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Sat04182015

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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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APEC Moves Forward On Trade Facilitation

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BEIJING, China – APEC economies are pressing ahead with efforts to accelerate trade and economic growth through the elimination of costly delays to the flow of goods as they cross international borders, undeterred by the unexpected challenge to implementation of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation now facing members of the World Trade Organization.

Senior customs and trade officials from the APEC region are currently meeting in Beijing for the first time since WTO members failed to enact a protocol on 31 July required to proceed with adoption of the agreement that would ease trade bottlenecks through greater simplification of customs rules and processes.

“Although the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement is experiencing some difficulties, the facilitation of trade and reduction of trade costs remain high on our collective agenda,” said Sun Yibiao, Vice Minister of China’s General Customs Administration, in remarks before officials who are gathered here to chart the next step, culminating with a meeting of APEC Senior Officials from the region’s 21 member economies on Wednesday and Thursday.

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Renewable Energy Pushed In Mindanao

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DAVAO CITY – The campaign to increase renewable energy (RE) production will need “more aggressiveness” on the part of government “or else non-RE sources will just naturally come in”, the government socio-economic planning unit for Mindanao has said.

But several factors are working against encouraging more and bigger RE energy productions in Mindanao. These are mainly on sourcing funds to finance bigger projects, and the long permitting process, an officer of a provincial electric cooperative said.

In a presentation of studies on biomass and hydro-electric power plants, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said that the current power mix “is 60-40 wherein 60 percent is RE generated from the Agus-Pulangi hydro-electric complex, geothermal, and several small hydro, biomass, and solar plants while the other 40 percent is from fossil fuels such as diesel-powered and coal-fired power plants”.

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IBON: Economy Has Enough Profits To Support Wage Hike

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MANILA -- The economy has more than enough profits to support a substantial wage hike. According to research group IBON, the benefits of a wage hike for workers and their families are clear and will substantially improve their welfare.

IBON made the statement after Malacanang announced yesterday that it does not support the proposed Php 125 wage hike bill pending in Congress as the economy cannot accommodate the wage increase.

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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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Cebu Lands 8th In Outsourcing Destination In the World

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CEBU  - Tholons Inc., a leading U.S.-based services globalization and investment advisory firm, has rated Cebu among the world’s top outsourcing destinations, beating other high-profile locations in Europe.

The 2014 Tholons Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations ranks Cebu as the world’s eight-best, after Bangalore, Metro Manila, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune.

“Cebu’s reputation as a prime world-class outsourcing hub will get an even bigger boost once the Mactan Newtown is fully developed,” Rep. Gerald Anthony V. Gullas, Jr. said. Gullas is Assistant Majority Leader of the House of Representatives representing the First District of Cebu.

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New BPO Jobs In PH Seen In 2014

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MANILA - A key industry backer for the country's business process outsourcing (BPO) firms expects jobs to expand in 2014 to about 124,000 and help address unemployment, especially among college-educated Filipinos.

Pasig City Representative Roman Romulo is confident that BPO firms will be able to add an average of 124,000 well-paying jobs annually from 2014 to 2016, or a total of 372,000 new posts over the next years.

Romulo cited a previous survey by Pulse Asia Research Inc., which showed that "creating more jobs" is one of the to five urgent national concerns, along with fighting official corruption, controlling inflation, improving the pay of workers, and reducing poverty to support his projection.

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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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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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