5 percent, Thailand with 37.9 percent and the Philippines with the lowest figure at 27.2 percent last year.

PH pandemic situation ‘fragile’ despite low risk status

The country's coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) situation remains "fragile" despite a low risk classification, the Department of Health (DOH) said. Even in the National Capital Region (NCR), DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the decline in infections is slightly slowing down but cases outside can affect the region because its borders are "very porous". Currently under close monitoring are cases in the Visayas and Regions 11, 12, Caraga, and Bangsamoro in Mindanao.

Biz sentiment weak; consumer confidence improves in Q2 ‘21

Senior director of the BSP Department of Economic Statistics, Redentor Paolo Alegre Jr., said the overall confidence index of businesses in April to June plummeted to 1.4 percent from 17.4 percent in January to March. Meanwhile, consumer confidence in the second quarter of the year improved to -30.9 percent from -34.7 percent in the first quarter. Alegre said Philippine consumer confidence for the April-to-June quarter is comparable to those in Europe, such as France, Poland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

IATF releases ‘protocols’ for fully vaccinated individuals

Fully vaccinated individuals need not present swab test results if they want to travel within the Philippines, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) sais. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said under the new “protocols” provided under the IATF-EID Resolution No. 124-5, fully vaccinated people will only need to present their vaccination card for interzonal travel as well as for intrazonal movement.

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