February 7, 2018

(ASEAN) through an online platform to facilitate trade in the region was successful. Infra modernization needed for digital economy — DOF (Can also be...

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February 7, 2018

BSP keeps watch as inflation spikes (Can also be read in Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Business Mirror, Manila Times, The Standard, Sunstar) THE OVERALL INCREASE in prices of widely used goods and services surged in January by its fastest clip in more than three years, topping market consensus on the back of the impact of higher taxes. Dominguez says digital push will wait on infrastructure dev‘t MODERNIZING infrastructure is a necessary first step to digitizing the economy, the Finance department said. Mining compelling despite policy hurdles — BMI THE PHILIPPINES remains a compelling proposition for foreign miners, even as the current administration — which ends its six-year term in 2022 — continues its predecessor‘s tack of tightening the state‘s hold on the industry, according to an assessment of BMI Research. Peso rebounds amid BSP rate hike bets THE PESO strengthened slightly against the dollar on Tuesday as the faster inflation print last month increased the probability of a rate hike by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). House panel expects corporate tax cut bill within two weeks A HOUSE BILL providing for a corporate income tax cut and the rationalizing of incentives is expected to be filed later this month, its chair said. Biodiesel industry bats for more coconut in diesel HIGH DIESEL prices might provide an opportunity to add more coconut-based biodiesel into the blended-diesel fuel mix, the head of the biodiesel lobby said. Duterte won‘t extend selection deadline for telco ‗third player‘ (Can also be read in Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star, The Standard, Sunstar) PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has rejected a request by the Department of Communications and Information Technology (DICT) for more time beyond March to

select a ―third player‖ for the telecommunications industry, Palace Spokesperson Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said. ASEAN airs concern on China buildup; PHL bans foreign research on Benham Rise CHINA‘S CONTINUED reclamation in the South China Sea has eroded trust among claimants and could raise regional tensions, Southeast Asian foreign ministers said Tuesday. PDIC repeals rule excluding outstanding dues from closed banks‘ insured deposits (Can also be read in Manila Times) THE Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) has repealed a rule requiring closed banks to deduct outstanding dues of an account holder before computing insured deposits. Gov‘t rejects all bids for T-bonds (Can also be read in Business Mirror) THE GOVERNMENT rejected all bids for fresh seven-year Treasury bonds (T-bond) on offer yesterday as banks factored into their bids the faster January inflation print and the expected rate hike by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). US tax reform seen cutting MNCs‘ appetite for FDI THE US TAX reform program could reduce the supply of funds available for foreign direct investment (FDI) as companies confine their investment activity to the US and repatriate as much as $2 trillion in profits held overseas, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). FX hedges get expensive as central banks tighten INVESTORS looking for safeguards against emerging risks in the placid foreign exchange (FX) market may want to act now — before global central banks start to make waves later this year. A Federal Philippines: Does it make sense? Thinking Beyond Politics by Richard Javad Heydarian One of the greatest contributions of the Greek Philosopher Aristotle was his distinction between form and substance. According to him, the two are separate dimensions of our reality, yet are also fundamentally distinct in their existential character. New IPO Guidelines for patent examination Amicus Curiae by Danielle S. Cadiz In line with its goal to deliver timely and quality patents, utility models and industrial designs, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPO) recently released the Manual for Patent Examination Procedure (MPEP). The MPEP describes in detail certain procedures and practices on matters of patent law and interpretation and serves as a comprehensive guide for administrative officers and patent examiners of the IPO and the general public.

MB to meet for first 2018 policy setting The Monetary Board, the policy-making body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, will meet on Thursday for its first policy setting discussion for the year where they are expected to take action on the rising inflation rate. Inflation in January rose to 4 percent, the highest in three years. PH revives trade deals with Turkey, Hungary The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has revived the Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation with Turkey and Hungary as part of the government‘s trade diversification efforts. Duterte not inclined to open self to insult by attending Asia-Europe meet President Duterte won‘t give the European Union (EU) a chance to insult him as he explained why he rejected an invitation for him to attend a regional summit in Belgium later this year. Over P0.90/kWh hike in power rates expected this February The curse of cost impact from the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) of the Duterte administration will extend into the consumers‘ electric bills this February, as power rates are anticipated to go up by more than P0.90 or close to P1.00 per kiloWatt hour. PH is ASEAN‘s second fastest car producer in 2017 The Philippines is ASEAN‘s second fastest producer of cars in 2017 with 20.9 percent growth over 2016 to 141,252 units from only 116,868 units in 2016, the ASEAN Automotive Federation (AAF) reported. Closure order on 26 mining firms may not be pursued The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Mineral Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) are now conducting their own separate mining reviews on the order issued by former DENR Secretary Regina Paz Lopez. The review is expected to be completed next month. DENR to spend P1-B to explore Philippine Rise The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will spend nearly P1 billion to conduct geological investigation and exploration of minerals within the Philippine Rise, a 25-million hectare shallow continental shelf east of the main island of Luzon that could be the next big source of huge revenues for the Philippine government. Cusi instructs power players to report details of ‗consumer cost pass-on‘ Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said yesterday he would be issuing a directive to key industry players in the generation and distribution segments of the power industry so the government can flesh out which cost components are justifiable to be included in the electric bills and which ones can be categorized as ―inefficiency costs.‖

Trump focused on ‗strong‘ fundamentals amid market sell-off Washington – The White House said Monday that President Donald Trump was focused on the long-term health of the economy, claiming the fundamentals were ‖exceptionally strong,‖ despite a strong market sell-off. US reviews nuclear arsenal in wake of Nokor threats In the wake of North Korea‘s repeated threats of a nuclear attack on the United States, US President Donald Trump last month called for a review of the state of America‘s nuclear forces. The initial report said $1.2 trillion would be needed to upgrade and modernize America‘s nuclear arsenal. Section 6 Written by Jejomar C. Binay I only have the deepest respect for the members of the Consultative Committee on Charter Change who are among the most respected names in law, governance, and the academe. I am certain that their combined knowledge, wisdom, and experience will help put rationality and sobriety in the heated national debate on revising our Constitution. Federalism is already in 1987 Constitution; no need to change it Written by Atty. Joey D. Lina When I was governor of Laguna, I would often assert that the national government was irrelevant in our province simply because the provincial government is constitutionally autonomous. This means the province has the power to chart its own destiny and plan on its own apart from national government. The rule of law and the Constitution Written by J. Art D. Brion (ret.) The public debate on constitutional reform is slowly gaining ground, prodded by the congressional hearings, by our politicians‘ wrangling on how to amend the Constitution, and by extensive media coverage.

Pilot test on ASEAN trade interconnection a success, says DOF The Department of Finance (DOF) said the initial tests on the country‘s interconnection with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) through an online platform to facilitate trade in the region was successful. Infra modernization needed for digital economy — DOF (Can also be read in The Standard) The Philippines needs to address the gaps in its infrastructure before it can fully participate in the digital economy, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).

Metro Manila traffic deeply problematic — US experts Manila‘s traffic situation has become ―deeply problematic,‖ visiting international infrastructure and design experts said yesterday. Philippines has enough rice supply – Palace (Can also be read in The Standard) Malacañang yesterday assured the public that the rice supply situation in the country is under control following reports that there is a shortage of the staple. Farmers demand IRR for free irrigation law Farmers are demanding the issuance of rules and regulations to implement the Free Irrigation Services Act which lapsed into law. BIR suspends all tax audits The government has stopped anew all tax investigations and audits after the Bureau of Internal Revenues (BIR) revoked all the mission orders issued by one of its division. Senate OKs bills on energy efficiency, system loss cap The Senate has passed two bills that will advance energy efficiency and conservation practices in the country and reduce the amount of system loss being passed on to electricity consumers. Wall St debacle sends PSEi reeling (Can also be read in Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Times, The Standard) Philippine stocks tumbled yesterday, extending the rout to a second day as a selloff pummelled markets across the world.

Coca-Cola PH laying off workers Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines Inc. said that it had decided to cut down on workers amid changes in the beverage industry and the business environment, calling it a ―very difficult decision.‖

Cooperative scheme eyed for abaca tuxy buying project PHILEXPORT News and Features Photo of Abaca Tuxy from http://www.philfida.da.gov.ph/ The government plans to implement a cooperative scheme in abaca tuxy buying project in its bid to develop the abaca sector.

Export potential map THE Philippines‘s biggest markets for bananas, fresh or dried, are Japan, China and Russia. The country also has closest export links with Japan. However, the Philippines has yet to maximize its export potential in Japan and China DTI-EMB leads local organic-food makers to Biofach 2018 in Germany RIPPLES Plus-enrolled companies with organic-certified products recognized by the European Union are set to participate in Biofach 2018, touted to be the world‘s leading trade fair for organic food slated to be held from February 14 to 17 in Nuremberg, Germany. Ripples Plus exhibitors to showcase Filipino brand in Ambiente 2018 By BusinessMirror - February 6, 2018 PARTICIPANTS under the Regional Interactive Platform for Philippine Exporters (Ripples) Plus program will be part of the Ambiente 2018 from February 9 to 13 in Messe Frankfurt, Germany. House panel OKs reinforced Consumer Act The House Committee on Trade and Industry has endorsed for plenary approval a measure strengthening the Consumer Act of the Philippines. CTRP Package 2 seen filed this month A lawmaker has expressed optimism that the second package of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) will be filed with the House Committee on Ways and Means within the month. Government commits to embrace digital space innovations The Department of Finance (DOF) said the Philippines needs to catch up with developments in the digital space, starting with modernizing its physical infrastructure and adapt to the changing needs of the global economy. Senate approves reduction of system-loss charges passed on to power consumers After approving a proposed law embodying government‘s energy management plan, the senators subsequently passed on third and final reading a companion measure, Senate Bill (SB) 1623, reducing the system-loss charges passed on to consumers‘ monthly electric bills by power distribution utilities. Zero-importation policy eases NFA out of market The government‘s decision to thumb down rice importation has left the National Food Authority (NFA) with virtually no inventory of cheap rice, with the poor in Metro Manila the first to suffer. Government wants more than just taxes from miners, eyes fair revenue-sharing scheme The government is now putting finishing touches to a road map that will promote fair revenue-sharing between the government and its mining contractors, thus, requiring an amendment to the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said. Contractualization issue unites labor factions

While the contractualization issue has polarized employers and employees, it also bonded moderate and labor groups that they are staging a joint rally today (Wednesday) to press President Duterte to choose the executive order (EO) they prefer over the draft EO being supported by business groups. BOC optimistic to reach collection goal of P598 billion The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has expressed optimism that the agency can hit its collection goal for this year amounting to P598 billion on the back of continuous reforms it is implementing. House urged to look into rice-supply situation By Jovee Marie de la Cruz - February 6, 2018 In Photo: The National Food Authority stores its buffer rice stock consisting of imports and paddy it purchased from farmers in its warehouses. FILE PHOTO A party-list lawmaker is asking the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry into the ―true state‖ of the country‘s rice supply after the National Food Authority (NFA) announced that its stockpile is good for only three days. Wall Street miseries drag down market for second straight day SHARE prices plunged for the second straight trading session on Tuesday, with the Philippine markets not spared from a contagion-like fall of other markets across the region. PHL nickel output down 33% in 2017 Philippine nickel mine production in 2017 fell to a six-year low of 230,000 metric tons (MT) after the government suspended and shuttered some mining operations, according to a report from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). US-version Silk Road: Is PHL ready for Internet‘s dark side? Conclusion CHESTER Wisniewski of Sophos Group Plc. said the current scenario is quite different from the past, as any Juan, Pedro and Jose can develop and release a virus today. NFA must step up price monitoring The National Food Authority (NFA) recently announced that it will no longer sell government-subsidized rice in select areas. The state-run food agency made the decision after its stockpile, which consists of rice bought from local farmers and imports, fell to 93,000 metric tons (MT), enough to supply the country‘s requirement for three days. The depletion of the NFA‘s buffer stock also came at a time when farmers have already harvested their main crop.

‗Infra projects to spur Mindanao economy‘

Key infrastructure projects in Mindanao would help spur economic growth there, Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc. (ACR) said on Tuesday. ‗Manila, Bangkok, Jakarta airports need upgrades‘ The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Tuesday again called for more airport infrastructure in Manila, Jakarta and Bangkok, the lack of which was causing concern in Asia-Pacific. WESM turnover to operator nearly complete THE process of turning over the electricity spot market to an independent operator as mandated by law is closer to being completed, with the Energy department announcing the names of its interim set of incorporators. ‗Precast reinforced concrete box system‘ pushed to address housing backlog THE Philippines currently has a housing backlog of 3.9 million households, according to the Department of Trade and Industry. Wall Street‘s deepest dives NEW YORK: US stocks took a historic tumble on Monday (Tuesday in Manila), with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average at one point losing almost 1,600 points—the biggest-ever dip during trading—before recovering somewhat to close at 4.6 percent. Asia markets see red after bloody Wall St. loss HONG KONG: Asian stocks plunged on Tuesday after a record-breaking loss on Wall Street, extending a global rout as panicked investors fret over rising US borrowing costs and take profits after months of market euphoria.

Asean ministers decry Chinese reclamation China‘s continued reclamation in the South China Sea has eroded trust among claimants and could raise regional tensions, Southeast Asian foreign ministers said Tuesday.

DICT official renews commitment for local ICT sector THE Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) renewed its support to the initiatives of Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for ICT (BNEFIT) with the aim to hit 60,000 jobs by 2022. Manufacturer sees potential in multi-functional furniture

THE upsurge of residential developments in Cebu and the Visayas has prompted local furniture manufacturer Diamond Cane International Inc. to ride the waves and tap the local market. DA to launch program for indigenous tribes THE ―Bantay Kagubatan‖ program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) will be the government agency‘s response to President Rodrigo Duterte‘s directive to assist the indigenous tribes in developing their ancestral domains into food production areas.