ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured News Articles | May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

No breaks for vote canvassing; proclamation of president, VP eyed on Wednesday

Lawmakers will not be taking breaks once the canvassing of votes for president and vice president begins on Tuesday afternoon. House Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza said officials of the House of Representatives and Senate have agreed to count votes round the clock starting 2 p.m. “We will do the canvassing without breaks or suspension of session,” the House official said on Monday.

PHL risks slower growth without RCEP membership [mention]

The Philippine economy may expand at a slower pace if it fails to become a member of the world’s largest trade bloc, the Joint Foreign Chambers in the Philippines (JFC) said, as it once again urged the Senate to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal before session adjourns next week. “Studies show the Philippine economy will grow at a slower pace without membership in RCEP. Nobody wants this to happen… we appeal to you (the Senate) to vote to approve the RCEP agreement when you return to session this week,” the JFC said in a statement on Monday.

Senate ratifies bicam report on agri-agra amendments

The Senate on Monday ratified the consolidated version of a bill amending Republic Act 10000 or the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009, which recognized more activities for bank financing that allow institutions to meet the agricultural lending quota. The bicameral report reconciles Senate Bill 2494 and House Bill 6134. The bill, certified as urgent by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, is known as “An Act Strengthening the Financing System, including Capacity-Building and Organization, for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Rural Development in the Philippines.”

Philippine creative industry council bill hurdles Senate

The Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading a bill establishing the Philippine Creative Industry Development Council, which is tasked with promoting the development of creative content and protecting creators from intellectual property infringement. Senate Bill 2455 or the Creative Industries Charter of the Philippines was passed unanimously with 21 affirmative votes, no negative votes and no abstentions. The council is tasked with managing the industry’s long-term development. The council, which will be attached to the Department of Trade and Industry, will have 18 members, nine from the private sector and nine from various government agencies. The members will draft and implement a Philippine Creative Industries Development Plan which must be submitted to the President within a year after the effectivity of the act and reviewed every three years.

Marcos discusses climate change, agriculture and other issues with foreign ambassadors

Presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos held a briefing on Monday to reveal topics he discussed with foreign ambassadors. Marcos said he held closed-door meetings at his headquarters with envoys from India, Japan, South Korea and the United States to discuss cooperation and other issues, especially in the light of the pandemic. "What I always remind them of is I believe with the pandemic, any country cannot recover alone. We need a partnership that will be the one that will bring us to keep the global economy as stable as possible,” Marcos said at the briefing.

Economists hike inflation forecasts over next 3 years

Economists raised their inflation forecasts for the next three years due to the impact of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war on global oil and food prices, according to a survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Zeno Ronald Abenoja, managing director of the Department of Economic Research at the BSP, said the results of the latest survey showed economists are now expecting a higher inflation of 4.6 percent for 2022. “Analysts expect inflation to breach the upper end of the government’s target range in 2022, with risks to the inflation outlook tilted to the upside largely driven by the adverse impact of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict on global oil and food prices, which are already at elevated levels,” Abenoja said.

Philippines return to pre-pandemic level seen by mid-year

Domestic economic activity is projected to return to pre-pandemic level by the middle of this year after a stronger-than-expected first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 8.3 percent, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. BSP managing director Zeno Ronald Abenoja said the strong growth in the first quarter is likely to be sustained with the further reopening of the economy from strict COVID quarantine and lockdown protocols. “Domestic growth has seemed to remain robust in the succeeding quarters in view of the implementation of reforms to boost investment and credit activities, as well as the looser mobility restrictions amid continued widespread deployment of vaccines and booster shots,” Abenoja said.

Philippine vehicle production sole decliner in ASEAN

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines continued to fall behind its Southeast Asian neighbors in motor vehicle production, being the only country out of six that registered a decline in output in the first quarter. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Automotive Federation (AAF) data showed 18,137 motor vehicles were assembled in the Philippines in the January to March period, down 7.5 percent from the 19,599 units in the same period last year. All other ASEAN countries tracked by AAF saw their motor vehicle production accelerate in the first quarter, with Myanmar posting the fastest growth at 73.9 percent followed by Indonesia (41.8 percent), Vietnam (36.4 percent), Thailand (seven percent) and Malaysia (4.8 percent).

New law to boost MSME franchising

The Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) will continue to work with the national government in advocating for the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and ensure the growth of the franchise sector. PFA chairman Sherill Quintana in a statement said the group will give its inputs to the implementing rules and regulations on Executive Order (EO) 169, signed May 12 by President Duterte. The EO provides among others for the registration of franchise agreements and the creation of a Franchise Registry for MSMEs, initiatives that strengthen the franchising industry.

FIRMS CRY HARASSMENT: ‘LOAs on hybrid work valid’

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) stands by the legality of the letters of authority (LOA) it issued to information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) companies that will allow them to work-from-home (WFH) in the wake of the issuance of mission orders by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to check compliance by registered business enterprises (RBEs) to the return-to-office mandate of the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB). Charito Plaza, PEZA director-general, RBEs feel “harassed” with the surprise inspections without consideration of the continuing threats of the pandemic, the effects of the Russia- Ukraine war and the global recession.

BIR collections fall short of goal by P47B

The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) collections from its operations in the first three months of the year fell short of target by P47 billion, the Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement yesterday. The DOF said the P485.4 billion raked in by the BIR in the first quarter was 8.9 percent short of the goal set by the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), as businesses avail of the provision allowing outright crediting of their input value-added tax (VAT) on capital goods under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law. The BIR said although the first quarter tax collection from its operations fell short of the DBCC target of P532.6 billion, this amount is still higher by P32.4 billion or 7.2 percent from the P452.9 billion collected in the same period last year.

BSP: Private-sector economists see 4.6% inflation in 2022

Private-sector economists watching the Philippines expect headline inflation to average 4.6 percent in 2022, above the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) 2 to 4 percent target band of manageable price hikes. The BSP’s latest survey among banks and financial institutions’ economists in May showed a higher mean inflation rate projection than the 4.1-percent average on April, according to the central bank’s Monetary Policy Report for May 2022 released last week.

PH stocks up despite BSP rate hike

Philippine shares rose on Friday even after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) started its monetary tightening cycle—normally viewed as a negative for stocks—with a 25-basis point interest rate hike late Thursday. The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) Index rose 1.3 percent, or 86.28 points, to 6,746.33 while the broader all-shares index was up 1.27 percent, or 45.46 points, to 3,613.24.

DOF: BIR audit of Megaworld not over yet

While the Department of Finance (DOF) already suspended the special audit on property developer Megaworld Corp., the real estate giant will still be audited by the taxman’s unit overseeing big corporate taxpayers. During Monday’s House ways and means committee hearing which tackled last week’s tiff between the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Megaworld, DOF Assistant Secretary Dakila Elteen Napao told the panel that with the clarification that it was the BIR’s large taxpayers’ service (LTS) that goes after real estate players, the LTS would continue the audit jump-started by revenue region (RR) 8B covering south Metro Manila.

Marcos wary of selling state-owned assets

Presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. yesterday said his incoming administration is looking at potential budget sources to augment not just its spending ability during the start of his term but also to prepare for 2023. But when asked in a briefing yesterday if selling government assets is an option to raise more funds, Marcos said he has always been wary about it. “As a matter of principle, I’d rather not,” he added. Marcos acknowledged most of the 2022 budget has been disbursed “but not all of it has been spent, so we still have some breathing room.” He said with little funds left, his administration has to look for potential fund sources. He said this goes hand in hand with the preparation of the 2023 budget and other plans his administration has set out to do as soon as possible.

P100B SUBSIZED LOANS BACKED: No need to raise alert level

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said Alert Level 1 should stay despite warnings of possible increase in cases of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and amid the threat of a new sub variant of the Omicron. Concepcion also expressed support to organized labor’s suggestion for a P100-billion in subsidized loans for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to augment the wage increase granted by different Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards for minimum wage earners. “We should not raise the alert level even if infections come up to thousands as long as hospital utilization remains low. We should emulate other countries which are not locking down their economies even if cases are high… because hospital utilization is low,” Concepcion said at the Laging Handa public briefing yesterday. Concepcion said if Alert Level is raised to 2 or 3, small businesses which have just restarted will lose their momentum and banks which have restructured existing loans to clients will lose their confidence.

Oil price movements mixed on market sentiment

Price movements on oil are mixed on varying sentiments in the global market. The adjustments were caused by the European Union’s (EU) unclear plans on the ban of Russian oil, the easing of lockdowns in China and the increased US oil refining outputs. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), as of May 12, the latest average Manila price per liter of gasoline (RON95) stood at P78.30, diesel at P79.30 and kerosene at P80.87. Seaoil increased per liter prices by P3.95 on gasoline but decreased per liter costs by P2.30 on diesel and P2.45 on kerosene. PTT and Phoenix Petroleum adjusted per liter prices upward by P3.95 on gasoline. Both cut prices of diesel by P2.30.

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