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NOY'S CORNER THIS PAST WEEK...
(MINI-READS followed by FULL REPORTS below)

INSPITE OF AQUINO DIRECTIVE EARLIER, SCHOOLS, WORK SUSPENSIONS LIVE ON NOVEMBER 2 (ALL SOULS DAY)


NOVEMBER 1 -Filipino families gather around tombs that are placed on top of each other inside Manila North cemetery on Sunday Nov. 1, 2015. AP/Aaron Favila
-While Malacañang earlier pronounced that All Souls’ Day, November 2, is not a non-working holiday, some areas and private institutions decided to suspend work and classes to provide employees and students more time to observe the tradition. Every year, the Catholic-Filipino practice includes visiting cemeteries and returning to provinces on the November holiday. Here are the list of schools and areas which canceled classes and work for Monday, November 2. Updated 5:23 p.m., Nov. 1, 2015 All levels, work Rodriguez, Rizal (Public schools, government offices);Iligan City (Government and Barangay offices only); De La Salle Araneta University (classes and offices); De La Salle University Manila (classes and offices); De La Salle College of St. Benilde (classes and offices;) FEATI University (classes and offices); University of Baguio (classes and offices);  Adamson University (classes and offices); Far Eastern University-Diliman (classes and offices); Don Bosco Technical College Mandaluyong (classes only) THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO 'Blessed' assurance from Lacierda: Gov’t ready for Yuletide traffic


NOVEMBER 1 -Palace assures public: Gov’t ready for Yuletide traffic!
With the Christmas season just around the corner, Malacañang on Sunday assured that concerned government agencies are bracing for the expected heavy traffic in Metro Manila’s busiest thoroughfares. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said members of the Philippine National Police’s Highway Patrol Group deployed along Edsa are aware of the increased commercial activity during the holidays. “It’s a time of celebration, a time of bustling commercial activity. Alam po ng ating mga ahensya po ang mga concerns po diyan. Nandiyan na po ‘yung traffic na inaayos na rin po ng ating pamahalaan, ating mga HPG po sa Edsa. ‘Yung ating mga [pulis] are very, very cognizant of the normal increase in commercial activities po dito sa mga mall,” Lacierda said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan. He said the PNP is also coordinating with mall operators to ensure the safety of thousands of mall goers during the Christmas rush. “Itong mga [pulis] natin are in touch with the mall operators… Some people would like to take advantage of the bustling activity po during the Christmas season. So we are all conscious and cognizant of the attendant concerns pagdating ng Christmas season so handa po ang ating kapulisan, ang ating mga ahensya na tumutulong—ang DTI, ang PNP—lahat po ng ahensya na involved po dito sa preparation for Christmas season in terms of the commercial activities,” he said. Lacierda said the Department of Tourism will also take the opportunity and initiate efforts to show the world how Christmas is being celebrated in the country. “We have the longest Christmas season in the world, so it’s a good opportunity for us also to invite our friends from abroad to come visit the Philippines and celebrate Christmas in the Philippines with us,” he said. THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: P385M in disaster aid unused — CoA
[While thousands of victims of natural disasters including those affected by typhoon “Yolanda,” were waiting for help, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) had withheld P385 million in total donations for different calamities the country, according to a Commission on Audit (CoA) report.]


NOVEMBER 2 -DSWD CHIEF SOLIMAN
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) which is the main agency coordinating disaster response in the country is under the OCD, which in turn is under the Department of National Defense (DND). CoA said the OCD has received a total of P466.019 million in donations for various calamities since 2008 but it has spent only P81.068 million as of December 31, 2014. CoA found out that the entire balance of the donations was deposited in a trust account with the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) where it has earned P1.709 million in interest.“Utilization of the donations from foreign and local donors in the total amount of P81,068,471.49 was low, depriving the calamity victims of the much needed assistance to alleviate their difficulties,” the CoA said. CoA in a report released last October 29 said that the OCD spent a measly 17.39 percent for typhoon victims and other calamities.Auditors said the biggest chunk of donation was the P137 million received from various government agencies and other sources after typhoon Yolanda (international name “Haiyan”) devastated the country in November 2013.Out of the Yolanda contributions, the OCD has released only P38.755 million as of 2014 leaving P98.24 million untouched 13 months after the disaster that killed over 6,000 people occurred. Under the Department of National Defense Memorandum Order No. 1 of 2005, donations were to become part of “calamity funds” to be used solely for relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and other related works after calamities, epidemics and armed conflict. Included under the directive was the grant of cash assistance to affected families totaling P10,000 for a family member killed and P5,000 for those that sustained injuries. State auditors also pointed out that donations for typhoon Frank in 2008 amounting to P26.26 million have not been totally released. READ MORE ON REPORT...

ALSO: LP ‘black ops’ vs Poe, Binay, bared
[THE Liberal Party (LP) has reportedly tapped the services of former associates of a powerful law firm to mount an operation to ensure the victory of the ruling party’s standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd by getting rid of his opponents–Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Grace Poe.]
 


NOVEMBER 1 -
Vice President Binay and Sen. Poe “The agenda is to apply their full might and influence to have Grace disqualified while making sure that Binay is put behind bars,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.The Vice President’s spokesman has claimed that they had received information about such a “black operation” as early as last year. On the other hand, a source from the camp of Poe and Sen. Francis Escudero said the camp of Roxas “will move heaven and earth” to have Poe disqualified. Poe and Binay are frontrunners in recent pre-election presidential surveys while Roxas trails them. “We are aware of this operation, which is becoming more obvious by the day. A few senators I talked to confirmed this. Binay will be jailed before the elections,” said the source, a lawyer. Joey Salgado, one of Binay’s spokesmen, said they are similarly aware of such “dark” legal operations, which involve powerful people in the Office of the Ombudsman and even the Supreme Court (SC). “Yes, we know that. We have been informed as early as last year that that would be their endgame [to jail Binay]. Based on our intelligence, the tactic is being principally done by associates of an influential law firm that has tentacles in the [Office of the] Ombudsman,” Salgado told The Manila Times. According to the source from Poe’s camp, the influential lawyers are Avelino “Nonong” Cruz and former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, former associates of “The Firm,” or the defunct Carpio Villaraza Angcangco or CVC Law. “Avelino Cruz and partner Simeon Marcelo are the ones behind the drive,” the source insisted. The Manila Times asked Salgado if he was referring to the same people but he was evasive. “That is all I can say for now,” he said. “Remember Hyatt 10? It was actually Hyatt 11. Nonong Cruz was with them,” the source noted. When members of the so-called Hyatt 10 broke free from the Cabinet of former President Gloria Arroyo, Cruz was the Defense chief. He eventually left office. READ MORE...

ALSO By Benjamin Diokno: Ease of doing business: Improving but much remains to be done


NOVEMBER 2 -by Benjamin E Diokno
Worse, there were signs that the improvement in 2015 was a fluke. From last year to today, the Philippines has the biggest loss in ease of doing business among its Asean-6 peers. From a rank if 97 in 2015, it slipped to 103 this year. By contrast, Indonesia, the last in the Asean-6 group, gained 11 notches, from 120 in 2015 to 109 in 2016. Singapore, as expected, was safely number one in ease of doing business from 2011 to 2016. That’s consistency. Doing Business measures aspects of regulation affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. In the ranking on the ease of doing business in 2016, the following areas are included: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Except for starting a business, dealing with construction permits, and registering property, the rest of the areas are the responsibility of the Central government. But even in the three areas where local authorities may have some responsibilities, the nature of competition among different cities and municipalities for investors suggests that it is in the interest of local authorities to be efficient and less bureaucratic as possible. Investors whether foreign or domestic can vote with their feet. They can choose a local community that will tax less, will provide better local public services, and would likely provide protection for the investors’ interest. On the other hand, it is in the interest of local authorities that investors locate in their community. First, investors will provide jobs to their local constituents. Second, they will expand the local tax base that would mean higher levels of essential local public services for their constituents. In brief, deficiencies arising from starting a business, dealing with construction permits, and registering property have a way of solving themselves if competition among local governments is at work. Extracting as much rent (bribes) from potential locators or investors is therefore myopic and irrational. The conclusion is that the responsibility for attracting investors, foreign or domestic, rests squarely with the Central government. And the final test of how investor friendly the country is the level of foreign direct investments (FDIs) that it attracts. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so to speak, and less foreign investors are biting. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

LIVE list: Class, work suspensions on November 2


Filipino families gather around tombs that are placed on top of each other inside Manila North cemetery on Sunday Nov. 1, 2015. AP/Aaron Favila

MANILA, november 2, 2015 (PHILSTAR)  By Rosette Adel,  November 1, 2015 -While Malacañang earlier pronounced that All Souls’ Day, November 2, is not a non-working holiday, some areas and private institutions decided to suspend work and classes to provide employees and students more time to observe the tradition.

Every year, the Catholic-Filipino practice includes visiting cemeteries and returning to provinces on the November holiday.

Here are the list of schools and areas which canceled classes and work for Monday, November 2.

Updated 5:23 p.m., Nov. 1, 2015

All levels, work

Rodriguez, Rizal (Public schools, government offices)
Iligan City (Government and Barangay offices only)
De La Salle Araneta University (classes and offices)
De La Salle University Manila (classes and offices)
De La Salle College of St. Benilde (classes and offices)
FEATI University (classes and offices)
University of Baguio (classes and offices)
Adamson University (classes and offices)
Far Eastern University-Diliman (classes and offices)
Don Bosco Technical College Mandaluyong (classes only)


INQUIRER

Palace assures public: Gov’t ready for Yuletide traffic By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales @YGonzalesINQ
INQUIRER.net 09:13 PM November 1st, 2015


PALACE SPOKESMAN LACIERDA

With the Christmas season just around the corner, Malacañang on Sunday assured that concerned government agencies are bracing for the expected heavy traffic in Metro Manila’s busiest thoroughfares.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said members of the Philippine National Police’s Highway Patrol Group deployed along Edsa are aware of the increased commercial activity during the holidays.

“It’s a time of celebration, a time of bustling commercial activity. Alam po ng ating mga ahensya po ang mga concerns po diyan. Nandiyan na po ‘yung traffic na inaayos na rin po ng ating pamahalaan, ating mga HPG po sa Edsa. ‘Yung ating mga [pulis] are very, very cognizant of the normal increase in commercial activities po dito sa mga mall,” Lacierda said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

He said the PNP is also coordinating with mall operators to ensure the safety of thousands of mall goers during the Christmas rush.

“Itong mga [pulis] natin are in touch with the mall operators… Some people would like to take advantage of the bustling activity po during the Christmas season. So we are all conscious and cognizant of the attendant concerns pagdating ng Christmas season so handa po ang ating kapulisan, ang ating mga ahensya na tumutulong—ang DTI, ang PNP—lahat po ng ahensya na involved po dito sa preparation for Christmas season in terms of the commercial activities,” he said.

Lacierda said the Department of Tourism will also take the opportunity and initiate efforts to show the world how Christmas is being celebrated in the country.

“We have the longest Christmas season in the world, so it’s a good opportunity for us also to invite our friends from abroad to come visit the Philippines and celebrate Christmas in the Philippines with us,” he said.


TRIBUNE

GOV’T KEPT DONATIONS IN DBP SINCE 2008: P385M in disaster aid unused — CoA
Written by Gerry Baldo Monday, 02 November 2015 00:00


DSWD CHIEF SOLIMAN While thousands of victims of natural disasters including those affected by typhoon “Yolanda,” were waiting for help, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) had withheld P385 million in total donations for different calamities the country, according to a Commission on Audit (CoA) report.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) which is the main agency coordinating disaster response in the country is under the OCD, which in turn is under the Department of National Defense (DND).

CoA said the OCD has received a total of P466.019 million in donations for various calamities since 2008 but it has spent only P81.068 million as of December 31, 2014.

CoA found out that the entire balance of the donations was deposited in a trust account with the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) where it has earned P1.709 million in interest.

“Utilization of the donations from foreign and local donors in the total amount of P81,068,471.49 was low, depriving the calamity victims of the much needed assistance to alleviate their difficulties,” the CoA said.

CoA in a report released last October 29 said that the OCD spent a measly 17.39 percent for typhoon victims and other calamities.

Auditors said the biggest chunk of donation was the P137 million received from various government agencies and other sources after typhoon Yolanda (international name “Haiyan”) devastated the country in November 2013.

Out of the Yolanda contributions, the OCD has released only P38.755 million as of 2014 leaving P98.24 million untouched 13 months after the disaster that killed over 6,000 people occurred.

Under the Department of National Defense Memorandum Order No. 1 of 2005, donations were to become part of “calamity funds” to be used solely for relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and other related works after calamities, epidemics and armed conflict. Included under the directive was the grant of cash assistance to affected families totaling P10,000 for a family member killed and P5,000 for those that sustained injuries.

State auditors also pointed out that donations for typhoon Frank in 2008 amounting to P26.26 million have not been totally released.

READ MORE...

It said that there is still P5.83 million that are being withheld by the OCD.

Below is the complete list of donations and utilization attached to the audit report:

• Typhoon Frank (June 2008) – total donations P26.26 million – remaining balance P5.83 million
Flashflood in Cagayan de Oro/Gingoog/Iligan (Jan. 2009) – total P2.045 million – amount intact;
• Tropical Storm Sendong (Dec. 2011) – total P126.843 million – balance P114.507 million;
• Tropical Storms Ondoy and Pepeng (Sep. 2009) – total P40.925 million – balance P36.143 million;
• Typhoons Pedring and Quiel (Sep./Oct. 2011) – total P16.784 million – balance P12.019 million;
• Typhoon Pablo (Dec. 2012) – total P102.315 million – amount intact Habagat flooding (Aug. 2012) – total P7.627 million – amount intact;
• “various disasters” (undated) – total P1.039 million – amount intact;
• Typhoon Maring (Aug. 2013) – total P45,216 – amount intact;
• Zamboanga siege (Sep. 2013) – total P158,924 – amount intact;
• Bohol Earthquake (October 2013) – total 4.983 million – amount intact; and
• Typhoon Yolanda (Nov. 2013) – total P136.997 million – balance P98.242 million.

The COA said total unused donations being kept by OCD in DBP stood at P384.95 million.

The OCD claimed that it was not able to release the funds due to failure of claimants to comply with the requirements.

The requirements demanded by the OCD from the victims were documents that they can no longer submit precisely because of the calamity, typhoon that struck them or the armed conflict that plagued them.

Selective relief work

Earlier, the Aquino administration was assailed for handing out selective relief operations on typhoon Lando-hit areas, skipping towns whose mayors belonging to parties not allied with the administration.

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) said reports it received stated that the mayor of San Miguel, Bulacan had confirmed they were not given relief goods coming from the DWSD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) for their constituents affected by Typhoon Lando.

“Even the people of Baler in Aurora and from the toens of Cabiao and Bongabon in Nueva Ecija were denied assistance simply because their mayors are not members of the ruling party,” UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan said.

“Is this the new rule of the day? Selective relief? If you’re not an ally, you cannot avail of any assistance?” he asked.
San Miguel Mayor Roderick Tiongson, who ran under the Liberal Party (LP) in 2013, is now vying for the governorship of Bulacan under UNA. Baler Mayor Nelianto Bihasa meanwhile belongs to PDP-Laban.

“This is Yolanda all over again. Politics has sadly reared its ugly head in times of distress. For sure, it would be a different situation for those towns whose mayors are from the LP,” Ilagan said.

“According to Edwin Lacierda (Presidential spokesman), who is now acting as spokesman for Mar Roxas, what is important is that the relief goods reach the people. And we agree with him regarding this. At the end of the day, what is important is the relief goods reach those who are truly in need. But they should have adopted the same stance in Casiguran in Aurora wherein the distribution of relief goods were postponed as they have to wait for the arrival of the President before proceeding with the distributiion,” he added.

Ilagan also scored Aquino Administration for tacitly allowing members of its cabinet to use government resources to advance the presidential bid of Roxas in 2016.

“While they are denying any assistance to those who do not belong to their party, their allies are riding on the DSWD bandwagon for campaigning,” he said.

As Typhoon Lando approached super typhoon strength as it approached Luzon last Saturday, the LP standard bearers for president and vice president were spotted in a gathering of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries in Koronadal, South Cotabato. The event was organized by DSWD, was also attended by Secretary Dinky Soliman,

This, despite Soliman’s declaration that the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program won’t be used by politicians in advancing their interests in next year’s polls.

“All thise who are campaigning have virtually left their offices unattended. One by one, Cabinet member are joining in the campaign for the administration bet and the latest to join the bandwagon is Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez,” Ilagan said.


ABAYA

Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya made a slip of the tongue when he credited Jimenez for providing him a copy of the survey results saying among others the preference of Filipinos to the continuity of Tuwid na Daan.

“What has DOT got to do with political issues? Foremost in our mind is this question: Will the results of this political survey aid in explaining the failure of the Department of Tourism to get its 10 million tourist target?” asked Ilagan.

According to Ilagan, Jimenez has allowed himself to be used by the Liberal Party and has likely used public money to the wind by commissioning a political survey which is not part of his office mandate.

UNA criticized Malacanang for prioritizing politics over public service.

“Unfortunately, the Palace has allowed members of its Cabinet to campaign for Roxas and the LP ticket in wholesale. The entire bureaucracy is now at the Liberal Party’s disposal. Cabinet secretaries, who should set the bar for the kind of public servants our country needs as the President’s alter-egos, have entered the political fray at the expense of genuine public service. They have abandoned their calling as public servants for politics’ sake,” Ilagan pointed out.

The UNA spokesman called on those Cabinet members committed to the candidacy of Roxas to resign and to stop using public funds to pursue the LP’s political agenda.


MANILA TIMES

LP ‘black ops’ vs Poe, Binay, bared November 1, 2015 10:03 pm by JOEL M. SY EGCO, SENIOR REPORTER


Vice President Binay and Sen. Poe

THE Liberal Party (LP) has reportedly tapped the services of former associates of a powerful law firm to mount an operation to ensure the victory of the ruling party’s standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd by getting rid of his opponents–Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Grace Poe.

“The agenda is to apply their full might and influence to have Grace disqualified while making sure that Binay is put behind bars,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Vice President’s spokesman has claimed that they had received information about such a “black operation” as early as last year.

On the other hand, a source from the camp of Poe and Sen. Francis Escudero said the camp of Roxas “will move heaven and earth” to have Poe disqualified.

Poe and Binay are frontrunners in recent pre-election presidential surveys while Roxas trails them.

“We are aware of this operation, which is becoming more obvious by the day. A few senators I talked to confirmed this. Binay will be jailed before the elections,” said the source, a lawyer.

Joey Salgado, one of Binay’s spokesmen, said they are similarly aware of such “dark” legal operations, which involve powerful people in the Office of the Ombudsman and even the Supreme Court (SC).

“Yes, we know that. We have been informed as early as last year that that would be their endgame [to jail Binay]. Based on our intelligence, the tactic is being principally done by associates of an influential law firm that has tentacles in the [Office of the] Ombudsman,” Salgado told The Manila Times.


CVCLAW Villaraza Cruz Marcelo & Angangco www.cvclaw.com The Firm was founded in 1980 by Antonio T. Carpio, F. Arthur F. Villaraza and Avelino J. Cruz, Jr. It is now known as CVCLAW Villaraza Cruz Marcelo & Angangco after its founders. With more than 70 lawyers recognized by their peers to be at the top of the legal profession and more than 120 highly trained non-legal staff, the Firm offers service of the highest caliber. CVCLAW Villaraza Cruz Marcelo & Angangco is a full-service firm with proven expertise in 1) Corporate and Commercial Law, 2) Litigation and Dispute Resolution; 3) Intellectual Property; 4) Mining and Natural Resources; 5) Power and Energy; 6) Strategic and Developmental Projects; 7) Labor and Immigration; 8) Telecommunications and Information Communication Technology; and 9) Taxation. With its multi-disciplinary approach, and working in cooperation with the Firm’s other practice groups, the Department is able to service all of the business requirements of its mining clients, including labor, immigration, tax and general corporate issues. FROM CHAMBEROFMINES.COM.PH

According to the source from Poe’s camp, the influential lawyers are Avelino “Nonong” Cruz and former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo, former associates of “The Firm,” or the defunct Carpio Villaraza Angcangco or CVC Law.

“Avelino Cruz and partner Simeon Marcelo are the ones behind the drive,” the source insisted.
The Manila Times asked Salgado if he was referring to the same people but he was evasive. “That is all I can say for now,” he said.
“Remember Hyatt 10? It was actually Hyatt 11. Nonong Cruz was with them,” the source noted.
When members of the so-called Hyatt 10 broke free from the Cabinet of former President Gloria Arroyo, Cruz was the Defense chief. He eventually left office.

READ MORE...

While “The Firm” may no longer be in existence, Times sources claimed CVC Law remains influential because it has “contacts” inside the Ombudsman’s office and SC Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is still with them.

“Carpio is their former law firm partner but secretly still active,” another source said.

Recently, Carpio issued a statement against Poe’s citizenship, which is the basis of a number of disqualification cases lodged against the lawmaker.

“They know that the only way for Roxas to defeat Grace is by disqualifying her and the only way for Binay to fail is for him to be in jail. That is their main agenda. Sen. [Miriam Defensor] Santiago was forced to run so that in the end, according to their plan, she and Roxas will slug it out in the polls. With an opponent in Miriam, Mar’s win, if they succeed, will legitimize results of the elections,” the source explained.

The Manila Times tried to get a reaction from Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. but he begged off, saying he is on official mission to the Unesco General Assembly. The same query was sent to Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda but there was no reply.

Meanwhile, Escudero admitted that he has been receiving information about the alleged “black ops” against Poe and said he was not surprised.

The senator added that there was indeed information about the demolition campaign against Poe but their camp opted not to dwell on it, focusing instead on other more important matters that will benefit the people.

“I’m not surprised if there is indeed a ‘black ops’ against her, what I don’t understand is why they need to resort to such operation,” Escudero, Poe’s running mate, said.
WITH JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA


TRIBUNE COMMENTARY

Ease of doing business: Improving but much remains to be done Written by Benjamin E Diokno Monday, 02 November 2015 00:00 Source: World Bank, Ease of Doing Business 2016


by Benjamin E Diokno

Worse, there were signs that the improvement in 2015 was a fluke. From last year to today, the Philippines has the biggest loss in ease of doing business among its Asean-6 peers. From a rank if 97 in 2015, it slipped to 103 this year.

By contrast, Indonesia, the last in the Asean-6 group, gained 11 notches, from 120 in 2015 to 109 in 2016.

Singapore, as expected, was safely number one in ease of doing business from 2011 to 2016. That’s consistency.

Doing Business measures aspects of regulation affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. In the ranking on the ease of doing business in 2016, the following areas are included: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

Except for starting a business, dealing with construction permits, and registering property, the rest of the areas are the responsibility of the Central government. But even in the three areas where local authorities may have some responsibilities, the nature of competition among different cities and municipalities for investors suggests that it is in the interest of local authorities to be efficient and less bureaucratic as possible.

Investors whether foreign or domestic can vote with their feet. They can choose a local community that will tax less, will provide better local public services, and would likely provide protection for the investors’ interest.

On the other hand, it is in the interest of local authorities that investors locate in their community. First, investors will provide jobs to their local constituents. Second, they will expand the local tax base that would mean higher levels of essential local public services for their constituents.

In brief, deficiencies arising from starting a business, dealing with construction permits, and registering property have a way of solving themselves if competition among local governments is at work.

Extracting as much rent (bribes) from potential locators or investors is therefore myopic and irrational.

The conclusion is that the responsibility for attracting investors, foreign or domestic, rests squarely with the Central government.

And the final test of how investor friendly the country is the level of foreign direct investments (FDIs) that it attracts. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so to speak, and less foreign investors are biting.

READ MORE...

The Philippines has the poorest record in terms of getting credit and protecting minority investors. This is unfortunate since the Filipino officials take pride in the country’s prudent but stable financial system.

I guess that’s the dark side to very restrictive monetary policy: credit doesn’t flow to small and medium-scale industries which account for the overwhelming majority of local firms.

The Philippines has the highest total tax rate in the Asean-6 region at 42.5 percent. This compares poorly with Singapore’s 18.4 percent, Thailand’s 27.5 percent, Indonesia’s 29.7 percent, Vietnam’s 39.4 percent, and Malaysia’s 40.0 percent.

Rank in Ease of Doing Business: 2016
Out of 189 economies
Source: World Bank, Ease of Doing Business 2016

The Philippines has the second to the last among its Asean-6 peers in terms of starting a business, dealings with construction permits, registering property, and enforcing contracts.

With such a major disadvantage in doing business in the Philippines, unsurprisingly, it has attracted the least foreign direct investments (FDIs) compared to its Asian neighbors.

Admittedly, ease of doing business is a necessary but not sufficient condition for attracting FDIs. The quality of public infrastructure, political stability and policy consistency are equally important conditions in attracting FDIs. But, regrettably, the Philippines is lagging behind its Asean-6 peers in these areas too.

If the Philippines wants to be a major player in Asean integration, its national leaders have to aggressively address the country’s well-known deficiencies.

Figure 1: Ranking Gap: When will the huge chasm between Singapore and the Philippines be closed?
Source: The World Bank, Ease of Doing Business 2016


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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