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BUSINESS HEADLINES THIS PAST WEEK...
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

AFTER DISAPPOINTING H1 RESULTS, BUDGET CHIEF SEES GROWTH ACCELERATING IN Q3


OCTOBER 27 -Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Despite lingering financial volatility, economic growth could have accelerated in the third quarter from the previous six months on the back of sustained domestic demand, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said. “I can say with confidence that third quarter growth will be better than first half growth,” Abad told The STAR in a text message yesterday. Economic growth – as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) – slowed to 5.3 percent in the first semester even after it picked up to 5.6 percent in the second quarter from five percent in the first three months. Abad, the chairman of the interagency Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC), earlier said the government is sticking to its seven to eight percent growth goal this year even as he admitted reaching it is a “challenge.” The third-quarter GDP data will be reported next month. Asked what could have driven the July-September growth, Abad particularly cited stronger government spending during the period. Treasury data showed state expenditures rose nine percent year-on-year in the first half. This paled in comparison with an average of 20-percent expansion in July and August. The fiscal performance for September has yet to be released. Private spending could have also contributed, Abad said, pointing to traditional drivers of overseas Filipino remittances and receipts from business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. From January to August, remittances grew 4.01 percent to P16.21 billion, central bank data showed. Large dollar inflows and BPO earnings give Filipino families more money to spend and invest, helping boost growth. READ MORE...

ALSO: Gov't debt hits P4.7T in June


october 27 -NATIONAL BUDGET NATIONAL BUDGET LOGO -Total general government liabilities amounted to P4.7 trillion as of June, 4.1 percent up from P4.5 trillion in the same period last year. The general government debt rose in value as of the second quarter, but improved when accounting for the total size of the Philippine economy, data from the Department of Finance showed. Total general government liabilities amounted to P4.7 trillion as of June, 4.1 percent up from P4.5 trillion in the same period last year. While the nominal general government debt increased, its size as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) declined to 36.2 percent from 37.3 percent during the same period. General government debt is a state-wide indicator of liabilities that includes not only that of the national government, but also of local government units. Obligations by social security institutions such as the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System as well as the central bank, through its Board of Liquidators, are also included. In a statement, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the declining debt ratio showed how the Aquino administration "prioritized putting our fiscal house in order" even amid financial market volatility. "Further narrowing reflects how we continue (to) run a tight ship - crucial especially on sailing through these uncertain times," he added. READ MORE...RELATED, From heritage.org: The Phl’ economic freedom score is 62.2, making its economy the 76th freest in the 2015 Index...

ALSO: PH CAN LURE P10B INVESTMENTS WITH SIMPLIFIED BUSINESS RULES


NOVEMBER 2 -Simplifying business regulations in the Philippines can attract new investments of at least P5 billion to P10 billion, the World Bank said. Karl Kendrick Chua, senior country economist of the World Bank Philippine Office, said simplifying business regulations can unleash the potential of the private sector, in particular small and micro businesses as they are important contributors and beneficiaries of inclusive growth. “Business regulations tend to be cumbersome. They limit the growth of innovative entrepreneurship and investments, contribute to large scale informality, which cover 75 percent of employment, and hence prevent the country from creating more and better jobs that can reduce poverty at a faster rate,”he said. Chua said an opportunity cost of around P40 billion can arise from discouraged Filipinos who could have started a business if only the cost was reasonable. The World Bank said this translates to foregone employment of 62,179, or about five percent of new labor force entrants annually. “These indicative estimates suggest that the high cost of doing business is clearly a toll on the country’s inclusive growth agenda,” Chua said. “We don’t have exact numbers, but if we have simpler regulations, we are seeing anywhere from at least P5 billion to P10 billion in new investments that can come in,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO 10-hour ordeal: NAIA flight diverted to Clark for landing due to airspace congestion


NOVEMBER 1 -A flight set to land at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila as it carried 399 passengers was diverted to the Clark International Airport on Friday. AP/File photo
 A flight bound for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 was diverted to the Clark International Airport on Friday due to airspace congestion, delaying disembarkation for ten hours. Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesperson Eric Apolonio confirmed Sunday that Etihad Airways flight EY424 from Abu Dhabi to Manila had 399 passengers aboard.
“This happened last Friday,” Apolonio said in a text message to Philstar.com. Etihad, for its part, said that the diversion to Clark and the delayed landing was not due its own operational issues but to congestion at the two airports. "The 10-hour delay in disembarking the aircaft—the result of terminal congestion at Clark International Airport, continuing airspace congestion at NAIA, and delays in the arrival of ground transportation," Etihad officials said in a statement. Etihad officials, who earlier issued an apology to its passengers, also said the circumstance "was beyond the airline's control." The airline assured that guests affected were provided with hotel accommodation, food and beverages, as well as flight rebooking option. Some stranded passengers were offered bus rides to Manila early Saturday morning while others decided to travel by land to Manila on their own. On Friday, a netizen sought help from media outfits to inform them of the distressed Etihad Airways flight. READ MORE...

ALSO: Foreign traders: No more fun doing business in PH
[BUSINESSMEN BLAST GOV’T: RESPECT SANCTITY OF CONTRACTS]

[ECCP Chair Schumacher expressed hope the COA will revisit its earlier position and abide by the SC decision. “If this phenomenon continues, as we have seen in a number of other cases, including Piatco, Manila Water, Manila North Tollways Corp., to cite a few, foreign investors will look for more stable investment climates elsewhere. It will be no fun doing business in the Philippines,” Schumacher said.]


OCTOBER 29 -AQUINO The foreign business community said anew it may no longer be fun doing business in the Philippines given the continued uncertainty and unpredictability in the implementation of local policies.
Such an unstable environment would not only stifle investments, but would also dilute the efforts of foreign chambers in promoting the Philippines as an investment hub in Asia, the foreigners said. The latest demonstration of this, according to the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), involved the case of JKG-Power Plates, the winning bidder for the Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program (MVLPSP) of the Land Transportation Office (LTO). JKG-Power Plates is a joint venture between a Dutch and a Filipino company. After going through a bidding process, the Department of Transportation and Communications awarded a five-year contract worth P3.18 billion to JKG-Power Plates in 2014 for the supply of vehicle license plates. On the basis of this signed contract, JKG-Power Plates initially delivered 877,166 pairs of MV plates, 2.37 million pieces of motorcycle plates, and 12,685 pieces of trailer plates, all worth a total of P620.35 million. However, the company has only so far been paid P477.90 million, the ECCP claimed. In July, the Commission on Audit (COA) disallowed additional disbursements for the project, saying it did not undergo legitimate procurement processes. Confronted with the prospects of not being paid fully for the plates delivered and even more with the danger that the five-year project will be prematurely discontinued, PPI-JKG said it would cease delivering plates to LTO until it receives payment for the deliveries it has already made, the ECCP said. READ MORE...

ALSO Govt warned on car plate row: ECCP said delay in government’s funding for new vehicle license plates, represented a breach of contract
[ECCP HEAD Schumacher noted that none of the supposed “defects” in the procurement process was attributable to the foreign supplier, adding the Chamber was hoping CoA would revisit its earlier position and abide by the Supreme Court decision. The business community warned that the uncertainty and unpredictability of policies stifled investment and would negate efforts of foreign chambers in promoting the Philippines as an investment hub in Asia.]


OCTOBER 28 -The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) is a service-oriented organization whose main goal is to foster close economic ties and business relations between the Philippines and Europe. Foreign businessmen on Wednesday criticized the government for dishonoring a business contract, warning that the move will send a wrong signal to investors. The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines expressed concern over the delay in government’s funding for new vehicle license plates, saying it represented a breach of contract that would discourage investors. The business group cited the delay in the release of car plates under the standardization project of the Land Transportation Office. “It is simply unfathomable that the common principle of sanctity of contract can be completely disregarded here. How can the country attract foreign investors if even a signed contract offers no assurance that the other party, in this case the government, will respect it,” said chamber vice president Henry Schumacher. Schumacher referred to JKG-Power Plates, the winning bidder in the Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program of the LTO. Transportation signed a five-year, P3.18-billion contract with JKG-Power Plates in 2014 for the supply of vehicle license plates. JKG-Power Plates is a joint venture between Dutch and Filipino companies JKG-Power Plates under the contract delivered 877,166 pairs of motor veheicle plates, 2,370,006 pieces of motorcycle plates and 12,685 pieces of trailer plates worth P620.35 million. The government, however, paid only P477.90 million to JKG-Power. The Commission on Audit in July disallowed additional disbursements for the project. READ MORE...

ALSO Business editorial: WB asked to do selective justice
[Philippines is among the most difficult countries with which to do business, says World Bank. Purisima said he has been consistently voicing out critiques against the WB methodology because of its inability to provide a proper reflection of the state of doing business with the very limited information source and poor data collection process.
Purisima also suggested that the survey get the views of foreign businessmen in the country as a fair measure of the supposed reforms under Noynoy. Purisima is calling for a selective assessment of the country considering Noynoy’s “tuwid na daan” catchphrase which is not really surprising. Selective justice is not yet an international brand, Purisima should know.].


OCTOBER 30 -Wednesday was a bad hair day for Noynoy and his economic chieftain, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, as the World Bank (WB) delivered a not so surprising verdict in a report that the Philippines is among the most difficult countries with which to do business.The report particularly identified the thick red tape that afflicts businesses in the country which has worsened as a result of the “daang matuwid” policy of subjecting all past contracts to Noynoy’s doubts as being irregular. Purisima protested that the Philippines slid in the ranking by about eight places to 103rd from 95th a year ago, despite what he claimed as improvements across all indicators.Purisima then rattled off several measures that he said improved the local business climate. His main beef about the WB report was the change in the method used in coming up with the ranking.Prior to the release of the report, Noynoy’s economic officials had been proclaiming an improvement in the ranking.What Noynoy and his economic wizards failed to anticipate was the speed of the improvement in the region.The score of the Philippines this year at 60.07 was indeed an improvement compared to last year, but most of the emerging economies including some of the country’s neighbors, showed bigger improvement.So even if Purisima keeps harping on the supposed trajectory of the country in the past years where the old formula was used, the result can’t be a lot different since it is the same countries that were evaluated as that of last year. The tantrums of Purisima are similar to those of the previous administration as a result of the yearly dismal ranking in the Transparency International (TI) yearly listing that showed the perception of pervasive corruption in the government. It was then the officials of President Gloria Arroyo who were complaining about the formula being used in determining corruption perception and there was even a time when Arroyo’s officials incredulously asked the TI to strike the Philippines off the list due to its failure to improve in the annual listing. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

After disappointing H1 results: Budget chief sees growth accelerating in Q3


Budget Secretary Florencio Abad

MANILA, NOVEMBER 2, 2015 (PHILSTAR)  By Prinz P. Magtulis | Updated October 27, 2015 - 12:00am - Despite lingering financial volatility, economic growth could have accelerated in the third quarter from the previous six months on the back of sustained domestic demand, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.

“I can say with confidence that third quarter growth will be better than first half growth,” Abad told The STAR in a text message yesterday.

Economic growth – as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) – slowed to 5.3 percent in the first semester even after it picked up to 5.6 percent in the second quarter from five percent in the first three months.

Abad, the chairman of the interagency Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC), earlier said the government is sticking to its seven to eight percent growth goal this year even as he admitted reaching it is a “challenge.”

The third-quarter GDP data will be reported next month.

Asked what could have driven the July-September growth, Abad particularly cited stronger government spending during the period. Treasury data showed state expenditures rose nine percent year-on-year in the first half.

This paled in comparison with an average of 20-percent expansion in July and August. The fiscal performance for September has yet to be released.

Private spending could have also contributed, Abad said, pointing to traditional drivers of overseas Filipino remittances and receipts from business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

From January to August, remittances grew 4.01 percent to P16.21 billion, central bank data showed. Large dollar inflows and BPO earnings give Filipino families more money to spend and invest, helping boost growth.

READ MORE...

On the flip side, Abad said exports and imports, which are also “significant drivers” of GDP, likely dragged growth. For the first eight months, exports were down 4.4 percent, while imports inched up 0.1 percent as of July.

“I’m not too sure how these sub-sectors performed in the context of global slowdown and uncertainties, but with a low inflation regime…, third quarter still should be better than the first half,” the budget chief explained.

Earlier, Abad said economic managers are no longer meeting this year to review macroeconomic targets and would likely wait until full-year growth data is available.

Budget Undersecretary Laura Pascua said yesterday preparations have “not yet” been made for a DBCC meeting. Pascua is the chair of the Executive Technical Board, which recommends targets to DBCC.

When asked what could be ETB’s recommendations, Pascua said in a separate text message: “We have not seen the technical working group recommendations yet.”


PHILSTAR

Gov't debt hits P4.7T in June By Prinz Magtulis (philstar.com) | Updated October 27, 2015 - 5:42pm 4 19 googleplus0 0


NATIONAL BUDGET LOGO -Total general government liabilities amounted to P4.7 trillion as of June, 4.1 percent up from P4.5 trillion in the same period last year.

MANILA, Philippines - The general government debt rose in value as of the second quarter, but improved when accounting for the total size of the Philippine economy, data from the Department of Finance showed.

Total general government liabilities amounted to P4.7 trillion as of June, 4.1 percent up from P4.5 trillion in the same period last year.

While the nominal general government debt increased, its size as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) declined to 36.2 percent from 37.3 percent during the same period.

General government debt is a state-wide indicator of liabilities that includes not only that of the national government, but also of local government units.

Obligations by social security institutions such as the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System as well as the central bank, through its Board of Liquidators, are also included.

In a statement, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the declining debt ratio showed how the Aquino administration "prioritized putting our fiscal house in order" even amid financial market volatility.

"Further narrowing reflects how we continue (to) run a tight ship - crucial especially on sailing through these uncertain times," he added.

READ MORE...

A lower general government ratio shows that the state has more than enough resources to settle its liabilities in the future. Purisima said the ratio has "taken a downward trajectory" since 2010.

Finance data showed corroborated this: from 42.2 percent in 2010, the general government debt-to-GDP ratio consistently decreased to 41.4 percent in 2011, 40.6 percent in 2012, 39.2 percent in 2013 and 36.4 percent last year.

Quarterly data on the indicator was unavailable.

By nominal values, general government debt rose due to larger foreign liabilities by the national government. Data showed this segment went up by P193.2 billion amid "the impact of peso depreciation" that increased the value of foreign obligations.

This was partially offset by lower LGU debts, which dipped 3 percent to P67.5 billion as of June, data showed.

Cid Terosa, an economist at the University of Asia and the Pacific, said the declining share of debt to GDP should help make the Philippines attract more investments.

"(It) gives the impression that the Philippines is a business and investment haven worthy of more access to credit from international institutions," Terosa said in a text message.

He added that continued acceleration in GDP growth could trim the debt ratio further. In the first semester, GDP - the sum of all products and services created in an economy - grew by a faster 5.3 percent than the debt's 4.1 percent.

"If this happens, the Philippines will attract more investments and put itself among premier business and investment destinations in the world," Terosa said.

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RELATED FROM THE HERITAGE.ORG/WALL MSTREET JOURNAL

The Philippines’ economic freedom score is 62.2, making its economy the 76th freest in the 2015 Index.


FROM HERITAGE.ORG/PARTNER OF WALL STREET JOURNAL

Its score has increased by 2.1 points since last year, with notable improvements in financial freedom, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom outweighing declines in business freedom and the management of public spending. The Philippines ranks 13th out of 42 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is above the world and regional averages.

Registering one of the 10 best score improvements in the 2015 Index, the Philippines has charted an upward trajectory of economic freedom for the past five years, further advancing into the “moderately free” category. Wide-ranging reforms to address structural weaknesses and improve overall economic competitiveness have put greater emphasis on improving regulatory efficiency, enhancing regional competitiveness, and liberalizing the banking sector. Demonstrating a high level of resilience and overcoming the devastating impact of the massive typhoon that ripped through the central part of the country, the Philippine economy has recorded an average growth rate exceeding 5 percent over the past half-decade.

Despite notable progress since 2011, however, lingering institutional challenges will require a deeper commitment to reform. Corruption continues to be a serious cause for concern, jeopardizing prospects for long-term economic development. The inefficient judiciary, which remains susceptible to political interference, does not provide effective protection for property rights or strong and transparent enforcement of the law.

BACKGROUND

The Philippines’ diverse population, speaking more than 80 languages and dialects, is spread over 7,000 islands in the Western Pacific. Democracy was restored in 1986 after two decades of autocratic rule. President Benigno Aquino III took office in 2010 with a mandate to root out corruption. While agriculture is still a significant part of the economy, industrial production in areas like electronics, apparel, and shipbuilding has been growing rapidly. Remittances from overseas workers are equivalent to more than 10 percent of GDP.

RULE OF LAW (Judicial Independence strong, rule of law weak)
TO CREATE GRAPHS GO TO http://www.heritage.org/index/country/philippines OR
DOWNLOAD PDF FILE: http://www.heritage.org/index/pdf/2015/countries/philippines.pdf

●Property Rights 30.0 (Create graph GO TO LINK ABOVE; THE CLICK RED DOWN ARROW)

●Freedom From Corruption 36.0 (Create graph)

Corruption, state plunder, cronyism, and a culture of impunity remained in the spotlight in 2014 as numerous instances of malfeasance were exposed. Several senators, for example, were arrested on charges of embezzlement of billions of pesos from the Priority Development Assistance Fund.

Judicial independence has traditionally been strong, but the rule of law is generally weak.

LIMITED GOVERNMENT (Individual Income Tax)

 ●Government Spending 89.3  (Create graph)

●Fiscal Freedom 79.1  (Create graph)

The top individual income tax rate is 32 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is 30 percent. Other taxes include a value-added tax and environmental taxes. The overall tax burden equals 12.9 percent of domestic income.

Public expenditures are equivalent to 18.9 percent of the domestic economy, and public debt equals 38 percent of gross domestic product.

REGULATORY EFFICIENCY

●Business Freedom 55.3 (Create graph)

●Labor Freedom 58.2 (Create graph)

●Monetary Freedom 78.8 (Create a Graph using this measurement) 

Incorporating a business takes 16 procedures and 34 days. Completing licensing requirements remains time-consuming, taking about three months on average. The labor market remains structurally rigid, with varying degrees of flexibility across economic sectors and regions of the country. Subsidies to state-owned and state-controlled corporations in the power, food, health care, and agriculture sectors were reduced in 2014.

OPEN MARKETS

●Trade Freedom 75.4 (Create a Graph using this measurement) 

●Investment Freedom 60.0  (Create a Graph using this measurement)

●Financial Freedom 60.0 (Create a Graph using this measurement)

The average tariff rate is 4.8 percent. Domestic companies are favored in government procurement bids. Rice producers are subsidized and protected from competition. Foreign investment in several sectors is restricted. The financial system continues to undergo modernization and liberalization. A new law removing all limits on foreign participation in the banking sector was implemented in 2014.


MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHTS

PH CAN LURE P10B INVESTMENTS WITH SIMPLIFIED BUSINESS RULES By ANGELA CELIS November 02, 2015

Simplifying business regulations in the Philippines can attract new investments of at least P5 billion to P10 billion, the World Bank said.

Karl Kendrick Chua, senior country economist of the World Bank Philippine Office, said simplifying business regulations can unleash the potential of the private sector, in particular small and micro businesses as they are important contributors and beneficiaries of inclusive growth.

“Business regulations tend to be cumbersome. They limit the growth of innovative entrepreneurship and investments, contribute to large scale informality, which cover 75 percent of employment, and hence prevent the country from creating more and better jobs that can reduce poverty at a faster rate,”he said.

Chua said an opportunity cost of around P40 billion can arise from discouraged Filipinos who could have started a business if only the cost was reasonable.

The World Bank said this translates to foregone employment of 62,179, or about five percent of new labor force entrants annually.

“These indicative estimates suggest that the high cost of doing business is clearly a toll on the country’s inclusive growth agenda,” Chua said.

“We don’t have exact numbers, but if we have simpler regulations, we are seeing anywhere from at least P5 billion to P10 billion in new investments that can come in,” he added.

READ MORE...

The World Bank earlier said the high cost of starting and maintaining a business in the Philippines has also resulted to lost productive time, which translates to an annual opportunity cost of more than P100 billion in the form of foregone income, taxes and spending.

In a Special Focus section in the World Bank’s Philippine Economic Update, the agency said one particular concern is the high cost imposed on micro, small and medium enterprises in starting and maintaining a business.

“They not only have to pay for legitimate fees equivalent to 17 to 36 percent of per capita income (P21,000 to P45,000), they also spend a considerable amount of time moving from one agency to another and waiting in line to process their documents, often resulting in significant loss of productive time and income,” the report said.

“In some instances, businesses report that they need to pay bribes or give gifts to obtain various permits and government services,” it added.

The multilateral bank agency said simplifying and streamlining the business registration process in the Philippines would not only support job generation, but also improve transparency and accountability in the government.


PHILSTAR

NAIA, Clark congestion causes 10-hour flight ordeal By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated November 1, 2015 - 1:40pm 0 0 googleplus0 0


A flight set to land at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila as it carried 399 passengers was diverted to the Clark International Airport on Friday. AP/File photo

MANILA, Philippines — A flight bound for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 was diverted to the Clark International Airport on Friday due to airspace congestion, delaying disembarkation for ten hours.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesperson Eric Apolonio confirmed Sunday that Etihad Airways flight EY424 from Abu Dhabi to Manila had 399 passengers aboard.

“This happened last Friday,” Apolonio said in a text message to Philstar.com.

Etihad, for its part, said that the diversion to Clark and the delayed landing was not due its own operational issues but to congestion at the two airports.

"The 10-hour delay in disembarking the aircaft—the result of terminal congestion at Clark International Airport, continuing airspace congestion at NAIA, and delays in the arrival of ground transportation," Etihad officials said in a statement.

Etihad officials, who earlier issued an apology to its passengers, also said the circumstance "was beyond the airline's control."

The airline assured that guests affected were provided with hotel accommodation, food and beverages, as well as flight rebooking option. Some stranded passengers were offered bus rides to Manila early Saturday morning while others decided to travel by land to Manila on their own.

On Friday, a netizen sought help from media outfits to inform them of the distressed Etihad Airways flight.

READ MORE...

“Flight EY 424 Etihad airways from Abu Dhabi nasa Clark Airport pa din until now. Hindi sila ina-allow mag-land sa NAIA please help,” Twitter user Nowelyn said. She furthered that passengers were not informed of the reason of their disembarkation.

A passenger in Manila also lamented his long hours of travel and the airport woes.

“I did not take the bus that Etihad offered because it will drop me off [at] NAIA only. Guess I am not willing to see the airport in the near future. I asked Ryan to get me and bring me to the Dau bus station, which he kindly agreed to. Now in a bus to [Manila]. This is my fourth day (of) traveling,” Mark Joseph Calano posted on his Facebook account.

As reports of the diverted flight surfaced, some netizens found the situation ridiculous and hit airport for traffic congestion, a bullet-planting scheme victimizing passengers and delays in inbound and outbound flights.

On August 22, at least nine domestic flights were also diverted to Clark due to air traffic congestion. These flights were able to return to NAIA on the same day.

TWEETS

Mark Joseph T. Calano
October 30 at 4:34pm · Edited · 
i did not take the bus that etihad offered because it will drop me off in NAIA only. guess i am not willing to see 
the airport in the near future. i asked, Ryan to get me and bring me to the Dau bus station, which he kindly 
agreed to. now in a bus to MNL. this is my fourth day travelling.

PJ Mariano-Capistrano Ingat Mark. *hugs*
Like · October 30 at 5:40pm

Mark Joseph T. Calano how i just want to cry, but cannot. thanks, pj.
Like · 1 · October 30 at 5:54pm

Jonathan Arevalo Coo Did you find your luggage?
Like · October 30 at 6:01pm

Mark Joseph T. Calano no. it was reported as missing. :(
Like · October 30 at 6:03pm

Rowie Azada-Palacios Ingat ;(
Like · October 30 at 6:58pm

Aris Yalung It's like joining the amazing race. Sorry but you just have been eliminated due to your detention.
Like · October 30 at 7:51pm

Remmon Barbaza Very sorry to hear this, Mark. All this is unbelievable, and terrible. But I am happy to know 
that finally you made it back home safe. Rest well!
Like · 1 · October 30 at 8:40pm

Farland Valera yung bagahe mo ngay sir? imbag laengen ta nakabyahe ka met langen paawid..
Like · 1 · October 30 at 9:24pm

Anton Rennesland Very sorry to hear sir
Like · October 30 at 10:59pm

Jose Conrado Terrible!
Like · 13 hrs

INQUIRER

Foreign traders: No more fun doing business in PH
[BUSINESSMEN BLAST AQUINO GOV’T: RESPECT SANCTITY OF CONTRACTS]
SHARES: 109 VIEW COMMENTS By: Amy R. Remo @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:13 AM October 29th, 2015


PHOTO OF AQUINO: “It is simply unfathomable that the common principle of sanctity of contract can be completely disregarded here. How can the country attract foreign investors if even a signed contract offers no assurance that the other party, in this case the government, will respect it,” ECCP vice president Henry Schumacher said.

The foreign business community said anew it may no longer be fun doing business in the Philippines given the continued uncertainty and unpredictability in the implementation of local policies.

Such an unstable environment would not only stifle investments, but would also dilute the efforts of foreign chambers in promoting the Philippines as an investment hub in Asia, the foreigners said.

The latest demonstration of this, according to the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), involved the case of JKG-Power Plates, the winning bidder for the Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program (MVLPSP) of the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

JKG-Power Plates is a joint venture between a Dutch and a Filipino company. After going through a bidding process, the Department of Transportation and Communications awarded a five-year contract worth P3.18 billion to JKG-Power Plates in 2014 for the supply of vehicle license plates.

On the basis of this signed contract, JKG-Power Plates initially delivered 877,166 pairs of MV plates, 2.37 million pieces of motorcycle plates, and 12,685 pieces of trailer plates, all worth a total of P620.35 million. However, the company has only so far been paid P477.90 million, the ECCP claimed.

In July, the Commission on Audit (COA) disallowed additional disbursements for the project, saying it did not undergo legitimate procurement processes.

Confronted with the prospects of not being paid fully for the plates delivered and even more with the danger that the five-year project will be prematurely discontinued, PPI-JKG said it would cease delivering plates to LTO until it receives payment for the deliveries it has already made, the ECCP said.

READ MORE...

“It is simply unfathomable that the common principle of sanctity of contract can be completely disregarded here. How can the country attract foreign investors if even a signed contract offers no assurance that the other party, in this case the government, will respect it,” ECCP vice president Henry Schumacher said.


Henry J. Schumacher. INQUIRER.net file photo

The COA’s disallowance of additional disbursements comes on the heels of a Supreme Court (SC) decision on the MVLPSP.

The high court did not find anything wrong with the multi-billion program. The SC contradicted a claim the program was implemented without the necessary funding from Congress.

“Again, it is difficult to understand why we cannot rely on the strength of a decision of the highest court of the land. Can COA [Commission on Audit] overrule or disregard a decision of the Supreme Court?” he asked.

He also said none of the supposed “defects” in the procurement process is attributable to the foreign supplier, and yet it is the supplier and the public who are suffering from the consequences.

Nonetheless, Schumacher expressed hope the COA will revisit its earlier position and abide by the SC decision.

“If this phenomenon continues, as we have seen in a number of other cases, including Piatco, Manila Water, Manila North Tollways Corp., to cite a few, foreign investors will look for more stable investment climates elsewhere. It will be no fun doing business in the Philippines,” Schumacher said.


MANILA STANDARD

Govt warned on car plate row: ECCP said delay in government’s funding for new vehicle license plates, represented a breach of contract posted October 28, 2015 at 11:40 pm by Othel V. Campos


The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) is a service-oriented organization whose main goal is to foster close economic ties and business relations between the Philippines and Europe.

Foreign businessmen on Wednesday criticized the government for dishonoring a business contract, warning that the move will send a wrong signal to investors.

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines expressed concern over the delay in government’s funding for new vehicle license plates, saying it represented a breach of contract that would discourage investors.

The business group cited the delay in the release of car plates under the standardization project of the Land Transportation Office.

“It is simply unfathomable that the common principle of sanctity of contract can be completely disregarded here. How can the country attract foreign investors if even a signed contract offers no assurance that the other party, in this case the government, will respect it,” said chamber vice president Henry Schumacher.

Schumacher referred to JKG-Power Plates, the winning bidder in the Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program of the LTO.

Transportation signed a five-year, P3.18-billion contract with JKG-Power Plates in 2014 for the supply of vehicle license plates. JKG-Power Plates is a joint venture between Dutch and Filipino companies

JKG-Power Plates under the contract delivered 877,166 pairs of motor veheicle plates, 2,370,006 pieces of motorcycle plates and 12,685 pieces of trailer plates worth P620.35 million. The government, however, paid only P477.90 million to JKG-Power.

The Commission on Audit in July disallowed additional disbursements for the project.

Faced with the prospects of not being paid for the plates delivered in excess of the initial payment received and possibly the suspension of the project, the company stopped delivering plates to LTO until it receives payment for past deliveries.

The Supreme Court earlier dismissed a petition seeking to nullify a contract signed by the Transportation Department for the license plate program.

Despite the lack of adequate budgetary appropriations when the project was bid out, Transportation awarded the project to the joint venture of Netherlands-based J. Knieiriem B.V. Goes and local company Power Plates Development Concept.

Schumacher noted that none of the supposed “defects” in the procurement process was attributable to the foreign supplier, adding the Chamber was hoping CoA would revisit its earlier position and abide by the Supreme Court decision.

The business community warned that the uncertainty and unpredictability of policies stifled investment and would negate efforts of foreign chambers in promoting the Philippines as an investment hub in Asia.


TRIBUNE EDITORIAL

WB asked to do selective justice Written by Tribune Editorial Friday, 30 October 2015 00:00

Wednesday was a bad hair day for Noynoy and his economic chieftain, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, as the World Bank (WB) delivered a not so surprising verdict in a report that the Philippines is among the most difficult countries with which to do business.

The report particularly identified the thick red tape that afflicts businesses in the country which has worsened as a result of the “daang matuwid” policy of subjecting all past contracts to Noynoy’s doubts as being irregular.

Purisima protested that the Philippines slid in the ranking by about eight places to 103rd from 95th a year ago, despite what he claimed as improvements across all indicators.

Purisima then rattled off several measures that he said improved the local business climate.

His main beef about the WB report was the change in the method used in coming up with the ranking.

Prior to the release of the report, Noynoy’s economic officials had been proclaiming an improvement in the ranking.
What Noynoy and his economic wizards failed to anticipate was the speed of the improvement in the region.

The score of the Philippines this year at 60.07 was indeed an improvement compared to last year, but most of the emerging economies including some of the country’s neighbors, showed bigger improvement.

So even if Purisima keeps harping on the supposed trajectory of the country in the past years where the old formula was used, the result can’t be a lot different since it is the same countries that were evaluated as that of last year.

The tantrums of Purisima are similar to those of the previous administration as a result of the yearly dismal ranking in the Transparency International (TI) yearly listing that showed the perception of pervasive corruption in the government.

It was then the officials of President Gloria Arroyo who were complaining about the formula being used in determining corruption perception and there was even a time when Arroyo’s officials incredulously asked the TI to strike the Philippines off the list due to its failure to improve in the annual listing.

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A review of the report, however, showed that it contained all what businesses have been complaining for so long during the term of Noynoy, which is a government disconnected with the needs of its citizens.

Instead, Purisima blamed the World Bank for using a survey methodology of collecting sample data from only one or two cities.

He said that such methodology makes it inappropriate to present the report as reflective of the state of doing business for an entire economy.

This is considering that starting a business and registering property vary across cities, since local governments have varying procedures and processing times for the various activities involved therein.

He cited as example the economic zones which give investors a drastically different landscape than other areas.

Purisima said he has been consistently voicing out critiques against the WB methodology because of its inability to provide a proper reflection of the state of doing business with the very limited information source and poor data collection process.

Purisima also suggested that the survey get the views of foreign businessmen in the country as a fair measure of the supposed reforms under Noynoy.

If the World Bank would be fool enough to listen to Purisima, however, it would have compromised the independence and objectivity of its report since the same methodology has been applied on all the 189 countries in the list.

Purisima is calling for a selective assessment of the country considering Noynoy’s “tuwid na daan” catchphrase which is not really surprising.

Selective justice is not yet an international brand, Purisima should know.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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