December 07, 2023
ECCP at Work
The services sector is key to achieving the government’s growth target of 6 to 7 percent for 2023, the National Economic and Development Authority. “Domestic services account for almost 3/4 of our growth. That is not vulnerable to global shocks. Even [when] there is a global slowdown, that sector can be quite robust,” Balisacan said during an economic briefing by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.
Balisacan said Executive Order (EO) 10 was recommended for extension for another year or until December 2024. “Encouragingly, however, inflation continues to fall—now down to 4.1 percent in November 2023, bringing us closer to our target band of 2 to 4 percent and nearer to our peers in Southeast Asia,” Balisacan said in a speech at the 2024 Philippine Economic Outlook of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.
In its latest Philippine Economic Update, the multilateral lender said it expects GDP to expand by 5.6% this year and by 5.8% next year, unchanged from its projections last October. World Bank Country Director for the Philippines Ndiame Diop said that the Philippines continues to outperform many of its peers in the region in terms of growth.
The chief executive signed Republic Act 11966 also known as the “Act Providing for the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) of the Philippines” as well as RA 11967 or the Internet Transactions Act of 2023 on Wednesday.
The PSA report showed there were 2.09 million Filipinos who were either jobless or out of business in October. That was equivalent to an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, down from 4.5 percent in the previous month. Underemployment rate is recorded at 11.7 percent, up from 10.7 percent in the previous month.
EO on lower agri tariffs up for approval [mention]
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has endorsed an executive order (EO) that would extend the temporary reduction of tariff rates on rice, pork, corn, and coal until Dec. 31, 2024, to help further bring down inflation. “Inflation continues to fall, now down to 4.1% in November 2023, bringing us closer to our target band of 2-4% and nearer to our peers in Southeast Asia,” Mr. Balisacan said in an event hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is ramping up the improvement of 74 locally funded port projects nationwide. As of October this year, PPA said it has 36 ongoing projects in Luzon, 19 in Visayas and 19 in Mindanao. This resulted in a 46.4 percent jump in total expenses to P7.71 billion from January to October versus last year’s P3.58 billion, PPA added.
The government’s outstanding debt climbed to P14.48 trillion in October after the peso’s depreciation bloated the value of external liabilities. Obligations rose by P121.13 billion or 1.49 percent month-on-month, the Bureau of the Treasury reported. Figures showed local borrowings, which accounted for 68.38 percent of the total debt stock, inched up 1.73 percent to P9.90 trillion after the government borrowed P167.75 billion more than it had repaid to domestic creditors during the month.
Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, eased to 4.1 percent year-on-year last month, a milder uptick compared to the 4.9 percent price growth recorded in October, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Tuesday. The latest reading fell within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) forecast, which pegged inflation at between 4 and 4.8 percent.
National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that the signing into law of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Code of the Philippines will create a more stable policy environment for infrastructure projects. “With its implementation, the government can harness PPPs to finance priority programs such as the Marcos Administration's Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFPs) and even social infrastructure in the education and health sectors,” he added.
“Recognizing this, the Philippines’ Department of Finance actively supports the mainstreaming of gender initiatives in the mobilization of resources for climate adaptation and mitigation programs,” Diokno said. Diokno cited three key elements of gender-responsive climate action, such as the collection of sex-disaggregated data, participation of both women and men in climate-related decision-making, and gender-equitable access to the benefits of climate finance.
The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) has again stressed on the need to increase the monitoring and detection of financial stability risks as it assesses the developments and condition of the region’s risk factors such as elevated inflation, prolonged high interest rates, and increasing debt levels.
At the meeting led by the ARTA Better Regulations Office (BRO), attendees discussed high fees and differing requirements among local government units (LGUs), urging ARTA to initially consolidate and examine Citizen's Charters of LGUs in Metro Manila. The concessionaires will also submit to ARTA the flow of the permitting process based on their on-the-ground experiences. Upon review of the submission, ARTA will then provide recommendations to streamline the system, which may include cutting down processing time and costs.
The PPP Code, or “An Act Providing for the Public-Private Partnership of the Philippines,” signed as Republic Act No. 11966, will establish a stable and predictable environment for collaboration between the public and private sectors. PPP programs seek to address the gaps in the country’s infrastructure systems, and they will also free up much-needed resources when the private sector begins infusing their own money into projects. By incorporating the best practices from implementing the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, the PPP Code ensures that the country builds better infrastructure projects and mitigates risks during implementation.
Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said collections from January to November amounted to P813.651 billion, three percent higher than the P789.247 billion in the same period last year. As such, the collection is now 93 percent of the P874.2 billion target for the year set by the Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee. Rubio expressed confidence that the BOC would be able to hit and surpass the target.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is pushing for a voluntary early and orderly decommissioning or repurposing of existing coal-fired power plants in line with the Philippines’ energy transition program. The DOE said the country’s power sector set-up is market driven and privately owned, with the regulator’s role limited to ensuring the competitive environment for the sector. As a result, the DOE noted that decisions by private businesses to retire coal-fired power plants and shift to full renewable energy are also purely market-driven and based on the economics of which projects will provide the most return to investors.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday approved a USD450-million policy-based loan to help the Philippines strengthen its health policy reforms. The Build Universal Health Care Program (Subprogram 2) will help scale up the government’s efforts to implement key reforms under the UHC Act of 2019. These include sustainable financing for UHC, the integrated delivery of quality health services, and the interoperability of health information systems.