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Economic Lessons From 2011

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The Philippines slipped into another economic downturn in 2011. Adverse global trends are a factor with the world economy three years into what is going to be a protracted global depression. More significant however is the absence of bold domestic economic policy initiatives that tackle the country’s internal weaknesses and, in so doing, also reduce its vulnerability to external shocks.

The past year gives at least three insights to inform economic policy-making not just in 2012 but in the coming period of great challenges for Philippine growth and real development.

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FAA Restores PH's Rating To Category 1

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - After six years, the Philippines has regained its Category 1 rating based on the recommendations from International Aviaition Safety Assessment (IASA), the Philippine Embassy announced.  It came after the Philippines was downgraded to Category 2 in 2008 for failing to meet international aviation safety standards.

“Regaining Category 1 status has been one of our major economic diplomacy thrusts in the United States,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “ With the Category 1 rating, we hope to see the expansion of flight routes in the US by Philippine air carriers.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Embassy in Washington, D.C., has been working closely with the FAA and coordinating with the Civilian Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to restore the country's Category 1 status.

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Computer Hackers Target Filipino, Canadian Firms

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CANADA -- Hackers using a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) named Mirage have been engaged in a systematic cyber espionage campaign against a Canadian energy company, a large oil firm in the Philippines and several other entities since at least this April,  Dell’s SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit says.

The campaign is the second one targeted at oil companies to be discovered by SecureWorks this year. In February, researchers at the firm discovered attackers using remote access tools similar to Mirage to target several oil companies in Vietnam according to a report in Computerworld.com.

That campaign also targeted government agencies in several countries, an embassy, a nuclear safety agency and multiple business groups, according to SecureWorks.

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Obama's 'Insourcing' Highlights Risks Of Relying On BPOs -- IBON

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The initiative is just another example of adverse trends facing the sector and more of this are likely to emerge as the crisis in the US and the rest of the world worsens in the coming years

The recent pronouncement by US Pres. Barack Obama to bring outsourcing jobs back to the US highlights the dangers of relying on business process outsourcing (BPO), and on foreign economies in general, for Filipino jobs. According to research group IBON, even if it is still unclear if Pres. Obama’s proposed “insourcing” legislation will pass, the vulnerability of the sector and the government’s misplaced attention to this is increasingly apparent.

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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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Amb. Cuisia Pitches PPP Projects To Investors

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WASHINGTON, D.C.— As President Benigno S. Aquino III was inviting potential investors at the Philippine Investment Forum 2013 on Tuesday, March 12, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. did his pitch as well to shore up investor’s support in the government’s push for pubic-private partnership projects at a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

“The Philippine government remains committed to driving infrastructure development as it recognizes its importance to future rapid and sustainable economic growth,” the ambassador told potential investors on Monday, March 11, 2013.

In his presentation “Philippines: Opportunities and Challenges in Infrastructure Investment,” Ambassador Cuisia urged investors to take another look at the Philippines  and take advantage of the country’s unprecedented growth that has made it the s0-called rising star of East Asia.

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Development Of IT Parks To Spur Balanced Economic Growth Unveiled

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MANILA -- A total of 63 new information-technology (IT) parks are now being developed nationwide, House Deputy Majority Leader Roman Romulo, who represents the lone district of Pasig City in Congress, revealed today, Sept. 21.  He said 41 of the emerging IT parks are in the provinces while 22 are in the National Capital Region.

“We strongly favor the advancement of new IT parks in highly urbanized corners outside Metro Manila. This will spur on balanced economic growth all over the country,” Romulo said.  He is a key backer of the labor-intensive, IT-enabled business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

BPO firms are the predominant locators in tax-advantaged IT parks registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.

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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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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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