(STAR) By Delon Porcalla - Following the restoration of investor confidence in the country, Malacañang remains upbeat about next year’s economy, predicting that more investments will be coming in that would generate jobs and reinvigorate the economy.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte sees a rosy picture for 2011, the Chinese year of the rabbit, particularly because this year will be closing with renewed interest in the business community, which for the longest time had complained of massive corruption.

“We are seeing signs that the economy is improving. There are several foreign investments that are coming in that create jobs. We hope that this will continue,” she told radio dzRB.

President Aquino himself is very optimistic of the prospects of the Philippine economy.

He predicted earlier that gross domestic product is expected to continue its upward trend, borne out of confidence of local and foreign investors, including people in government, better and faster than what has been projected.

“I should expect, even if there is a downturn because of the lack of election spending component (in the third quarter), we expect that we will be maintaining the upward trend of all our GDP figures,” he told Palace reporters in a briefing at Calamba, Laguna.

Mr. Aquino, who was very upbeat with his pet project Public-Private Partnership launch that brought some 600 potential investors, said the improved economy will “perhaps (be) in a faster period of time than what was initially envisioned.”

“This is due to the fact that there is optimism across the board from the workers to the investors to even people in government,” he added.

GDP is the amount of goods and services produced every year in a particular country.

“So this will redound to an active and more fruitful cooperation among all of these sectors and we are hoping we get the same treatment from both the legislature and the judiciary,” the Chief Executive told newsmen at the Yazaki-Torres Manufacturing Plant.

Among the positive news developments that he enumerated were the $2.8-billion investments he got from his APEC visit in Japan, the groundbreaking rites for Nestle’s P4.3-billion plant in Tanauan, Batangas and the P2.5-billion plant that Procter & Gamble Co. wants to build.

“Slowly but surely, companies such as yours have contributed to the success story that we want our national experience to be. I am hopeful that you will continue with your operations, and I pray for your further success,” Mr. Aquino told Nestle executives.

“The foundation of a thriving economy is confidence. A week ago, we launched our PPP initiative that attracted domestic and foreign fund managers, bankers, and other potential investors. They sense that the country has turned a corner,” he said.

“That what was impossible yesterday – trusting the government to deal with investors fairly and predictably – is not only possible, but a mutually beneficial opportunity, now,” the President added, assuring businessmen of fair and consistent policy in his administration.

“My whole team is committed toward the creation of a business environment that is rational, transparent, and predictable. And here, we have already had successes. We have reduced the time it takes to register a business name from four (4) hours to fifteen (15) minutes and reduced the information requirements from sixteen (16) to seven (7) fields. This can now be done online,” he said proudly.

The Nestle factory that is located in a 27-hectare property inside the First Philippine Industrial Park is expected to be finished by 2012. It will produce Coffeemate non-dairy creamer and Bear Brand powdered milk.

Banks urged to course remittances via electronic payment via Philpass By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) Updated November 29, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

MANILA, Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is urging other banks and financial institutions to course the remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) through the central bank’s electronic payment and settlement system so that beneficiaries of Filipinos working abroad could enjoy lower fees.

To date, the BSP said about 12 banks are currently coursing their OFW remittance transactions through the central bank’s Philippine Payments and Settlements System (Philpass).

Banks that are currently using the Philpass platform include Allied Bank, Asia United Bank, Banco de Oro, Bank of the Philippine Islands, China Bank, Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines, Metrobank, Philippine National Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Philippine Savings Bank, and the United Coconut Planters

The BSP said the 12 banks have established their connectivity with the Philpass Remit System and have been transmitting batches of remittance transactions to the BSP gateway server for processing and settlement since May 4 this year.

The central bank has issued a circular encouraging banks’ full participation in the Philpass Remit System for electronic settlement of OFW remittances for credit to accounts of beneficiaries maintained in banks other than the remitting banks.

“For this purpose of such, all banks and other financial intermediaries performing overseas remittance business are hereby enjoined to participate in the Philpass,” the BSP stressed.

The Philpass Remit System involves the use of the BSP-Philpass as the local clearinghouse for the transfer of remittances from a local bank to another bank where the OFW beneficiary maintains an account.

The project is one of the initiatives undertaken by the BSP in coordination with the Association of Bank Remittance Officers Inc. (ABROI) through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) last December.

The full implementation of the project was originally scheduled in the first quarter of the year but only one bank has been able to migrate to the new system since the signing of the MOA. Now, a total of 12 banks have connected to the system since the full implementation of the project last October.

The BSP said the settlement of OFW remittances through the Philpass Remit System would result in savings of between P100 and P500 per transaction as current system charges between P150 and P550 per transaction. OFW families are expected to save at least P92 million to as high as P922 million due to the faster and cheaper delivery of remittances to the beneficiaries at a lower rate of P50 per transaction instead of the current range of between P100 and P550 per transaction.

Furthermore, the BSP added that the system provides safer means of sending OFW remittances via the formal banking channel at lower fees. The Philpass Remit System is also equipped with an efficient feedback mechanism that would enable OFW remitters to trace the status of their remittances.

Last year, remittances went up by 5.4 percent to a new record level of $17.348 billion from $16.426 billion and exceeded the revised four-percent growth forecast set by the central bank.

For this year, the BSP upgraded its growth forecast for the amount of money sent home by overseas Filipinos to eight percent instead of six percent due to the strong demand for Filipino skilled workers.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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