ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured News Articles | June 03, 2022

June 03, 2022

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

ECCP looking forward to working with new government to develop Open Finance [mention]

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines’ (ECCP) Special Committee on Open Finance and Financial Inclusion (SCOFFI) will support the new administration’s initiatives to promote financial inclusion and open finance. By reducing transaction costs through consent-driven data portability, interoperability, and collaborative partnerships among financial institutions and third-party providers (TPPs), open finance seeks to provide customers with a better banking experience. Under open finance, industry players are able to create customer-centric products and provide better access to critical financial services such as savings, insurance, and credit.

ECCP to support new admin’s initiatives [mention]

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said it will support the new administration’s initiatives to promote financial inclusion and open finance, citing their crucial role in ensuring economic recovery and growth. John Januszczak, chair of ECCP’s Special Committee on Open Finance and Financial Inclusion, said in a statement financial inclusion requires deliberate and coordinated action among all the stakeholders. “The government plays a major role in pushing for this agenda,” Januszczak said. By reducing transaction costs through consent-driven data portability, interoperability, and collaborative partnerships among financial institutions and third-party providers, open finance seeks to provide customers with a better banking experience.

Bill creating transport safety board only needs Duterte’s signature

A bill seeking to establish the Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB) is now only awaiting the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte. On Wednesday, the Senate and the House of Representatives separately ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No. 1077 and House Bill No. 9030. “If signed into law, this will be an important milestone for this Congress. But the real winners here are the commuters,” Poe, who led the Senate contingent in the bicam panel, said. Under the bill, the PTSB will be an independent investigatory agency and the primary government body to investigate all significant transportation accidents or incidents.

According to the reconciled bill, the contents of the “factual accident report” will be “binding on all government agencies and shall be taken judicial notice by the courts.” The board accident report will only be admissible in administrative cases.

PHL Senate fails to ratify RCEP

The Philippine Senate deferred the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), after some senators voiced concern over the lack of safeguards for the agriculture sector. Senators on Wednesday adjourned its last session without taking a vote on the RCEP, touted as the world’s biggest trade agreement since it represents 30% of the global gross domestic product (GDP). RCEP, which entered into force on Jan. 1, is a trade agreement involving Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Aside from the Philippines, only two other countries have not yet ratified the RCEP — Indonesia and Myanmar.

PHL likely to miss out on RCEP opportunities as ratification deferred [mention]

The Philippines is likely to lose investment opportunities to other Southeast Asian countries if it continues to delay the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said on Thursday. European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) President Lars Wittig said in a Viber message the group continues to support RCEP. “RCEP membership will yield significant economic benefits for the Philippines and will help accelerate recovery from the mounting debt as well as the adverse economic impacts inflicted by the ongoing COVID pandemic. As such, we urge the incoming legislators to approve the RCEP agreement upon its return to session later this year,” he said.

BSP sees inflation accelerating in May at 5-5.8%

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas expects inflation to further heat up in May, settling within 5-5.8% during the month. “The continued increase in domestic petroleum prices, higher prices of key food items, and peso depreciation are the primary sources of inflationary pressures during the month,” the BSP said Tuesday. The projected range outpaces the 4.9% rate in April and the central bank’s full-year target band of 2-4%. “These could be offset in part by lower electricity rates in Meralco-serviced areas, decline in LPG prices, and lower rice prices,” the BSP further stated.

Senate, House ratify creative industries bill bicam report

Both Chambers of Congress ratified the bicameral report of a bill seeking to promote the creative industries by designating the Philippine Creative Industry Development Council to oversee the sector’s development. The consolidated version of Senate Bill 2455 and House bill 10107, the proposed Act Providing for the Development and Promotion of the Philippine Creative Industries, adopted the House version as the working draft. “The versions of this legislation passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives work in unison to establish the Creative Industry Development Council, mandated to implement a long-term plan for the development and promotion of the Philippine creative industries with programs aimed at creating opportunities and employment, nurturing human resources, ensuring financial enabling mechanisms, and providing incentives to encourage and sustain Filipino excellence in the creative industries,” Senator Aquilino L. Pimentel III, the primary sponsor of the bill, said during his plenary speech late on Monday.

Zubiri announces Senate committee chairmanships; Legarda eyed as president pro tempore

Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri announced the committee chairmanships of some of his colleagues in the 19th Congress. He also said that multiple-term senator Sen. Loren Legarda is set to serve as the President Pro Tempore. Below are the senators and their respective committees:

  • Win Gatchalian — Basic education and ways and means

  • Nancy Binay — Tourism and accounts

  • Sonny Angara — Finance

Zubiri said they are eyeing Sorsogon gov. Sen. Chiz Escudero to chair the justice committee, adding that they have reserved the post for him. None of the announced Senate positions are official until the actual voting in the 19th Congress.

PH debt rises to new ₱12.76-T high in April

The country's outstanding debt stock hit a fresh all-time high of ₱12.76 trillion as of end-April, Bureau of the Treasury figures released Thursday show. The latest tally — which represents a 16.1% annual growth — surpassed the previous ₱12.68 trillion record set in March. The Treasury said 70% of total national government loans were sourced locally. Domestic borrowings in April rose 0.8% month-on-month and 14.4% year-on-year. Foreign debt, which accounted for the remaining 30%, also increased 20.4% from April last year. Compared to March 2022, this climbed 0.4%.

Government generates P576 billion from various tax reforms

The government has so far generated P575.8 billion in taxes from the tax reforms it undertook, raising additional funds to finance infrastructure buildup and social services. Finance Undersecretary Valery Brion yesterday said the government collected P575.8 billion in incremental revenues from 2018 to 2021 through the implementation of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, sin tax laws and tax amnesty program. During the four-year period, Brion said the TRAIN Law brought in P476.1 billion, the sin tax laws contributed P85 billion, while the tax amnesty program earned P14.6 billion.

Philippines loses $3.6 billion in potential investments in electronics

Over $3 billion worth of investments in the manufacture of electronics products were diverted from the Philippines to other countries amid investor concerns on the rationalization of incentives, the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. (SEIPI) said. During the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) yesterday for cooperation in identifying lands that can be developed as ecozones, SEIPI president Dan Lachica said five companies have opted to bring their $3.6 billion worth of investments to Vietnam, Thailand and China instead of the Philippines.

Agri chief seeks restructuring of food safety agencies as House panel concludes inquiry into smuggling

Agriculture Secretary William Dar has asked lawmakers to craft a legislation that will fold all food safety regulatory bureaus into just one agency, the Department of Agriculture. Dar made the plea on Tuesday as a House of Representatives panel concluded months-long inquiry into allegations of rampant smuggling of agricultural goods from China and Korea, including carrots, onions, and strawberries. “Why not consider, Mister Chairman, restructuring through legislation the Food Safety Regulatory System to only one agency under the Department of Agriculture? Today, there are far too many of these that are handling food safety regulatory systems. Integrating the functions of various agencies can be called the Food Safety Regulatory Administration,” Dar told the House Committee on Agriculture and Food.

PH restaurants struggle to source supply, meet demand

Logistics bottlenecks and raw material shortages, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are disrupting global supply chains, affecting everything from consumer goods to car sales. Filipino diners are the latest to bear the brunt of the ongoing crisis as popular restaurant groups struggle to meet demand, which continued to spike amid the resurgence of economic activity in the postpandemic period.

ADB approves climate loan

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $250-million loan to support the Philippines in its climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, the multilateral agency said in a statement yesterday. “We have a climate emergency, and all countries must come together and address the causes and adapt in a way that ensures food security, protects our biodiversity, and improves the well-being of millions of vulnerable persons,” said Ahmed Saeed, ADB vice president for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. “The Philippines has adopted important climate actions and goals that will help address these threats and challenges and guide a green and resilient recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic,” Saeed added.

Philippines seen to grow by 6.8% this year

New York-based GlobalSource Partners now expects the Philippines to book faster economic growth this year after emerging strongly from the pandemic-induced recession. In a research note titled “Here Comes the Son,” GlobalSource country analysts Romeo Bernardo and Christine Tang said the think tank now expects the Philippines to register a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.8 percent this year on easing COVID mobility restrictions. This is faster than its original forecast of 5.5 percent, but slightly below the revised seven to eight percent target set by the Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).

Lower power rates doable

The incoming administration’s target to lower power rates is doable but this involves multiple factors including “sound government policies,” according to the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco). “Reducing electricity prices is always possible but involves looking into many factors that affect the movement of electricity rates. The biggest and most volatile part of the bill which is the generation charge is driven by fuel prices, forex and demand-supply situation,” Ray Espinosa, Meralco president and chief executive officer, said during a virtual stockholders’ meeting yesterday.

DOF: Tax take from new measures reach P228.6B

The government’s tax take from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, the Tax Amnesty Act and the Sin Tax Reform laws in 2021 exceeded the cumulative target by 13.7 percent, according to the Department of Finance (DOF). In a statement, the DOF said yesterday collections generated from these measures reached P228.6 billion last year. In 2021, TRAIN contributed P171.1 billion in additional revenues, which is 8.3 percent above the target of P157.9 billion; the sin tax laws hauled in P52.9 billion, or 22.7 percent higher than the target of P43.1 billion; and the tax amnesty provided an additional P4.6 billion, said Valery Brion, officer-in-charge undersecretary of the DOF’s domestic finance group.

NIA: Projects expanded PHL’s irrigated areas

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) on Wednesday said it expanded the country’s irrigation development by 311,265 hectares to 2.042 million hectares at the end of the term of President Duterte. NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya claimed that the expansion made under the Duterte administration from 2016 to 2021 was the highest in the NIA’s history.

Asian markets drop on recession fears, output report drags oil down

Equities fell in Asia on Thursday as traders grow increasingly worried that central bank moves to rein in inflation could tip economies into recession. However, price pressures were eased by a drop in crude following a report saying Saudi Arabia had indicated it was willing to pump more if Russia was unable to fulfil pledges to boost production.

PH facing shortage of cybersecurity talent

In the Philippines and the rest of Asia, the majority of the companies find it challenging to hire cybersecurity talent due to a skills shortage, which can deal a blow to business operations, according to antivirus software developer Fortinet. Rashish Pandey, vice president of marketing and communications at the firm, said that 71 percent of respondents in the company’s recent study said they were having a difficult time looking for technology-qualified talents for cybersecurity.

Manufacturing workforce up for 1st time in more than 2 years

The expansion of the Philippine manufacturing sector’s operating conditions slightly slowed down in May, but it posted the first increase in workforce numbers since February 2020, according to a report released by S&P Global yesterday. The S&P Global Philippines manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell fractionally from 54.3 in April to 54.1 in May, the report said. S&P said the latest headline index reading signalled a further expansion across the manufacturing sector, and one that was the second fastest since November 2018. “The Philippines’ manufacturing sector registered a further improvement in operating conditions during May. Both output and new orders grew at solid rates despite easing from the recent highs experienced in the previous survey period,” the report said. 

Fil-Chinese traders turn more bullish

The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry Inc. (FFCCCII) has revised upwards its growth forecast for the economy in 2022 to 7 to 9 percent from its earlier projection of 6.5 to 7.5 percent. Henry Lim Bon Liong, FFCCCII president, in a statement said the country’s growth can accelerate this year despite global uncertainties such as the Ukraine Russia war, rising interest rates and inflationary pressures. Lim said the group believes in the competence of the incoming team in steering the economy towards recovery and in maintaining a sound fiscal management. Coupled by the sustained reopening of more industries and relaxed mobility, consumer spending will fuel the economy, Lim said. “We the diverse business chambers and industry groups under the FFCCCII are optimistic about the strong momentum of Philippine economic recovery.

Protection of tourism frontliners, boosting potential of lesser-known sites among plans of next DOT chief

Liloan, Cebu Mayor Christina Frasco has laid down her initial plans in revitalizing the tourism industry once she takes the helm at the Department of Tourism under the Marcos administration. In an interview on Wednesday, Frasco said she can bring to the agency "a local government perspective" which will respond to the needs of all people behind the tourism industry, especially when disaster strikes. "From my end, I believe that what I'll bring in to the department is a local government perspective, the perspective of which has been towards the most gravely affected individuals and groups, our stakeholders that have greatly suffered because of all of the restrictions, because of the pandemic, and the recent calamities," Frasco said.

Local airlines optimistic on travel demand despite spike in fuel surcharge

Local airlines are optimistic that travel demand will be sustained in the next few months, even as airfares may rise due to the spike in jet fuel prices. “While the remaining months of June to November are our traditional lean season, we remain confident that more passengers will fly in the coming months as travel restrictions have eased. We continue to see an uptrend in bookings as passengers show high interest in our seat sales,” Cebu Pacific Chief Commercial Officer Xander Lao said in a statement to BusinessWorld on Tuesday.

Balisacan seeks to balance infra with social spending

Incoming socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said on Wednesday that he will seek a review of “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure spending and seek to strike a balance between erecting public works and alleviating poverty. He also wants more attention to be paid to social protection, adding that the expansion of the conditional cash transfer program is a possible avenue for doing so. Mr. Balisacan said however that putting a stop to the ongoing Build, Build, Build projects is not on the table, calling the cancellation of such pending works a “bad practice.”

Customs exceeds May collection target by 21%

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) on Thursday said it exceeded its May collection target by a fifth due to improved valuation and collection efforts as the economy continues to rebound. In a statement, the bureau said it collected P68.245 billion in May, surpassing the P56.478-billion target by 21%. May marked the fifth month in a row that Customs has exceeded its monthly collection goals. Last month’s Customs collection was 38% higher than the same month in 2021. Citing a preliminary report from the BoC-Finance Service, the bureau said 15 of the 17 collection districts surpassed their monthly target.

Incoming Trade Secretary Pascual focused on expanding MSME markets

Trade department nominee Alfredo E. Pascual plans to focus on expanding markets for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that were affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. “We need to focus on MSMEs. Those small businesses that closed due to the pandemic and find a way for them to start their businesses again,” Mr. Pascual, the incoming Trade Secretary, said in a television interview on Wednesday. “We will (also) help them have the capability to participate in the bigger market through e-commerce. So, we also need the capability for digital transactions, accounting and record keeping, which can be helped by digital technology,” he added.

Diokno touts ‘promising economy’ to investors

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno, who will be the next government’s Finance Secretary, said the Philippine economy is “promising” and has much to offer potential investors. “We thank our partners in Spain who have played significant roles in the Philippine economic narrative,” Mr. Diokno said during his presentation to the BBVA Investor Roundtable Discussion in Spain, “Over the years, Spain has been an important ally, contributing to our trade growth.” “And for those who have yet to do business with the Philippines, we urge you to take a look at our promising economy as we soar to new heights.”

Economic reopening seen bolstering growth into Q2 — FMIC, UA&P

The second quarter is expected to reflect continued recovery momentum on the back of higher employment and domestic demand, First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) and the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) said. In their market call report on Wednesday, FMIC and UA&P said the growth will continue despite the constraints on government resources and the impact of inflation. However, growth is expected  to slow compared with the first quarter. According to the report, the 8.3% gross domestic product (GDP) growth seen in the first quarter was largely due to the 3.4 million jobs created between the fourth quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, which is also expected to flow onto the second-quarter growth result.

Wholesale price growth accelerates to 8.3% in April

Price growth of wholesale general goods for April was 8.3%, the highest level in almost 11 years amid robust demand and election spending, according to preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The rise in the general wholesale price index (GWPI) was stronger than the previous month’s gain of 7.6% and the year-earlier rise of 2.7%. The April indicator was the highest reading in nearly 11 years since the 9.1% growth posted in September 2011.

Mindanao’s longest bridge operational by end 2023

Construction of Mindanao’s longest bridge project is halfway done and this is expected to be operational by the end of 2023, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). DPWH officials inspected last June 1 the ongoing Panguil Bay Bridge project which is among the 119 infrastructure flagship projects under the Build, Build, Build (BBB) program.

Cap on VAT exemption erodes firms’ viability

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) will seek rectification of provisions in a tax measure that strips registered business enterprises (RBEs) value-added tax (VAT) exemption. “With the incoming administration, we’d like to request them to revisit and reconsider our position on the VAT exemption,” said Tereso Panga, PEZA deputy director-general. PEZA is firm the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act did not remove the exemption on local supplies, utilities, facilities, logistics service providers although the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) run in conflict with the provisions of the law by putting a cap on the exemption which would make the Philippines less competitive. Panga said the Ways and Means Committee at the House of Representatives backed PEZA’s position.

NEP to contain Marcos’ key programs

Incoming budget secretary Amenah Pangandaman yesterday said she has been instructed by President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to ensure the 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) contains his priority programs and projects. These are agricultural and food security, climate change adaptation, economic recovery, improved healthcare and education, enhanced infrastructure projects including digital infrastructure, utilization of renewable energy sources, strengthened tourism and jobs creation, and sustainable development, among others.

  • 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