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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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Comet Mini-bus To Replace Jeepneys

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MANILA (JGL) – The American GI’s were the first ones to introduce the diesel-powered jeepneys (the popular public mini-bus passenger transportation vehicles in the Philippines) after World War II.

And Americans will attempt to replace jeepneys with their ingenuity – the new US-made electric mini bus prototype – vehicle known as Global Electric Transportation (GET), a 50-50 venture between U.S. and Filipino investors.

President Obama started his second and last day in the Philippines Tuesday to inspect an old red jeepney with its shiny chrome fenders and colorful red livery, then stepped aboard a new version.

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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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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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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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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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