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ECCP@Work Featured News Articles | November 17, 2021

November 17, 2021

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

Gov't lifts face shield rule for areas under Alert Level 3, below

Government said it would ditch requiring face shields in almost all public areas in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and below. Effective "immediately", the face plastic covers would be required only in areas under Alert Level 5, the strictest quarantine classification in the country, while local government units of areas under Level 4 can decide if use of face shields in public venues will be mandatory or not.

Fully vaxxed Health workers can get COVID booster shots starting Nov. 17

Fully-vaccinated healthcare workers can avail of COVID-19 booster shots beginning on Wednesday, November 17, the Department of Health has announced. The DOH in a statement reiterated the Food and Drug Administration's recommendation to get either Moderna, Pfizer, or Sinovac vaccine brands for booster doses "regardless of the brand used for the primary series."

NCR, 72 other places under Alert Level 2 till Nov 30 as govt weighs impact of easing on Covid tally

Metro Manila and 72 other locations will remain under Alert Level 2 until the end of the month as authorities continue to monitor if the easing of restrictions will translate to higher Covid-19 cases. This is according to a Resolution No. 148-F. series of 2021, which was issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on November 13.

Budget deficit at 8.3% of GDP as of end-Sept.

The Government’s budget deficit went up to 8.3% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) as of end-September, data from the Department of Finance (DoF) showed. This is higher than the 6.9% of GDP a year ago, but still below the Development Budget Coordination Committee’s (DBCC) 9.3% projection this year.

Suspension of excise tax on fuel products is ‘inequitable’ — DoF

The suspension of excise tax on fuel would likely improve the disposable income of wealthier households at a faster pace than others, making the tax relief inequitable, the Department of Finance (DoF) said. In a statement, the DoF said it estimates higher income households to benefit by around 60% more from the suspension of the taxes compared with lower income households.

Gov’t urged to hasten renewable energy dev’t

The Philippine government must speed up the development of renewable energy sources to lessen its dependence on costly fossil fuels that have made the country vulnerable to inflationary pressures, analysts said. John Paul R. Rivera, an economist at the Asian Institute of Management, said the Philippines can position itself as an advocate of renewable energy by further developing wind and geothermal power infrastructure.

GDP on track to hit pre-pandemic level by Q3 2022

The Philippine is expected to return to its pre-pandemic level by the third quarter of 2022, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said, citing the decline in coronavirus infections and the improving vaccination rate. Mr. Diokno told reporters in a Viber message gross domestic product (GDP) growth prospects “appear bright,” after GDP expanded by 7.1% in the third quarter.

House bill seeks to extend validity of 2021 GAA until December 2022

The chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations is pushing for the passage of a bill extending the availability of the 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA) until December 31, 2022. ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap, the panel chairman, said House Bill 10373 seeks to extend the availability of the 2021 appropriations to allow the agencies to fully utilize the allocated budget for 2021. This is also to implement government programs and projects and to ensure that the intended beneficiaries of these basic services are reached.

DOH decentralizes procurement of COVID-19 treatments

The Department of Health (DOH) announced the decentralization of the procurement of the investigational drugs used to treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In a virtual press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire disclosed that they have issued Administrative Order (AO) No. 2021-0053, which allows health facilities and local government units (LGUs) to acquire such treatment methods.

Neda explains caution in sticking to Alert 2

The national government is more cautious in placing Metro Manila or the National Capital Region (NCR) under Alert Level 1  (AL1) due to the higher capacity of establishments that are allowed and the lifting of age restrictions, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). Neda Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Rosemarie G. Edillon noted a “big difference” between AL1 and Alert Level 2 (AL2). She said capacity utilization will jump to as much as 50 to 60 percent from only 30 to 40 percent, while age restrictions will be lifted.

Rail projects win praise from ADB

Multilateral lender Asian Development Bank (ADB) has hailed the Duterte administration’s focus on railway projects under the “Build, Build, Build” campaign as these will usher in an age of investments on train systems across the archipelago. Civil works are getting underway on the Malolos — Clark section of Manila’s North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), a flagship scheme for the North-South Commuter Rail corridor being built on a mostly elevated alignment for a maximum operating speed of 160 kilometers per hour (km/h).

PH looks to tap new $10-B global fund to aid shift to green energy

The Philippines and a new $10-billion global fund are looking into a partnership to finance the country’s shift to green and renewable energy sources, the Department of Finance (DOF) said. Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) earlier pledged at least $10 billion “to help accelerate the implementation of clean energy projects in developing economies highly vulnerable to climate change.”

9-month debt payments top ’20 full-yr record

The national government’s debt payments as of end-September this year have already exceeded the amount it paid for the entire 2020, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed. The government’s debt service bill from January to September has hit P963.86 billion, eclipsing the P962.47 billion for the full-year 2020. Year-on-year, debt payments in the nine-month period have risen by 15.47 percent from P834.72 billion in the comparable period in 2020.

Changes to BOT law’s rules may be too late, analysts say

Planned changes to the rules implementing the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) law could be too late after the announcement was made just eight months before a new administration takes over, political analysts said. Political strategist Gerardo Eusebio said any amendment might not be feasible given the time left for the administration, “and especially if the administration’s presidential candidate will not win.”

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