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ECCP@Work Featured News Articles | July 20, 2021

July 20, 2021

ECCP Online

ATF co-chair: Delta variant 'changes the rules of the game'

The government may revisit existing policies on travel and outdoor activities while the Philippines is on the lookout for a possible surge brought by the feared Delta coronavirus variant, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, co-chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases said. Nograles also said monitoring of countries that may be included in the travel ban will continue. Indonesia was previously added to the list of nations covered by restrictions alongside India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, UAE, and Oman until July 31.

TIMELINE: COVID-19 vaccine deliveries and rollout in the Philippines

The government is aiming to vaccinate up to 70 million Filipinos by the end of the year, hoping to achieve herd immunity to protect the population against rising coronavirus cases and even faster-spreading strains. To keep track of these goals, CNN Philippines lists the government's schedule of delivery and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines for the year, as laid down by vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr.

Better payment channels may boost remittance inflows — ADB

An improvement in the domestic payment channels may help boost remittance inflows to the Philippines as this will help promote financial inclusion and reduce reliance on cash, a study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) showed. The Philippines is the third-largest recipient of remittances in Asia with more than $30 billion inflows received in 2018, trailing behind China and India. However, cash remains king in the Philippines. A survey showed 70% of local respondents said they still prefer cash transactions, claiming that this gives them greater control over their finances. 

Economic team may rethink stimulus

Economic managers now appear to be open to considering a third stimulus package that could help improve the Philippines’ recovery prospects, after Fitch Ratings gave a “negative” outlook on its credit rating. The House of Representatives has already approved a third stimulus package worth P401 billion. House Bill 9411 or the Bayanihan to Arise as One Act (Bayanihan III). However, its counterpart measure remains pending at the Senate committee level. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said there are some provisions under Bayanihan III that may be considered if there are extra funds available

DTI seeks review, easing of business closure processes

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez yesterday called for a review of the rules and procedures in closing businesses as a relief to these companies. This is particularly helpful for companies which have settled the wages and separation packages of their employees. Lopez said there may be a need to revise the law and for the Bureau of Internal Revenue to revisit its guidelines.

Firms 'running after cash' amid higher shipping costs atop 12% VAT on exports

Apart from a new rule slapping a 12% value-added tax on export items and deals that previously were VAT-free, firms have also been grappling with a more expensive shipping process, an exporters’ group bared. With this, the Philexport president said exporters have been seeking a quick loan from the government so that they can immediately borrow funds for paying shipping costs, as these are charged upfront.

Govt. not keen on expanding travel ban despite Delta threat

The pandemic task force is not keen on adding more countries and territories to the travel ban list despite the threat of the Delta COVID-19 variant, a Health official said Saturday, even as border controls will be tightened. The list include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates and Oman. The ban is until end-July. On Friday, the Department of Health said it logged 16 new cases of the Delta variant, including 11 local cases.

BIR surpasses 6-month tax take goal

Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar Dulay said the BIR’s collections from January to June were 1.6 percent higher than the P1.02-trillion target for the first six months. The first six-month tax take was also higher than the P956.4 billion collected in the same period last year, when the country was in the middle of the pandemic-induced recession caused by the strict COVID-19 lockdown. With its above-target first-half performance, Dulay expressed confidence that the BIR’s full-year goal to collect P2.08 trillion in taxes would be attained.

Agencies told to improve budget use

The Department of Budget and Management has asked government agencies to improve their budget use and avoid underspending if they want to get their proposed budgets for next year. To encourage agencies to fully use their budgets, the government is adopting a cash-based budgeting system where it only releases the funds that will be used for the year. Unspent funds will automatically go back to the Treasury bureau. 

S&P sees credit losses easing in Asia

Prospects for economic rebound in Asia Pacific, including the Philippines, are expected to support banks and their borrowers, resulting in lower credit losses, according to S&P Global Ratings. In a report, the debt watcher said credit losses across the world’s banking may reach $1.6 trillion for 2021 and 2022, or eight percent lower than the previous forecast of $1.8 trillion. For Asia Pacific, S&P said credit losses may reach $1.53 trillion between 2020 and 2022, slightly lower than the $1.57 trillion forecast in February amid prospects of a strong rebound from the pandemic-induced recession.

'NCR Plus' bubble enforcement crucial to prevent spread of Delta variant — OCTA

OCTA Research called for a stricter implementation of the NCR Plus bubble to prevent the Delta variant from entering the region. OCTA fellow Guido David stated that non-essential travel should be restricted anew, and only those essential should be allowed. Almost all the 35 Delta variant cases in total that the Philippines reported had since recovered, with one dead. Of the 16 new infections, six were from Northern Mindanao, two from Western Visayas and one from Central Luzon. 

PH improves performance in trade facilitation

The Philippines posted a score of 86.02 percent in the implementation of trade facilitation measures in 2021, ranking third among 10 other Southeast Asian nations based on the latest Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation of the United Nations (UN), the BOC said. The 2021 result for the Philippines is significantly higher than its 80.65 percent score in 2019 prior to the pandemic, as well as the 65 percent global average implementation rate of trade facilitation and paperless trade measures, and the 74.29 percent average trade facilitation rating for the whole of Southeast Asia, the BOC said.

DTI: Economy to post positive growth in Q2

The economy may begin posting positive growth in the second quarter should the country be able to prevent a new wave of COVID-19 cases, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said. This, as Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez cited improving economic indicators such as exports which were up 29.8 percent year-on-year in May, manufacturing activity which ended a two-month losing streak and returned to positive territory in June, and the triple-digit year-on-year growth in foreign direct investments in April.

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