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

INVESTMENT PLEDGES SOAR 49% TO P286 B
(Investors continue to bet big on the Philippines despite the negative publicity the country has been getting from the spate of drug-related killings and President Duterte’s controversial pronouncements.)
[RELATED: DOF chief starts international campaign to appease investors]


OCTOBER 5 -Seeing the positive influx of investments in the three quarters, BOI chairman and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the agency expects full year approved investments pledges to grow 10 to 15 percent from P366.74 billion in 2015
Investors continue to bet big on the Philippines despite the negative publicity the country has been getting from the spate of drug-related killings and President Duterte’s controversial pronouncements. Investment pledges approved by the Board of Investments (BOI) in the nine months ending September 2016 soared 49 percent year-on-year to P286.44 billion, the agency’s managing head Ceferino Rodolfo said yesterday. BOI-approved investments for the month of September alone tripled to P51 billion this year from P17 billion in the same month in 2015. “No disruption. What we are seeing in the real sector, which is actually the more important one that relies on the fundamentals of the economy, is that growth is being sustained and even accelerated,” Rodolfo said. READ MORE...RELATED,
DOF chief starts international campaign to appease investors...

ALSO: HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS - US, EU investors put Phil plans on hold [RELATED: Duterte on art of doing business: Do it the ‘Intsik’ way]


OCTOBER 10 -FILE: In this Friday Sept. 30, 2016 photo, a Filipino trader looks at the electronic board showing the exchange rates and a downward graph during afternoon trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange in the financial district of Makati, south of Manila, Philippines. In just 100 days in office, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has stirred a hornet's nest by picking a fight with Barack Obama, the United Nations, the European Union and others who have criticized his brutal crackdown against drugs that has left more than 3,600 suspects dead. AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File
Investors from the US and Europe are now having second thoughts on the Philippines, with several manufacturing and business process outsourcing (BPO) companies opting to put their investments on hold while some are choosing to take them elsewhere. A number of trade and investment missions to the country are likewise being cancelled, officials from US and European business groups in the Philippines told The STAR. “The anti-American comments are beginning to harm some new opportunities for the Philippines, as we know several trade missions and BPO investment plans have been cancelled. This is regrettable,” John Forbes, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines senior advisor, said. “We do have information on cases of local European companies (in) manufacturing who put expansion on hold. We also sense hesitation from European firms to consider the Philippines as investment destination at this point,” European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Guenter Taus, for his part, said. Taus said based on information the group received, several trade and investment visits from Europe to the Philippines were also under consideration of cancellation. READ MORE... RELATED, Duterte on art of doing business: Do it the ‘Intsik’ way...

ALSO: Russia eyed as new export market
(PH TO RUSH MEMBERSHIP IN CHINA-LED AIIB)

[RELATED: 100 DAYS - Duterte gets an ‘A’ from House; Solons cite his sincere efforts to make life better; still ‘incomplete’ in other pressing issues]


OCTOBER 5 -Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
The “recalibrated” foreign policy of the Duterte administration seeking to foster closer ties with China and Russia would benefit the agriculture sector as the Philippines looks at new export destinations, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Monday. In a hearing of the Senate finance committee on the Department of Finance’s (DOF) proposed P21.3-billion budget for 2017, Dominguez said the administration’s foreign policy was recalibrated—not “changed”—such that the country would be more open to other markets. Dominguez said President Duterte wanted to strengthen and exploit opportunities with countries other than our traditional trading partners in line with plans to further open up the economy to more foreign investors. “The recalibration of our foreign policy will open more opportunities for us,” the finance chief said, citing for instance that Russia was being considered as a new market for agricultural products. Dominguez said Russia might become a new destination for Philippine bananas, among other tropical fruits and vegetables. READ MORE...RELATED,
FIRST 100 DAYS - Duterte gets an ‘A’ from House; Solons cite his sincere efforts to make life better; still ‘incomplete’ in other pressing issues...

ALSO: DoF assures S&P of good economy; failing to deal with political risks
[RELATED: Duterte vows to make soft loans more accessible to SMEs]
[RELATED(2): Bureau of Investments (BoI) to expand perks on tourism and agri]


OCTOBER 6 -S&P warned that policy stability and predictability has "diminished somewhat" under 100-day-old Duterte administration. Philstar.com/File photo
The Duterte administration assured strong economic performance will be maintained before S&P Global Ratings, which flagged political risks as a burden on the country's credit rating. "While we greatly value a ratings upgrade to full investment grade...this is only of secondary importance," Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez was quoted as saying in a statement. "In the economic plans we (laid) down, rapidly reducing poverty rates rank first priority," he added. The statement was sent to reporters early Thursday. The finance chief met with representatives from S&P in Washington D.C. after the latter warned that policy stability and predictability has "diminished somewhat" under 100-day-old Duterte government. READ MORE...RELATED,
Duterte vows to make soft loans more accessible to SMEs... RELATED(2) Bureau of Investments (BoI) to expand perks on tourism and agri...

ALSO:
By Rey Gamboa - Still wait-and-see for promised changes


OCTOBER 6 -By Rey Gamboa
A hundred days is definitely too short a time to make any dramatic changes, especially when we are talking about problems that have formed through many years, even decades. Therefore, a first 100 days should, at best, give us an indicator of things to come. The 16th president of the Philippine Republic, Rodrigo Duterte, came to power in a period of extreme uncertainty. The country’s economy may be the second fastest growing in the world, but it is in the midst of a continuing global economic deterioration, of successive bubble bursts and financial crises. On this hangs the fate of over 102 million Filipinos, many of who rely largely on the remittances of family members living and working abroad, whose fate in turn depend on the economic health and well-being of their host countries. We also live in times where change is something most people have resigned never to see or happen. And yes, when we see something changing, even if it means the death of hundreds of drug addicts or pushers – even without due process of law, we are appeased that change indeed is coming. READ MORE...

ALSO: In Luxembourgh City By Babe Romualdez  - 'Double taxation'


OCTOBER 6 -Romualdez in meeting with Honorary Consul General of the Philippines in Luxembourg Alain Kinsch (left) Luxembourg City, Luxembourg — One of the biggest hindrances to Luxembourg businessmen who are interested in doing business in the Philippines is the issue of double taxation. Compared to its ASEAN neighbors, the Philippines has one of the highest tax rates, which could make it an unattractive investment destination according to economists. Double taxation simply means a business entity (or individual) is taxed twice for the same source of income so one could just imagine the high cost this practice (or principle) will take on businesses. The Philippines though has existing tax treaties with several countries such as the United States, UK, Canada, China and several others, but unfortunately, Luxembourg is not one of these countries. Another issue that makes it difficult for foreign businessmen to invest would be the bureaucratic red tape and the outdated regulations that continue to exist, making it difficult for foreigners to do business in the Philippines. In fact, the recently created National Competitiveness Council (NCC) has admitted they are looking at a total 22,000 unnecessary laws that need to be repealed, with the removal of 5,000 targeted by the end of this year. Much earlier, some 3,700 outmoded regulations have been removed. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Investment pledges soar 49% to P286 B


Seeing the positive influx of investments in the three quarters, BOI chairman and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the agency expects full year approved investments pledges to grow 10 to 15 percent from P366.74 billion in 2015

MANILA, 0CT0BER 10, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Richmond Mercurio October 5, 2016 - Investors continue to bet big on the Philippines despite the negative publicity the country has been getting from the spate of drug-related killings and President Duterte’s controversial pronouncements.

Investment pledges approved by the Board of Investments (BOI) in the nine months ending September 2016 soared 49 percent year-on-year to P286.44 billion, the agency’s managing head Ceferino Rodolfo said yesterday.

BOI-approved investments for the month of September alone tripled to P51 billion this year from P17 billion in the same month in 2015.

“No disruption. What we are seeing in the real sector, which is actually the more important one that relies on the fundamentals of the economy, is that growth is being sustained and even accelerated,” Rodolfo said.

READ MORE...

“Even as there had been observations of outflow in terms of portfolio investments – and if I may just qualify these portfolio investments are really erratic in nature – what we have seen in the Philippines is that it’s not a purely national phenomenon and it’s not unique in the Philippines as it has regional dimension. Even as they are saying that, in the real sector, things are different because businessmen are seeing the continued growth of the Philippine economy. People are seeing (the country’s) basic fundamentals are good,” he added.

Seeing the positive influx of investments in the three quarters, BOI chairman and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the agency expects full year approved investments pledges to grow 10 to 15 percent from P366.74 billion in 2015.

“Any investor that will come here they will look at the economic fundamentals. Will we make money here? Are there opportunities? The economy is growing fast and there’s demographic dividend. So there are a lot of positive factors that will make one invest here. For us, now is the time to come in.,” Lopez said.

“The investors look at the social economic agenda and the economic policies. As long as they are not changing, as long as it is safe to invest here, investments are protected, contracts are honored, they see no problem. When I meet with investors, we talked about business and the economic policies. We don’t talk about those things (alleged extrajudicial killings) because they’re here for the long term,” he added.

Last week, Philippine Economic Zone Authority officer-in-charge Justo Porfirio Yusingco reported a three to five percent improvement in the approved investments of the agency in the first nine months of 2016, driven primarily by expansion of existing locators.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

DOF chief starts international campaign to appease investors By Prinz Magtulis (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 8, 2016 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has sought to convince investors and foreign governments of the Duterte administration’s commitment to follow the rule of law and help beat climate change. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez has sought to convince investors and foreign governments of the Duterte administration’s commitment to follow the rule of law and help beat climate change.

This came even as President Duterte continued to shrug off critics of his anti-drug campaign and his move not to honor a global climate pact signed in Paris, France last February.

Dominguez told an investor roundtable in Washington the drug war is meant to “rebuild public order.”

“Over the short period this new government has been in power, it attracted the attention of the global media mainly because of its unremitting war against the drug syndicates,” Dominguez said.

“While undoubtedly photogenic, the war on drugs is just part of a larger effort to assert the rule of law, break the grip of organized crime on some of our institutions of governance...,” he said.

Dominguez, who is in the US for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, said laws had been “widely ignored” and that there is a need to “restore” public confidence to the state.

ANTI-DRUG, PEACE IN MINDANAO

On top of the drug war, Dominguez also cited efforts to put an end to decades-long insurgency in Mindanao, underscoring the formal resumption of peace talks with rebels.

Specifically, the Communist Party of the Philippines and the government resumed long-stalled talks in August with bilateral ceasefire in place.

“Given the initial talks, we are confident that a sustainable political settlement will be achieved soon,” Dominguez said.

In another event, Dominguez together with the finance leaders of 42 other climate-vulnerable countries said “a clear roadmap” for the disbursement of $100 billion in climate finance is needed.

The amount represents commitments from developed countries under a Paris climate deal, which the Philippines decided not to ratify.

This was after President Duterte said the deal would hamper the country’s industrialization drive, which would hit economic growth and development.

PROTECTING THE CLIMATE AND PEOPLE

“Our plans to build resilience and develop while protecting the climate and our people are also among the most ambitious of any countries in the world,” Dominguez said.

He called for international cooperation to fight climate change beyond the grouping known as the Vulnerable 20 Group, which has since expanded membership.

The Philippines, he said, had done its part by investing $20 million on its People’s Survival Fund, a money pool used to finance climate adaptation projects.

“Unless commitment to mobilize additional financing flows to assist the most vulnerable countries is realized, these countries will find themselves in peril,” he said.


PHILSTAR

US, EU investors put Philippine plans on hold By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 10, 2016 - 12:00am 0 13 googleplus0 0


FILE - In this Friday Sept. 30, 2016 photo, a Filipino trader looks at the electronic board showing the exchange rates and a downward graph during afternoon trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange in the financial district of Makati, south of Manila, Philippines. In just 100 days in office, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has stirred a hornet's nest by picking a fight with Barack Obama, the United Nations, the European Union and others who have criticized his brutal crackdown against drugs that has left more than 3,600 suspects dead. AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File

MANILA, Philippines –Investors from the US and Europe are now having second thoughts on the Philippines, with several manufacturing and business process outsourcing (BPO) companies opting to put their investments on hold while some are choosing to take them elsewhere.



A number of trade and investment missions to the country are likewise being cancelled, officials from US and European business groups in the Philippines told The STAR.



“The anti-American comments are beginning to harm some new opportunities for the Philippines, as we know several trade missions and BPO investment plans have been cancelled. This is regrettable,” John Forbes, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines senior advisor, said.



“We do have information on cases of local European companies (in) manufacturing who put expansion on hold. We also sense hesitation from European firms to consider the Philippines as investment destination at this point,” European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Guenter Taus, for his part, said. 



Taus said based on information the group received, several trade and investment visits from Europe to the Philippines were also under consideration of cancellation.


READ MORE...

“So unfortunate for all the work the entire world initiates just to go to waste,” Taus said.



President Duterte has been persistent in his public attacks on those criticizing his war against illegal drugs. Allies such as the US, European Union and the United Nations were not exempted from these tirades. 



Duterte earlier said he was not worried about driving away American and European investors as he could turn to China and Russia for investments.



He likewise dared the US, the EU and human rights advocates to pull their aid to the Philippines if they continue to criticize his drug war.

Despite such remarks, the EU and the UN vowed to remain a partner of the Philippines and assured it of continued assistance. 


However, in terms of investments, companies from member-economies of these international bodies have the final say as to where they would bring their money.



For the US’ part, Forbes expressed hope the President’s anti-American comments would stop. 



“Our commitment is to steadily increase trade and investment relations between the US and the Philippines,” he said.

----------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Duterte on art of doing business: Do it the ‘Intsik’ way By: Gil Cabacungan / @gilcabacunganPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 09:50 AM October 09, 2016


President Rodrigo Duterte, left, talks with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua, right. AP FILE PHOTO

Do it the “Intsik (Chinese)” way.

President Rodrigo Duterte has told businessmen at a Go Negosyo forum in Davao City to follow the lead of their Chinese peers to grow their businesses.

Mr. Duterte, a lawyer and a long-time politician, said that Filipino businessmen could learn from their Chinese counterparts who built their fortunes from scratch by sticking to the fundamentals and studying the market.

“Do not be offended. It’s not against anybody. Study the ‘Intsik’ style. It’s an innate thing in them, the art of doing business,” said Mr. Duterte.

READ: Henry Sy still richest in PH – Forbes Asia

READ: John Gokongwei comes home

The President said his grandfather was a Chinese man who came from Xiamen. “You know my lolo, when he arrived in Agusan, Butuan he had nothing but his capital. He’s really good. He went (from) copra then to buying lands. He kept his money growing,” said Mr. Duterte.

Just like the Chinese, the President said Filipinos should learn the basics of their market and make a little bit of sacrifice.

“Just listen to what I taught you. Probably after five years, you’ll be a millionaire,” said Duterte to a vendor of “maruya,” a banana fritter which is the President’s favorite dessert.

He said he would ask the Land Bank of the Philippines to step up its micro-lending to enable small businessmen to expand their businesses./rga

RELATED STORIES

Ties with China, Russia to give businesses ‘more options’—PCCI

China property tycoon warns on real estate bubble


INQUIRER

Russia eyed as new export market
(PH TO RUSH MEMBERSHIP IN CHINA-LED AIIB)
SHARES: 1013 VIEW COMMENTS By: Ben O. de Vera @BenArnolddeVera Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:10 AM October 4th, 2016


Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The “recalibrated” foreign policy of the Duterte administration seeking to foster closer ties with China and Russia would benefit the agriculture sector as the Philippines looks at new export destinations, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Monday.

In a hearing of the Senate finance committee on the Department of Finance’s (DOF) proposed P21.3-billion budget for 2017, Dominguez said the administration’s foreign policy was recalibrated—not “changed”—such that the country would be more open to other markets.

Dominguez said President Duterte wanted to strengthen and exploit opportunities with countries other than our traditional trading partners in line with plans to further open up the economy to more foreign investors.

“The recalibration of our foreign policy will open more opportunities for us,” the finance chief said, citing for instance that Russia was being considered as a new market for agricultural products.

Dominguez said Russia might become a new destination for Philippine bananas, among other tropical fruits and vegetables.

READ MORE...

FINANACIAL LINKS TO CHINA, JAPAN

Dominguez added that the DOF would also deploy finance attachés to Beijing and Tokyo to firm up financial links with China and Japan.

The finance attaché to be posted in Beijing will also work to fast-track the Philippines’ membership in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

National Treasurer Roberto B. Tan, who attended an AIIB meeting in Beijing last week as an observer pending the Philippines’ membership, told reporters that the Office of the President was already preparing to seek Senate ratification.

The attaché in China would also be tasked to find out why there was a gap in trade data of Chinese exports to the Philippines vis-á-vis Philippine imports from China, possibly due to underreporting or technical smuggling.

“We would like the attaché in China to work closely with the Bureau of Customs and the customs bureau in China to check each individual exporter there and see who are their consignees here,” Dominguez said, noting that the difference in values was almost 50 percent.

----------------------------

RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte gets an ‘A’ Solons cite his sincere efforts to make life better; ‘incomplete’ in other pressing issues October 8, 2016 Share18 Tweet3 Share0 Email0 Share53 By Ben R. Rosario, Hannah L. Torregoza, and Leslie Ann G. Aquino

House of Representative allies yesterday gave President Duterte an “A” for his sincere efforts at making life better for Filipinos, although they disagreed on the good and bad points of his first 100 days as Chief Executive.

At the Upper Chamber of Congress, senators gave the President a fair assessment, while Church leaders believe he did well in his first 100 days in office.

Reps. LRayVillafuerte (PDP-Laban, Camarines Sur), Sarah Elago (KabataanPartylist), and Carlos Isagani Zarate (Bayan Muna) lauded Duterte for scoring high in his peace initiatives with the Left and the Moro secessionist groups.

“Finally, we have a one-of-kind leader who is not hesitant to implement out-of-the box solutions to the problems that have buffeted by our countrymen in the past administrations,” Villafuerte said.

SENATE

In a scale of 1 to 10, Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III gave the President a grade of 9 for prioritizing the war on illegal drugs.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said there is still a lot of room for improvement,especially in the area of foreign relations. But so far, the President’s actions in the first 100 days are being felt by all Filipinos.

“I think there is still a lot of room for improvement. The administration can still improve in foreign relations and in putting faster economic reforms. For me, I give him 8 out of 10.”

Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said he is open to give the President a rating of 7 out of 10 considering that Duterte started strong and carried out unconventional solutions to the country’s most pressing needs.

“He has shown tremendous political will and is even willing to make unpopular decisions as long as it will be beneficial in the end,” Ejercito said.

“But after 100 days, President Duterte still has to realize that he is no longer a local chief executive. We hope to see him quickly adapt into the presidency, because his conduct represents the nation, and his words can shape national policies,” he added.

Ejercito, however, said he hopes the President would give attention to infrastructure projects and power generation, which is considered a huge factor for economic development.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, for his part, said he is willing to give the President 7 or 7.5 out of 10 as a grade.

“The President deserves high marks in his first 100 days in office despite some gaffes due to numerous controversial foreign policy pronouncements. I give special mention to the much improved peace and order situation due to significant reduction in crimes against persons and property,” Lacson explained.

Lacson, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said the fight against dangerous drugs, regardless of criticisms from human rights groups locally and abroad, has gained remarkable headway.

“A reassessment of the administration’s shift in our foreign policy, as well as the country’s economic thrusts and direction is in order,” he said.

DESIRE TO EFFECT CHANGE

Although Duterte’s administration is not “perfect,” church leaders said they could see his sincere desire to effect change in the country.

CBCP

“I think he is doing well. Although sometimes he has a way with words and he is very loud…you can see that he has an objective,” said Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, a member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in an interview.

He cited the Chief Executive’s campaign promise to rid the country of illegal drugs as an example.

“That was his promise. Is there rape now that is drug-related? Maybe, there still are but not that many unlike before. Do you feel more safe now when you walk in the street or do you feel safer before?” asked the Lipa prelate.

Arguelles said while he is not in favor of Duterte, he appreciates the latter’s defense of the poor.

“He wants to improve the lives of the poor and I want him to continue doing that,” he said.

Bishop Noel Pantoja, national director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), also believes that Duterte’s promise of change is now coming little by little.

“(Its) not perfect but the promised change is coming despite challenges,” he said in a separate interview.

‘INCOMPLETE’ GRADE

But Elago said the Chief Executive deserves an “incomplete” grade for not addressing all pressing issues that affect the Filipino.

Elago said the principal criticism of Duterte’s first 100 days in office “comes from his inaction on most of the issues concerning education.”

Zarate agreed with the House minority blocs that criticized the inability of government to act on the worsening traffic problem that has hit Metro Manila and Cebu.

“Most of the transportation problems left by the previous Aquino administration continue to bedevil the hapless public,” said Zarate.

NEGATIVE

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said he is inclined to give the President a rating of 5 out of 10.

Trillanes, who criticized the President for his brutal campaign against illegal drugs and his pronouncements against the United States and the country’s other allies, noted there were no significant changes in other areas of governance.

“He’s a 5. Aside from the war on drugs, there are no drastic policy changes on the other areas of governance,” Trillanes said.

“Worse, we’re now the laughing stock of the international community,” he added.

STUDENTS GROUP

Villafuerte, a former local chief executive like Duterte, appealed to all sectors not to be carried away by the undue political noise as even international institutions remain bullish on the Philippine economy remaining on its upward trajectory – and possibly even surpassing preliminary growth forecasts – if the government could go ahead on its plan to fill the massive backlog in infrastructure and socioeconomic investments it had inherited from the previous administration.

The WB said in its Update that “the Philippine economy may surpass the forecasts if authorities can further ramp up spending on public infrastructure as planned.”

In a joint statement, militant youth groups KabataanPartylist, League of Filipino Students, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, and the National Union of Students of the Philippines said Duterte deserves an “incomplete” mark for his first 100 days as they pointed out that despite the “significant advances” in fulfilling his campaign promises, Duterte’s execution of other pledges are still in the “early phase.”


PHILSTAR

Dominguez assures S&P of good economy; failing to deal with political risks By Prinz Magtulis (philstar.com) | Updated October 6, 2016 - 5:09pm 2 30 googleplus0 0


S&P warned that policy stability and predictability has "diminished somewhat" under 100-day-old Duterte administration. Philstar.com/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The Duterte administration assured strong economic performance will be maintained before S&P Global Ratings, which flagged political risks as a burden on the country's credit rating.

"While we greatly value a ratings upgrade to full investment grade...this is only of secondary importance," Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez was quoted as saying in a statement.

"In the economic plans we (laid) down, rapidly reducing poverty rates rank first priority," he added. The statement was sent to reporters early Thursday.

The finance chief met with representatives from S&P in Washington D.C. after the latter warned that policy stability and predictability has "diminished somewhat" under 100-day-old Duterte government.

READ MORE...

In particular, the debt watcher expressed concern on President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs that allegedly contributed to human rights violations and "undermined respect" to institutions such as the judiciary and media.


DOMINGUEZ

Dominguez, in the statement, appeared to have not addressed these issues and focused on plans to increase spending and reform taxes to cut poverty rate to 17 from 26 percent.

"Our people expect this. Our government fully intends to meet that expectation. We do not plan on failing the poorest of the poor," he said.

"This goal cannot be accomplished without sustained economic growth. Over the next six years, driven by investments and targeted public spending, we expect to sustain GDP growth at seven percent or more," Dominguez said.

"We intend to make our economic growth more inclusive," he added.

S&P, in evaluating the Philippines, had already acknowledged the positive impact from the new government's fiscal and economic policies.

It even forecast the budget deficit to average only around one percent between this year and 2018, lower than the adjusted cap of three percent.

"We estimate the deficits will allow the net general government debt burden to decline...which represents a ratings strength," S&P said when it kept its BBB rating, with a stable outlook for the Philippines.

A credit rating measures the capacity of a country or entity to settle its debts. A higher rating usually means lower interest rates on liabilities and vice versa.

Dominguez said more investments will be undertaken. "The sustainability of our economic expansion makes (these) economic investments necessary," he said.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

 Duterte vows to make soft loans more accessible to SMEs By: Allan Nawal / @inquirerdotnetInquirer Mindanao / 08:37 PM October 07, 2016



DAVAO CITY – President Duterte on Friday said he will find ways to source out funds so that the government can provide more help to small and medium enterprises.

Responding to a question by a participant during the “Go Negosyo Mentor Me” program of the Department of Trade and Industry at the Marco Polo Hotel here, Duterte also issued an appeal for understanding, saying he can only do so much because he was mid-term president.

He also said he will talk to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on how to make soft loans more accessible to small entrepreneurs.

Duterte also pushed for the creation of more cooperatives as a way of pushing forward the economy.

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RELATED(2) FROM THE MANILA STANDAR

Bureau of Investments (BoI) to expand perks on tourism and agri posted October 07, 2016 at 11:55 pm by Othel V. Campos


Trade Undersecretary and Board of Investments managing head Ceferino Rodolfo

The Board of Investments plans to lift the geographic restrictions on incentives granted to tourism and agricultural projects under the 2017 Investments Priorities Plan to promote domestic manufacturing and increase the participation of local enterprises, especially micro, small and medium enterprises.

Trade Undersecretary and Board of Investments managing head Ceferino Rodolfo said Friday the BoI was consulting with the Tourism and Agriculture Departments to expand the scope of the income tax holiday to other tourism and agriculture activities.

“In the 2014 IPP, we intended to push projects outside Manila. Now, with the increase in tourism and the growing demand in agriculture, we are thinking of lifting the locational restrictions,” he said.


PHILSTAR (BIZLINKS)

Still wait-and-see for promised changes BIZLINKS By Rey Gamboa (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 6, 2016 - 12:00am 0 7 googleplus0 0


By Rey Gamboa

A hundred days is definitely too short a time to make any dramatic changes, especially when we are talking about problems that have formed through many years, even decades. Therefore, a first 100 days should, at best, give us an indicator of things to come.

The 16th president of the Philippine Republic, Rodrigo Duterte, came to power in a period of extreme uncertainty. The country’s economy may be the second fastest growing in the world, but it is in the midst of a continuing global economic deterioration, of successive bubble bursts and financial crises.

On this hangs the fate of over 102 million Filipinos, many of who rely largely on the remittances of family members living and working abroad, whose fate in turn depend on the economic health and well-being of their host countries.

We also live in times where change is something most people have resigned never to see or happen. And yes, when we see something changing, even if it means the death of hundreds of drug addicts or pushers – even without due process of law, we are appeased that change indeed is coming.

READ MORE...

And this, perhaps, sums up the biggest accomplishment of Duterte as the first 100 days of his term comes close. Indeed, some Filipinos – even those belonging to the so-called intelligentsia – praise the death of alleged 3,300 “scum of the earth” linked to the country’s growing drug abuse problem and the reported voluntary surrender of 800,000 drug users, even as the main roots of this societal malady remains.

Euphoric feeling

To once again open one’s heart and truly hope that change is indeed on the horizon is a euphoric feeling, something akin to what Filipinos felt during the first People Power revolution when more than a decade of martial law was being put to an end.

And even if many of society’s fundamental ills would remain unresolved in the next years, just one change – the ouster of a dictator and his family in 1986, or the castration of illegal drug supply on the streets by 90 percent during Duterte’s first 100 days – was/is enough incentive to keep the fire of hope burning.

Therefore, readers, we believe Duterte when he says he will rid the nation of 3,000 drug abusers, not necessarily during the first 100 days, but in the very near future. Because we have impressively seen how he managed to chop off a large number of the syndicates’ tentacles.

Economic front

Duterte has more than once said he would continue, even surpass, what the previous administration accomplished in the area of economic stewardship. For starters, he promised to reduce personal and corporate income taxes to make them competitive with most countries in the region.

The President’s appointed Finance Secretary, with consultations with the rest of his team, have been busy looking for the equivalent amount, estimated at P170 billion, that will pave the way for a reduction in personal and corporate income taxes.

A large part of the fund-raising package that is being studied will come from new taxes (Do I remember then presidential candidate Duterte promising no new taxes if elected?), particularly from adjusting excise taxes on fuel products and hiking value added taxes to 14 percent from 12 percent.

And there’s even a proposal to remove the discount given to senior citizens on restaurant meals. As the Finance boys fine-tune the whole proposal, they are banking on the President’s immense goodwill with the public to accept what definitely will be unpalatable revenue-generating measures.

But at least, this should get the personal and corporate income taxes reduced – as promised.

Inflation rate at risk

The same situation may be what would happen with the promise to end endo. At the end of the day, plugging the loopholes that allow the practice of keeping workers on a daily pay basis even if they are doing jobs that merit a plantilla in the company’s labor roster will cost money, and which will eventually translate to higher costs of consumer goods and services.

These seemingly innocuous moves will definitely affect consumers negatively. Salaried workers may have more money because of lower income taxes, but these will be eaten up by higher-priced commodities resulting from increased VAT, fuel prices, and even labor costs.

Dealt with the rise in remittance rates after international banks tightened their procedures dealing with the transfer of money from overseas Filipinos to their families in the Philippines, our envied stable inflation rate may adversely be affected.

Other promises

So what about the other promises? Many of the President’s men are visibly projected as diligently working on their respective assignments. But the confidence in them being able to accomplish their assigned tasks is visibly diminished.

It has been reported the MRT line 3 now has more problems, with trains sometimes breaking down two to three times a day, which is more than twice as bad as the worst month of the MRT operations pre-Duterte. All we continue to hear are pathetic excuses from those concerned on what is happening.

Traffic has gotten worse, and with the onset of the rainy season, sporadic flash floods have made road travel in Metro Manila a nightmare. Both – the continued inefficiency of the metro’s elevated train system and the seemingly unsolvable traffic problems – will chip away substantial points from the President’s trust rating.

Crime is reportedly down 50 percent, thanks largely to the muzzling of numerous drug users and pushers. An empowered police force and the perceived operations of vigilantes working for the police will also take the credit for this.

As far as we know, former president Ferdinand Marcos’ body is still in Ilocos and has not been moved to a plot in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Currently embroiled in a mass protest, this election promise by Duterte will definitely not happen in the first 100 days of the current administration.

No recourse Filipinos are expecting change to happen. And while majority are satisfied with how Duterte is dealing with the drug problem, the President needs to deliver on the many other promises he had made.

I foresee heads rolling over time as the more tenacious problems affecting Filipino society are left untended. The President has no recourse if he expects to continue receiving the trust he has been given, and for most Filipinos to look the other way in the midst of his foul-mouthed and tactless demeanor.

Overall, it’s still wait-and-see. But this definitely cannot remain forever.

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Should you wish to share any insights, write me at Link Edge, 25th Floor, 139 Corporate Center, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, 1227 Makati City. Or e-mail me at reydgamboa@yahoo.com . For a compilation of previous articles, visit www.BizlinksPhilippines.net .


PHILSTAR (SPYBITS)

Double taxation SPYBITS By Babe G. Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 6, 2016 - 12:00am 6 4 googleplus0 0


Romualdez in meeting with Honorary Consul General of the Philippines in Luxembourg Alain Kinsch (left)

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg — One of the biggest hindrances to Luxembourg businessmen who are interested in doing business in the Philippines is the issue of double taxation. Compared to its ASEAN neighbors, the Philippines has one of the highest tax rates, which could make it an unattractive investment destination according to economists.

Double taxation simply means a business entity (or individual) is taxed twice for the same source of income so one could just imagine the high cost this practice (or principle) will take on businesses. The Philippines though has existing tax treaties with several countries such as the United States, UK, Canada, China and several others, but unfortunately, Luxembourg is not one of these countries.

RED TAPE, OUTDATED LAWS

Another issue that makes it difficult for foreign businessmen to invest would be the bureaucratic red tape and the outdated regulations that continue to exist, making it difficult for foreigners to do business in the Philippines.

In fact, the recently created National Competitiveness Council (NCC) has admitted they are looking at a total 22,000 unnecessary laws that need to be repealed, with the removal of 5,000 targeted by the end of this year. Much earlier, some 3,700 outmoded regulations have been removed.

READ MORE...

During my meeting with Honorary Consul General of the Philippines in Luxembourg Alain Kinsch (in photo above) and arranged by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, we both agreed there are a lot of business opportunities that both Luxembourg and the Philippines can engage in, such as information and communications technology.

The telecoms industry in Luxembourg is thriving, with liberalization spurring competition between players. The government has embarked on a strategy to make Luxembourg a global leader in terms of high-speed broadband networks by 2020, and it won’t be surprising if it will achieve its target way before its deadline considering that in 2013, Luxembourg had the sixth highest download speed worldwide and the second highest in Europe. Aside from its location, one of the reasons why the small European nation is very attractive to IT players is its stable economy and low tax rates.

Kinsch suggested the Luxembourg Finance Minister hook up with Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez during the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington DC this coming week to initiate discussions about the issue of double taxation and enhancing economic ties between the Philippines and Luxembourg.

Consul General Kinsch — who speaks German, French and English aside from Luxembourgish — is also the country managing partner of Ernst & Young Luxembourg, a member of the Luxembourg State Council, and is on the board of the University of Luxembourg. In fact, he was a candidate for the post of Finance Minister, and has been actively promoting the Philippines as an attractive investment destination. He is a personal friend of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.


ALAIN KINSCH is the Country Managing Partner for Ernst & Young, Luxembourg since 1 January 2010 as well as the firm’s Private Equity fund leader for EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India, Africa). He has been active in the Private Equity industry for the last 13 years with a focus on the structuring of Private Equity funds, best practice reporting frameworks and valuation, due diligence support and advisory services for Luxembourg custodians and central administrations active in Private Equity. He is a regular speaker at Private Equity conferences and regularly issues publications thereon. Alain Kinsch is the vice-president of the LPEA (Luxembourg Private Equity and Venture Capital Association), a member of the CSSF SICAR Committee, co-president of the ALFI Private Equity, Venture Capital & SICAR Committee and has been regularly invited as an expert on Private Equity and Venture Capital to the European Commission since 2005. Alain Kinsch holds an MBA from INSEAD, Fontainebleau, an MsC and BsC from the University of Paris-Dauphine and is a Réviseur d’Entreprises in Luxembourg. PHOTO AND PROFILE FROM THE EVPA WEBSITE

During the Philippine Independence Day celebration in Luxembourg, Kinsch spoke about the close ties that have been developed in the last 70 years, with formal diplomatic relations established in 1946. (In 2013, then-Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario visited Luxembourg to renew bilateral ties and boost trade and investment relations.) Former Philippine ambassador to Belgium Victoria Bataclan, who recently retired, also expressed hope the Luxembourg government officials and business leaders would send another delegation to the Philippines similar to what the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce initiated in November last year.

Aside from meetings with the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry’s Legal and Cultural Affairs director Carlo Krieger and political affairs director Jean Olinger, I also had discussions with David Lutty and Gery Vandewalle of the Jan De Nul Group, the global leader when it comes to dredging and reclamation. Established in Belgium by the Jan De Nul family in 1938, the company’s financial headquarters is located in Capellen, Luxembourg.

Over the years, Jan De Nul has also become well known in the area of maritime infrastructure and specialized services for the offshore industry (oil, gas and renewable energy). In fact, it is recognized for its reclamation work on the Palm Island Jebel Ali project in Dubai and the Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong. The company has close to 5,000 employees with presence in many parts of the world including the Philippines. Its state-of-the-art fleet of dredgers and specialized auxiliary equipment make it unrivaled in the field of dredging and reclamation.

SM GROUP RECLAMATION PROJECT

Jan De Nul was chosen by the SM Group to undertake the massive reclamation of its 600-hectare, P100-billion integrated development project in Pasay and Parañaque — although the company has yet to get the final approval for the project that has been stalled during the previous administration. According to the SM group, the massive reclamation project will take up to five years for the reclamation alone.

Jan De Nul is also looking at San Miguel’s proposed airport project in Bulacan — something that has long been in the pipeline and which could go a long way in helping decongest NAIA, where flight delays and cancellations can make it a nightmare for people to travel. Company officials plan to meet with SMC president and COO Ramon Ang very soon.

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Email: spybits08@gmail.com


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