PIDS in the News Archived (April 2015)

BACOLOD CITY"The Philippines loses as much as 1.1 percent of its local output, or its gross domestic product (GDP), each year to disasters such as typhoons, according to a high-ranking government official.
In a news briefing that marked the close of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Roadmap for Resilient Economies Meeting on Disaster-Risk Finance, Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said this was higher than the estimated average of just 0.6 percent to 0.7 percent of GDP in Apec member-economies.
[It is] still large and it affects mainly the poor and the vulnerable, so we should do something about it because its not just the size of the impact, but also its impact on poverty that will push them deeper into poverty, Beltran said.
According to him, the impact of natural disasters on the poor varies across the region and in the Philippines. When, for example, Supertyphoon Yolanda hit Central Visayas, the devastation in its wake caused a million people to fall into poverty.
The vulnerability of the Philippines and countries in the region to natural disasters has necessitated the need to consider post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation financing solutions.
Richard Poulter, a specialist on disaster-risk financing and insurance from the World Bank, said the Apec is considering risk-pooling to augment the financial needs of individual countries, after disasters occur.
Poulter said risk-pooling among regions in countries like the Philippines is also another option that is being studied.
One of the ideas that were proposed in this regard on risk-pooling [requires] governments of the different countries coming together, sharing the risks and taking that to the international insurance market in order to achieve a lower premium than if they were to go individually to markets. This is an idea that Apec is considering, Poulter said.
Under the plan, Apec economies pool their disaster-risk resources and then tap insurance collectively from an international insurance provider.
Poulter cited the model that the Philippines has pursued for some of its provinces, adding that this may be applied on a regional scale.
In particular, the Philippines has secured the assistance of the World Bank in developing an insurance framework, wherein disaster-prone provinces pool the risks, and have these covered collectively.
Under this arrangement, if a certain province is hit by a disaster, it can file claims from the insurance facility.
In so many ways, the Philippines has been leading efforts toward [disaster] resiliency, and the model it is pursuing is an example, Poulter said.
Finance ministries across the region will discuss in further detail the proposals raised at the Apec event in Bacolod, and decide what may be included in the so-called Cebu Action Plan (CAP).
The CAP is the overall finance-related development road map for Apec, which is now drafted by the Philippines while taking inputs from other Apec member-economies.
It is seen completed in time for the Apec Finance Ministers Meeting, which will be held in Cebu City in September.
A study from state-owned think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) quoted data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, showing disasters visiting the country between 1990 and 2006 cost P20 billion a year, or 0.5 percent of the countrys GDP.
Further, the PIDS said an average 20 cyclones visit the country each year, and at least five of these exact a heavy price on lives and properties.
The annual casualty and damage to properties from these unfortunate events average 593 dead and P4.6 billion the past 30 years, the government think tank said.//

Author: Cai Ordinario
Date: April 30, 2015
Source: Business Mirror

Manila: Anxious not to see a repeat of last years port congestion in the capital, the Philippine government has moved to strip local officials of the power to enforce truck bans unilaterally. The decision by the mayor of Manila, former president Joseph Estrada, to push through a ban on trucks along key roads in Manila resulted in a dramatic supply chain nightmare for the nation, with boxes stacked up unable to move for months on end.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has estimated the government lost more than $1.5bn from the port congestion.
Cabinet secretary Rene Almendras said this week at a senate hearing: We are insisting that for any local government to restrict traffic on national roads, they must have the concurrence of the national government agency in charge.
He added: For legislative purposes, maybe there is need to create certain mechanisms that will not allow a local government unit to hold national interest hostage to an individual action in a small area. Nobody can say I do not like the colour of your truck therefore you cannot pass through this road when Im awake. It is even bad for the economy of the locality, he said.
Almendras said the port situation in Manila was finally getting back to normal.
Senator Bam Aquino, chairman of the committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship, agreed, but warned transport costs in the archipelago remain too high.
Meanwhile, a government think-tank, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), proposed earlier this week proposed diverting more cargoes to Batangas and Subic Bay in the future to avoid a repeat of last years container snarl-up.//

Author:
Date: April 28, 2015
Source: Splash 24/7

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) has proposed several policy and infrastructure reforms to tackle Manila ports' long-standing congestion.

The government think-tank, in its policy note, has called for a directive that will divert cargoes bound for, or coming from, the south of Manila to Batangas port, while those coming from the north to Subic Bay.

Terminal operator ICTSI is also urged to revive the PNR Rail freight operation to its inland container depot in Calamba, Laguna, during off-peak hours.

The institute acknowledges the need in the medium term to divert Manila traffic to Subic Bay and Batangas via the expansion of the latter and a rationalisation plan for the Greater Capital Region.

"There is a need for a gradual rehabilitation and improvement of the PNR line so that it can be used to move empty, unclaimed, and abandoned containers to an inland container yard," PIDS added.

In the longer term, the emphasis is on planning better and a new and large deepsea port, although it does not say where.

However, it does say the Philippines should have "a national multimodal transport and logistics development plan with special emphasis on connecting the Subic-Clark-Manila-Batangas corridor to the rest of the country".

To contact the author of this article, email Maritime360@ihs.com//

Author: Michael Mackey,
Date: April 27, 2015
Source: IHS Maritime 360

Allowing the participation of higher education institutions (HEIs) in senior high school (SHS) program in the short term can be a win-win solution to address the projected additional demand for classrooms in SHS as part of the enactment of the K to 12 program.
Government think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) released a policy note that undertook an initial assessment of the K to 12 programs effects on the supply of classrooms and teachers vis--vis the projected demand.
The paper stressed that enabling the HEIs to offer the SHS program in the meantime will allow the Department of Education (DepEd) to delay or reduce the number of classrooms that the public sector needs to construct to meet the requirements of the SHS program, thereby reducing the pressure on government resources and capability.
HEI participation in the SHS program, in the short term, would buy DepED time to determine the real demand for SHS places before it actually builds the needed classrooms, thereby enabling it to avoid the possibility of overbuilding of classrooms, it noted.
Likewise, the PIDS paper said this will avoid private HEIs from retrenching their faculty members who would be left with no students to teach because of the missing cohorts over the 2016-2019 period.
It pointed out the current HEI faculty provides a ready source of teaching expertise for the higher level subjects required in the new SHS curriculum. It will ensure that the resources of state universities and colleges are put to optimum use instead of being underutilized, it said.
However, for HEIs to actively participate in the SHS program, the paper underscored the need for the country to create an enabling policy environment.
These policies include the provision of mechanisms or programs such as education service contracting, vouchers and concession arrangements, to encourage private HEIs to make available for the use of incoming SHS students over the 2016-2019 period the places that will be left vacant by the missing cohorts in the collegiate level.
Other policies (like credit window for classroom construction) will support private HEIs that will be interested to offer the SHS program on a long-term basis, it added.//


Author: Ed Velasco
Date: April 26, 2015
Source: Select Article Source

In February, 2014, Manila sought to solve its traffic problem with an ordinance that banned the entry of heavy cargo trucks from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. During the rest of the day, trucks were allowed but only on designated truck routes.
It eased Manilas traffic problem but it impacted on the operations of the Manila Port, on business in all of Metro Manila, and on the national economy as a whole. The truck ban caused imported cargo to pile up in the Manila Port which soon became congested. There were efforts to shift importations to Batangas and Subic, but shippers, freight forwarders, and truckers continued to prefer the Manila Port.
Finally, in September, 2014, Manila officials, after extensive meetings with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the national government, and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, decided to modify its traffic ordinance and ease its truck ban. The Manila Port also instituted changes and reforms that ended the port congestion.
The other day, the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) reported that during the seven-month period of the truck ban, the loss to the national economy was placed at R43.8 billion. It proposed a combination of short-term, medium-term, and long-term solutions, including revival of Philippine National Railways operations, establishment of a 24-hour booking system, and heavy government investments in port development and other infrastructures .
Today, seven months after Manila ended its truck ban, traffic in Metro Manila appears to have worsened with a vengeance. Thousands of man-hours are being lost every day and a new study will undoubtedly put the losses at billions of pesos.
The scores of road repairs all over Metro Manila are partly to blame. The closure of Ayala Bridge forced traffic from northern Metro Manila to funnel through Quiapo, Sta. Cruz, and Jones bridges. Then there is the report of the Philippine automotive industry that for the third straight year, there have been record sales of cars and trucks. For 2015, 310,000 cars and trucks are expected to be sold.
These additional 310,000 vehicles are on top of the millions already running in the nations streets for years . And they will be using the same streets and boulevards which have hardly been increased in Metro Manila. The new expressways have been mostly to the north and the south of Luzon. Is there any wonder that traffic congestion in Metro Manila continues to worsen every day?
Considering all these developments, there must be a focused study on the problem of traffic in Metro Manila. Like flooding, garbage, and water supply, traffic cannot be solved by one city acting by itself. That function properly belongs to the MMDA . It needs to look closely at this problem, see what problems need to be solved, and come up with a plan.//



Author:
Date: April 23, 2015
Source: Manila Bulletin

ANG pitong buwang truck ban sa Matro Manila ang ikinawala ng may P43.85 bilyon sa pambansang ekonomiya. Kahit pa sinabi ng mga namumuno sa bansang normal na ang operasyon mula noong Pebrero, kailangang daluhan ang maraming problema sa port congestion at hindi paggamit ng ibang mga daungan.
Ayon sa pag-aaral ng Philippine Institute for Development Studies na pinamagatang Port Congestion and Underutilization in the Greater Capital Region: Unpacking the Issues, ang tumalakay sa ugat ng pagkapuno ng daungan at nagmungkahi ng mga posibleng magawa tulad ng pagbabalik ng Philippine National Railways upang higit na maging madali ang pagdaloy ng mga paninda at kargamento.
Sa tatlong daungang kabilang sa Greater Capital Region tulad ng Maynila, Subic at Batangas, pinakamaraming gumagamit ng daungan sa Maynila na freight forwarders, logistics services at truckers.
Serye ng mga survey ang kanilang ginawa ng PIDS upang mabatid ang mga dahilan sa kanilang paggamit ng mga daungan.
Ang distansya ng daungan ng Maynila sa mga pagawaan ang dahilan kung bakit mas gusto nila ang Port of Manila. Mas mababa umano ang singil ng Port of Manila. Ang pinaka-problema ng Port of Manila ay ang "red tape" at mga gawi o ugali ng mga nasa Bureau of Customs.
May mga problema rin sa daungan sa Batangas tulad ng katayuan ng shipping schedules, pagkakaroon o kakulangan ng allied services providers at cargo handling facilities. Palpak naman umano ang Port of Subic kung shipping schedules ang paguusapan. Isang bagay din ang layo o distansya nito mula sa Maynila.


Author:
Date: April 17, 2015
Source: CRI Online

20.04.2015 04:41:41 - Fast Market Research recommends "Philippines Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Report Q2 2015" from Business Monitor International, now available

(live-PR.com) - Our outlook for the Philippines' pharmaceutical sector remains bullish, driven by an increasing population and high burden of disease profile. Generic medicines will continue to account for an increasing share of pharmaceutical sales in the Philippines, galvanised by expanding government provision of healthcare as well as improvements in generic drug distribution. This provides strong growth opportunities for generic drug manufacturers




in an emerging market where economic growth will be sustained by robust private consumption. Howeve r, current access to medicines and treatment will continue to negatively impact the wider market.

Full Report Details at
- www.fastmr.com/prod/965820_philippines_pharmaceu ..

Headline Expenditure Projections

* Pharmaceuticals: PHP140.20bn (USD3.25bn) in 2013, rising to PHP145.05bn (USD3.26bn) in 2014; +3.5% in local currency terms and +0.4% in US dollar terms.
* Healthcare: PHP545.09bn (USD12.62bn) in 2013, rising to PHP612.04bn (USD13.75bn) in 2014; +12.3% in local currency terms and +9.0% in US dollar terms.

Risk/Reward Index : Out of the 19 pharmaceutical markets assessed in Asia Pacific, the Philippines remain in 14th place (scoring 45.3 out of 100), trailing the regional average in most metrics. In Q115, Japan is ranked as the most attractive market in the Asia Pacific region (scoring 78.1 out of 100), followed by South Korea (68.6). Compared with its peers, the Philippines' RRI score is dragged down by industry characteristics such as policy enforcement.

Key Trends And Developments

November

* Healthcare problems, such as accessibility, availability and affordability, will persist nationwide beyond 2015 even if the Philippines achieves its health-related Millennium Development Goal (MDG) commitments by 2015, according to state-owned Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). According to PIDS Senior Research Fellow Celia Reyes, this is because Filipinos living in Luzon still receive better access to health services and facilities than Filipinos in the Visayas and Mindanao....

The Philippines Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Report features BMI Research's forecasts for drugs and healthcare expenditure and imports and exports, focusing on the growth outlook for the prescription, OTC, patented drugs and generics market segments.

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Coverage

BMI Industry ViewAn at-a-glance perspective on the latest regulatory developments, key forecast indicators and major corporate developments, covering the prescription, OTC and generics markets. The pharmaceuticals and healthcare SWOT outlines strategic factors that affect the basic assumptions underpinning BMIs forecast analysis, and taken together with BMIs political, economic and business environment SWOTs, it gives a complete overview of market climate.

BMI Industry Forecast ScenarioIndustry forecasts to end-2019 for all key indicators, supported by explicit assumptions, plus analysis of key downside risks to the main forecasts:

* Healthcare: Total healthcare expenditure (USDbn), healthcare expenditure (% of GDP), healthcare expenditure per capita (USD), hospital beds, doctors, and birth and mortality rates (all per 000 population).
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About Fast Market Research

Fast Market Research is a leading distributor of market research and business information. Representing the world's top research publishers and analysts, we provide quick and easy access to the best competitive intelligence available. Our unbiased, expert staff is always available to help you find the right research to fit your requirements and your budget.

Author:
Date: April 20, 2015
Source: Live-PR

IN FEBRUARY, 2014, Manila sought to solve its traffic problem with an ordinance that banned the entry of heavy cargo trucks from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. During the rest of the day, trucks were allowed but only on designated truck routes.
It eased Manilas traffic problem but it impacted on the operations of the Manila Port, on business in all of Metro Manila, and on the national economy as a whole. The truck ban caused imported cargo to pile up in the Manila Port which soon became congested. There were efforts to shift importations to Batangas and Subic, but shippers, freight forwarders, and truckers continued to prefer the Manila Port.
Finally, in September, 2014, Manila officials, after extensive meetings with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the national government, and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, decided to modify its traffic ordinance and ease its truck ban. The Manila Port also instituted changes and reforms that ended the port congestion.
The other day, the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) reported that during the seven-month period of the truck ban, the loss to the national economy was placed at P43.8 billion. It proposed a combination of short-term, medium-term, and long-term solutions, including revival of Philippine National Railways operations, establishment of a 24-hour booking system, and heavy government investments in port development and other infrastructures .
Today, seven months after Manila ended its truck ban, traffic in Metro Manila appears to have worsened with a vengeance. Thousands of man-hours are being lost every day and a new study will undoubtedly put the losses at billions of pesos.
The scores of road repairs all over Metro Manila are partly to blame. The closure of Ayala Bridge forced traffic from northern Metro Manila to funnel through Quiapo, Sta. Cruz, and Jones bridges. Then there is the report of the Philippine automotive industry that for the third straight year, there have been record sales of cars and trucks. For 2015, 310,000 cars and trucks are expected to be sold.
These additional 310,000 vehicles are on top of the millions already running in the nations streets for years. And they will be using the same streets and boulevards which have hardly been increased in Metro Manila. The new expressways have been mostly to the north and the south of Luzon. Is there any wonder that traffic congestion in Metro Manila continues to worsen every day?
Considering all these developments, there must be a focused study on the problem of traffic in Metro Manila. Like flooding, garbage, and water supply, traffic cannot be solved by one city acting by itself. That function properly belongs to the MMDA. It needs to look closely at this problem, see what problems need to be solved, and come up with a plan.

Author:
Date: April 22, 2015
Source: Tempo Online


The relatively weak uptake of ICT services in the Philippines, aside from inadequate ICT infrastructure, can be attributed to the high cost associated with it

Jose Ramon G. Albert and Raymond E. Gaspar

Published 11:00 AM, Apr 22, 2015
Updated 5:34 PM, Apr 22, 2015


During the DepEDs National Research Conference held in Koronodal last April 16 to 18, we were tasked to give a plenary talk about Cutting Edge Research Methods. In this talk, we showed how collecting and analyzing data has changed dramatically because of information communications technology (ICT), which has spurred the era of Big Data.
We are drowning in a flood of data, with ICT changing our ways of doing things and learning. We could imagine having access to a huge database where we collect every detailed measure of every student's academic performance drilling down to every answer he/she makes to an exam question, and add to these are information on the students (from the socio-economic profile of his/her family, to his teachers, to whether or not he/she supplements classroom learning with Internet online learning).

This data could be used to design the most effective approaches to education, starting from reading, writing, and mathematics, to advanced college courses. While we dont have this database yet, but little by little, we are getting there.

The increasing access to the Internet and social media has been phenomenal.

We are Social, an agency that examines social media data, suggests that as of end of 2014, about 42% of the worlds population had access to the internet, and the online social networking application Facebook registered 1.4 billion active users.

It has also been reported that in the PH, as of January 2014, there were 37.6 million Internet users, of which 34 million were on Facebook. Thus, one in every three Filipinos were on Facebook. Social media is also making various information available to us in various formats. Videos on YouTube are teaching us everything: from how to cook to why you need to study Statistics (#thisisstatistics)

We are drowning in a flood of data, with ICT providing us the means to transmit and exchange data in the form of sound, text, visual images, signals or any other form or any combination of those forms through the use of digital technology.

From the beginning of recorded time until 2003, we created 5 exabytes of data (one exabyte is a billion gigabytes). In 2012, five exabytes were being created every two days; in 2013, this amount of information was being created every ten minutes. ICT has resulted in revolutionizing the way people communicate and for governments and firms to interact and conduct business.

The ICT revolution, most specifically the Internet, has altered the ways people around the world communicate, live, learn, play and work. Even in restaurants, we find menus now being put on tablets for our convenience, and waiters entering our food choices on gadgets.

With the Philippines getting the attention in the world as one of Asias fastest growing economies, the presence of a reliable, accessible and affordable Philippine ICT infrastructure is necessary for our participation in the information economy. Without it, the Philippines will once again face the prospect of being marginalized in the global economy. With it, we stand the chance of becoming a cyber-tiger in the new economy.

Digital divide

In November last year, the International Telecommunication Union, a specialized agency of the United Nations for ICT, released its Measuring the Information Society Report 2014 which contains an ICT Development Index (IDI) in the years 2012 and 2013 for 166 countries.

The IDI combines 11 indicators (Table 1) into one composite aggregate measure to monitor and compare developments in ICT. In general, the IDI presents the level of ICT developments among countries over time. Governments, researchers and the general public can use the IDI to measure the digital divide and compare ICT performance across countries.

Table 1. Indicators used in the Computation of the IDI

Access sub-index

Use sub-index

Skills sub-index

Indicators on ICT infrastructure and access:

1. fixed-telephone subscriptions

2. mobile cellular telephone subscriptions

3. international Internet bandwidth per Internet user

4. Percentage of households with a computer

5. percentage of households with Internet access

Indicators on ICT intensity and usage: 1. individuals using the Internet

2. fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions

3. wireless-broadband subscriptions

Indicators on ICT capability or skills: 1. adult literacy

2. gross secondary enrolment

3. gross tertiary enrolment

Source: International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Top countries in ICT development

Among the 166 countries covered in the ITU report, Denmark topped the list followed by South Korea and Sweden.

In Asia and the Pacific, Hong Kong (China), Japan, Australia and Singapore ranked highest after South Korea. The ITU suggested that the IDI exhibits a strong relationship with many indicators for tracking the Millennium Development Goals. The ITU report showed a very clear disparity on ICT development between developed and developing countries.

The average index of developing countries remained almost half that of developed countries. The gap is more pronounced in the availability and uptake of wireless-broadband and fixed broadband services. Meanwhile, the international Internet bandwidth in many developing countries remains at very low levels, which is of particular importance to sustain ICT growth.

Table 2. ICT Development Index and Rank, 2013 and 2012 Source: ITU

The report also found that developing countries, despite exhibiting progress, are not advancing enough to catch up with the pace of ICT development in developed countries. It even found continued rise in disparities in ICT development within the group of developing countries.

Figure 1. Percentage of (a) households with Internet access and (b) Individuals using the Internet, by level of development, 2005-2014




ICT access and usage in the Philippines

The ITU showed that in 2013, the Philippines practically maintained its rank (103rd place from 102nd in 2012) despite advances in the areas of access and use of ICT. The countrys ICT connectivity was further improved through the installation of the Boracay-Palawan Submarine Cable System completed in the second quarter of 2013.

Of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Philippines consistently ranked 6th since 2010, trailing behind Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam (Table 3).

Table 3. ICT Development Index of ASEAN member states, 2010-2013

2010

2011

2012

2013

Rank

Index

Rank

Index

Rank

Index

Rank

Index

Brunei Darussalam

50

4.89

56

4.93

63

5.36

66

5.43

Cambodia

119

1.88

121

2.05

127

2.54

127

2.61

Indonesia

97

3.01

97

3.14

106

3.7

106

3.83

Lao PDR

120

1.84

122

1.99

130

2.25

134

2.35

Malaysia

57

4.63

57

4.81

66

5.18

71

5.2

Myanmar

129

1.65

132

1.7

148

1.75

150

1.82

Philippines

94

3.04

98

3.14

102

3.91

103

4.02

Singapore

10

7.47

14

7.55

15

7.85

16

7.9

Thailand

89

3.29

94

3.42

91

4.09

81

4.76

Viet Nam

86

3.41

86

3.65

99

3.94

101

4.09

No. of countries

155

157

166

166

Note: 2010 figures are from the 2012 report, 2011 figures are from 2013 report, and 2012 and 2013 figures are from the 2014 report. Source: ITU

Telephone density, measured as the number of fixed telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, has been practically similar in the Philippines, i.e., from 3.74 out of 100 persons in 2011 to 3.61 and 3.2 in 2012 and 2013, respectively (Table 4). This placed the country only ahead of Myanmar and Cambodia.

Table 4. Fixed telephone subscriptions (per 100 population) among ASEAN member states, 2005- 2013

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Brunei Darussalam

22.81

21.40

20.86

20.82

20.42

19.95

19.64

17.21

13.58

Cambodia

0.25

0.19

0.27

0.31

0.38

2.50

3.63

3.93

2.78

Indonesia

6.02

6.51

8.46

12.97

14.66

17.01

15.84

15.39

12.30

Lao P.D.R.

1.57

1.56

1.58

2.08

1.60

1.61

1.65

6.77

10.37

Malaysia

16.89

16.49

16.22

16.53

16.28

16.30

15.73

15.69

15.26

Myanmar

1.00

1.13

0.91

0.99

0.86

0.95

1.00

0.99

1.00

Philippines

3.92

4.16

4.43

4.51

4.46

3.57

3.74

3.61

3.20

Singapore

41.03

40.17

39.34

38.69

38.90

39.30

38.87

37.48

36.35

Thailand

10.73

10.73

10.63

11.17

10.87

10.29

10.01

9.55

9.04

Viet Nam

-

9.99

12.90

16.90

19.76

16.14

11.32

11.22

10.13

Source: ITU

In 2012, the number of cellular mobile telephone subscriptions surpassed the total number of persons in the Philippines. There were around 105 mobile cellular telephone subscriptions for every 100 population in 2012, with mobile penetration remaining practically similar at 104 in 2013 (Table 5).

Note that there are more mobile subscriptions than people since some people have more than one subscription. In addition, we suspect overcounting of mobile subscriptions with each telco trying to claim they are number one, not paying attention to whether a subscription is truly active. Why do we count subscriptions rather than subscribers?

To count subscribers, we would have to remove double counts, but telcos do not have information about identities of pre-paid subscribers. Only post-paid subscribers have to register with the telcos, and of course each telco will probably not be willing to share their databases of customers with the other telcos!

Clearly, it is important for a policy on the full registration of cellular subscribers, including pre-paid ones, and for that matter a full implementation of a national ID system. But such registration systems should also discuss legal issues of privacy, which are already being discussed at the global level.

In the ASEAN region, Table 5 shows that Singapore tops the list of having the highest mobile-cellular telephone density at 155.9 in 2013, with Myanmar at the bottom with only 12.8.

In 2013, the Philippines though ranks 8th in the ASEAN region in mobile penetration, only higher than Lao PDR and Myanmar. In 2005, the Philippines ranked 4th but over the years it has been overtaken by Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia, which in 2013 ranked 4th, 5th and 6th, respectively.

Table 5. Mobile cellular telephone subscriptions (per 100 population) among ASEAN member states, 2005- 2013

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Brunei Darussalam

63.32

80.44

95.99

102.79

104.69

108.62

109.02

113.95

112.21

Cambodia

7.95

12.70

18.79

30.39

44.31

56.74

94.19

128.53

133.89

Indonesia

20.90

28.02

40.43

60.01

68.92

87.79

102.46

114.22

125.36

Lao P.D.R.

11.36

17.12

24.59

32.94

51.61

62.59

84.05

64.70

68.14

Malaysia

75.63

73.93

87.07

101.50

108.47

119.74

127.48

141.33

144.69

Myanmar

0.26

0.42

0.49

0.72

0.97

1.14

2.38

7.06

12.83

Philippines

40.52

49.07

64.52

75.37

82.26

88.98

99.09

105.45

104.50

Singapore

97.53

103.78

125.19

132.30

138.69

145.40

150.12

152.13

155.92

Thailand

46.46

60.90

80.17

93.43

99.51

108.02

116.33

127.29

140.05

Viet Nam

11.29

22.03

52.02

85.70

111.37

125.29

141.60

147.66

130.89

Source: ITU

Internet usage slightly increased in 2013. There were around 37 percent of the population accessing the Internet, up from 36.2 percent in 2012 (Table 6). This landed the Philippines in 5th place vis--vis ASEAN neighbors.

Table 6. Percentage of Individuals using the Internet among ASEAN member states, 2005-2013

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Brunei Darussalam

36.47

42.19

44.68

46.00

49.00

53.00

56.00

60.27

64.50

Cambodia

0.32

0.47

0.49

0.51

0.53

1.26

3.10

4.94

6.00

Indonesia

3.60

4.76

5.79

7.92

6.92

10.92

11.11

14.70

15.82

Lao P.D.R.

0.85

1.17

1.64

3.55

6.00

7.00

9.00

10.75

12.50

Malaysia

48.63

51.64

55.70

55.80

55.90

56.30

61.00

65.80

66.97

Myanmar

0.07

0.18

0.22

0.22

0.22

0.25

0.98

1.07

1.20

Philippines

5.40

5.74

5.97

6.22

9.00

25.00

29.00

36.24

37.00

Singapore

61.00

59.00

69.90

69.00

69.00

71.00

71.00

72.00

73.00

Thailand

15.03

17.16

20.03

18.20

20.10

22.40

23.67

26.46

28.94

Viet Nam

12.74

17.25

20.76

23.92

26.55

30.65

35.07

39.49

43.90

Source: ITU

Fixed-broadband subscription per 100 population exhibited remarkable increase to 9.12 per 100 persons in 2013 from 0.14 in 2005 (Table 7). Broadband has been successful building a healthy subscriber base in the country. The increase, however, is on a downward trend. Surprisingly, the Philippines placed second among ASEAN member nations, only trailing behind Singapore.

Table 7. Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions (per 100 inhabitants) among ASEAN member states, 2005-2013

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Brunei Darussalam

2.21

2.39

3.05

4.35

5.08

5.42

5.70

4.81

5.71

Cambodia

0.01

0.02

0.06

0.12

0.21

0.25

0.15

0.20

0.22

Indonesia

0.05

0.09

0.34

0.42

0.78

0.95

1.12

1.21

1.30

Lao P.D.R.

0.01

0.01

0.02

0.05

0.07

0.09

0.10

0.11

0.13

Malaysia

1.87

2.85

3.82

4.83

5.55

6.49

7.43

8.41

8.22

Myanmar

0.00

0.01

0.01

0.02

0.04

0.04

0.03

0.12

0.18

Philippines

0.14

0.30

0.56

1.16

1.87

1.84

5.37

7.89

9.12

Singapore

14.60

17.08

18.94

21.12

23.58

24.98

25.61

25.44

26.03

Thailand

0.85

1.36

1.96

3.13

3.96

4.90

5.74

6.52

7.36

Viet Nam

0.25

0.60

1.50

2.35

3.64

4.12

4.27

4.90

5.62

Source: ITU

Available data from ITU show that in 2010, at least 13 in every 100 households in the Philippines had access to a computer, higher than Cambodias 9.3 (Table 8). Singapore and Malaysia is considerably higher at 85 and 65 households with a computer.

Meanwhile, in 2010, only 10.1 percent among the households in the Philippines has Internet access, even lower compared to 12.5 in Vietnam. Of course, the information from the Philippines is sourced from a 2010 survey, whereas other countries are more recent.

Table 8. Percentage of Households with Computer and Percentage of Households with Internet Access: ASEAN, Various years

Percentage of households with:

Computer

Year of latest available data

Internet access

Year of latest available data

Brunei Darussalam

-

65.0

2010

Cambodia

9.3

2013

5.5

2013

Indonesia

15.6

2013

5.7

2013

Lao P.D.R.

-

3.4

2010

Malaysia

65.1

2013

64.7

2013

Myanmar

-

-

Philippines

13.1

2010

10.1

2010

Singapore

85.0

2012

84.0

2012

Thailand

29.1

2013

23.2

2013

Viet Nam

16.0

2011

12.5

2010

Source: ITU

High cost of ICT services in PH

The relatively weak uptake of ICT services in the Philippines, aside from inadequate ICT infrastructure, can be attributed to relative high cost associated with it. In comparison with ASEAN neighbor countries, ICT services in the Philippines are among the highest (Table 9).

Table 9. Prices of selected ICT services in PPP$ per month, 2013

Fixed Telephone

Mobile cellular

Fixed Broadband

Mobile broadband, postpaid handset-based

Mobile broadband, prepaid handset-based

Mobile broadband, postpaid computer-based

Mobile broadband, prepaid computer-based

Brunei Darussalam

18.91

29.6

78.28

33.72

30.11

33.72

24.09

Cambodia

9.81

16.16

30.55

7

7

12.73

12.73

Indonesia

9.54

16.38

48.92

12.54

5.7

12.54

11.4

Lao PDR

12.01

17.84

41.65

12.82

0

16.02

0

Malaysia

17.99

14.2

41.52

23.91

23.91

30.2

30.2

Myanmar

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Philippines

36.15

22.24

51.59

25.77

25.77

51.38

25.77

Singapore

9.1

9.04

20.58

32.97

12.4

20.58

0

Thailand

14.55

12.61

52.85

24.51

24.51

32.71

36.31

Viet Nam

4.44

8.81

7.15

-

-

-

-

Source: ITU

Networked Readiness Index

This month, the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with INSEAD, published the Global Information Technology Report 2015 which allows countries to catch a glimpse of the current market conditions as well the state of connectivity across the world. It also helps identify areas of improvement to maximize the full potential of the Internet and other innovations in the ICT sector.

The report estimates the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), which rests on six principles:

A high-quality regulatory and business environment is critical in order to fully leverage ICTs and generate impact;
ICT readiness " as measured by ICT affordability, skills, and infrastructure " is a pre-condition to generating impact;
Fully leveraging ICTs requires a society-wide effort: the government, the business sector, and the population at large each have a critical role to play;
ICT use should not be an end in itself. The impact that ICTs actually have on the economy and society is what ultimately matters;
The set of drivers " the environment, readiness, and usage " interact, co-evolve, and reinforce each other to form a virtuous cycle; and
The networked readiness framework should provide clear policy guidance.
The index is a composite indicator made up of four main sub-indexes, with 10 subcategories or pillars and 53 individual indicators (Table 10).

Table 10. Indicators used to Measure Networked Readiness Index

Environment sub-index

Readiness sub-index

Usage sub-index

Impact sub-index

Political and regulatory environment

- Effectiveness of law-making bodies

- Laws relating to ICTs

- Judicial independence

- Efficiency of legal system in settling disputes

- Efficiency of legal system in challenging registrations

- Intellectual property protection

- Software piracy rate, % software installed

- No. procedures to enforce a contract

- No. days to enforce a contract

Business and innovation environment

- Availability of latest technologies

- Venture capital availability

- Total tax rate, % profits

- No. days to start a business

- No. procedures to start a business

- Intensity of local competition

- Tertiary education gross enrolment rate, %

- Quality of management schools

- Govt procurement of advanced technology

Infrastructure

- Electricity production, kWh/capita

- Mobile network coverage, % pop

- Intl Internet bandwidth, kb/s per user

- Secure Internet servers/million pop

Affordability

- Prepaid mobile cellular tariffs, PPP $/min.

- Fixed broadband Internet tariffs, PPP $/month

- Internet and telephony competition, 0"2 (best)

Skills

- Quality of educational system

- Quality of math and science education

- Secondary education gross enrolment rate, %

- Adult literacy rate, %

Individual usage

- Mobile phone subscriptions/100 pop.

- Individuals using Internet, %

- Households w/ personal computer, %

- Households w/ Internet access, %

- Fixed broadband Internet subs/100 pop.

- Mobile broadband subs/100 pop.

- Use of virtual social networks

Business usage

- Firm-level technology absorption

- Capacity for innovation

- PCT patents, applications/million pop.

- Business-to-business Internet use

- Business-to-consumer Internet use

- Extent of staff training

Government usage

- Importance of ICTs to govt vision

- Government Online Service Index, 0"1 (best)

- Govt success in ICT promotion

Economic impacts

- Impact of ICTs on new services and products

- ICT PCT patents, applications/million pop.

- Impact of ICTs on new organizational models

- Knowledge-intensive jobs, % workforce

Social impacts

- Impact of ICTs on access to basic services

- Internet access in schools

- ICT use and govt efficiency

- E-Participation Index, 0"1 (best)

Source: World Economic Forum (WEF)

In ASEAN, Singapore topped all countries in leveraging ICT towards development. The Philippines standing improved, even surpassing Indonesia (Table 11).

Table 11. Networked Readiness Index of ASEAN member countries, 2012-2015

Index

Rank

2012

2013

2014

2015

2012

2013

2014

2015

Brunei Darussalam

4.04

4.11

4.34

-

54

57

45

Cambodia

3.32

3.34

3.36

3.30

108

106

108

110

Indonesia

3.74

3.84

4.04

3.91

80

76

64

79

Lao PDR

-

-

3.34

3.56

-

-

109

97

Malaysia

4.80

4.82

4.83

4.85

29

30

30

32

Myanmar

-

-

2.35

2.53

-

-

146

139

Philippines

3.64

3.73

3.89

3.98

86

86

78

76

Singapore

5.86

5.96

5.97

6.02

2

2

2

1

Thailand

3.78

3.86

4.01

4.05

77

74

67

67

Viet Nam

3.70

3.74

3.84

3.85

83

84

84

85

Source: WEF

Table 12 shows that laws relating to ICTs in the country are sadly not keeping up with what the present market requires to fully leverage ICT. It even deteriorated. There is a clear need for both the executive and legislative branches to address the lack of ICT legislation.

However, the country improved in protecting intellectual property as well as preventing software piracy, which are considered vital factors driving innovation. The country also displayed a great leap in international Internet bandwidth (measured in kb/s per user) (Table 13).

Table 12. NRI Indicators of the Philippines, 2012-2015

Index

Rank

2012

2013

2014

2015

2012

2013

2014

2015

Effectiveness of law-making bodies, 1-7 (best)

2.75

3.15

3.46

3.56

112

93

79

73

Laws relating to ICTs, 1-7 (best)

3.68

4.05

3.96

3.84

84

66

72

78

Judicial independence, 1-7 (best)

2.95

3.02

3.17

3.55

102

99

99

77

Efficiency of legal system in settling disputes, 1-7 (best)

2.87

3.19

3.61

3.71

115

107

76

68

Efficiency of legal system in challenging regs, 1-7 (best)

2.78

3.17

3.48

3.48

118

102

71

56

Intellectual property protection, 1-7 (best)

2.80

3.24

3.59

3.71

102

87

78

66

Software piracy rate, % software installed

69

70

70

69

68

70

70

66

No. procedures to enforce a contract

37

37

37

37

69

68

67

70

No. days to enforce a contract

842

842

842

842

119

121

122

119

Availability of latest technologies, 1-7 (best)

5.16

5.22

5.31

5.06

62

56

47

58

Venture capital availability, 1-7 (best)

2.58

2.72

3.06

3.33

71

62

40

31

Total tax rate, % profits

46.5

46.6

44.5

42.5

100

104

104

92

No. days to start a business

35

36

35

34

112

118

120

120

No. procedures to start a business

15

16

15

16

136

142

144

142

Intensity of local competition, 1-7 (best)

5.16

5.09

5.07

5.15

47

50

63

61

Tertiary education gross enrollment rate, %

28.89

28.23

28.20

28.20

76

79

80

82

Quality of management schools, 1-7 (best)

4.38

4.70

4.75

4.74

55

39

39

40

Govt procurement of advanced tech, 1-7 (best)

2.82

3.14

3.38

3.67

126

107

85

53

Electricity production, kWh/capita

674.49

675.23

727.76

727.76

104

105

105

103

Mobile network coverage, % pop.

99

99

99

99

49

51

58

66

Intl Internet bandwidth, kb/s per user

10.72

12.36

14.27

57.61

71

77

86

47

Secure Internet servers/million pop.

6.67

7.55

8.62

8.06

95

97

96

99

Prepaid mobile cellular tariffs, PPP $/min.

0.30

0.29

0.29

0.36

65

73

83

100

Fixed broadband Internet tariffs, PPP $/month

40.40

40.30

39.32

55.63

86

95

95

108

Internet and telephony competition, 0"2 (best)

2

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

Quality of educational system, 1-7 (best)

3.83

4.14

4.28

4.55

61

45

40

29

Quality of math and science education, 1-7 (best)

3.14

3.55

3.74

4.13

115

98

96

70

Secondary education gross enrollment rate, %

84.82

84.82

84.60

84.60

79

84

87

87

Adult literacy rate, %

95.42

95.42

95.42

96.29

60

61

64

40

Mobile phone subscriptions/100 pop.

85.67

99.30

106.51

104.50

93

84

79

86

Individuals using Internet, %

25

29

36.24

37

92

91

87

91

Households w/ personal computer, %

13.1

13.1

16.94

18.7

100

97

100

102

Households w/ Internet access, %

10.1

10.1

18.9

22.9

89

91

92

86

Fixed broadband Internet subs/100 pop.

1.85

1.89

2.22

9.12

89

92

94

68

Mobile broadband subs/100 pop.

2.26

3.36

3.83

0.00

80

94

108

132

Use of virtual social networks, 1-7 (best)

5.75

6.05

6.20

6.23

41

27

22

25

Firm-level technology absorption, 1-7 (best)

5.06

5.17

5.22

5.07

52

46

40

41

Capacity for innovation, 1-7 (best)

2.71

2.94

3.76

4.52

95

86

48

30

PCT patents, applications/million pop.

0.30

0.26

0.32

0.35

84

80

84

85

Business-to-business Internet use, 1-7 (best)

5.23

5.17

5.08

51

51

52

Business-to-consumer Internet use, 1-7 (best)

4.82

4.66

4.74

51

63

58

Extent of staff training, 1-7 (best)

4.42

4.55

4.55

4.61

34

32

27

27

Importance of ICTs to govt vision, 1-7 (best)

3.44

3.74

3.81

3.89

100

85

80

69

Government Online Service Index, 0"1 (best)

0.39

0.50

0.50

0.48

48

67

67

66

Govt success in ICT promotion, 1-7 (best)

4.39

4.39

4.43

71

70

53

Impact of ICTs on new services and products, 1-7 (best)

4.49

4.82

4.80

4.63

68

43

42

50

ICT PCT patents, applications/million pop.

0.12

0.09

0.11

0.12

76

74

74

80

Impact of ICTs on new organizational models, 1-7 (best)

4.25

4.75

4.82

4.62

60

33

28

40

Knowledge-intensive jobs, % workforce

19.74

19.74

22.46

23.74

73

72

68

65

Impact of ICTs on access to basic services, 1-7 (best)

3.87

4.08

4.10

4.01

106

79

74

77

Internet access in schools, 1-7 (best)

4.03

4.08

4.15

4.34

73

73

74

66

ICT use and govt efficiency, 1-7 (best)

3.66

4.07

4.12

4.07

103

83

71

69

E-Participation Index, 0"1 (best)

0.19

0.21

0.21

0.57

62

62

63

51

Source: WEF

Table 13. International Internet bandwidth, kb/s per user, 2012-2015

Index

Rank

2012

2013

2014

2015

2012

2013

2014

2015

Brunei Darussalam

25.07

21.99

39.93

-

42

59

48

-

Cambodia

28.07

13.53

13.62

9.30

40

74

89

104

Indonesia

2.95

7.20

17.06

10.12

109

94

77

100

Lao PDR

-

-

9.40

10.57

96

98

Malaysia

11.44

10.65

16.42

29.46

69

82

79

69

Myanmar

-

-

9.43

26.20

95

72

Philippines

10.72

12.36

14.27

57.61

71

77

86

47

Singapore

172.15

343.73

387.64

580.78

4

2

4

4

Thailand

10.83

24.63

26.65

37.37

70

53

61

64

Viet Nam

5.55

10.00

13.36

15.90

97

84

90

90

Source: WEF

Need for better ICT skills

While the Philippines fares relatively poor in ICT access and use, the skills and talents of Filipino IT experts have been viewed to be competitive. Results of a survey by the Far East Economic Review in September 1999, suggested that the Philippines then ranked second to India in terms of quality, cost and availability of skilled IT workers in Asia, making them very much in demand in many parts of the world.

Government and the private sector need to work together toward ensuring that the proper environment exists for ICT to further flourish.

A discussion paper written by Winston Conrad Padojinog, released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies a decade ago, suggested the need for ICT policies to narrow the digital divide by promoting competition, interconnection and convergence in the ICT sector.

While some progress has been made over the past years, there is still much left to be desired. While the Department of Science and Technology, through the ICT Office, is about to provide free wifi, many point out that it is more important for telcos to work together and with government to considerably improve the speed of Internet and mobile services in the country.

ICT will also need to be diffused better in the education sector. In basic education, there is a need to examine the extent of using ICT in the classroom as we implement the K-12 program.

Higher education students will also need to be more prepared for the ever-growing demands of the information-driven economy, especially in the emerging area of data science. It can readily be observed that ICT has been driving innovative activities, and that the ICT sector constantly needs innovation.

In consequence, the country will need to develop and promote innovation policies so that ICT can be an important element to sustain our economic growth, and to make this growth and prosperity shared by all Filipinos. " Rappler.com

Author: Jose Ramon Albert
Date: April 22, 2015
Source: Rappler.com

- Fast Market Research recommends "Philippines Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Report Q2 2015" from Business Monitor International, now available

(live-PR.com) - Our outlook for the Philippines' pharmaceutical sector remains bullish, driven by an increasing population and high burden of disease profile. Generic medicines will continue to account for an increasing share of pharmaceutical sales in the Philippines, galvanised by expanding government provision of healthcare as well as improvements in generic drug distribution. This provides strong growth opportunities for generic drug manufacturers


in an emerging market where economic growth will be sustained by robust private consumption. Howeve r, current access to medicines and treatment will continue to negatively impact the wider market.

Full Report Details at
-www.fastmr.com/prod/965820_philippines_pharmaceu ..

Headline Expenditure Projections

* Pharmaceuticals: PHP140.20bn (USD3.25bn) in 2013, rising to PHP145.05bn (USD3.26bn) in 2014; +3.5% in local currency terms and +0.4% in US dollar terms.
* Healthcare: PHP545.09bn (USD12.62bn) in 2013, rising to PHP612.04bn (USD13.75bn) in 2014; +12.3% in local currency terms and +9.0% in US dollar terms.

Risk/Reward Index : Out of the 19 pharmaceutical markets assessed in Asia Pacific, the Philippines remain in 14th place (scoring 45.3 out of 100), trailing the regional average in most metrics. In Q115, Japan is ranked as the most attractive market in the Asia Pacific region (scoring 78.1 out of 100), followed by South Korea (68.6). Compared with its peers, the Philippines' RRI score is dragged down by industry characteristics such as policy enforcement.

Key Trends And Developments

November

* Healthcare problems, such as accessibility, availability and affordability, will persist nationwide beyond 2015 even if the Philippines achieves its health-related Millennium Development Goal (MDG) commitments by 2015, according to state-owned Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). According to PIDS Senior Research Fellow Celia Reyes, this is because Filipinos living in Luzon still receive better access to health services and facilities than Filipinos in the Visayas and Mindanao....

The Philippines Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Report features BMI Research's forecasts for drugs and healthcare expenditure and imports and exports, focusing on the growth outlook for the prescription, OTC, patented drugs and generics market segments.

BMI's Philippines Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Report provides industry professionals, strategists, company executives, investors, analysts and sales/marketing heads with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the Philippines pharmaceutical and healthcare industry.

Key Benefits

* Benchmark BMI's pharmaceutical and healthcare market forecasts for Philippines, to test other views - a key input for successful budgeting and strategic business planning in the Philippine pharmaceutical and healthcare market.
* Target business opportunities and risks in the Philippine pharmaceutical and healthcare sector through our reviews of latest industry trends, regulatory changes and major deals, projects and investments in Philippines.
* Assess the activities, strategy and market position of your competitors using our company profiles (including SWOTs, KPIs and latest activity) and competitive landscape tables.

Coverage

BMI Industry ViewAn at-a-glance perspective on the latest regulatory developments, key forecast indicators and major corporate developments, covering the prescription, OTC and generics markets. The pharmaceuticals and healthcare SWOT outlines strategic factors that affect the basic assumptions underpinning BMIs forecast analysis, and taken together with BMIs political, economic and business environment SWOTs, it gives a complete overview of market climate.

BMI Industry Forecast ScenarioIndustry forecasts to end-2019 for all key indicators, supported by explicit assumptions, plus analysis of key downside risks to the main forecasts:

* Healthcare: Total healthcare expenditure (USDbn), healthcare expenditure (% of GDP), healthcare expenditure per capita (USD), hospital beds, doctors, and birth and mortality rates (all per 000 population).
* Pharmaceutical Market: Drug expenditure in USDbn, % of GDP and per capita (USD).
* Patented Drug Market: Prescription drug sales (USDbn and % of total sales).

Browse our complete collection of Healthcare research reports atwww.fastmr.com/catalog/browse.aspx?category=15

About Fast Market Research

Fast Market Research is a leading distributor of market research and business information. Representing the world's top research publishers and analysts, we provide quick and easy access to the best competitive intelligence available. Our unbiased, expert staff is always available to help you find the right research to fit your requirements and your budget.//


Author: Bill Thompson
Date: April 20, 2015
Source: Select Article Source

THE United Nations predicted that by 2050 more than 65 percent of Filipinos (around 100 million) will live in urban areas. Such trend"barely 35 years away"opens up critical policy issues on land use and water management.
Land, like water, is finite. Its vital to many economic activities such as food production. Recently, Hilal Elver, the UN special rapporteur on the Right to Food, visited the Philippines and announced in a preliminary report on widespread hunger and malnutrition, that massive land conversion was among the factors that adversely affected food production in the country.
I have written in previous
columns how poor water governance is posing a clear and present danger to our growth momentum. This is equally true, perhaps in an even more immediate degree, with respect to the lack of forward planning and haphazard land-use management. Food production is just one activity affected by poor land use.
Current land-use policies are found in different national laws, including the Local Government Code, as well as the Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997. Land disposition and distribution are entrusted to various agencies, including the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Justice and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. The multiplicity of laws and regulations as well of the governing bodies, the lack of harmonization and coordination among them, reflect the chaotic state of land-use governance.
Such discord leads to the many substandard comprehensive land- use plans (CLUPs) that several local government units have formulated. A 2014 Philippine Institute for Development Studies report emphasizes that many CLUPS were slanted toward residential and commercial development, while plans for productivity-enhancing infrastructure and environmental conservation were minimal.
A 2012 Human Development Network study shows such plans were short of long-term vision and clear-cut strategies to achieve growth and sustain it. As a consequence, informal settlements"often built on precarious geohazard sites and protection zones (e.g. salvage areas of seas and rivers, or roads and rail set-asides)"have become major slum colonies in Metro Manila and in the rest of the countrys other big cities and towns, as well.
In 2013 President Aquino certified as urgent the National Land Use Act to create a unified framework for land resource management. Congress, however, has yet to pass such a measure to date. A land-use policy, alongside with water sector reforms, should be fast-tracked to ensure the sustainability of our countrys economic growth.
E-mail: angara.ed@gmail.com.

Author: Edgardo Angara
Date: April 20, 2015
Source: Business Mirror

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) has estimated that the seven month-long truck ban last year in Metro Manila cost the national economy around P43.85 billion.
PIDS noted that while the countrys leaders insist that the operation has normalized in the ports since February 2015, there are complex problems with port congestion and underutilization that need urgent attention.
Of the three major ports in the greater capital region, the Port of Manila is widely used and most preferred by shippers, freight forwarders, logistics services providers, and truckers.
PIDS President Gilberto Llanto and research associates Christine Ruth Salazar, Cherry Ann Madriaga, and Diyina Gem Arbo conducted a series of surveys and focus group discussions to uncover the factors that influence the sectors choice of port.
Shippers, consignees, and importers cited the proximity of the Port of Manila to their areas of operation as a deciding factor. The rates are also much more affordable and the immediate availability of concerned government officials make transactions and release of goods much easier to carry out.
In comparison, issues with the Port of Batangas pertain to the status of several services, including shipping schedules, availability of allied services providers, and cargo handling facilities. Meanwhile, the Port of Subic is cited for its poor shipping schedules and longer travel time to the port.
The authors noted that a comprehensive policy framework is necessary to solve the congestion in the Port of Manila and the underutilization of the Ports of Batangas and Subic. The truck ban revealed that volume restriction alone will not yield a catch-all solution. Considerations have to be factored in to make policies more effective.
Alongside possible incentives, like a price discount mechanism, capacity expansion has to be undertaken and nonprice service attributes such as warehouse proximity have to be counterbalanced. Volume restriction must be complemented by enhancing capacity of the other ports, commensurate to the volume of cargo and transaction that are targeted to be diverted from the Port of Manila.
PIDS said reviving the freight train network from Bicol to La Union as an alternative cargo transport seems more problematic than promising. Not only are the train tracks deteriorating, but the researchers also conclude that the current level of freight traffic through Batangas is too small to consider it a major source of potential base traffic for freight railway.
Even if the freight railway was restarted, it would only be able to carry a certain amount, thus having a negligible effect on the congestion and traffic caused and experienced by the ports.
PIDS has recommended a combination of short-term, medium-term and long-term solutions.
In the short term, policy-makers can introduce caps, revive the PNR freight operation, and establish 24-hour web-based booking system to facilitate the logistics chain. But these have to be carried out together with a more strategic action by the government investing heavily in capacity building at the ports and the train tracks, as well as rationalize future port development and investment programs in port infrastructure.
PIDS said that if the Philippines hopes to take full advantage of its economic growth, enhance its position as a transport hub in the region, and position Philippine ports in the global supply chain, the country must implement a strong and comprehensive national multi-modal transport and logistics development plan.//


Author: Edu Lopez
Date: April 20, 2015
Source: Manila Bulletin

The term 'millennial', which originated in the US, slips into the Filipino tongue, but disregards the youth living in poverty
MILLENNIAL. Despite the country's economic growth, poverty incidence among PH youth remains static. File photo by Fritzie Rodriguez/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines " Generation Y, otherwise known as "millennials" are born in the 80s up to the early 2000s.

The mainstream image of millennials remains singular: college-educated, white-collar, urban. Their concerns include social media, travel, career-hopping, instant success, and dating.

The term, which originated in the US, has slipped into the Filipino tongue, but has disregarded the youth living in poverty.

Among these invisible millennials is Mel Bayo, one of the 28 million young Filipinos aged 15 to 30.

She was born and raised under the Quirino bridge in Manila in 1995. She earned her first peso in grade school, aiding her blind father beg across the Quirino Highway. They earned P300 on good days.
Poverty incidence for PH youth
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)

2006 2009 2012
21.1% 21.6% 22.3%

Money, brains
Bayo did well in class, acing Filipino subjects. She is not fond of reading, but lovesIbong Adarna and Noli Me Tangere.
At 14, she had her first syota (lover). Hatid, sundo ako, she recalled, Tambay siya. Love, however, did not spoil her studies.
She graduated from high school at 15 and began a 12-week Information Technology vocational course at TESDA. She dropped out after 6 weeks. As of 2010, one of 8 Filipinos aged 6-24 is out of school, the Philippine Statistical Authority reported.


HOME. The girl was born and raised under the Quirino bridge. File photo by Jodesz Gavilan/Rappler
Among urban settings, dropping out is mostly due to "cost of schooling," the Philippine Institute for Development Studies found in 2012. Meanwhile, lack of transportation concerns those living in rural areas.
In fact, most of employed youth did not finish college, a trend in the past 4 years.

Number of employed PH youth (15-30 years old)
based on highest grade completed as of 2013
Source: Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)

No education 112,000
Some/Completed Elementary 2.8M
Some/Completed High School 6.2M
Some/Completed College 3.6M
Majority were "laborers or unskilled workers," followed by "service workers," and "clerks." Meanwhile, over 2.1 million were unemployed, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported.
Bayo's house was demolished the same year she quit school; she helped rebuild it by waiting tables in a karinderya (eatery). The government relocated them to Laguna, but her family preferred the bridge because it's near their source of income. (READ:Hungry, jobless at relocation sites)
Love, sex, asawa

PARENTHOOD. 1 in every 10 Filipino women aged 15 to 19 is already a mother, the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey reveals. File photo by Dennis Sabangan/EPA
Bayo wanted to study, but her circumstances did not allow her.
According to her, at 16, she got hooked into chongke (marijuana), alcohol, andcigarettes.
She first had sex at 17, bangenge kami nun. (We were high.) It was P10 for 3 hits.
Her stepmother almost caught them. Isang beses lang kami nag-ano. Natakot na ko mahuli. (We only had sex once. I got scared of getting caught.)
No pills, no rubber. 'Di ako natakot mabuntis. (I wasnt scared of getting pregnant.) To avoid pregnancy, the girl stood after sex, Para yung ano ng lalaki di pumasok agad sa puerta ko. (So the man's semen wont quickly enter my vagina.)
Like Bayo, many Filipinos were either clueless or did not use protection when they first had sex, the 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFSS) revealed.
Filipino youth (15-24 years old) who did not use protection during first premarital sex
based on highest educational attainment

Source: 2013 YAFSS
College 66.7%
High school 79.6%
Elementary 88.3%
Her stepmother then forced her to end the 3-year relationship. The break-up happened two days before Christmas, she was devastated, but not for long. Five days into the new year, Bayo rediscovered love while falling in line for bags of rice distributed by an NGO.
Bayo's second lover was her neighbor, a childhood friend one year her junior. Their romance developed fast: She had sex for the second time, lived in with the boy, and called each other asawa (spouse) although unmarried.

BABY. Mel with her baby and her sister during an NGO workshop. Photo by Fritzie Rodriguez/Rappler
Her folks liked her new partner. "Mabait (kind), nakatapos(finished) 1st year high school," she said. Short on cash, they had to live with the boys parents.
About 14% of young Filipinos are living in, the 2013 YAFSS showed. Metro Manila topped the list with one in 5 young couples living together.
A year later, Bayo got pregnant. She was not ready but her partner wanted a baby because he was jealous of his tropa (friends) with kids.
She dropped all vices except cigarettes, but takes pride in not smoking around her baby.
Whenever money's tight, her parents provided their needs. Without them, Bayo worries how her family will survive.
Her partner only earned P100 a day as a part-time construction worker " roughly enough for 3 mouths " before he lost job.
Dreams
Bayo would soon turn 20; her baby, 6 months.
Mahirap buhay namin (Our life is hard). No more babies, she said. How? No more sex. For how long? She doesn't know, she said laughing.
She has never used contraceptives, Delikado kasi sabi ni nanay, (Mother said it's dangerous) believing that condoms could get stuck inside her and that pills are expensive and harmful.
Since the baby came, the couples intimacy ceased, Dun siya natutulog sa kanila. Ako, sa amin. (He sleeps in their house; I sleep in ours.)
Akbay-akbay na lang, she quipped, "Kahit malayo mahal mo, okay lang." (We just hug. It's ok even if you're far from the one you love.)
Sometimes Bayo misses her dalaga (single) days: Dancing Beyonc during fiesta, listening to rap, tambay (hanging out), and most of all, studying.
She wants to finish her IT course or become a teacher, whichever is more possible.
Her parents said she could study again when her babys older. Until then, she'll juggle babysitting her child and her siblings, selling rugs, and doing household chores " duties she grew up doing.
Lately she has been joining workshops given by non-government organizations, and advising younger friends: Listen to your parents, study hard, or else. She did not say what comes after "or else."

HOLES. The girl draws her home: The square as their house and the rectangle under it as the canal where her baby almost fell through a hole.
Bayo often dreams of the future: She wants her baby to become a nurse.
Para magamot lolo niya (To cure her grandfather)," she said.
Her other dreams include her asawa keeping a steady job; her brothers becoming welders and masons; and their house having no holes, so her baby would not fall into the canal.
"Muntik na noon, buti nagising ako," she added. (The baby almost fell before; good I woke up.)
Bayo said her baby is getting heavy at 8.3 kilograms. She thought about her upcoming birthday, her aging parents, her unsold rugs, her asawa, the laundry, and wonders how long her baby could remain chubby.
Like other millennials who share her plight, Bayo sometimes worries: "Ano mangyayari sa amin (What will happen to us?). " Rappler.com


Author: Fritzie Rodriguez
Date: April 20, 2015
Source: Rappler.com

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines must come out with a strong and comprehensive national multimodal transport and logistics development plan, if it wants to take full advantage of its economic growth, enhance its position as a transport hub in the region, and position Philippine ports in the global supply chain.
According to a policy note released by state think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), the Philippines cannot afford another fiasco such as the seven-month truck ban in Metro Manila that cost the economy an estimated P43.85 billion.
Traffic congestion, mainly in Metro Manila, results in an estimated productivity loss of around P2.4 billion ($54 million) a day or more than P800 billion ($18 billion) a year, according to a World Bank blog.
The PIDS recommends a combination of short-term, medium-term and long-term solutions.
In the short term, PIDS said that policymakers could introduce caps, revive the freight operation of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) and establish 24-hour web-based booking system to improve the logistics chain.
But these have to be carried out together with a more strategic action, PIDS said. The government must invest heavily in capacity building at the ports and the train tracks, as well as rationalize future port development and investment programs in port infrastructure, said the government think-tank.
The recent PIDS report titled Port Congestion and Underutilization in the Greater Capital Region: Unpacking the Issues indicates that among the three major ports in the Greater Capital Region (Manila, Batangas, and Subic), the Port of Manila is widely used and most preferred by shippers, freight forwarders, logistics services providers, and truckers.
Shippers, consignees, and importers cite the proximity of the Port of Manila to their areas of operation as a deciding factor. The rates are also much more affordable, and the immediate availability of concerned government officials make transactions and release of goods much easier to carry out.
The Port of Manilas weakness, respondents complain, include bureaucratic red tape and the Bureau of Customs procedures.
In comparison, issues with the Port of Batangas pertain to the status of several services, including shipping schedules, availability of allied services providers, and cargo handling facilities.
The Port of Subic is cited for its poor shipping schedules and longer travel time to the port.
The policy study said that the truck ban revealed that volume restriction alone would not yield a catch-all solution. Considerations have to be factored in to make policies more effective.
Alongside possible incentives, like a price discount mechanism, capacity expansion has to be undertaken and non-price service attributes such as warehouse proximity have to be considered.
Volume restriction must be complemented by capacitating the other ports, commensurate to the volume of cargo and transaction that are targeted to be diverted from the Port of Manila, it added.
PIDS said reviving the freight train network from Bicol to La Union as an alternative cargo transport seems more problematic than promising. It said the train tracks are deteriorating and that the current level of freight traffic through Batangas is too small to consider it a major source of potential base traffic for freight railway.
Furthermore, PIDS said the freight railway would only be able to carry a certain volume, thus having a negligible effect on the congestion and traffic caused and experienced by the ports.//

Author: Ted P. Torres
Date: April 19, 2015
Source: Philippine Star

Babylin Malacasta loaned half a million pesos to build her dream home when she heard that a bridge will be constructed to connect Barangay Dialaoyao to the Palanan town proper. Her trip to the Municipal Trial Court where she works would be easier. And the best part, she wouldnt have to move away from the community she grew up in. All seemed well.

But that was back in 2008. Seven years later, Babylin chose to live with her cousin instead. The bridge is still unfinished and she has lost faith that it would one day be functional. Her P 500,000 went down the drain. What was constructed of her dream home now serves as parking space for her brothers motorcycles.

Babylin is only one of the many residents in Isabela who are affected by defective bridges. Sadly, even though a huge chunk of the peoples taxes are spent on hard projects, the Philippines remains at the bottom rung of ASEAN countries in terms of quality of infrastructure.

According to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and the 2013 Global Competitiveness Report, Philippine infrastructure ranked 98th out of 144 countries in the world, and ranked second to the last in ASEAN countries " besting only one nation, Vietnam.

The said report manifests itself in many defective roads, buildings, and bridges across the archipelago " and Filipinos are paying the price.


The construction of the Dibenbenan Bridge in Palanan, Isabela was initiated in 2007 by former Mayor Natividad Bernardo, mother of the municipalitys current mayor. It will link distant barangays to the towns poblacion.




However, both ends of Dibenbenan bridge remain unfinished, rendering the whole project useless for eight years.



Residents have to be crafty if they want to cross to the other side " but most of the time, its at the expense of safety.


The Local Government of Palanan loaned a total of P47 million pesos from the Land Bank of the Philippines for the construction of Dibenbenan bridge and the Palanan River Control project in Brgy. Centro West. Both projects still have not seen completion though it was stated that they have to be done in a year.

The contracts for the bridge and the river control project were awarded to GEM Construction and Supply. The company was later renamed as Megashine Builders Corporation. Megashine has a Triple A classification in the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board, but their office could not be located.


Like the Dibenbenan bridge, GEM Construction and Supply also abandoned the Palanan River Control project. According to the Commision on Audit, only 50 percent of the river control was finished since its construction in 2007.



The supposed five-minute trip to Palanans poblacion becomes a 30-minute struggle for residents " some of whom are already paying for the multi-million peso loan with their taxes without benefitting from it.




In Cabagan, Isabela, residents take extra measures of precaution when crossing the Cansan-Bagutari Overflow Bridge especially at night or when rain is falling. There are no streetlights to help drivers navigate in the dark, making the bridge prone to accidents. (Photo by Orlando Figueroa)



The bridge also slopes dangerously in the middle, causing drivers to lose control of their speed and balance. Often, they fall into the river. These accidents have irked the residents in Cabagan " especially because it has been five years but efforts to fix the problem were either bandaid measures, like installing temporary steel barriers that gather rust over time, or non-existent. (Photo by Orlando Figueroa)





In dismay, some residents opt to take a boat instead. (Photo by Orlando Figueroa)




Even the dead find it hard to reach their destination because of the Pigalo Bridge in Angadanan, Isabela. Many people have no choice but to cross it because it is the easiest way to reach the neighboring town of San Guillermo. In the name of saving time, residents risk their lives everyday just to get to the other side.



Typhoons have caused Pigalo bridges side to give way, making it impossible for vehicles to cross even if the river water is low. Only bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians can pass through it now. According to the residents, the bridge has been in this sorry state since 2011. (Photo by Orlando Figueroa)




Even though a huge portion of Pigalo bridge is submerged in water, repairing it is taking an awful lot of time. In 2012, Angadanan Mayor Lourdes Panganiban asked the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for P520 million to repair the 20-year-old bridge. It was endorsed by ASEC Maria Catalina Cabral.

After three years and a series of exchanges between the House of Representatives, DPWH, and the LGU, Pigalo bridge is still not fixed. The cost for repairing it was narrowed down to P454.4 million.

House bills have also been drafted to make Pigalo bridge a national road " which means the funds will come from the national government and will, therefore, make reconstruction easier. (Photo by Orlando Figueroa)

Meanwhile, taxpayers grit their teeth while bearing the consequences of building substandard infrastructure projects. (Photo by Orlando Figueroa)

What can you say about the state of the bridges in Isabela, Kapuso? Are there similar concerns in your province? Tell us in the comments! -


Author: Princess Daquigan
Date: April 17, 2015
Source: GMA News

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) generated a measly net amount of P885 million from the public auctions of forfeited goods in 2014, compared with P200 billion in revenues the government loses from smuggling.
A report released on Friday by the Customs bureaus Public Information and Assistance Division (PAID) showed that of the total 2014 auction revenue, around 95 percent or P837 million were generated from the Port of Manila (POM) and the Manila International Container Port (MICP), the bureaus flagship ports.
The remaining 5 percent came from outports where many of the high-value prohibited and regulated importations, like rice, sugar and ukay-ukay or used clothing, among others, were intentionally diverted for fast and easy facilitation.
The auctioned goods, more often than not, were usually bought through a third person by the importer himself.
I only have the figures from the intelligence group, P1.5 billion estimated value of goods issued warrant of seizure and detention and initiation of abandonment proceedings, Crisostomo told The Manila Times in a text message.
The two intelligence and the enforcement groups were used to be headed by one deputy commissioner, but was made into two separate units allegedly for political accommodation.
It is open knowledge that Dellosa and Nepomuceno are feuding, because of the overlapping functions of their units and swapping allegations of corruption.
But even as the amount generated from public auction pales in comparison to the billions of pesos in lost revenues, Crisostomo claimed that the amount still surpassed the bureaus auction revenue target.
He said the MICP district office conducted a record 17 public auctions generating a total of P580 million, which is 346 percent higher compared to its full-year 2014 auction revenue target of P130 million.
On the other hand, the POM conducted six public auctions that generated P257 million, or 150 percent over its revenue target of P103 million.
Other collection districts which contributed to the bureaus 2014 auction revenue included the Ports of Cebu with P48 million, Port of Subic with P636,679, and the Ninoy Aquinto International Airport Collection District with P43,000.
The auctions, according to Commissioner John Sevilla, helped in decongesting the ports, which cost the national economy about P43.85 billion, based on a report by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.//


Author: William B. Depasupila
Date: April 17, 2015
Source: Manila Times

SOME of the cargo coming from and/or leaving the port of Manila should be diverted to two other facilities located in the North and South of the Philippine capital, a state-run think tank said in a policy note.

The Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) made this recommendation in a policy note as part of short-, medium- and long-term initiatives to curb and eventually avert port congestion in Manila.

The policy note, entitled Port Congestion and Underutilization in the Greater Capital Region: Unpacking the Issues, which was published last month, recommended that a cap be imposed on the capacity of Manilas ports and divert cargo traffic to and from the Manila International Container Terminal and the Manila South Harbor to the Subic and Batangas Ports.

Cargoes bound for or coming from the south of Manila should call on the Batangas Port while those bound for or coming from the north of Manila should call on the Subic Port, a recommendation of the PIDS policy note read.

Citing 2014 data from the National Economic and Development Authority, the PIDS said that the two Manila ports have an average utilization rate of 79%, with both having a combined volume of 2,884,029 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) vis--vis the total capacity of 3.7 million TEUs.

On the other hand, the Batangas port only has a 7.8% utilization rate while the Subic port has 6.3%.

For the short term, the same study urged the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. to revive the Philippine National Railways freight operation to its inland container depot in Calamba City in the Southern Tagalog province of Laguna, particularly during off-peak hours. The PIDS also suggested to roll out a 24-hour Web-based integrated truck dispatching, appointment and booking system to improve the logistics chain.

For the medium term, PIDS said that the government should adopt a rationalization plan for future port development and investment programs for ports in the Greater Capital Region in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.

The think tank also recommended the creation of an interagency Land Identification and Acquisition Committee that would identify potential port relocation or expansion sites.

For the long term, the PIDS suggested that the government draft a national multimodal transport and logistics development plan.//


Author: Alden M. Monzon
Date: April 16, 2015
Source: BusinessWorld

Patients Beyond Borders, a US-based industry resource, estimates that the global market for medical tourism is expanding by 25 percent per year. In 2013, revenues reached $55 billion, accounting for 11 million patients from all parts of the world.
Medical tourism started in the 1980s when Latin American countries Costa Rica and Brazil offered cheap dental, cosmetic, and other medical services to North American and European patients. This slowly developed into the multi-billion-dollar industry it is today, as developing world health systems improved, global aviation links spread and the Internet broadened patients options.
Today, several developing nations in Asia promote medical services 80 percent cheaper compared to developed nations, packaging trips that combine medical procedures and a little beach time.
With the intention of turning the Philippines into a medical tourism hub, President Marcos established medical centers of excellence, namely, the Philippine Heart Center, the National Lung Center, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and the Philippine Childrens Medical Center.
Three decades later, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) revealed that even with hospitals in place and medical services outpricing its Asian competitors, the country continues to get a miniscule share of the market.
In 2007, the Department of Health recorded a mere P2.91 billion in total revenues of 17 hospitals from medical tourists while nations like Malaysia earned an average of $200 million a year.
In a 2010 study, the Philippines only ranked 11th in the top 15 destinations of medical tourists in the world, with Thailand and Singapore in the top two slots. In that same study, we placed 5th among East and South Asian nations.
According to the 2013 PIDS study, one of the problems that the Philippines faces is the lack of information such as medical tourist arrivals, expenditures, and services. Another observation was that unlike Malaysia, Philippine accreditation focuses more on tourism aspect of the facilities rather than improving patient and safety care.
Government should jumpstart its efforts to get its rightful share of the global medical tourism market.
The PIDS suggests that the DTI, DOH, and DOT should do more research and analytical work and consider promotion of the industry through visa facilitation, trade fairs organization and participation by consular offices abroad.
It should encourage upgrading of medical facilities through fiscal incentives. Government should also address infrastructure bottlenecks especially airports, roads and transport that facilitate access to tourist destinations.//
E-mail: angara.ed@gmail.com


Author: Edgardo Angara
Date: April 14, 2015
Source: Manila Bulletin

Patients Beyond Borders, a US-based industry resource, estimates that the global market for medical tourism is expanding by 25 percent per year. In 2013 revenues reached $55 billion, accounting for 11 million patients from all parts of the world.
Medical tourism started in the 1980s, when Latin American countries Costa Rica and Brazil offered cheap dental, cosmetic and other medical services to North American and European patients. This slowly developed into the multibillion-dollar industry it is today, as developing world health systems improved, global aviation links spread and the Internet broadened patients options.
Today several developing nations in Asia promote medical services 80-percent cheaper compared to developed nations, packaging trips that combine medical procedures and a little beach time.
With the intention of turning the Philippines into a medical tourism hub, President Marcos established medical centers of excellence, namely, the Philippine Heart Center, the National Lung Center, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute and the Philippine Childrens Medical Center.
Three decades later, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) revealed that even with hospitals in place and medical services outpricing its Asian competitors, the country continues to get a miniscule share of the market.
In 2007 the Department of Health (DOH) recorded a mere P2.91 billion in total revenues of 17 hospitals from medical tourists, while nations like Malaysia earned an average of $200 million a year.
In a 2010 study, the Philippines only ranked 11th in the top-15 destinations of medical tourists in the world, with Thailand and Singapore in the top 2 slots. In that same study, we placed fifth among East and South Asian nations.
According to the 2013 PIDS study, one of the problems the Philippines faces is the lack of information such as medical tourist arrivals, expenditures and services. Another observation was that unlike Malaysia, Philippine accreditation focuses more on the tourism aspect of the facilities rather than improving patient and safety care.
The government should jumpstart its efforts to get its rightful share of the global medical tourism market.
The PIDS suggests that the Department of Trade and Industry, DOH and Department of Tourism should do more research and analytical work and consider promotion of the industry through visa facilitation, trade fairs organization and participation by consular offices abroad.
It should encourage the upgrading of medical facilities through fiscal incentives. The government should also address infrastructure bottlenecks, especially airports, roads and transport that facilitate access to tourist destinations.

E-mail: angara.ed@gmail.com.


Author: Edgardo Angara
Date: April 13, 2015
Source: Business Mirror

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) yesterday maintained that all P3.6-billion Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds provided for 110 state universities and colleges (SUCs) are properly accounted for.
In a statement, CHED said the unliquidated amount in 2013 has already been reduced and liquidation reports have been properly accomplished as of December 2014.
Further, the remaining balance or unused funds were automatically reverted to the National Treasury at the end of the year, added the commission.
The agency stressed that every SUC has its own COA audit team and that one factor that contributed to the delayed submission of reports is the late release of their audited liquidation reports.
The commission earlier said the DAP funds provided the much needed boost to the 2011 and 2012 budget for SUCs and were distributed in accordance with the joint guidelines approved by DBM and CHED.
This occurred prior to the release of the Supreme Court decision concerning the unconstitutionality of the DAP in July 2014, the agency said.
In its report released last week, COA said CHED received a total of P4.063 billion from the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies in December 2011.//


Author: Janvic Mateo
Date: April 10, 2015
Source: Philippine Star

State think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies said the revival of national railways can be an alternate solution to the logistics problem of traders in Luzon.
PIDS fellow Epictetus Patalinghug, Gilberto Llanto, Alexis Fillone, Noriel Tiglao, Christine Ruth Salazar, Cherry Ann Madriaga and Ma. Diyina Gem Arbo said in their paper the improvement of railway system in the country could help ease traffic and congestion in ports.
The revival of the Philippine National Railway network from Bicol region to La Union can provide a convenient and alternative way to travel and ship cargo in the Luzon area, they said.
International Container Terminal Services Inc., according to the paper, operated a rail-based transport system between the Manila International Container Terminal and the Calamba Inland Container Depot from 1997 to 2003 but the government considered the route unsustainable.
The system was terminated because the trains could not run at the desired speed and be punctual due to the deteriorating conditions of the rail tracks, the study authors said.
Furthermore, there were long turnarounds and waiting times because only one train set was in operation, they added.
The study showed the current level of freight traffic through Batangas was too small to consider it a major source of potential base traffic.
In 2014, the average speed in road segments designated as truck routes during peak hours was 5.2 kilometers per hour compared with the average speed of 16.57 kph for all other roads.
Simulation results showed that only 4.1 percent of the estimated volume of truck freight would be shifted to rail transport during peak and non-peak hours.
Meanwhile, the Finance Department chief economist Gil Beltran said aside from rail transport, the construction of the South Luzon Expressway and North Luzon Expressway extensions would help ease the logistics problem.
He added while others saw traffic and congestions as nuisance, these were signs of a good problem.
This means that we have a moving economy. We have been a laggard for the past decades that is why our infrastructures was not able to adjust to such events [economy growing beyond five percent], Beltran said.
The chief economist also said since the government was looking at higher growth rates for the economy in the next two years, Filipinos would continue to see congestion and traffic.
But, if the Skyway, the NLEx and SLEx connectors will be built in time, we will be able to have some room to move, Beltran said.//


Author: Jennifer Ambanta
Date: April 12, 2015
Source: Manila Standard Today

State think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies said the revival of national railways can be an alternate solution to the logistics problem of traders in Luzon.
PIDS fellow Epictetus Patalinghug, Gilberto Llanto, Alexis Fillone, Noriel Tiglao, Christine Ruth Salazar, Cherry Ann Madriaga and Ma. Diyina Gem Arbo said in their paper the improvement of railway system in the country could help ease traffic and congestion in ports.
The revival of the Philippine National Railway network from Bicol region to La Union can provide a convenient and alternative way to travel and ship cargo in the Luzon area, they said.
International Container Terminal Services Inc., according to the paper, operated a rail-based transport system between the Manila International Container Terminal and the Calamba Inland Container Depot from 1997 to 2003 but the government considered the route unsustainable.
The system was terminated because the trains could not run at the desired speed and be punctual due to the deteriorating conditions of the rail tracks, the study authors said.
Furthermore, there were long turnarounds and waiting times because only one train set was in operation, they added.
The study showed the current level of freight traffic through Batangas was too small to consider it a major source of potential base traffic.
In 2014, the average speed in road segments designated as truck routes during peak hours was 5.2 kilometers per hour compared with the average speed of 16.57 kph for all other roads.
Simulation results showed that only 4.1 percent of the estimated volume of truck freight would be shifted to rail transport during peak and non-peak hours.
Meanwhile, the Finance Department chief economist Gil Beltran said aside from rail transport, the construction of the South Luzon Expressway and North Luzon Expressway extensions would help ease the logistics problem.
He added while others saw traffic and congestions as nuisance, these were signs of a good problem.
This means that we have a moving economy. We have been a laggard for the past decades that is why our infrastructures was not able to adjust to such events [economy growing beyond five percent], Beltran said.
The chief economist also said since the government was looking at higher growth rates for the economy in the next two years, Filipinos would continue to see congestion and traffic.
But, if the Skyway, the NLEx and SLEx connectors will be built in time, we will be able to have some room to move, Beltran said.//


Author: Jennifer Ambanta
Date: April 12, 2015
Source: Select Article Source

THE Commission on Higher Education on Thursday maintained that over P3.683 billion in Disbursement Acceleration Program funds of the state universities and colleges as of Dec. 31, 2013 are properly accounted for.
The annual Commission on Audit reports executive summary, which was posted on the COA website last March 31, 2015, outlined observations and recommendations on CHEd accounts and operations in 2013, its official statement sent to The Standard read.
It also narrated CHEds courses of action based on the agreements in the Commissions exit conference with CoA in September 2014.
CHEd said they used DAP funds from the Office of the President prior to the Supreme Courts affirmation of the funds unconstitutionality.
On June 27, 2014, letters were issued to and received by the 110 SUCs involved, reiterating the need to submit audited liquidation reports.
To date, the unliquidated amount in 2013 has been reduced and liquidation reports properly accomplished as of December 2014, the Commission said.
Further, the remaining balance or unused funds were automatically reverted to the National Treasury at the end of the said year.
The Office of the Chairperson of CHEd reacted to a news report anchored on CoAs Annual Audit Reports for Calendar Year 2013 posted on CoAs official website that 110 government-owned schools have yet to account for over P3.683 billion in DAP funds.
According to CoA, CHEd received P4.063 billion from the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Social Welfare and Development and Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in December 2011.
Some P3.825 billion was transferred to the SUCs between July 2012 and December 2013.
At least P238 million went to administrative and other expenses, while Of the amount transferred to state-owned schools, while P3.638 billion or 95.11 percent remained unliquidated as of Dec. 31, 2013 in violation of the rules under CoA Circular No. 94-013 issued on Dec. 31, 1994 and the memoranda of agreement entered into among CHEd, SUCs and other source agencies.
While CHED has been strictly complying with CoA requirements particularly CoA Circular No. 94-013, it is stressed that each SUC has its own CoA Audit Team to ensure that their expenditures are in accordance with state accounting and auditing rules and regulations, CHEds statement further read.
CHEd said one factor that contributed to the delayed submission of the SUCs reports to CHEd was the late release of their audited liquidation reports.
In 2011, the DAP investment was intended to enhance the capacity of SUCs to modernize and upgrade infrastructure and facilities, fund research, development and extension, activities to benefit their communities, strengthen the capability of SUC executives and provide access for poor, but deserving students.
According to CHEd, in 2014, during the deliberation of the 2015 CHEd budget, they reported to the House of Representatives that DAP funds provided the much-needed boost to the SUCs 2011 and 2012 budgets and was distributed in accordance with the joint guidelines approved by DBM and CHEd in 2011.
This occurred prior to the release of the Supreme Court decision concerning the unconstitutionality of the DAP in July 2014, it noted.
DAP was a stimulus package under the Office of the President designed to fast track public spending and push economic growth through the implementation of high-impact budgetary programs and projects that had been augmented out of the savings derived during the year and additional revenue sources.
Budget Secretary Florencio Butch Abad introduced DAP, which was approved by President Benigno Aquino III on Oct. 12, 2011.
On Feb. 3, the Supreme Court upheld its July 2014 decision with modifications, declaring DAP or the so-called presidential pork barrel, as unconstitutional.//

Author: Rio N. Araja
Date: April 10, 2015
Source: Manila Standard Today

CEBU, Philippines - The Philippines is encouraged to strengthen its medical tourism programs to attract the growing number of medical tourists, specifically those from the United Kingdom.
British Ambassador to the Philippines and Palau Asif Anwar Ahmad said that in a country where medical professionals are the world's sought-after, medical tourism potential should be used as leverage.
Retirees, who are considering to acquire second home properties in tropical countries like the Philippines, start to travel as medical tourists, he said.
Like other foreign dignitaries, Ahmad expressed his confidence that Cebu has stronger advantage as a preferred medical tourism destination because of its strategic location and diverse tourism option.
Earlier, Philippine Retirement Authority general manager Veredigno Atienza said that the government will aggressively promote the country as a destination for the worlds retirees.
Atienza said that the agency must do more roadshows and conferences which are aimed at distinct focused audiences.
PRA is now focusing on the countrys leading source countries such as China, South Korea, and Japan.
Atienza said PRA is leveraging developments in age-friendliness, tourism, healthcare and Department of Tourisms Its more fun in the Philippines campaign to boost the Philippine position further in the international retirement rankings.
He said the Philippines needs to compete with global competitors which are offering more aggressive retirement programs.
Because of this, PRA is expected to launch more product innovations designed to lure more retirees to the country.
He said the Philippines hopes to attract one to 10 million foreign retirees in the next six years.
Cebu on the other hand, is starting to attract medical tourists availing of the light medical services like dental, cosmetics, and other similar services, said Cebu Health and Wellness Council (CHWC) vice chairperson Jenny Franco.
Franco said Cebus positioning is working on its advantage, while its capability to offer hard-core medical services such as Kidney transplant, among others can be done in Manila.
On the other hand, Franco said that Cebu is now is the top choice destination for light procedures in medical services, like executive check up, cosmetic treatment and surgery, dental, combined with leisure and wellness activities.
Based on recent study released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), the Philippines has market niches in elective surgery, stem cell therapy, aesthetic and cosmetic/plastic surgery, dental care and wellness treatment, among others.
The lack of sustained Philippine marketing campaign abroad has been pointed as a major shortcoming of medical tourism in the country, the PIDS study underscored. " (FREEMAN)

Author: Ehda M. Dagoon
Date: April 08, 2015
Source: Freeman

MANILA, Philippines - More than a hundred state universities and colleges (SUCs) have yet to account for more than P3.683 billion in Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds, according to a 2013 Commission on Audit (COA) report released last week.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said it sent letters to 110 government-owned schools on June 27, 2014 requiring the submission of liquidation reports.
State auditors said the funds came from three different government agencies for the purpose of improving services and facilities.
The COA report said CHED received a total of P4.063 billion from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in December 2011.
Some P3.825 billion was transferred to SUCs between July 2012 to December 2013, while the amount of P238 million was retained for administrative and other expenses.
Of the amount transferred to state-owned schools, COA auditors said P3.638 billion or 95.11 percent remained unliquidated as of Dec. 31, 2013 that is a violation of the rules under COA Circular No. 94-013 dated Dec. 31, 1994 and the memoranda of agreement between the CHED with the source agencies and the SUCs.
The audit team acknowledged that state-owned academic institutions are facing two major challenges, which include the need to provide access to quality higher education and to generate/adapt/transfer technologies that would efficiently and effectively enhance productivity, alleviate poverty and improve the countrys state of competitiveness.
Since addressing these challenges requires substantial investments, the government provided financial assistance to CHED through DAP funds for the important task of rationally allocating funding resources pursuant to the principal guidelines based on and aligned with the Roadmap for Public Higher Education Reform.
Funds from the DPWH were intended for infrastructure and facilities upgrading and modernization, while money from the DSWD and PIDS were for the implementation of Students Grants-in-Aid for Poverty Alleviation, among others.
But after auditing the financial records of CHED, the COA report said recipient SUCs failed to submit the verified liquidation reports and status of project implementation for the DAP funded projects implemented by them.//

Author: Michael Punongbayan
Date: April 07, 2015
Source: Philippine Star

At least 100 state universities and colleges have yet to account for P3.683 billion in Disbursement Acceleration Program funds, according to a 2013 report posted last week on the Commission on Audits website.
The Commission on Higher Education told CoA that it had already sent letters to 110 government-owned schools on June 27 last year, requiring the submission of liquidation reports.
CoA said CHEd received P4.063 billion from the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Social Welfare and Development and Philippine Institute for Development Studies in December 2011.
At least P3.825 billion was transferred to the SUCs between July 2012 and December 2013.
The amount of P238 million was retained for administrative and other expenses.
Of the amount transferred to state-owned schools, P3.638 billion or 95.11 percent remained unliquidated as of December 31, 2013 in violation of the rules under CoA Circular No. 94-013 issued on Dec. 31, 1994 and the memoranda of agreement entered into among CHEd, SUCs and other source agencies.
CoA recognized that SUCs had been faced with two major challenges " the need to provide access to quality higher education and to generate, adapt or transfer technologies that would efficiently and effectively enhance productivity, alleviate poverty and improve the countrys state of competitiveness.
To arrest such issues would require substantial investments and the national governments assistance to CHEd through DAP funds for a roadmap for reforms for public higher education, it said.
Funds from the DPWH were intended for infrastructure and facilities upgrade and modernization, while those from the DSWD and PIDS were for the implementation of student grants-in-aid for poverty alleviation, among others.
After the audit of CHEds financial records, CoA said recipient SUCs failed to submit the verified liquidation reports and status of project implementation for the DAP-funded projects.
To ensure that the DAP Funds are properly utilized for the intended purpose/s, it is incumbent upon CHEd to regularly monitor, as a good management practice, the projects being undertaken by SUCs, including the periodic submission of the required progress/financial reports, its report stated.
Apart from sending letters to the 110 SUCs, CHEd said they also forwarded the status of the DAP funds as of June 30, 2014 and that a consolidated liquidation report was already being prepared.//

Author: Rio N. Araja
Date: April 07, 2015
Source: Manila Standard Today

A free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) will have a potential positive impact on the Philippine agricultural sector, but the gains are not likely to be that substantial, according to the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS).

In a recent study, PIDS said the overall impact of a Philippine-EU FTA, which calls for the removal of both tariff and non-tariff barriers, could lead to just a slight increase in output for most agricultural commodities.

The study authors Roehlano Briones and Ivory Myka Galang explained that potential agricultural trade from an FTA will likely be small owing to the minimal volume of initial trade with EU. They pointed out that exports to the EU account for just about a quarter of Philippine overall agricultural exports.

In addition, the vast distance entails high transportation costs for local exporters. This means agricultural products that can be economically shipped from the Philippines to EU, and vice-versa, will likely be in processed form.

On the export side, the largest gains are projected for producers of seaweeds and sugarcane. Increased access to EU markets is favorable for Filipino exporters of seaweeds, other fiber crops, tobacco leaf, forestry, ornamental plants, raw coffee, abaca, and cocoa, the report said.

On the import side, nearly all sub-sectors are seen to receive slightly more imports. Standing to lose are local producers of cattle, raw rubber, chicken, and hogs. These products are projected to see a decline in output with the substantial rise in imports from EU. Cattle imports are seen to increase by 3.3%, chicken by 4.62%, and hog by 4.69%.

Rubber will also undergo output contraction entirely due to resource re-allocation within the domestic economy.

The study also addressed fears about the negative repercussions of a Philippine-EU FTA on the poor, saying these are unfounded. Poverty incidence especially in rural areas will decline, with those who belong to households below the poverty threshold getting the most benefits.

The agriculture sector accounts for one-eighth of economic output and has exhibited the lowest growth compared with industry and services. However, it remains an important sector for inclusive growth.

More than a third of the labor force depends on agriculture for employment, and poverty levels are high. The study noted that poverty incidence among agricultural households in 2009 was 40% as against only 19% among non-agricultural households.

The overall impact of Philippines-EU FTA in the agricultural sector is positive but limited, the study said. It would seem that expectations of large benefits from a Philippines-EU FTA will not be found in agriculture, but elsewhere.

The authors said: Conversely, the agricultural sector does not face significant harm from a Philippines-EU FTA, even one involving sensitive products.

The relaxation of trade barriers even for sensitive products is warranted because not only would consumers gain but such a negotiation stance may serve as a powerful bargaining chip for gaining concessions on other areas, the study added.

Author:
Date: April 02, 2015
Source: Manila Bulletin