ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | December 12, 2023

December 12, 2023

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

NEDA remains upbeat on economy, welcomes more foreign investments 

NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan delivered this message during the 2024 Economic Outlook Forum hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines on Dec. 6. The Philippine economy grew 5.9 percent in the third quarter of 2023. NEDA estimates that the country needs to grow by at least 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter to meet the low-end of the GDP growth target of 6 to 7 percent for the year.

PEZA stands with DoE to amplify energy security, eco-friendly technologies in the country 

PEZA Director General Tereso O. Panga stated, “As we always tell our registered business enterprises and future investment partners, one of PEZA’s non-negotiables is the protection of the environment.” In 2012, PEZA entered a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with ECCP on energy savings program, which resulted to seminars nationwide together with plant energy audits. Under this MOA, service providers were accredited to help locators reduce energy consumption and make their manufacturing operation cost effective.

EU investment for PHL digital hub has caveat

Colette van der Ven, trade policy expert with the International Trade Centre, also underscored the importance of a Philippine-European Union free trade agreement (FTA), read a statement from the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport). Van der Ven, according to Philexport, said an FTA between the two economies can help transform the Philippines into a regional digital hub through the launch of the EU’s “digital economy package” for the country.

BSP: Slowing inflation, not enough reason to ease monetary policy

Inflation slowed to 4.1 percent in November while BSP Governor Eli M. Remolona Jr. expects inflation to settle within the target range in December. These are deemed welcome developments for the country. However, it may take some time before the BSP becomes dovish. Currently, Remolona said the BSP remains hawkish and may remain that way until “early 2024” when inflation could hit below 3 percent. Remolona said there are still risks that the BSP needs to watch out for. Monitoring these risks and preventing them from negating inflation gains is crucial, especially for the Philippines.

NEDA to prioritize IRR for PPP Code

NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon told reporters the issuance of the IRR for the PPP Code would be prioritized by the agency. Republic Act 11966 or the PPP Code was signed into law by President Marcos last Dec. 5. The law, which was among the government’s priority legislative measures for approval this year, clarifies ambiguities in the existing Build-Operate-Transfer Law, which was last amended in 1994, as well as other existing PPP legal frameworks. RA 11966 is expected to address bottlenecks and challenges that affect the implementation of PPPs.

NEDA cites policy reforms & initiatives for sustained growth to European investors [mention]

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) expressed confidence in the economic outlook of the Philippines, urging foreign business persons to invest in the country by taking advantage of the recent policy reforms and initiatives enacted and implemented by the government. NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan expressed this optimism during his speech at the 2024 Economic Outlook Forum hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

Naia passengers reach 41.2M, flights reach 257k in 11 mos

The operator of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) will likely meet its projected 45 million passengers and 275,000 flights this year, with an anticipated surge in traffic for the holidays. In a news statement, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Officer-in-Charge Bryan Co reported some 41.2 million passengers passing through Naia’s gates, and 257,174 flights arriving and departing said airport from January to November 2023. “Our confidence [in meeting the year-end projection] is fueled by the impressive 11-month totals…and the anticipated passenger surge during the festive season in December.”

To ease inflation, Neda backs logistics relief

LIFTING toll charges for food trucks as well as expanding exemption of pass-through fees to non-rice food items could further bring down inflation, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda). Edillon also told BusinessMirror that the pass-through exemption is already part of Executive Order 41. She said several Local Government Units (LGUs), including those in Metro Manila, have issued their respective resolutions to comply with the EO. “On the exemption from toll fee increase, I know that this is being negotiated with the expressway operators; this was requested by the economic team, mainly the Department of Finance,” Edillon added.

PHL jobless rate hit record low 4.2% in October, says Neda

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Neda said in a statement that the jobless rate was lower than the 4.5 percent posted in October 2022, which was initially declared as the lowest unemployment rate in two decades. The PSA data also showed that the underemployment rate in October 2023 was 11.7 percent, lower than the 14.2 percent recorded in October 2022 and the 15.9 percent posted in July 2023. The Neda also said most employment generated involved middle (+334,000) and high-skill occupations (+897,000). This is primarily due to the expansion in tourism-related and IT-BPO sectors.

THIS YEAR: NEDA optimistic about hitting 6% growth

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is optimistic  the country would hit the lower end of the growth target for the year of about 6 percent buoyed by the catch-up spending of government agencies and post-pandemic recovery of some industries like tourism and information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO). Edillon said this expectation was based on the indicators such as the improved employment rating, the high Purchasing Managers Index, and the recovery of various sectors from the coronavirus disease  pandemic. She said government spending has also started to improve during the second quarter and has “caught up” in the third quarter.

Factory output growth slows in Oct to 1.7%

The country’s factory output saw a significantly slower growth in October, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported yesterday. According to the latest Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries, the Volume of Production Index in October slowed down to 1.7 percent from 6.7 percent a year ago and 9.9 percent in the previous month. Likewise, the Value of Production Index eased to a growth of 1.3 percent from 14.5 percent in October 2022 and 9.6 percent in September 2023.

Govt borrowings down 1.5%

According to the latest cash operations report posted on the Bureau of the Treasury’s (BTr) website, the government’s gross borrowings in the first 10 months of the year went down to P1.98 trillion from the P2 trillion recorded a year ago. Gross domestic borrowings for the period accounted for the bigger chunk amounting to P1.52 trillion, down 0.99 percent from the year ago level of P1.53 trillion. Of the said amount, P1.06 trillion is in fixed rate treasury bonds, while P139.7 billion was accounted for by treasury bills.

Meralco reaffirms commitment to diversity, inclusivity

“Improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace should not just be a pro-forma sustainability effort – it is key in securing Meralco’s future. Empowering women and advocating gender balance deepens the talent pool in our country, while also expanding the menu of possible careers for young women,” Meralco chairman and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan said. The company has significantly increased the representation of women in its workforce to 22 percent, well above the global energy sector’s average of 13 percent.

AboitizPower plans to tap new funding for early coal retirement

Aboitiz Power Corp. plans to tap low cost and long-term funding geared towards early coal retirement and reinvestment of proceeds to enable renewable energy. AboitizPower president and CEO Emmanuel Rubio said the company is discussing options with financial institutions like the Asian Development Bank and the International Finance Corp. to look into ETMs. Aside from strengthening its environmental, social, and corporate governance practices, AboitizPower earlier said it is working to increase its understanding of ETMs and carbon offset markets to ensure that the company does not only manage risks, but also position itself well to maximize related opportunities.

Philippines secures $200 million loan for climate-resilient infrastructure

In a statement yesterday, the multilateral lender said the approved loan is the second additional financing for the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility (IPIF) to support the preparation of climate-resilient road, bridge, transport and flood risk management projects identified by the government as flagship projects. The ADB loan is expected to help accelerate the implementation of projects through feasibility studies and detailed engineering design, which will have climate-resilient features to support the country in its climate commitments and national adaptation priorities.

NEDA preps for law focused on PHL ‘KIST’ (knowledge and innovation, science and technology) industry’s development

Neda Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Rosemarie G. Edillon said they will first conduct a study to gather information regarding the industry and determine best practices the country can adopt in this regard. The KIST are part of firms using the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) law and are encountering a number of restrictions that prevent them from thriving and growing as an industry. Edillon said once a bill is drafted, Neda can search for a champion in both at the House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate to have the bill passed into law.

NEDA urges foreign investors to tap into PH growth, reforms 

During the 2024 Economic Outlook Forum hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan emphasized the favorable prospects of the Philippines. This includes the implementation of inter-agency, non-monetary measures to tackle supply-side constraints and curb increases in food prices, as well as accelerating the efficient execution of programs aimed at boosting government spending. He further stated that the government is committed to taking all necessary steps to drive and maintain the economic momentum for this year and next, and to realize its vision of providing every Filipino with a stable, prosperous, and secure way of life.

PH promotes bid to host climate fund

In a statement, the Palace said that the delegation, led by Environment Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, told the COP28 that the Philippines is most qualified to host the historic board not only for being a living testament to the effects of climate change, but also with its abiding interest in promoting equitable and just rules in the governance of the global commons. Yulo-Loyzaga told the COP28 that hosting the fund in the Philippines will showcase global commitment to inclusivity, ensuring that the voices and experiences of the most affected countries are heard and considered in shaping the most urgent of global climate policies.

FDI inflows drop to 3-year low in Sept.

Data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday showed FDI net inflows plunged by 42.2% to $422 million in September from $731 million in the same month in 2022. The September figure was the lowest monthly net inflow of FDI in over three years, or since the $314 million in April 2020 at the height of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic lockdowns. Security Bank Corp. Chief Economist Robert Dan J. Roces attributed the FDI slump in September to global economic uncertainties such as possible recessions and trade disputes.

Congress ratifies P5.77-T national budget

Philippine lawmakers on Monday ratified the Bicameral Conference Committee report on the P5.768-trillion national budget for 2024, with the education, infrastructure, and defense agencies receiving the biggest increases. Congress also stripped confidential funds from civilian agencies. Mr. Angara noted that only about P9.5 billion of these funds were realigned to security agencies mandated to use them.

BI: Passenger arrivals to hit 1.5M in December

BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco attributed the steady increase in the number of arrivals to the “aggressive” tourism campaigns of the government. He said the number of arriving passengers this year is 79 percent higher than in 2022. Likewise, the BI recorded a significant increase in the number of outbound tourists with 1.1 million departures in November alone. The figure, according to the BI, is already “very close” to the 1.3 million departures recorded in November 2019, before the pandemic.

Agriculture output seen recovering in Q4

Agricultural production  is expected to bounce back this quarter due to the absence of any major weather disturbance. “Based on data that we are seeing… Initial data show  it is possible to grow since we don’t have a major calamity, not much typhoons as well. Crops production is also good. We also expect  continued growth in the livestock and poultry sub-sectors and hopefully, fisheries can recover as well as its decline in the third quarter is quite susbstantial,” said Arnel de Mesa, DA assistant secretary for operations,  at the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon public briefing yesterday.

PPA sees 9% surge in passenger volume

Jay Bautista, PPA general manager, said passenger volume will reach 5.1 million during the holidays, higher than last year’s about 4.7 million passengers. Santiago attributed the growth to the revival of global and domestic tourism, trade and regular travel activities. PPA also reported a 4.5 percent increase in cargo volume handled to 227.2 million metric tons (MT) from 227.1 million MT a year ago amid the increase in both domestic and foreign cargo.

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