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Latest OFW Remittances Show Double Digit Growth Rate

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MANILA—Nullifying earlier reports of declining OFW remittances, latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed remittances from overseas Filipino workers coursed through banks grew by a double-digit rate for the first time in August.

The BSP said that remittances reached $1.7 billion in August, or a year-on-year expansion of 11 percent, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. announced.

For the first eight months of the year, cumulative remittances rose by almost 7 percent to $13 billion, with remittances from land-based and sea-based workers growing by 5 percent and 14.4 percent, respectively.

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As Good Times Continue, Economy Grows

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MANILA -- Expats, celebs and investors are all eyeing the Philippines as an unprecedented boom is promising fortunes for a nation once known as the poor-man of Southeast Asia.

Much of the success for the economic boom can be put down to President Benigno Aquino who has been on a tough road of cleaning up corruption, bringing down budget deficits and boosting spending on infrastructure.

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ASEAN-Korea Centre To Host Investment Seminar; Philippine Government Official To Deliver Keynote Presentation

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SEOUL, KOREA --- ASEAN-Korea Centre is holding an Investment Seminar on the Philippines on 16 May 2012 at the Plaza Hotel in Seoul, Korea, in cooperation with the Department of Trade & Industry of the Philippines and the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Seoul.

In this seminar, speakers will share investment climate and opportunities in the Philippines as well as priority public projects requiring foreign investments that the Philippine government focuses on.

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US Credit Troubles: Problems For The Philippine Economy

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The recent United States (US) credit rating downgrade is just the latest sign that the global crisis which erupted in 2008 has not been resolved and will continue for years to come. The Philippine government and its economic managers are unfortunately oblivious to this reality in their medium-term planning and budgeting for 2012 which undermines the country’s prospects for development.

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Cha-cha ‘Fixation’: Lawmakers Fail To Learn From Economy’s Experience

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MANILA -- The proposal to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution to lessen restrictions for foreign investments shows that lawmakers still insist on an economic strategy that has clearly failed to develop the economy.

The newest push for Charter change (Cha-cha) supposedly seeks to revise the 1987 Constitution to give way for economic liberalization and attract more foreign investments. However according to research group IBON, foreign direct investment (FDI) has already been pouring into the Philippines over the last decades but with little to show in terms of overall economic development. This is because the fixation on attracting foreign investment has led to foregoing any long-term gains for the domestic economy.

The Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo administrations have given liberal privileges and generous incentives to FDI over the last two decades. The net result is that foreign investors have been able to make their profits but the supposed gains for economy and the people in terms of jobs, poverty reduction, industrialization and an advanced economy have not materialized.

In fact, increasing FDI has actually been accompanied by increasing unemployment, increasing labor export, falling real wages, shrinking domestic manufacturing and more volatile growth. The share of manufacturing in the economy has been steadily falling and, at 22.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 8.3% of employment in 2010, is already as small as in the 1950s or over half a century ago. There have also not been any real increases in domestic capital formation or in government revenues which have increasingly relied on regressive taxes on personal consumption.

The cumulative stock of FDI has increased twenty-seven-fold from US$914 million in 1980 to US$24.9 billion in 2010, increasing as a percentage of GDP from 2.8% to 13.2% over that same period. Annual inward FDI flows, in turn, increased from US$114 million in 1980 to US$1.71 billion in 2010. As a percentage of gross fixed capital formation, these flows rose from 1.3% in 1980 to a peak of 17.7% in 2006 before dropping to 8.3% in 2009 and further to 5.8% in 2010.

Foreign investments should supposedly help in building a strong productive economic base. However there is nothing to indicate that FDI has contributed to creating a strong domestic economy able to create jobs on a sustainable basis.

Changing the charter out of a fixation to attract foreign investment fails to learn lessons from the past and is going to be a step backward for Philippine development, IBON said.



Lawmaker to DOJ: Do Not Sell Email Service To Private Firms

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MANILA – A lawmaker has warned the Department of Justice (DOJ) against compromising the safety and integrity of government data. This after reports came out that the DOJ has opened its email services for public bidding. The approved budget for the project is P2,709,504 ($63,011).

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said the DOJ should “tread carefully” in bidding out its e-mail and related cloud services to foreign corporations, saying that the move might “imperil the safety and integrity of government data, especially DOJ data in terms of storage, access and even sovereignty.”

According to reports, the DOJ project requires 1,200 seats for cloud services that include email, instant messaging, document repository and peer to peer audio/video conferencing for one year to be given to about 10,000 users across the DOJ portfolio.

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PHL, Qatar Sign MOU For Mutual Benefit

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PHLMANILA -- The Philippines and Qatar on Tuesday, April 10, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for mutual benefit in the areas of tourism, legal and justice, agriculture and fishery, investments as well as the establishment of a joint business council between the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Qatari Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

President Benigno S. Aquino III and His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Kalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar witnessed the signing of the MOU in Malacanang.

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OFW remittances declining

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MANILA—As national statisticians and development planners reported the current decline of the country’s gross domestic product for the second quarter this year, the number of overseas Filipinos’ remittances  showed that the money sent back home is declining.

According to the inflow of compensation income, an item under Net Primary Income (NPI), that is part of the system of national accounts yielded year-on-year negative growth rates in compensation income for the first two quarters of the year.

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The Mighty Pharmaceutical Industry

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MANILA (July 19) — Sen. Mar Roxas is raising hell about the alleged collusion between the Arroyo government and the pharmaceutical industry to delay if not derail the implementation of Republic Act 9502, or the “Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008,” which was signed on June 6, 2008. Among the provisions the multinational pharmaceutical companies are reportedly blocking is the setting of the maximum retail price for 22 essential medicines. To sweeten the deal between the Arroyo government and pharmaceutical firms, Pfizer allegedly offered five million “sulit” discount cards to President Arroyo for distribution to indigent patients around the country. (Remember the distribution of PhilHealth cards in 2004?)

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