ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured News Articles | May 06, 2022

May 06, 2022

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

No outages seen around election day – DOE   

The Department of Energy (DOE) assured worried Filipinos on Wednesday that there will be no power outages when the nation goes out to vote on election day four days hence. “We see that there will be no brownout during the election time,” Michael Sinocruz, director of the DOE’s Energy Policy and Planning Bureau, said in a virtual forum organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and its Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Committee. “For now, we have enough supply until election,” Sinocruz said. “There could be yellow alert maybe after the election but not during the election.” 

Inflation accelerates past target to 4.9% in April

The Philippine Statistics Authority on Thursday reported an annual inflation rate of 4.9% for April, compared to 4% in March, with food and transport costs leading the rise in prices. The latest figure, faster than 4.1% in April 2021, dwells within the 4.2-5% range projected by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for the month. It also remains breaches the BSP's 2-4% target band for the entire year.

PH debt balloons to new ₱12.68-T high as of end-March

The country’s outstanding debt stock climbed to a fresh high in March at ₱12.68 trillion as authorities availed more loans amid the COVID-19 health crisis, Bureau of the Treasury figures published Thursday show. This tally, which represents a 17.7% annual increase, exceeded the previous ₱12.09 trillion record set in February. The Treasury reported ₱8.87 trillion in domestic loans in March, accounting for 69.9% of the total debt stock. The bureau raised ₱457.8 billion through its local Retail Treasury Bond issuance and debt exchange transaction, it noted.

Pre-pandemic job market seen by 2nd half

The country’s job market is on track to bounce back to its pre-pandemic level by the second half of 2022, as business activity improves with the easing of mobility restrictions. “We are optimistic that we will hit the 5% unemployment this year,” Labor Undersecretary Benjo Santos M. Benavidez said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday. “Barring any surge in COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) cases, we expect that by next semester we will recover the employment rates to pre-pandemic level… Since we are already opening the economy, we are expecting to rebound to the pre-pandemic level of employment and underemployment,” he said.

PEZA says Q1 approved investments plunged 68%

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) reported a 68% decline in approved investments in the first quarter of 2022, as the Russia-Ukraine war hurt global economic prospects. PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza said at a press conference on Thursday that the agency approved P8.141 billion in new investments during the first quarter, lower than the P25.382 billion during the same period in 2021. “These (investments) came from 29 new and expansion projects with projected annual export sales of $232.454 million and expected job generation of 3,168 direct employment,” Ms. Plaza said. She attributed the decline in approved investments to the Russia-Ukraine war, the ongoing pandemic and uncertainty ahead of the May 9 polls.

No intent to squeeze out PUV operators in PSA amendments — Poe

Amendments to the Public Service Act (PSA) were not specifically designed to force small-scale transport operators out of the industry, the author of the amendments said. Senator Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares, primary author and sponsor of the measure, said that “framers of the new Public Service Act… did not, in any way, intend to exclude natural persons from operating or managing” PUVs. In a statement issued to BusinessWorld, Ms. Poe cited legal interpretations that took into account “The spirit rather than the letter of the law.”

ADB sets aside $18 billion for developing countries

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has allocated up to $18 billion in policy-based lending (PBL) until 2024 to developing member-countries as they recover from the impact of the pandemic. The ADB has approved a ceiling of up to $18 billion in PBL starting this year until 2024 to support developing member countries (DMCs) as they pursue a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery. As one of the DMCs, the Philippines has secured among the highest lending from the Manila-based multilateral bank over the years. 

Medical tourism untapped

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is developing the Philippines as a medical tourism destination in a calibrated but wholistic approach, including the development of an internal ecosystem and network of facilities to accommodate concerns and issues surrounding this tourism product.Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, DOT secretary, said in a statement the agency sees so much untapped potential in the health and wellness industry especially with the ongoing pandemic. To raise global awareness to the Philippines as a medical tourism destination, Puyat said the DOT has developed a gold standard in approaching health and safety for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions events, following the successful hosting of the 21st World Travel and Tourism Global Summit in Manila last April, as well as institutionalizing health and safety in tourism activities.

Build LNG terminals now

Government should focus on developing liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in anticipation of the depletion of the Malampaya gas resource by 2024, according to Pedro Maniego Jr., chairman of the Energy Lawyers Association of the Philippines. Maniego said in a webinar hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines yesterday the government should also accept the country may not be able to conduct oil and gas exploration activities in the contested West Philippine Sea “for a long time.” 

Borrowing continues weeks before Duterte gone: P35B more from local bonds 

The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) on Wednesday (May 4) borrowed P35 billion through reissued three-year bonds, at a higher yield of 4.598 percent. When these treasury bonds—maturing in April 2025—were first offered last month, it fetched a coupon rate of 4.25 percent. In the secondary market, three-year T-bonds were priced at 4.139-4.381 percent. Government securities eligible dealers (GSEDs) or domestic creditors bid for these IOUs at a high of 4.85 percent and a low of 4.3 percent.

Hotels see full recovery by ’23

Hotels are seeing sustained recovery triggering rehiring of workers. But Benjamin Martinez, HSMA president, said most members forecast that 2023 will be the year that business will be back to pre-pandemic. “This year, we are starting to break barriers as we see a sustained recovery from our heavily impacted tourism sector. With the downgrading of alert levels and acceptance of fully vaccinated domestic and foreign visitors in hotels and resorts across the country, guest room occupancy has improved. Booked functions are increasing. Jobs are restored and I also see a lot of recruitments for vacancies. With this breakthroughs, our hopes are high that we are truly on the road to recovery,”. Martinez said the average occupancy of hotels has now hit 50 percent though still far from 71 percent pre-pandemic in 2019.

Telco hikes capex to P85B

PLDT Inc. has raised its capital expenditure (capex) guidance this year to P85 billion, from the original guidance of about P80 billion, to support further network expansion and its data center business. PLDT said the revised capex will support the growth in demand for home broadband, its data center business and the additional upgrade of the tower/passive infrastructure assets subject of the tower sale and leaseback transaction. “We are raising the capex guidance from between the P76 billion to P80 billion in the start of the year to P85 billion for the full year but the highlights of the financial development in the course of the year, cash inflow from the EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), we’re guiding P108 billion for the full year and the capex of P85 billion a ratio of EBITDA to capex would be 1.3 times,” Manuel Pangilinan, PLDT chairman, said in a virtual press briefing.

ERC orders Meralco to refund ₱7.75 billion excess collections from customers

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has directed Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to refund ₱7.75 billion worth of excess collections to its residential customers. ERC's order instructs Meralco to refund a total of 7,755,444,758 worth of overcharges to its residential customers beginning this month of May and for a period of 12 months, which is equivalent to 46.69 centavos per kilowatt hour (kWh). In other words, it is equivalent to a ₱93 refund for a residential customer consuming 200 kWh. The demand came from ERC's review of Meralco's regulatory asset base for the period of 2012 to 2015.

Stocks climb out of 8-month lows

The stock market put an end to its recent bleeding as bargain hunters stepped in late in the session. The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index or PSEi returned above the 6,800 mark, rising 1.21 percent or 81.65 points to close at 6,802.73, climbing out of eight-month lows to lead emerging markets in Asia. The broader All Shares index followed the bandwagon as it added 0.50 percent or 18.16 points to settle at 3,614.99.


JFC Meeting with DOTr Secretary Tugade | 4 May | Photos

The ECCP and other JFC members had a meeting with DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade last 4 May 2022 at the Manila International Airport Authority office. During the session, the participants talked about (1) the DOTr’s recommended Airport, Ferry, Rail, and Seaport projects that should be pursued by the next administration, (2) blue economy – Development of Philippines intra-Asia container line as port of Philippine Blue Ocean, and (3) priority legislation including the creation of PTSB and HB 10575.

JFC Meeting with DTI Secretary Lopez | 5 May | Photo

The ECCP, together with other members of the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines, had a farewell meeting with DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez last 5 May. During the session, the Secretary and the JFC representatives discussed updates on trade and investment agreements, major policy reforms, the status of the Foreign Investment Negative List, and the post-pandemic initiatives of DTI.

  • Europe-PH News

  • April 12, 2024

    Digitalization initiatives to drive financial services and employment opportunities in the PH

    Makati City, Philippines – The release of latest ... Read More

  • April 05, 2024

    Unleash Hell in Makati: The Ultimate MMA Festival Showdown at Kombat Sports Kalayaan!

    Get ready to witness the ultimate showdown as Kombat Spo... Read More

  • March 18, 2024

    Milestone Achieved: ECCP Celebrates Restart of EU-Philippines FTA Negotiations

    Manila, Philippines – The European Chamber of Commerce of the Phil... Read More