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PHILIPPINES CAN GROW 5X MORE IF THERE WERE NO GRAFT
[Corruption is weighing down Philippine foreign direct investments (FDIs), according to Michael Raeuber, immediate past president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP)]


NOVEMBER 27 -PHOTO COURTESY OF VISAYAS-MINDANAO NEWS FORUM FACEBOOK Corruption is weighing down Philippine foreign direct investments (FDIs), according to Michael Raeuber, immediate past president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP). Raeuber said FDIs in the Philippines could surge by as much as five times if corruption is eliminated. He said corruption is intertwined with red tape and reducing red tape will discourage graft. He said the Philippines is getting just a fraction of investments flowing into Asean. It is also not getting as much investments as Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia are getting. In a press conference yesterday at the Dusit Hotel announcing the forthcoming Integrity Summit, Raeuber said while much has been accomplished, corruption has “not fully been eradicated.” Raeuber said government and private sector should aim for a “corruption-free Philippines” as this significantly impacts FDIs that would create jobs and push growth. “Something needs to be done to bring in the needed FDIs,” he said. Although the country posted a record FDI in 2014 – $6.2 billion or a 479 percent jump from $1.1 billion in 2010 – Raeuber said it is not getting as much FDIs as it can. The numbers have also been tapering off. Net FDI inflow in the first half stood at $2 billion, down 40 percent from $3.4 billion in the same period last year. Even in 2015, FDIs in the Philippines as of the first half is only 4.6 percent of total FDI in Asean. Raeuber raised the need to reduce red tape in the Philippines and ease doing business as an immediate form of reducing corruption. “Corruption is closely related to red tape. The more complex the procedures are, the easier to take short cuts,” he said. Ramon del Rosario Jr., chairman of the Integrity Initiative and of the Makati Business Club (MBC), yesterday said some 3,000 companies have so far signed the Integrity Pledge five years since the program to observe ethical standards in business was launched. READ MORE...

ALSO: Economic growth picks up to 6% in Q3


NOVEMBER 27 -Economic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general Arsenio Balisacan said gross domestic product (GDP) growth hit the six-percent mark in the third quarter, an improvement from 5.8 percent the previous quarter and the three-year low five percent in the first three months. Photo by Paulo Alcazaren
MANILA, Philippines - Economic growth slightly picked up in the third quarter as government spent more and household consumption increased, the country’s economic manager said. In a press briefing yesterday, Economic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general Arsenio Balisacan said gross domestic product (GDP) growth hit the six-percent mark in the third quarter, an improvement from 5.8 percent the previous quarter and the three-year low five percent in the first three months. In the same quarter last year, GDP expanded at a slower pace of 5.5 percent. He said for the first nine months of 2015, growth stood at 5.6 percent, making a six-percent full-year target “very much likely given even better prospects for the last quarter.” This makes the Philippines one of the fastest-growing major Asian economies. The country’s GDP growth was the third fastest after China’s 6.9 percent and Vietnam’s 6.8 percent. Balisacan said strong domestic demand fueled output growth in the third quarter, led by significant improvements in government spending and household consumption. In July to September, public sector performance improved leaps and bounds, with government expenditure increasing from 3.9 percent to 17.4 percent. For the first nine months alone, the average government final consumption expenditure has already reached 7.2 percent, a lofty leap from last year’s contraction of 0.2 for the same period, and a 2014 full-year rate of 1.7 percent. “This simply shows that the government is proving successful in its efforts to overcome the spending bottlenecks that hampered growth in the first semester,” he pointed out. In Malacanang, Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. and presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said President Aquino has ordered to intensify government spending before the year ends, following continuous underspending early this year. READ MORE...

ALSO: Growth meaningless without benefiting the poor — VP Binay


NOVEMBER 28 -Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday warned the Aquino administration that heady stories of growth would not mean much at the end of the day unless they impacted the lives of the marginalized. “Economic growth is meaningless if it excludes the poor and working class Filipinos. We have claims of growth in the midst of unmitigated poverty, unemployment and hunger. The job of any administration is to address poverty by providing jobs, economic opportunities,” he stressed. Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 6.0 percent in the July to September period, faster than 5.8 in the previous quarter but below the 6.3-percent median expectation of economists in a Bloomberg News poll, as a slowdown in manufacturing weighed on growth in services and public spending. “The country’s economic growth would have been more meaningful if it induced the creation of more jobs and opportunities for our people,” Binay added.He cited the recent Social Weather Survey (SWS) survey that showed 50 percent, or around 11 million Filipino families, consider themselves poor. The poll also revealed that poverty incidence in the Visayas increased to 66 percent compared to June’s 58 percent while Mindanao’s poverty incidence remained at 70 percent over the same period.According to the SWS, 54 percent of Filipinos considered themselves poor in 2014, a six-point rise from 2010’s 48 percent, when President Aquino was proclaimed president.Binay said the government needs to bring in more foreign direct investment (FDI), considering the Philippines ranks among the lowest in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on FDI.He also noted how the Philippines is second to the last among its Asean peers in terms of starting a business, dealings with construction permits, registering property and enforcing contracts.The Philippines attracted $6 billion worth of investments in 2014, but the country’s FDI inflows remain low compared to other Southeast Asian neighbors like Singapore with $68 billion, Indonesia with $23 billion, Thailand with $13 billion, Malaysia with $11 billion and Vietnam with $9 billion.Binay also reiterated how his administration, should he win the presidency in 2016, will focus on inclusive growth and making sure that the country’s economic gains are felt by all.“My vision is for every Filipino to have an equal share in the nation’s progress. No one should be left behind,” he said.The Vice President added inclusive growth is possible with the right mix of social and economic policies by a government that is sensitive to both the needs of its residents and those who do business in the country.He stressed his administration will strive to create jobs and provide adequate social services that will especially help the poor.An economic watchdog, for its part, expressed doubts regarding the government’s proud declaration of economic growth.Social Watch convener and former National Treasurer Leonor Briones, in a phone interview, said the government even failed to reach its self-imposed 6.9-percent expectation. READ MORE...

ALSO: PH growth third fastest in Asia 6% growth in third quarter just behind China’s 6.9% and Vietnam’s 6.8%


NOVEMBER 27 -The country’s economy expanded 6 percent in the third quarter of the year due to the strong services sector, the government announced yesterday.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed the country’s economy, as measured by its gross domestic product (GDP), grew in July to September this year, higher compared to the 5.5 percent growth a year ago. Service industries, which include real estate and retailing, were the main driver of the third quarter growth, expanding 7.3 percent, which was the fastest pace since 2013. Agriculture showed signs of recovery, growing 0.4 percent compared with a contraction a year earlier. SIGN OF GROWING ECONOMY Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said that the third-quarter growth is “certainly an encouraging sign” of a steady growing economy of the Philippines, which also outpaced the previous quarter’s 5.8 percent. “Growth in the first nine months of 2015 is now 5.6 percent, making a 6.0-percent full-year growth very much likely given even better prospects for the last quarter. This makes the Philippines one of the fastest-growing major Asian economies,” Balisacan said. “The country’s GDP growth was the third fastest after China’s 6.9 percent and Vietnam’s 6.8 percent. As of today, the third-quarter figure for India, another fast Asian growing country, is not yet available,” he added. In the third-quarter, GDP was driven by the services sector, which increased to 7.3 percent from 5.6 percent. The agriculture sector also recovered during the period by 0.4 percent from a 2.6 percent decline posted last year. READ MORE...

ALSO: Workers didn’t feel 6% GDP growth – KMU


NOVEMBER 27 “What growth?”  This was national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s response to the 6 percent expansion of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in this year’s third quarter, saying workers did not feel the reported growth in their wages, job security and trade-union rights.
The labor group said working conditions continue to deteriorate as wages continue to be pressed down, contractual employment continues to be promoted, and trade-union rights continue to be violated. It cited flag carrier Philippine Airlines’ retrenchment of 117 workers in September, who will be replaced by agency workers despite PAL Holdings’ reported P5.8 billion net income in the first half of 2015. The amount is a ten-fold increase from P560 million in the same period in 2014. “Without a significant wage increase, without the regularization of contractuals, and without the free exercise of trade-union rights, GDP growth means nothing to workers. It could only mean growth for the economic elite,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson. The labor leader reiterated workers’ demands for a P125 across-the-board wage hike, the enactment of a National Minimum Wage in the amount of P750 for private-sector workers, the banning of contractualization, and a stop to union busting. “Workers’ demands for improvements in working conditions remain unheeded by the government. The overall effect is not growth but worsening hunger, poverty and indebtedness among workers and most Filipinos,” Labog added. KMU cited independent think-tank Ibon Foundation’s claim that the GDP growth is still exclusionary for failing to solve the country’s job crisis, with unemployed and underemployed Filipinos numbering at 12.3 million in July 2015. “The government and big capitalists claim that workers have to accept lower wages, contractual employment and trade-union repression so that the country can create more jobs. The country’s economic policies are clearly flawed because they result in worsening unemployment and worsening working conditions,” Labog stated. Labog also said that only a shift in government policy towards land reform and building national industries can solve unemployment and at the same time improve working conditions for Filipinos. Reference: Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597 THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO GK News from Tony Meloto: Filipino-French alliance in win-win war against poverty


NOVEMBER 29 -Photo shows French social entrepreneurs and interns at the GK Enchanted Farm.
The French social entrepreneurs and interns at the GK Enchanted Farm were as usual up early that Sunday morning of Nov. 15.
Victor Beulque tended his boisterous Pekin ducks, Louis Faure chased his free range chickens in the bamboo villa, Berenice Stagnara milked her La Mancha goats. This time, however, they were somber instead of their normal exuberant selves, not able to make sense of the senselessness and viciousness of the terrorist attacks in Paris the night of Friday the 13th against their countrymen – schoolmates, relatives and friends. More devastating, as they later articulated, was the realization of the fragility and vulnerability of their charmed way of life and the false security that their affluence and enlightenment could protect them from harm in a world of grave inequality. They managed to keep in check whatever grief, fear or anger they felt later on in the morning as they greeted with graciousness and hospitality the 160 APEC young leaders and organizers from 17 member economies under the Voices of the Future program. The choice of the GK Enchanted Farm as the APEC venue outside of hotels and convention centers in Metro Manila was appropriate grounding for future decision-makers, as the message of the week-long gathering of global leaders was about integration and inclusion. Exclusion for whatever reason – race, religion, gender, ideology, money, politics – is at the heart of most conflicts known to man and inflicts the deepest societal wounds. We all suffer when one billion of the world’s population can indulge their luxury and vanity while six billion endure poverty and every imaginable infirmity, man-made tragedy and natural calamity. Shared tragedy The atrocity in Paris was a shared tragedy for all the young people gathered at the Hyundai Hall for Green Innovation – APEC delegates, European and American interns, community mothers, farmers, students from the college for social entrepreneurs (SEED Philippines) – who all stood and observed a moment of silence as an act of solidarity with victims of the attacks. The common sentiment among them was how to build a fairer and safer world, how to turn threat into protection, and how to convert their own fear into positive action today for a more secure tomorrow. They are keenly aware that a long history of extractive colonization and globalization has left many in weak countries hungry and angry. The hungry are now flocking to rich nations as refugees for survival, the angry are turning weapons in local wars against the innocents of the powerful countries that supplied them. Listening to the voices of APEC young leaders, this is the world they are inheriting, but definitely, not the world they want. Shared humanity They came to the GK Enchanted Farm, just like many before them, in search of new pathways to an enlightened world where no one is an enemy, a victim or a prey. This 35-hectare former rebel territory north of Manila has known peace in the last five years since we built the first farm village ecosystem for social entrepreneurs in the country together with Singaporean designers from NUS and over a thousand French (and a sprinkling of other nationalities) interns and volunteers to-date, without a security guard at the gate or a fence around its borders. It is home to the most privileged (from the city and abroad) and the least fortunate, mostly subsistence farmers, construction workers and tricycle drivers who now live, study and work together as family and partners in building a solidarity economy, where no one is left behind in poverty or living without dignity. It was strange for our community that on Sunday we were surrounded by 340 armed soldiers and policemen, with sniffer dogs, who guarded the APEC young leaders during their visit. Gawad Kalinga, our movement for nation-building to help end poverty in the Philippines by 2024, has already spawned 2,500 communities for over a million Filipinos. Many of these villages have been built in calamity and rebel areas and urban slums, as we continuously strive for common sense answers and win-win solutions which can bring about inclusive growth. So far, we have turned troubled slums into peaceful communities and our human liabilities into assets, with our radical optimism in the greatness of the human spirit and our radical commitment to a peaceful process. Better to sweat for peace than to bleed in war. This fundamental philosophy is clear to our communities, volunteers and partners. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

PH CAN GROW 5X MORE IF THERE WERE NO GRAFT


PHOTO COURTESY OF VISAYAS-MINDANAO NEWS FORUM FACEBOOK

MANILA, NOVEMBER 30, 2015 (MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHTS) By Irma PIsip November 27, 2015 - Corruption is weighing down Philippine foreign direct investments (FDIs), according to Michael Raeuber, immediate past president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP).

Raeuber said FDIs in the Philippines could surge by as much as five times if corruption is eliminated. He said corruption is intertwined with red tape and reducing red tape will discourage graft.

He said the Philippines is getting just a fraction of investments flowing into Asean. It is also not getting as much investments as Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia are getting.

In a press conference yesterday at the Dusit Hotel announcing the forthcoming Integrity Summit, Raeuber said while much has been accomplished, corruption has “not fully been eradicated.”

Raeuber said government and private sector should aim for a “corruption-free Philippines” as this significantly impacts FDIs that would create jobs and push growth.

“Something needs to be done to bring in the needed FDIs,” he said.

Although the country posted a record FDI in 2014 – $6.2 billion or a 479 percent jump from $1.1 billion in 2010 – Raeuber said it is not getting as much FDIs as it can. The numbers have also been tapering off.

Net FDI inflow in the first half stood at $2 billion, down 40 percent from $3.4 billion in the same period last year. Even in 2015, FDIs in the Philippines as of the first half is only 4.6 percent of total FDI in Asean.

Raeuber raised the need to reduce red tape in the Philippines and ease doing business as an immediate form of reducing corruption.

“Corruption is closely related to red tape. The more complex the procedures are, the easier to take short cuts,” he said.

Ramon del Rosario Jr., chairman of the Integrity Initiative and of the Makati Business Club (MBC), yesterday said some 3,000 companies have so far signed the Integrity Pledge five years since the program to observe ethical standards in business was launched.

READ MORE...

While this is a mere drop in the bucket out of the 600,000 enterprises currently registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Peter Perfecto, MBC executive director, believes the Initiative can have 10,000 companies sign by 2017 and then double that in a few years.

This, he said, would enable the Initiative to hit a critical mass that could help spread a culture of integrity in the country.

The Integrity Initiative is a multi-sectoral campaign geared towards the re-establishment of acceptable integrity standards among various sectors of the society, led by ECCP, MBC, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Management Association of the Philippines and Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines.

“We believe that by upholding and practicing integrity, a lot of change and progress can be realized in the government and business sector. It can renew the confidence of the people in the system that we operate in and ultimately help businesses to succeed,” said Henry Schumacher, vice president of the ECCP and Integrity Initiative. Category: Business News


PHILSTAR

Economic growth picks up to 6% in Q3 By Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 27, 2015 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Economic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general Arsenio Balisacan said gross domestic product (GDP) growth hit the six-percent mark in the third quarter, an improvement from 5.8 percent the previous quarter and the three-year low five percent in the first three months. Photo by Paulo Alcazaren

MANILA, Philippines - Economic growth slightly picked up in the third quarter as government spent more and household consumption increased, the country’s economic manager said.

In a press briefing yesterday, Economic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general Arsenio Balisacan said gross domestic product (GDP) growth hit the six-percent mark in the third quarter, an improvement from 5.8 percent the previous quarter and the three-year low five percent in the first three months.

In the same quarter last year, GDP expanded at a slower pace of 5.5 percent.

He said for the first nine months of 2015, growth stood at 5.6 percent, making a six-percent full-year target “very much likely given even better prospects for the last quarter.”

This makes the Philippines one of the fastest-growing major Asian economies. The country’s GDP growth was the third fastest after China’s 6.9 percent and Vietnam’s 6.8 percent.

Balisacan said strong domestic demand fueled output growth in the third quarter, led by significant improvements in government spending and household consumption. In July to September, public sector performance improved leaps and bounds, with government expenditure increasing from 3.9 percent to 17.4 percent.

For the first nine months alone, the average government final consumption expenditure has already reached 7.2 percent, a lofty leap from last year’s contraction of 0.2 for the same period, and a 2014 full-year rate of 1.7 percent.

“This simply shows that the government is proving successful in its efforts to overcome the spending bottlenecks that hampered growth in the first semester,” he pointed out.

In Malacanang, Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. and presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said President Aquino has ordered to intensify government spending before the year ends, following continuous underspending early this year.

READ MORE...

Coloma said government would intensify even more efforts to challenges in the last quarter of the year in view of the foreseen severe El Nino until mid-2016 which may adversely affect the economy.

Meanwhile, with availability of more jobs, increasing employment and income, low inflation and inflow of overseas Filipino remittances, household consumption also grew 6.3 percent. Filipino households increased their spending in the third quarter mostly on food and non-alcoholic beverages, miscellaneous goods and services, transport, restaurants and hotels, and communication, Balisacan said.

“This growth trajectory we are seeing will likely continue in the fourth quarter as we expect domestic demand to still pick up during the holiday season. This, along with low inflation, low oil prices, and the anticipated effects of election spending on the country’s growth, supports this outlook. Moreover, the services sector will remain strong and investments are likely to go up due to the expected increase in disbursements,” he added.

The modest growth of the agriculture sector, on the other hand, shows the impact of El Niño, as yields and harvests for palay and sugarcane were most affected due to inadequacy of irrigation water and rain. The slight improvement in the sector’s performance is largely contributed by stronger growth in livestock, poultry, and fishery subsectors.

However, Balisacan said some risks still remain that may impede growth potential. One is the still lingering effects of El Niño on the economy, especially for agriculture. The government has been taking measures to mitigate the impact particularly on food security and potable water supply. Another risk would be the uncertainties that are naturally brought by an impending change of leadership, with next year’s national elections. –with Delon Porcalla


TRIBUNE

Growth meaningless without benefiting the poor — Binay
Written by Tribune Wires Saturday, 28 November 2015 00:00


Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday warned the Aquino administration that heady stories of growth would not mean much at the end of the day unless they impacted the lives of the marginalized.

“Economic growth is meaningless if it excludes the poor and working class Filipinos. We have claims of growth in the midst of unmitigated poverty, unemployment and hunger. The job of any administration is to address poverty by providing jobs and economic opportunities,” he stressed.

Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 6.0 percent in the July to September period, faster than 5.8 in the previous quarter but below the 6.3-percent median expectation of economists in a Bloomberg News poll, as a slowdown in manufacturing weighed on growth in services and public spending.

“The country’s economic growth would have been more meaningful if it induced the creation of more jobs and opportunities for our people,” Binay added.

He cited the recent Social Weather Survey (SWS) survey that showed 50 percent, or around 11 million Filipino families, consider themselves poor.

The poll also revealed that poverty incidence in the Visayas increased to 66 percent compared to June’s 58 percent while Mindanao’s poverty incidence remained at 70 percent over the same period.

According to the SWS, 54 percent of Filipinos considered themselves poor in 2014, a six-point rise from 2010’s 48 percent, when President Aquino was proclaimed president.

Binay said the government needs to bring in more foreign direct investment (FDI), considering the Philippines ranks among the lowest in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on FDI.

He also noted how the Philippines is second to the last among its Asean peers in terms of starting a business, dealings with construction permits, registering property and enforcing contracts.

The Philippines attracted $6 billion worth of investments in 2014, but the country’s FDI inflows remain low compared to other Southeast Asian neighbors like Singapore with $68 billion, Indonesia with $23 billion, Thailand with $13 billion, Malaysia with $11 billion and Vietnam with $9 billion.

Binay also reiterated how his administration, should he win the presidency in 2016, will focus on inclusive growth and making sure that the country’s economic gains are felt by all.

“My vision is for every Filipino to have an equal share in the nation’s progress. No one should be left behind,” he said.

The Vice President added inclusive growth is possible with the right mix of social and economic policies by a government that is sensitive to both the needs of its residents and those who do business in the country.

He stressed his administration will strive to create jobs and provide adequate social services that will especially help the poor.

An economic watchdog, for its part, expressed doubts regarding the government’s proud declaration of economic growth.



Social Watch convener and former National Treasurer Leonor Briones, in a phone interview, said the government even failed to reach its self-imposed 6.9-percent expectation.

READ MORE...

She added GDP growth could not even be much of a development, stressing it is not much felt by ordinary Filipinos.

“It is wrong to hastily call this an improvement, or even remark it as an inclusive growth knowing that it is hardly experienced by Filipinos of which majority are poor,” Briones told The Tribune.

“The GDP is not reflective of the ordinary people’s conditions. In fact, it is all but numbers since many Filipinos still consider themselves poor and hungry. Claims of robust growth can only be true if the majority benefit from it,” she stressed.

The former National Treasurer also pointed out that one hallmark of the GDP’s being not inclusive is the 0.4 percent growth in agriculture and the industry sector’s 5.4 percent growth compared to last year’s 7.8 percent.

“We must always remember that the Philippines is an agricultural country and agriculture is our economy’s spine. How can it be inclusive if our fellow Filipinos in the agriculture sector is at the lowest rank of the (National Economic and Development Authority’s) growth?” she asked.

Growth was driven by the services sector, which grew by 7.3 percent, with major contributions coming from trade, real estate, renting and business activities.

Briones also slammed Aquino’s usual parade of inclusive growth claims in the past five years, saying his administration has failed to fulfill its promises of curbing poverty.

“Poverty incidence of 23.8 percent only shows to prove that, amid the incumbent administration’s flagship poverty alleviation efforts, poverty levels have remained virtually unchanged,” she said, adding it is “very ironic to proclaim mere rhetoric outputs.”

Independent think-tank Ibon Foundation also brands the so-called GDP growth as one that “remains exclusionary as jobs crisis prevails.”



“The jobs situation has gotten worse with virtually unchanged unemployment amid a drastic increase in underemployment. Service-driven growth is failing to create enough jobs for Filipinos,” the group said as a response to Neda’s report released last Thursday.

Ibon stressed the deterioration on the jobs front overall affirms the limits of service-driven growth, noting that the number of underemployed Filipinos increased by almost a million (933,000) to eight million in July 2015, from seven million in the same period in 2014.

The underemployment rate of 20.3 percent is higher than the 18.8 percent in 2010 at the start of the Aquino administration and the highest in a decade, the group noted.

The government’s reported unemployment remained statistically unchanged at 2.7 million and with a 6.5 percent unemployment rate in the last five years.

Ibon added the election season might help boost GDP growth slightly higher.

“Election-related growth will be mainly in election-related service sectors – media, transport and communications, hotels and restaurant and trade. Only marginal sections of the manufacturing sector will benefit from spending on food, sundries and election paraphernalia,” it said.

Anakpawis partylist Rep. Fernando Hicap, for his part, said the Aquino government’s projection of economic growth is “far from reality.”

“Only a very few will benefit from this growth that excludes farmers, workers and ordinary taxpayers. The GDP statistics, after all, can never feed the urban poor, street dwellers nor is it a promise of regular employment,” he told The Tribune in a separate interview.

“Our country’s agricultural system is very backward. The Philippines’ minimum wage is one of the lowest in the region. Is that development?” he asked. By Ted Tuvera and Joshua Labonera


MANILA BULLETIN

PH growth third fastest in Asia 6% growth in third quarter just behind China’s 6.9% and Vietnam’s 6.8% by Chino Leyco November 27, 2015 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share7

The country’s economy expanded 6 percent in the third quarter of the year due to the strong services sector, the government announced yesterday.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed the country’s economy, as measured by its gross domestic product (GDP), grew in July to September this year, higher compared to the 5.5 percent growth a year ago.

Service industries, which include real estate and retailing, were the main driver of the third quarter growth, expanding 7.3 percent, which was the fastest pace since 2013. Agriculture showed signs of recovery, growing 0.4 percent compared with a contraction a year earlier.

SIGN OF GROWING ECONOMY

Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said that the third-quarter growth is “certainly an encouraging sign” of a steady growing economy of the Philippines, which also outpaced the previous quarter’s 5.8 percent.

“Growth in the first nine months of 2015 is now 5.6 percent, making a 6.0-percent full-year growth very much likely given even better prospects for the last quarter. This makes the Philippines one of the fastest-growing major Asian economies,” Balisacan said.

“The country’s GDP growth was the third fastest after China’s 6.9 percent and Vietnam’s 6.8 percent. As of today, the third-quarter figure for India, another fast Asian growing country, is not yet available,” he added.

In the third-quarter, GDP was driven by the services sector, which increased to 7.3 percent from 5.6 percent. The agriculture sector also recovered during the period by 0.4 percent from a 2.6 percent decline posted last year.

READ MORE...

Likewise, government final consumption expenditure accelerated from 3.9 percent to 17.4 percent, while the industry sector slowed down to 5.4 percent from 7.8 percent, PSA data showed.

FASTER RATE SEEN

For the final three-months of 2015, Balisacan expects the local economy to grow at a faster rate, adding the country needs at least 6.9 percent expansion to achieve a 6.0 percent full year GDP.

“The third quarter performance and the expected acceleration of growth in the last quarter of 2015 support our optimism for continued growth in 2016,” Balisacan said.

He added the government is keeping the 7-8 percent GDP target for next year.

“With sound fundamentals built from relentless pursuit of governance and economic reforms, we are optimistic that the new administration will not find it difficult to traverse an even higher growth path. The economy has yet to reach its peak and full potential,” he added.

INFRASTRUCTURE DEV’T

Meanwhile, the Cabinet official again reiterated the need to further speed up infrastructure development that has been neglected for so many years as it would not only buoy domestic demand but also enhance the country’s global competitiveness.

“Our recent experience on infrastructure spending has shown us that it is not enough to just increase the money resources for infrastructure, it also requires improving our bureaucratic systems so that there is ample absorptive capacity,” Balisacan said.

He also said that more investments are needed in research and development and technology to enable the agriculture, industry, and services sectors to develop significantly.

“We need to innovate more with respect to technology and even business processes to connect the micro, small, and medium enterprises to the global supply and value chains for them to take advantage of growth opportunities,” Balisacan said.

“We need to significantly improve the country’s human capital to enable our current and future workforce to seize development opportunities here and abroad now and in the future,” he concluded.

RISK FACTORS

Officials said risks to the growth outlook include El Niño’s effect on agriculture and potential political uncertainty as President Aquino’s six-year term draws to a close. Elections are set for May next year.

“We are confident that after five years we have laid our house with firmer foundations,’’ said Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. “But reform is a game that has no end. Increasingly, we look to our next set of leaders to carry the work of charting our future.”

He said the government’s 2016 budget will meet its goal of investing five percent of gross domestic product in infrastructure.

That has allowed the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to keep its key policy rate steady at a near 1-1/2-year low of 4.0 percent, where it has been since September 2014.

“They will probably retain a neutral stance in the December meeting, but we might see a less hawkish rhetoric from the BSP from hereon until probably we see the fourth quarter (GDP) print,” said Emilio Neri, chief economist at the Bank of the Philippine Islands.

“If exports improve in the last three months of the year which is not improbable, then we can continue to see prints of above 6 percent moving forward especially with the elections fast approaching,” Neri said.

Balisacan said risks to growth remain, particularly from a protracted El Nino weather pattern, and political uncertainty ahead the country’s national election in May as investors hold expansion plans until after a new government is in place.


KILUSANG MAYO

Workers didn’t feel 6% GDP growth – KMU November 27  PRESS RELEASE

“What growth?”

This was national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s response to the 6 percent expansion of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in this year’s third quarter, saying workers did not feel the reported growth in their wages, job security and trade-union rights.

The labor group said working conditions continue to deteriorate as wages continue to be pressed down, contractual employment continues to be promoted, and trade-union rights continue to be violated.

It cited flag carrier Philippine Airlines’ retrenchment of 117 workers in September, who will be replaced by agency workers despite PAL Holdings’ reported P5.8 billion net income in the first half of 2015. The amount is a ten-fold increase from P560 million in the same period in 2014.

“Without a significant wage increase, without the regularization of contractuals, and without the free exercise of trade-union rights, GDP growth means nothing to workers. It could only mean growth for the economic elite,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

The labor leader reiterated workers’ demands for a P125 across-the-board wage hike, the enactment of a National Minimum Wage in the amount of P750 for private-sector workers, the banning of contractualization, and a stop to union busting.

“Workers’ demands for improvements in working conditions remain unheeded by the government. The overall effect is not growth but worsening hunger, poverty and indebtedness among workers and most Filipinos,” Labog added.

KMU cited independent think-tank Ibon Foundation’s claim that the GDP growth is still exclusionary for failing to solve the country’s job crisis, with unemployed and underemployed Filipinos numbering at 12.3 million in July 2015.

“The government and big capitalists claim that workers have to accept lower wages, contractual employment and trade-union repression so that the country can create more jobs. The country’s economic policies are clearly flawed because they result in worsening unemployment and worsening working conditions,” Labog stated.

Labog also said that only a shift in government policy towards land reform and building national industries can solve unemployment and at the same time improve working conditions for Filipinos.

Reference: Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597


PHILSTAR

Filipino-French alliance in win-win war against poverty By Tony Meloto (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 29, 2015 - 12:00am 2 61 googleplus0 0


Photo shows French social entrepreneurs and interns at the GK Enchanted Farm.


MANILA, Philippines - The French social entrepreneurs and interns at the GK Enchanted Farm were as usual up early that Sunday morning of Nov. 15.

Victor Beulque tended his boisterous Pekin ducks, Louis Faure chased his free range chickens in the bamboo villa, Berenice Stagnara milked her La Mancha goats.

This time, however, they were somber instead of their normal exuberant selves, not able to make sense of the senselessness and viciousness of the terrorist attacks in Paris the night of Friday the 13th against their countrymen – schoolmates, relatives and friends.

More devastating, as they later articulated, was the realization of the fragility and vulnerability of their charmed way of life and the false security that their affluence and enlightenment could protect them from harm in a world of grave inequality.

They managed to keep in check whatever grief, fear or anger they felt later on in the morning as they greeted with graciousness and hospitality the 160 APEC young leaders and organizers from 17 member economies under the Voices of the Future program.

The choice of the GK Enchanted Farm as the APEC venue outside of hotels and convention centers in Metro Manila was appropriate grounding for future decision-makers, as the message of the week-long gathering of global leaders was about integration and inclusion. Exclusion for whatever reason – race, religion, gender, ideology, money, politics – is at the heart of most conflicts known to man and inflicts the deepest societal wounds.

We all suffer when one billion of the world’s population can indulge their luxury and vanity while six billion endure poverty and every imaginable infirmity, man-made tragedy and natural calamity.

Shared tragedy

The atrocity in Paris was a shared tragedy for all the young people gathered at the Hyundai Hall for Green Innovation – APEC delegates, European and American interns, community mothers, farmers, students from the college for social entrepreneurs (SEED Philippines) – who all stood and observed a moment of silence as an act of solidarity with victims of the attacks.

The common sentiment among them was how to build a fairer and safer world, how to turn threat into protection, and how to convert their own fear into positive action today for a more secure tomorrow.

They are keenly aware that a long history of extractive colonization and globalization has left many in weak countries hungry and angry. The hungry are now flocking to rich nations as refugees for survival, the angry are turning weapons in local wars against the innocents of the powerful countries that supplied them.

Listening to the voices of APEC young leaders, this is the world they are inheriting, but definitely, not the world they want.

Shared humanity

They came to the GK Enchanted Farm, just like many before them, in search of new pathways to an enlightened world where no one is an enemy, a victim or a prey.

This 35-hectare former rebel territory north of Manila has known peace in the last five years since we built the first farm village ecosystem for social entrepreneurs in the country together with Singaporean designers from NUS and over a thousand French (and a sprinkling of other nationalities) interns and volunteers to-date, without a security guard at the gate or a fence around its borders.


SURF, YOGA & SAMBA THIS UPCOMING LONG WEEKEND! Post from telwanders.com

It is home to the most privileged (from the city and abroad) and the least fortunate, mostly subsistence farmers, construction workers and tricycle drivers who now live, study and work together as family and partners in building a solidarity economy, where no one is left behind in poverty or living without dignity.

It was strange for our community that on Sunday we were surrounded by 340 armed soldiers and policemen, with sniffer dogs, who guarded the APEC young leaders during their visit.

Gawad Kalinga, our movement for nation-building to help end poverty in the Philippines by 2024, has already spawned 2,500 communities for over a million Filipinos. Many of these villages have been built in calamity and rebel areas and urban slums, as we continuously strive for common sense answers and win-win solutions which can bring about inclusive growth.

So far, we have turned troubled slums into peaceful communities and our human liabilities into assets, with our radical optimism in the greatness of the human spirit and our radical commitment to a peaceful process.

Better to sweat for peace than to bleed in war.

This fundamental philosophy is clear to our communities, volunteers and partners.

READ MORE...

Shared prosperity People often ask me “why the French?” and I reply, “why not the French?“

Maybe they are drawn to our bottom-up approach of shared prosperity by matching compassion with competence, our lofty idealism alongside enlightened pragmatism. Perhaps they see in our communities proof of concept that the French ideals of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité can actually work in bringing the bottom of the pyramid up.

They come to teach us business systems, in return they learn, from the rising poor in GK villages, the business of caring and sharing.

They come to teach us the business of profit maximization, in turn they learn the business of happiness optimization.

They discover joy among people who have known so much suffering, generosity from those who have the least in life. Many of them arrive on our doorsteps with complaints about all that is wrong with the world, something which they themselves admit has become a habit for the French.

They leave our shores with solutions to many of their complaints.

What’s our win-win strategy with the French in helping to end poverty in our country? The best from the West, in solidarity with the best from the East, will bring out the best from the least.

Popular French environmentalist Nicolas Hulot shot me a straight-forward question in our meeting in preparation for President Francois Hollande’s state Visit to the Philippines last February: “Is France going to lose our bright young leaders to the Philippines?” To which I gave a straight-forward answer: “No, but France will gain more friends, partners and market in the Philippines, the second fastest rising economy in the world (per Bloomberg’s report).”


TONY MELOTO at ESCP Start Up Weekend: I use GK to make our brand of caring sound easy and classy to the foreign ear - like CK ( for the popular Calvin Klein clothing line). Language, however, was not a problem for me on this trip since my educated audience were mostly bilingual and understood English. It was not even a barrier to a teary-eyed French lady at the Start-up Week-end at ESCP in Paris who said that she understood my heart, not my words. Kindness somehow has a language of its own. Which brings me to the goals of my amazing swing across the top campuses of Europe.This year we had over a hundred European interns doing mostly an average stay of six to eight weeks, doing humanitarian service or supporting a social enterprise in a GK village (Pandi Bulacan) and a week off to enjoy the white beaches of Caramoan, the rice terraces of Banaue or the underground river of Palawan (now one of the new seven wonders of the world). They are the most inspiring visitors any country can have. They dug ditches, painted houses, played with the children and loved their adopted families, calling the parents Nanay (mother) and Tatay (father). Posted in 2011. http://gk1world.com/gk-smells-just-as-sweet

Our interns and social entrepreneurs from 22 leading universities in France have been among the best ambassadors of France to the Philippines over the last five years. Many of them eventually went back to France to found their own social movement, such as Ticket for Change (Matthieu Dardallion) or Make Sense (Leila Hoballah).

The young APEC leaders ended their visit to the GK Enchanted Farm inspired by the deep affection between two unlikely partners – France and the Philippines – in building a safer world.

We invite you all to join us this coming January for the Third Social Business Summit, a gathering of 500 local and international delegates including business leaders, entrepreneurs and students who are curious to know more about our equally unlikely partnership of rich and poor at the farm to create sustainable prosperity and peace.

The path to peace should not be stained with bloodshed but built with the sweat of everyday heroes, planting seeds of hope wherever there is despair, and seeing the neglected as our undiscovered blessing, not the worst of our burdens.

VIDEO: GAWAD KALINGA ENCHANTED FARM UNIVERSITY


https://youtu.be/XLoNdHG0gJU GK Enchanted Farm Gawad Kalinga Gawad Kalinga Subscribe416 Add to Share More 5,720 22 0 Uploaded on Aug 18, 2011 Setting the tone for innovation and possibility in the Philippines, The Enchanted Farm is a development that will forever change the future of a nation consistently promised a better tomorrow but perpetually waiting for that day to come. A new dawn has arrived and it will continue to take shape in Barangay Encanto, at The Enchanted Farm.

The Social Business Summit will take place from Jan. 15-17 2016 at the GK Enchanted Farm. For more information, please contact: sbsummit@gkenchantedfarm.com .


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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