August 31, 2016

Duterte government to remain on track for a year-end goal of a ... to protect personal information collected both by the government ... FREE ENTERPRIS...

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August 31, 2016

July data show gov‘t missing fiscal program (Can also be read in Philippine Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Business Mirror, Manila Times, The Standard, Malaya) THE DUTERTE administration sustained a budget deficit for the third straight month in July, marked by sustained growth in public spending against lower tax collections which analysts flagged as a concern. Uniform template for business permits proposed (Can also be read in Philippine Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Times, The Standard, Malaya) THREE LINE departments have issued a joint memorandum circular urging all local government units (LGUs) to follow a uniform format for their business permits and licensing system (BPLS) in order to cut the processing time down to two days. Policy body formed to review Bataan nuke plant (Can also be read in Philippine Star, Business Mirror, Malaya) THE DEPARTMENT of Energy (DoE) is forming a team that will look into the viability of nuclear energy for the Philippines, focusing on a plan to revive the mothballed Bataan nuclear power plant at a cost of around $1 billion, its top official said on Tuesday. Debt-to-GDP ratio at 43% in first semester (can also be read in Manila Bulletin, Manila Times) THE COUNTRY‘S debt burden eased further during the first semester, allowing the Duterte government to remain on track for a year-end goal of a debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio of 42.66%. Solar-powered pumps readied for installation to boost crop yields (Can also be read in Malaya) THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture is installing five prototypes of solar-powered irrigation pumps across the country within this year as it tries to find ways to boost crop yields.

Peso seen to outperform other Asian currencies THE PESO is seen to be the best performing currency in Asia this year according to a Bloomberg poll, with investors confident of ample foreign reserves that can cushion the local currency against external shocks. Peso weakens following hawkish Fed statements THE PESO ended weaker against the dollar as it resumed trading on Tuesday amid stronger hints that the United States may raise interest rates anew, with investors on the lookout for economic data that could dictate when the rate hike will occur. Bank asset growth picks up further GROWTH in assets of the country‘s biggest banks picked up pace last quarter as loan expansion quickened. BSP chief says local conditions to dictate monetary policy shift ANY DECISION to adjust interest rates will hinge largely on local conditions, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) chief said yesterday, noting a backdrop of weak global prospects and divergent policy moves among central banks. Mindanao transmission backbone project OK‘d MINDANAO‘S 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission backbone project will enable the entry of an additional 2,400 megawatt (MW) of power capacity in the northern and southern part of the island as new plants go online, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said on Tuesday. A Marine Park in the West Philippine Sea; An Ecological Approach to Maritime issues Opinion by Lysander Castillo Amid a tumultuous legal and diplomatic atmosphere in Southeast Asia over the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea, experts from the scientific community have proposed the establishment of a marine park. In setting up a marine protected area, our region could halt the devastating environmental degradation and help claimant-States sustainably benefit from the fishery resources in the contested waters. National Privacy Commission promulgates IRR of Data Privacy Act of 2012 Amicus Curiae by Noelle Jenina Francesca E. Buan Following a series of public consultations held between June and August 2016, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) promulgated the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10173 last Aug. 24, 2016. Republic Act No. 10173, or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA), was principally authored by former Senator Edgardo J. Angara during his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, and passed into law in 2012.

CA restrains PCC on telco sale probe (Can also be read in Philippine Daily Inquirer, Malaya) The Court of Appeals (CA) has stopped the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) from reviewing the P70-billion buyout deal of the telco assets of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) by the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Globe Telecom, Inc. (Globe). DPWH won‘t be an underspending agency – Villar Villar, in an interview following the DPWH‘s Appropriations panel hearing Tuesday afternoon at the House of Representatives (HOR), bared that he‘s considering it a priority not to pinch pennies like the previous administration.

Brexit rattles Eurozone business confidence Britain‘s vote to quit the European Union continued to undermine eurozone business and consumer confidence in August, analysts said after worse-than-expected official figures on Tuesday.

DENR urged to involve LGUs in crackdown vs bad miners (Can also be read in The Standard, Daily Tribune) MANILA, Philippines – The province of Agusan del Norte has called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to involve local government units (LGUs) in the government‘s ongoing purge on irresponsible mining in the country. Government pitches small PPP projects in VisMin (Can also be read in Philippine Daily Inquirer) MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is urging businessmen to invest in far-flung communities in Visayas and Mindanao, particularly in smaller scale public-private partnership (PPP) projects. ‗Philippines no longer needs Asean unified statement‘ MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is no longer concerned about getting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to issue a unified statement on the South China Sea as the July 12 ruling of an international court invalidating China‘s massive maritime claim is enough ―legal foundation‖ to support Manila‘s position, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said Monday. Legislative, judicial items part of FOI exceptions

MANILA, Philippines – The draft implementing rules of the executive order on Freedom of Information (FOI) contain restrictions on the release of information about the use of congressional funds and court proceedings. Implementing rules for Data Privacy Act out MANILA, Philippines – The National Privacy Commission (NPC) yesterday released the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the Data Privacy Act, a law seeking to protect personal information collected both by the government and the private sector in the Philippines. Huawei sees positive growth outlook in Philippines MANILA, Philippines – Huawei Technologies Philippines Inc. has a positive growth outlook for its business in the country as telcos are investing to improve their network to cater to growing demand for data services. Index tumbles as US rate hike looms MANILA, Philippines – Share prices declined yesterday as the market digested US Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen‘s speech last Friday, saying that the case for a rate hike has strengthened. The first Duterte budget proposal, priorities, and economic reforms CROSSROADS by Gerardo P. Sicat Last week, the Duterte administration submitted its first budget proposal for enactment by Congress. Aside from providing for the day to day business of the government as an institution, the budget does not disappoint in outlining the new directions and programs of the new administration.

Government revisits nuclear energy option (Can also be read in The Standard, Malaya) The government is checking on the mothballed Bataan nuclear power plant (BNPP) as it considers using the facility to help improve the country‘s energy mix, according to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi. PSEi slips 0.64% (Can also be read in The Standard) Philippine stocks slipped Tuesday as investors grew concerned about an interest rate hike by the powerful United States Federal Reserve coming sooner rather than later. Clark development via PPP route pushed The Department of Transportation (DOTr) wants the private sector to assume the development of the Clark International Airport in Pampanga via the Public Private Partnership program, saying this was a faster way to ease air traffic congestion at Manila‘s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Government to allow ‗endo‘ in some industries The national government will draft a list of industry sectors that will be allowed to continue hiring contractual workers, according to the chief of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda). Unleash North Luzon‘s agribusiness potentials to reduce poverty–DAR Despite being the country‘s leading food basket, four northern Luzon regions— Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Cordilleras and Central Luzon—one-fifth of their population, mostly farm families, remain poor. MEI: Online hiring jumped 10% in July Online hiring in the Philippines grew 10 percent in July 2016, according to the Monster Employment Index (MEI). MEI data released on Tuesday showed that five sectors posted online-hiring growth of above 20 percent in July 2016. Central Bankers get tired of gold as lower exports cut cash THE biggest owners of gold are tiring of the metal. Central banks—holders of about 32,900 metric tons of bullion—cut their purchases by 40 percent during the three months through June, compared with the same period a year earlier, to the low-est since 2011, World Gold Council figures compiled by Bloomberg show. It was the third-straight quarterly drop, the longest such streak in at least five years. ‗Biocontrol agents effective vs banana disease‘ The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it has found an organic way to combat a disease, which causes importing countries to reject shipments of bananas from the Philippines. How the Philippines can compete globally FREE ENTERPRISE by Zoilo ‗Bingo‘ Dejaresco III Zoilo ‗Bingo‘ Dejaresco IIIPEOPLE no longer laugh when we claim the Philippines can become a first-world country in 20 years. We are so used to being the basket case in Asia, courtesy of martial law, we sometimes die laughing at the thought.

MSMEs urged to seize AEC potential MICRO, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) should take a proactive stance and seize the opportunities offered by the Asean Economic Community (AEC) instead of cowering in fear of regional competition, one of the country‘s top economic managers said.

‗Modernize agri-fishery sector to cut poverty in NLuzon‘ THE Duterte administration should diversify Northern Luzon‘s agriculture by sustainably producing more com-modities and processed products for both local and export markets, a volunteer agri-fishery socio-civic organization said. US rate hike fears down PH Share prices plunged on Tuesday as investors cut losses, spooked by the statement of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on raising interest rates in the US.

Fewer oil discoveries in 2015 signal supply shortfall ahead Explorers in 2015 discovered only about a tenth as much oil as they have annually on average since 1960. This year, they‘ll probably find even less, spurring new fears about their ability to meet future demand. Clark airport expansion bidding up The Transportation Department said Tuesday it will auction the contract to expand Clark International Airport within the next 10 months. NGCP building backbone in South The Energy Regulatory Commission approved the application of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines to build the P7-billion Mindanao 230kV Transmission Backbone Project.

Minda agricultural summit highlight coops‘ role in dev‘t A TWO-DAY Mindanao Agricultural Summit that began August 30 was initiated by the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) at the Grand Caprice restaurant in Cagayan de Oro to highlight issues besetting agricultural cooperatives in Mindanao. Integrate Davao MSMEs in global value chain THE regional office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Davao is geared towards integrating the region‘s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the global value chain.

GOV‘T TO RAISE PROPERTY TAX Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez yesterday said part of the tax reform package his office will present to lawmakers is the plan to increase real property taxes. MONETIZE THE 4PS RICE DOLE AS SUGGESTED BY NEDA It is significant that two economists of note, Budget Secretary Ben Diokno, and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) director-general Ernesto Pernia appear to differ on the manner of distributing the proposed Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program rice dole to the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps). POPULATION TO SWELL TO 141M BY 2050; PH FERTILITY RATE ABOVE ASEAN AVERAGE There will be 141 million Filipinos by the middle of this century. STUDY SAYS P328B LOST YEARLY TO MALNUTRITION At least P328 billion is lost to the economy per year due to the impact on the productivity as adults of children who suffered from malnutrition and under nutrition at age five years and below, a study conducted by the non-government organization (NGO), Save the Children, show. LONG WAY TO GO FOR PH IN URBAN WATER SECURITY The Philippines still has a long way to go to ensure that those living in urban areas are water-secure. The Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO 2016) study said while East Asia has shown positive progress in uban services, South and Southeast Asia still have some way to go, particularly Myanmar, Pakistan and the Philippines.

BSP vows 20% digital transaction in 2020 Bringing to at least 20 percent from the current one percent the digital transactions in the Philippines is the aim of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas‘ (BSP) national financial inclusion program four years from now.