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ECCP@Work Featured News Articles | January 14, 2022

January 14, 2022

ECCP Online

The government lifts travel restrictions on red list or high-risk countries. 

Acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles says fully vaccinated inbound travelers need to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure, undergo facility-based quarantine and take an RT-PCR test on the 7th day. If negative, they need to undergo home quarantine until the 14th day.

The NCR will remain under Alert Level 3 until the end of January 

Metro Manila remains under Alert Level 3 until end-January amid rising COVID-19 cases, acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles announces, as COVID-19 cases continue to spike in the country.

DOH sets 'policy shift' as COVID-19 cases soar: Testing for clinical management, tracing not a priority

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said there will be a shift in the government's COVID-19 response strategy to address the high transmission rates and increasing infections in the country. In a media forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government will focus on community interventions to help curb the virus spread in localities. She said testing will primarily help in determining the proper clinical management for high-risk or vulnerable patients. Contact tracing, on the other hand, would not be prioritized for now.

OCTA: NCR on ‘severe' COVID-19 outbreak, hospital use seen to breach 70% next week

Metro Manila is experiencing a "severe outbreak" based on the parameters of nonprofit group Covid Act Now, according to independent COVID-19 monitoring group OCTA Research. OCTA fellow Guido David on Tuesday said the average daily attack rate in the capital region increased to 89.42, which is above the threshold for severe outbreak used by Covid Out Now. He said the seven-day positivity is also at 48%, meaning nearly 1 of 2 people tested receive a positive result. OCTA added the hospital bed occupancy rate, one of the metrics for determining an area's alert level, increased to 57% and is seen to exceed 70% next week.

‘Odette’ casualties 2nd-biggest among world’s natural disasters in 2021 – German reinsurer

Typhoon Odette, which flattened six Philippine regions in December, had inflicted the second-biggest number of fatalities among the world’s natural disasters in 2021. In a January 10 report, global reinsurer Munich Re listed the strong August 14, 2021, earthquake in Haiti as last year’s deadliest natural catastrophe with 2,248 deaths. It was followed by the onslaught of Odette (international name: Rai), which killed 408 people.

UK think tank: Omicron tilted 2022 PH growth prospect to downside

The ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases likely fueled by the Omicron strain has tilted the Philippines’ growth risks to the downside, but a rising vaccination rate could keep domestic demand afloat, UK-based think tank Pantheon Macroeconomics said on Monday (Jan. 10). In a report, Pantheon Macroeconomics senior Asia economist Miguel Chanco said he kept his 2022 gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast of 4.5 percent, way-below the government’s 7 to 9 percent target range, even as Omicron was “spreading like wildfire in the Philippines.”

Supply chain ‘fixes’ focus of investments

Further investments in warehousing facilities are expected this year to address the supply chain constraints fueled mostly by port congestion amid the pandemic, according to Oxford Economics. The UK-based think tank, in a research briefing, noted that the shift to online purchases given the movement restrictions in the pandemic has resulted in maximizing the capacities of warehouses in several countries. As a result, Oxford Economics said there have been warehouse shortages, signaling the need for expansion amid the growing e-commerce industry.

GDP growth seen below gov’t target this year

Economists expect the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) to grow between 6-7% this year, lower than the government’s 7-9% target range. First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) on Tuesday, January 11, said the economy will likely expand by 6-7% in 2022 as remittances increase and the outsourcing industry generates more revenue. On the other hand, the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. (HSBC) lowered its 2022 growth forecast for the Philippines to 6.2%, from 6.5% previously.

DOF gets ADB grant to hit PH’s 2040 high-income status target

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has extended a $225,000 grant to the Department of Finance (DOF) to help steer the Philippine economy to inclusive growth and hit the country’s target of high-income status by 2040. Documents of the Manila-based multilateral lender on Tuesday (Jan. 11) showed the ADB approved on Dec. 28, 2021 the technical assistance special fund for the support for development of Philippine growth strategy project. Its implementation will be until July 31 of this year.

Govt aims to inoculate additional 36 million by midyear–Galvez

Despite failing to meet its vaccination targets last month, the government is determined in achieving its goal to vaccinate another 36 million individuals against Covid-19 by midyear. During the public address of President Duterte on Monday, National Task Force for Covid-19 chief implementer Carlito G. Galvez Jr. said their latest goal would include the inoculation of 3 million unvaccinated senior citizens. It also includes the vaccination of 26.67 million minors. Of which, 15.56 are in the 5 to 11 years old, while 11.11 million are in the 11 months to 4 years old age group.

Trade deficit widens to record $4.7B

The country’s trade deficit widened to a record high of $4.71 billion in November, amid a double-digit hike in imports, data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed. According to the PSA, the trade deficit in November was more than the double the year ago level of $2.14 billion. In the previous month, the shortfall was at $4.02 billion. Michael Ricafort, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist, said in an emailed statement the record trade deficit was due to new monthly record high in imports amid measures to further re-open the economy during the month, while exports value slowed to six-month lows but was still among pre-pandemic highs and near record highs.

IPOPHL jumps to 9th in innovation ranking

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) jumps to 9th place in the World Trademark Review’s (WTR) 2021 IP (intellectual property) Office Innovation Ranking from 24th in the previous year, making the Philippines the only developing country to have an IP office in the top 10 out of 60 offices ranked worldwide. IPOPHL made what the WTR dubbed “an impressive rise,” which also put it ahead of the IP offices of Japan and the United States.

IN E.ASIA & PACIFIC: PH one of fastest growing economies

The Philippines is projected to be one of the fastest growing economies in 2021 and 2022 in the East Asia and Pacific region, according to a report released by the World Bank yesterday. According to the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects, the Philippines is estimated to have grown by 5.3 percent last year, while projections for 2022 and 2023 are 5.9 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively. These forecasted figures are the same with those released in the Philippine Economic Update last month. “Growth in the Philippines is projected at 5.9 percent in 2022, supported by sustained public investment and recovering household consumption, and moderate to 5.7 percent in 2023,” the World Bank said.

BOI told to finalize priorities plan

The Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has enjoined the Board of Investments (BOI) to finalize the Strategic Investment Priorities Plan (SIPP) by this month, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday. The SIPP will determine the priority industries, projects and activities that can be granted fiscal incentives by the government under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act.

PPA SETS PERMIT PROCESS: Logistics reform to save P1.9B

Streamlining of logistics processes, bannered by the implementation of the Unified Logistics Pass (ULP), will result in savings P1.9 billion, according to Ernesto Perez, undersecretary and deputy director-general of the Anti-Red Tape Authority. This developed as the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has issued new guidelines on accreditation, permit and pass for transport service providers in ports, in line with the government initiatives to rationalized the existing process.

No vaccine, no ride in NCR public transpo

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will implement starting Monday (January 17) a “No Vaccination, No Ride” policy in land, rail, sea and air transportation in Metro Manila, the epicenter of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the country. Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has signed Department Order No. 2022-001 (DO) directing operators of the capital region’s public transports not to allow individuals who have yet to be fully inoculated with any of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the country. The DO states that the policy will be imposed while the National Capital Region is under Alert Level 3 and will continue to be in effect when the quarantine level is escalated to Alert Level 4 or 5.

28 more areas escalate to Alert Level 3 amid virus spike

Twenty-eight more areas nationwide will be placed under Alert Level 3 due to the continued rise in coronavirus infections, Malacañang announced Wednesday. From 14 January until the end of the month, Benguet, Kalinga, Abra, La Union, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Quezon Province, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Camarines Sur, and Albay will escalate to a stricter alert level, said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles. The provinces of Aklan, Capiz, Antique, as well as the cities of Bacolod, Cebu, Mandaue, and Tacloban in the Visayas will also be reclassified to alert level 3, he added. Also put under alert level 3 were Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City, Butuan City, Agusan del Sur, and Cotabato City.

UK think tank sees 6.7% PH GDP growth in 4th quarter 2021

Reinvigorated domestic demand, as shown by strong imports increase last November amid further economic reopening, likely boosted gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2021 by 6.7 percent year-on-year, UK-based think tank Pantheon Macroeconomics said on Wednesday (Jan 12). World Bank said in its latest flagship global report that the Philippines and other tourism-dependent economies in the region could revert to their pre-pandemic output levels only this year.

PHL seen to breach pre-Covid FDI flows in 2022

An economist-lawmaker is confident that the Philippines will breach its prepandemic foreign direct investments (FDI) inflows this 2022 as the country completes its three main investment liberalization reforms in the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and Foreign Investment Act amendments together with strong implementation of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or CREATE Law. On January 12, House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Joey Sarte Salceda said CREATE Law continues to deliver on its promise of higher foreign direct investments, as data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed FDI rising for the fifth straight month.

Booster shots rolled out for tourism workers

Fully-vaccinated tourism workers will finally get their booster shots to help keep them safe and increase consumer confidence in their establishments and destinations. In a news statement, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said booster shots for Covid-19 were being administered to tourism workers in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Boracay Island. Eventually, the project will also be rolled out to other tourism destinations like Baguio City and Davao.

3K-passenger cap back for Naia’s daily international arrivals

Only 3,000 passengers a day can be accommodated at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila starting yesterday (January 12), the Civil Aeronautics Board said. In an advisory dated January 7 and sent to government offices and Philippine diplomatic posts overseas, CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said the cap for the number of international passengers arriving at Naia will be capped at a maximum of 3,000 per day effective January 12, 0001H Manila time.

Odette agriculture damage balloons to P12.7 billion

Damage to agriculture due to Typhoon Odette has reached P12.7 billion, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center. As of noon yesterday, around 400,000 farmers and fishermen in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao, Soccsksargen and Caraga were affected. Volume production loss stood at 267,809 metric tons, covering 443,419 hectares of agricultural land.

Higher alert level in Metro Manila unnecessary – WHO

A stricter quarantine alert level is not necessary at this time, even if cases of COVID-19 in Metro Manila continue to soar, the World Health Organization (WHO) said January 12. At a press briefing, WHO country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said COVID-19 cases in the region could be “plateauing.” “We are looking closely at the current Alert Level 3. As I mentioned earlier, we are seeing a significant decrease in mobility and if today’s reduction in numbers is an indication, maybe the current alert levels are adequate,” Abeyasinghe said.

Manila rolls out booster drive-thru vaccination

The Manila city government will start today its booster drive-through vaccination caravan for motorists. Mayor Isko Moreno inspected the vaccination site at the Quirino Grandstand yesterday. He was joined by Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and other local officials during the inspection. “Due to the requests of our constituents, we initiated this drive-through vaccination in Rizal Park. Instead of first and second doses, we will use the site for booster vaccination,” Moreno said in a statement.

P468B UNDER CREATE: DTI logs P718B investments

The Department of Trade and Industry’s two main investment promotion agencies logged P718 billion worth of projects in 2021 generating 77,520 jobs. DTI in its 2021 report said the figures were culled from the Board of Investments (BOI) and the Philippines Economic Zone Authority (PEZA). PEZA data is only up to November 2021. Just eight months into the effectivity on April 2021 of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises, the DTI said the BOI registered P468 billion with the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) approving P110 billion.

IATF to discuss if travel ban still ‘practical’ amid Omicron variant threat

The Inter-Agency Task Force will discuss if the government will still implement a travel ban noting that the Omicron variant has already spread in many countries, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday. “This will be the subject of our IATF discussion this afternoon. Precisely because based on the recent rounds of our genomic sequencing, we already see more and more of Omicron cases. And also, there are more than 150 countries now, I believe, that have been affected by the Omicron variant,” Duque told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

DOH shortens quarantine, isolation for fully vaccinated

The Department of Health has reduced the number of days for quarantine and isolation depending on a person's COVID-19 vaccination status. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire presented the updated quarantine and isolation requirements on Wednesday. Secretary Francisco Duque III said the updated guidelines are set to be signed for implementation on Thursday, January 13. Fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients, both the general public and health workers, who are asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms should isolate for seven days — instead of the previous 10 days — from the onset of symptoms.

Metro Manila to remain under Alert Level 3 unless healthcare utilization rate breaches 70%

Metro Manila would only be escalated to a stricter Alert Level 4 if the capital region’s healthcare utilization rate breaches 70%, the Department of Health said Thursday, January 13. Metro Manila mayors earlier recommended that the Alert Level 3 status of the capital region be retained beyond January 15. “Right now, the healthcare utilization rate is at, I would say, about 55%, 56% for NCR, the ICU and the isolation bed utilization rates. They are within the moderate risk classification,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

COVID-19 vaccination of kids aged 5-11 to start next month

The initial COVID-19 vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 will be rolled out in the first week of February, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. said on Thursday. The Pfizer doses that will be used for the pediatric vaccination are expected to be delivered by the end of January, according to Galvez. Only the US-made vaccine has been approved by the Philippines' Food and Drug Administration for the young age group. Galvez said the first pediatric vaccination set for Feb. 1-7 will be a big step in meeting the government's goal of resuming physical classes and lessening restrictions on children.

PH to continue importing pork

The Philippines would “definitely” need to continue importing pork products, the Department of Finance (DOF) said, to meet demand and immediately compensate for the shortfall in domestic supply. This as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said importation of pork, rice and chicken will slow down this year. The DOF in a statement said “it will take some time to recover decimated hog populations.” In an economic bulletin released yesterday, the DOF said for perspective, the seasonal peak in pre-African swine fever hog headcount was 13.1 million in the third quarter of 2018. continue importing pork

‘High jab rates likely lead to faster growth’

Countries with higher vaccination rates are likely to experience faster economic growth, according to economists from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In an Asian Development Blog, ADB Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department economist Irfan A. Qureshi and Senior Economist Matteo Lanzafame said since vaccinations began, their study revealed there were two recovery tracks.

GDP growth target attainable, says BSP

The government’s economic growth target this year remains achievable despite the surge in COVID infections due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno. In his keynote address during the inaugural meeting and induction of the 2022 board of the Management Association of the Philippines, Diokno said the Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) has set a seven to nine percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth target for 2022 and 2023.

Philippines' gross int'l reserves hit $108.9 billion in December: BSP

The country's gross international reserves (GIR) level rose to $108.89 billion as of the end of December 2021, central bank data released Thursday showed. The total is $1.17 billion higher compared to the $107.72 billion level in November, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said in a statement. The latest GIR level represents "more than adequate" external liquidity buffer equivalent to 10.3 months' worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income, the BSP said.

Next president faces fiscal challenge, says Fitch Solutions

The research arm of credit rater Fitch Group sees the next Philippine president facing a fiscal challenge amid the country’s widening budget deficit as the economy has yet to fully recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fitch Solutions Country Risk & Industry Research said in a report it is now expecting a wider budget shortfall equivalent to 7.9 percent of gross domestic product instead of 6.9 percent of GDP for this year.

Higher growth seen with fiscally aggressive ’22 national budget

The Philippine national budget for 2022 hints at a policy stance that is “still supportive” of growth as well as the government’s intention of accelerating the recovery of the economy, which has not regained prepandemic levels, according to Fitch Solutions. President Duterte last Dec. 30 signed into law this year’s budget which, at P5 trillion, represented a quarter of the domestic economy and an increase of about 12 percent from the 2021 budget of P4.5 trillion.

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