February 13, 2018

THE GOVERNMENT made a partial award of the P20 billion it planned to raise through the auction of Treasury bills (T-bills) yesterday as yields rose ac...

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February 13, 2018

FDIs top 2017 target as of November (Can also be read in Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Business Mirror, Manila Times, The Standard, Sunstar) FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENTS (FDI) to the Philippines surged anew in November amid strong interest in debt instruments and equities, taking year-to-date inflows beyond the $8 billion expected by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Gov‘t partially awards T-bills as rates rise THE GOVERNMENT made a partial award of the P20 billion it planned to raise through the auction of Treasury bills (T-bills) yesterday as yields rose across all tenors. Rediscount facility untapped THE REDISCOUNT WINDOW offered by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) stood untapped in January amid ample money supply held by banks, just as yields for foreign currency borrowings continued their ascent. Peso plunges to 11-year trough THE PESO plunged to an 11-year low against the dollar on Monday even as equity markets corrected amid hopes for the US Federal Reserve to tighten its rates this year. Japan financing for Metro Manila subway may be ready by March (Can also be read in Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star, Malaya, Daily Tribune) THE PHILIPPINES hopes to obtain next month an initial financing package from Japan for the construction of the country‘s first subway line, following a meeting between the two sides yesterday in Cebu City. PHL plans open tender, June delivery for 250,000 tons rice (Can also be read in Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer) THE PHILIPPINES will buy 250,000 tons of rice via an open international tender and delivery will be in June, a top government official said, as the country seeks to boost thin state stockpiles and stabilize rising domestic prices.

Increase of automobile sales slows in January (Can also be read in Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Malaya, Daily Tribune) AUTOMOBILE SALES grew at a markedly slower pace in January — the month higher tax rates took effect — as less passenger cars were sold compared to a year ago, according to data released on Monday by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and by the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA). China, other Middle East destinations considered for overseas workers displaced from Kuwait THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) is considering the deployment to China of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) repatriated from Kuwait, Presidential Spokesperson Herminio L. Roque, Jr . said. Customs chief cracks the whip on missed goal (Can also be read in Philippine Daily Inquirer) THE HEAD of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) will relieve officers of districts that fail to hit revenue targets this month, the BoC said in a statement on Monday. TRAIN ride or wreck? On Dec. 19, 2017, President Duterte signed the Tax Reformation for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill into law, branded as the first tax reform package for a fairer and simpler tax system. It took effect on Jan. 1. It has its good and feared points.

DOT urges MSMEs to invest in tourism Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are engaged in tourism-related business to actively help attract international investors to the country. Power suppliers seek parallel DOE policy on allowing service continuity Retail power suppliers affiliated with the Retail Electricity Suppliers Association Inc. (RESA) are seeking the imprimatur of the Department of Energy (DOE) for a parallel policy issuance allowing them to offer continued service to customers even with the expiration of their licenses. BCDA, Japan forge partnership with Jurong of Singapore (Can also be read in Malaya) State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development (JOIN) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Surbana Jurong of Singapore for the full development of New Clark City.

PH expected to raise issue on reclamation works in contested territory during talks (Can also be read in Daily Tribune) The Philippines and China will hold tomorrow the next round of bilateral dialogue in Manila in a bid to manage the dispute in the South China Sea. TransCo expects immediate decision on FIT rate hike With the suspended commissioners of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) temporarily back at their offices, the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) is expecting that the rate hike on the feed-in-tariff allowance (FIT-All) to P0.2932 per kilowatt hour (kWh) will already be acted upon by the regulatory body. Miners open to Senate probe on disclosure of beneficial owners The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), which is comprised of the biggest miners in the Philippines, is open to a proposed Senate inquiry that will require them to disclose who their beneficial owners are. Diesel, P1.30/liter; gasoline, P1/liter (Can also be read in Business Mirror, Malaya) Following six-time hikes in pump prices, it will be a reverse course this week with diesel prices going down by P1.30 per liter; and gasoline by P1.00 per liter. Shift in budget process ‗too radical and disruptive‘ Swinging from a multiyear obligation budget to a cash-based appropriation system might be too radical and disruptive for the country, according to government think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). Global markets seeing ‗necessary corrections‘ – IMF chief Dubai – The latest volatility in global financial markets represents ―necessary corrections,‖ IMF chief Christine Lagarde said in Dubai on Sunday, in the wake of a Wall Street plunge. Make it easier to set up cell sites In the continuing search for ways to improve telecommunications services in the country, the Department of Information and Communications Technology has proposed a policy of common towers to address the backlog in telecom infrastructure in the country.

Trade deficit seen to hit record $35 B this year Dutch financial giant ING Bank said the trade deficit of the Philippines may widen to a record $35 billion this year amid sustained high imports and soft export growth. Trades subdued as inflation concerns linger The local stock market remained weak yesterday, ignoring the upswing in regional markets due to lingering concerns on inflation, traders said.

Modern halal plant opens in Maguindanao The government has opened a modern halal hatchery and poultry dressing plant in Maguindanao as the demand for the $2.6 trillion global halal industry continues to surge. Confusing and confused rice priorities In case you initially got confused with the exchange of words about the state of rice supply in the Philippines – all coming from government sources, by the way – chances are you buy rice that‘s priced from between P40 to P80 per kilo, either local or imported. China fintech conglomerate eyes Philippine prospects Freeman FinTech Corp. Ltd. (Freeman FinTech), the Hong Kong listed Chinese financial conglomerate, is exploring various investment opportunities in the Philippines as part of China‘s ―One Belt and One Road‖ strategy for outward expansion.

Hungary allots 1B euro for investors in PH Hungary has allotted 1 billion euros (or more than P63.48 billion) for companies that plan to do business with the Philippines, following a recently concluded trade and investment mission in the European country, top officials said. 4% inflation in January blamed on profiteering (Can also be read in Manila Times) The Department of Finance on Monday blamed the over three-year high inflation of 4 percent in January on alleged profiteering by unscrupulous traders who took advantage of the higher excise tax rates slapped on a number of products under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act. PLDT to support e-commerce needs of MSMEs Telecommunications giant PLDT has teamed up with entrepreneurship advocate Go Negosyo to arm micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) with different ecommerce capabilities. Hanging on ‗Build, build, build‘ NO FREE LUNCH by Cielito F. Habito My own outlook on the economy‘s growth in the year ahead seems a bit better than the government‘s and that of most other analysts, who project it at 6-7 percent (mine is at 6.5-7.5 percent), even as I recognize several downside risks that may temper that. I‘ve erred on the side of optimism before, primarily because I ended up having more faith than was warranted in the government‘s ability to execute its plans.

BOI incentives aligned with CTRP Package 2 The Board of Investments (BOI) said its fiscal incentives are already aligned with the second package of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) of the Duterte administration. Rising inflation already cut workers‘ purchasing power by 30%–labor group Following the recent hikes in prices of basic commodities last month, workers in Metro Manila now have considerably less consuming power given their current salaries, according to a labor group. ‗Big boys‘ causing delays in conclusion of RCEP The Philippines is demanding its fellow negotiating-countries in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to seriously commit to a speedy conclusion of their trade deal, as the latest round of talks still failed to progress beyond trade in goods modalities. Higher palay-buying price eyed to steady rice market Cabinet Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco Jr. and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol are in agreement that the best way to stabilize the supply and cost of rice in the market—instead of importing—is to increase the government‘s buying price for palay despite its impact on inflation. Pre-need industry sees low-income segment as top growth driver this year Pre-need providers will rely on micro pre-need products to improve their bottom line amid the challenges confronting the industry, an official of the Philippine Federation of Pre-Need Plan Cos. Inc. (Pre-Need Federation) said. Kuwait OFW-deployment ban leaves 25,000 household service workers stranded Some 25,000 household service workers (HSW) were left stranded in the country following government‘s order to ban the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to Kuwait. Pira cites laundry list making microinsurance a costly undertaking The nonlife insurance players are deterred from exploiting opportunities in the microinsurance space for a number of reasons, chief among them the punitive minimum capital requirement, the Philippine Insurers and Reinsurers Association (Pira) said. Honeymoon is over for new BSP governor THE ENTREPRENEUR by Manny B. Villar For Bangko Sentral Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr., the honeymoon is over. President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Espenilla to replace Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr., who stepped down in July 2017 after serving the maximum two terms as head of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Stock market chaos OUTSIDE THE BOX by John Mangun

Philosophers have been trying for centuries to qualify and quantify what elevates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. If you have ever had a pet dog or cat, maybe the philosophical answer is easy. Humans are easily bewildered by things that are in a state of disorder or chaos. Further, we absolutely must make sense out of that state of confusion.

Philexport: Tax reforms should include incentives PHILEXPORT News and Features The Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) is pushing for incentives for product-exporting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) under the proposed second package of the new tax reform law, which it said would reduce the costs and improve the ease of doing business in the country. Inflation to stabilize after January spike Consumer price growth is expected to stabilize following a spike in January, the Finance department claimed on Monday, once markets adjust and the government intensifies an anti-profiteering campaign. 15% free float set for PSEi inclusion (Can also be read in The Standard) The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has raised the free float requirement for inclusion in its benchmark index in line with the corporate regulator‘s plan to raise the public ownership floor for listed companies. PSEi down anew on investor caution Share prices retreated anew on Monday as investors remained cautious following last week‘s volatility. ERC to lower system loss cap The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is set to issue rules lowering the system loss cap, a move expected to considerably ease the burden on electricity consumers. Warrants issue okayed by AgriNurture board LISTED food exporter AgriNurture, Inc. announced plans to issue warrants to existing shareholders to raise fresh capital. Asian stock markets struggle to hold gains HONG KONG: Asian markets struggled to hold early gains on Monday after last week‘s global rout, with analysts warning of further volatility across trading floors. SKorea, Bahrain seek health partnerships MANAMA, Bahrain: Hi-tech research institutes from South Korea are exploring the possibility of collaborations with entities in Bahrain for stem cell technology and genetic analysis.

ERC commissioners ready to resume work The Energy Regulatory Commission said Monday it will act on pending petitions and applications with urgency, after the Court of Appeals issued a 60-day temporary restraining order stopping the suspension of four commissioners. Market declines on rate hike fears The stock market fell Monday on higher inflation prospects by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and on fears it will raise interest rates next month. Singapore firm signs deal for New Clark City State-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development signed a memorandum of cooperation with Surbana Jurong of Singapore on Monday to start the full development of New Clark City in Central Luzon

Tax amnesty pushed The planned tax amnesty, which will rake in P26 billion in revenues, is hoped to be the last at least for the next few decades. Profiteers not TRAIN blamed for A finance official yesterday put the blame on what he called profiteering by some traders the inflation spike in January and not on the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. Only half of incentives used, The Board of Investments (BOI) said as proof it is prudent in administering fiscal incentives, only half the value of perks applied for by companies registered with the agency have actually been availed of.

Rice hoarders face economic sabotage charges, government warns(Can also be read in Daily Tribune) Monday, February 12, 2018 By RUTH ABBEY GITA SunStar File Photo THE Duterte administration has warned that private traders may face economic sabotage

charges, if they are found hoarding rice amid reports that the National Food Authority (NFA) was running low on its inventory. Palace to Sabio: No reason to feel unsafe MALACAÑANG on Monday, February 12, sees no reason for lawyer Jude Sabio to fear for his life after the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided to review his 77page communication detailing President Rodrigo Duterte's alleged role in extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. BIR stepping up collection efforts THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Revenue Region No. 16 (RR16) is stepping up its tax compliance efforts to hit its target collection of P15 billion this year. Hermeno Palamine, BIR-RR16 regional director said they are confident that they can surpass the assigned target with their tax campaign and by teaming up with district directors especially on the ground. From furniture to real estate MARIO Rizon earned a degree in agribusiness in college, but his exposure to making furniture in his in-laws‘ business in the 80‘s changed his life. Helping out made him realize he wanted to work with his hands and become an entrepreneur. In 1986, he and his wife Cecile rented a space on Leon Kilat St. and opened Cecile Furniture. By popular demand: CEB to fly to Batanes (Can also be read in Daily Tribune) CEBU Pacific (CEB), is launching a direct commercial air service between Manila and Batanes starting March 25, just in time for the summer travel season. Cebu Pacific, through subsidiary Cebgo, will fly once daily between Manila and Basco, Batanes beginning March 25 until Oct. 27. The flight departs from the NAIA Terminal 4 in Manila at 6:20 a.m., with the return trip from Basco departing at 9:15 a.m. Cebgo will utilize its ATR aircraft for the route. PSE index maintained THERE will be no changes in the 30 stocks comprising the PSE index (PSEi) based on the review covering the January to December 2017 period done by the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). Trade department approves UAE-based Halal certifier A HALAL-CERTIFIER based in United Arab Emirates (UAE) was recently approved by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to hopefully result into a more open and healthier competition for the halal certification in the Philippines, said a committee official. Biz leader: Food security at risk WITH less younger people interested into farming, food security might be at a bigger risk in the future, said Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) president. DCCCII president Arturo Milan said Davao City should focus more on the agricultural investments as these generate more jobs than the other business sectors.

Expansion of coco sugar industry pushed THERE is a need to push for the expansion of the country‘s coconut sugar industry given its economic and health benefits, a lawmaker said. Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin of AAMBIS-OWA party-list, in a statement, said crafting measures that will promote the proliferation of coconut sugar industry and improve its export performance is needed. DOT to develop farm tourism THE Department of Tourism (DOT) will further develop the farm tourism of the country in order to help the countryside and to engage the younger generation into agricultural activities. Briones: Pragmatism By PUBLIO BRIONES III YESTERDAY, President Rodrigo Duterte was within short walking distance from our office on P. del Rosario to attend the turnover of vehicles donated by the Japanese Government to the Police Regional Office 7. Wenceslao: Chinese Imperialism By BONG O. WENCESLAO I AM glad that militants are stepping up their protest actions against Chinese activities in islands and reefs in the West Philippines Sea that are rightly ours. That rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Manila last Saturday should not be a oneand-done initiative. If the Duterte administration is hesitant to put China to task for its activities, then the people should.

Rody won‘t reappoint SSS‘ Valdez, La Viña President Duterte has decided not to renew the terms of Social Security System (SSS) Chairman Amado Valdez and Commissioner Jose Gabriel ―Pompee‖ La Viña. This was revealed yesterday by presidential spokesman Harry Roque at a Palace briefing, explaining that the Chief Executive gave no definite explanation as to why he decided to do so. Flashback cure Written by Tribune Wires President Duterte has an effective way of putting foreign governments in their right place and lately he has given Kuwait the flashback amid the string of overseas Filipino workers (OFW)‘death and maltreatment. Full steam ahead with negative propaganda

Boy, are they really laying on thick the propaganda against President Duterte on the reported preliminary examination of the International Criminal Court Prosecutor on the claimed alleged extrajudicial killings. Now comes the lawyer who had filed months ago, the case against Duterte.