PIDS in the News Archived (August 2016)

IF the Duterte administration wants to improve tax collection, local economists said it would take more than just the Presidents popularity to encourage Filipinos to pay their dues.

Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay earlier told the BusinessMirror that the Presidents popularity can be used to encourage taxpayers to voluntarily file their taxes.

However, economists, like Ateneo de Manila Eagle Watch senior fellow Dr. Alvin Ang, believe this is not enough, since taxes are emotional for Filipinos and the process involved is very complicated.

Tax is an emotional issue to people as it touches on income. Its better to fix the agencys processes and simplify them, Ang said.


Not many want to pay their taxes, but if the BIR [Bureau of Internal Revenue] simplifies their processes, maybe more will be encouraged. Filipinos who need to pay taxes are forced to pay, but they encounter difficulties in paying, so they resort to illegal means, he explained.
Ang said the process of paying taxes should be simple enough that even sari-sari store owners (micro retailers) who want to pay taxes can do so without encountering difficulties.

Simplifying processes can also help improve tax effort, which, Ang said, is currently pegged at around 15 percent. He also estimates that less than 40 percent of those working and earning incomes are paying taxes.

He added that improving the tax effort should, in fact, be the focus of the administration, especially since the Duterte administration wants to cut tax rates. University of Asia and the Pacific School of Economics Dean Cid Terosa added that tax-collection efficiency and tax-monitoring efficiency should be given focus.

Currently, Ang said the BIR does not even have sufficient data, such as those needed to determine how much tax is being generated from working Filipinos per capita. This is part of tax-monitoring efforts that need to be improved. I believe President Dutertes popularity can provide momentum or inertia, but the task of raising tax revenues will require more than that. I believe that raising tax-collection efficiency and tax-monitoring effectivity should be pursued vigorously, he added.

Terosa also said it would also do well to focus on improving the tax collection among high- and middle-income Filipinos.

I think the focus should be on the high- and middle-income classes. Our middle-income class isnt big enough to shoulder the burden of financing government, he added.

In April the World Bank said the next administration needs to overhaul the tax system to plug the countrys inclusive growth investment deficit of P900 billion.

In a report, the World Bank said the Philippines needs to increase its investment in the infrastructure and social services sectors to 6.8 percent of GDP.

The government, the World Bank said, must also index tax rates and valuations to inflation, particularly the petroleum excise taxes and property valuations.

In a recent forum, experts from the Philippine Institute of the Development Studies (PIDS), the Department of Finance and Tax Management Association of the Philippines agree that the countrys tax system needs to change.

The countrys personal-income tax (PIT), specifically, has not been updated since the 1997. This has resulted in what is called bracket creep, where low-income taxpayers hurt more than their high-income counterparts.

Bracket creep, PIDS senior research fellow Rosario G. Manasan explained, has occurred because of the non-indexation to inflation of PIT brackets. This means that the coverage of each tax bracket does not take into consideration the current value of the peso.

Author: Cai Ordinario
Date: August 01, 2016
Source: Business Mirror

The Duterte administration should allow businesses more flexibility when it comes to their manpower requirements, taking into account the nuances of certain industries, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said on Monday.
The PCCI made this pronouncement after President Duterte again warned that he will shut down businesses if they will continue to practice contractualization, or endo.
PCCI President George T. Barcelon said they are willing to dialogue with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), but the government should avoid blanket policies related to endo.
Remember that there is really cyclical employment in some industries. [Ending contractualization] cant apply to all sectors, Barcelon said.
[My business before], for example, has to hire more employees toward the end of the year, as we have to deliver goods to North America by summer the following year. But business slows by the first or second quarter, he added.
While seasonal employment is different from endo, or the practice of giving a worker a five-month contract, Barcelon said the governments policies on this should be clear.
He warned that the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises, which usually resort to hiring workers on a short-term basis, could be hampered if the government would be too stringent on its labor policies.
Barcelon said the government and the private sector should work closely to ensure that the Duterte administrations labor policies would not lead to the loss of jobs. Contractualization is not just a practice in the private sector. Thats done by the government, as well, so wed like to coordinate and have a dialogue with the Dole, he said.
Dr. Aniceto C. Orbeta Jr., research fellow of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, said contractualization is not that simple. Orbeta said the government must carefully study the reasons why firms resort to contractualization.
These reasons are varied, such as the nature of their business or the level of trust accorded to employees.
He said some businesses, such as construction firms, would often veer away from hiring long-term employees because they are engaged in seasonal work, adding that buildings do not take forever to construct.
For some jobs, it requires firms to know the workers before they will commit to them. You dont want to trust your whole household to someone who is not trustworthy. It requires as much trust or as much skill. We dont presume to know [all the reasons], Orbeta said.
Since companies do not really declare their hiring strategies, Orbeta said the government may find it hard to pinpoint which businesses actually resort to contractualization.
What is needed, he said, is to give firms and employees flexibilities.
If you ban contractualization, what happens to those jobs? How can you operate? Forcing companies to hire permanent employees right away may be too expensive for them, Orbeta said.
Toothless memo
Last week, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III issued a memorandum reiterating the prohibition against labor-only contracting.
However, Bellos Labor Advisory 10 merely reiterated the current laws, which on paper prohibit labor-only contracting, but in practice still allows some employers to skirt the constitutional right of workers to security of tenure.
This is because under the current laws against labor-only contracting, a contractor or subcontractor may still engage workers who will work for another corporation for as long as the contractor or subcontractor would have the minimum P3 million in substantial capital or investment in the form of tools, machineries, work premises and other assets.
The workers may attain regular status with respect to the contractor or subcontractor only, but not with respect to the corporation where they are actually performing the work.
Repeal or amend
According to the acting dean of the University of the Philippiness School of Labor and Industrial Relations, the current laws still allow for contractualization of workers by providing for a process by which contractors or subcontractors may provide workers to another entity without being held liable for labor-only contracting.
Prof. Ma. Catalina M. Tolentino said unless Department Order 18-A is repealed or amended to disallow the arrangement wherein there is a middleman between the worker and a company, contractualization cannot be eradicated.
In effect, allowing contractors and subcontractors to operate still defeats the rationale of the laws to provide for a right of security of tenure of workers with respect to the corporation where they are actually rendering the service, and not merely with respect to the contractors or subcontractors.
Thus, only the blatant violations of the labor laws are actually punished by the government, such as the so-called 5-5-5 arrangements wherein the same workers are hired in cycles of five-month fixed-term employment periods which are particularly designed to prevent them from attaining regular status.
Workers elated
According to the Workers Assistance Center Inc. (WAC), a labor group supporting the establishment of a union in the Cavite-based C and F Manufacturing Philippines Corp., the threat from Mr. Duterte is a welcome development.
This is welcome news and a great relief especially for agency-supplied contractual workers whove been working in a company for years already without being considered as a regular worker of a company, WAC International Relations Officer Cecilia V. Tuico said.
Thank God for our President who knows how to walk the talk. But more than closing down these companies and entities, were looking forward for the regularization of these affected workers in the companies where they are working for, Tuico added.
WAC had brought to the DOLEs attention the allegations of union busting by C and F Manufacturing, which remains pending at the department.
On Monday Mr. Duterte reiterated his policy against contractualization and warned corporations to follow the labor laws and not wait for any inspection which will only result in the closure of their factories.
Dont wait for me to find out, because I will be unforgiving. You will not only lose your money, you will lose your pants. I will have no tolerance for you on this. Stop that; pay them the correct salaries. Stop contractualization. It will not do good to our country, Mr. Duterte said.
If I find out, I will just simply close your plant and I can always find a thousand reasons to do it, believe me, he added.
Mr. Duterte also reiterated his policy against illegal mining and warned mining companies not to use publicity against Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez to undermine her efforts against illegal mining operations.
He said the government could do away with the P40 billion in revenues, which they remit to the government.
I can do away with the P40 billion. You obey or we will survive as a nation without you. You try to castigate Gina Lopez for being strict and yet, you destroy the land, destroy the soil, then youre going to get rich out of it, Mr. Duterte said.
Those oligarchs who have foreign partners, you get rich at the expense of our native land. I will not allow it. I can forego the P40 billion I collect from you guys and the Filipinos will survive without you. Either you follow strictly government standards or you close up, he added.//

Author: David Cagahastian, Cai U. Ordinario, and Catherine N. Pillas
Date: August 01, 2016
Source: Business Mirror

MANILA, Philippines - State-run Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) is recommending the implementation of a competitive tendering for bus services along EDSA to address congestion and make commute easier.
In a new policy note, PIDS president Gilberto Llanto and researcher Hope Gerochi said the government should step in to define the type and quality of bus services that operators are expected to provide and bid out the right to operate along a designated route.
Llanto and Gerochi noted that this still fosters competition while encouraging bus companies to consolidate their operations.
Competition for the market provides an efficient policy framework for the bus consolidation strategy to work. A first step is for the regulator to define the type and quality of bus services that operators are expected to provide, they said.
This consists of a competitive tender of the right to service commuters along a designated highway of route, meaning, bus operators compete ex ante for the right to provide services in a particular bus route.
PIDS noted that the government, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in particular, has tried out various yet unsuccessful solutions to control and discipline the flow of buses along the countrys busiest highway. This includes the proposal for bus companies to consolidate their operations which was rejected by operators.
The policy note also stated that the government must also come up with a system of wages for bus drivers to do away with the familiar boundary system that has resulted to the boorish and accident prone behavior of bus drivers.
The government has to address this issue in designing a workable policy and institutional framework for urban bus markets, said PIDS.

The researchers recommended the use of smart cards to pay for conveyance in buses to centralize revenue collections.
Centralizing revenue collection (through beep cards) can also pave the way to shift the basis for paying operators from purely on the number of passengers carried to include performance elements such as kilometers traveled, on-time service, and other service indicators, they said.
PIDS said this policy framework has the potential to create a stronger incentive for numerous operators to consolidate their operations and invest more in new technology.
The competitive tendering mechanism also ensures that only the most efficient bidder can provide services in the market at a specified price or condition or criteria, it said.
It clarified, however, that the application of the framework does not necessarily result in monopoly as more than one company would be allowed to operate a route to maintain competition. This system is being implemented in other countries.
Where only one operator per route is appropriate, costs and performance can be benchmarked against the performance of similar bus operators, said PIDS.
The government, in this case, should develop the capacity, if it does not yet have this, to design or define the optimal market structure.//

Author: Czeriza Valencia
Date: August 01, 2016
Source: Philippine Star

Approximately 70 percent of our legislators come from political dynasties. Forty percent of them have ties to legislators as far as three Congresses prior. In the study by Pablo Querubin (holder of a doctors degree in economics, MIT) of New York University, 77 percent of legislators between the ages 26 and 40 are also dynastic, indicating that the malaise has metastasized to the second and third generations of political dynasties in the Philippines. Contrast that to the last US Congress where only 6 percent of members belonged to dynasties.

Dynasties restrict choice. Beatriz Paterno (The Philippines Must Break the Power of Political Dynasties, Global Anticorruption Blog, December 2014) describes how one family fielded a staggering 80 of its family members in the 2013 elections. Nancy Binay must be reminded that in the Philippines, votes are sold to the highest bidder"the fatter the dynasty, the bigger the amount for vote-buying. When suffrage is for sale, the voice of the people is not the voice of God. No rocket scientist is needed to figure that out.
In fact, political dynasties devalue suffrage because they work against political inclusiveness. When power is concentrated in one family, political accountability becomes the next casualty.
Corruption and then impunity lie not far behind.
The study made by the AIM Policy Center (Ronald Mendoza [masters and doctors degrees in economics, Fordham University], Edsel Beja, Victor Venida, David Yap) shows the correlation of political dynasties and their inimical effects on social development. Dynastic politicians tend to be more affluent than nondynastic politicians; legislators who belong to political dynasties also win by wider margins relative to those who are not clan members (more public money to steal and buy votes with?); on average they can be found on jurisdictions that have relatively higher inequality and poverty levels.
From 2004 to 2013, there was a 47-percent increase of Philippine dynasties. Provinces began with slight dynasties. By 2013, the dynasties became fatter. A dynasty is fat if there are multiple family members occupying various elected offices in the province during the same term, the sabay-sabay variety. The fattest dynasties or those with the most number of family members in elective office are seen to be concentrated in the poorest regions of the country.
Poverty breeds strong patron-client relationships. Voters vote according to utang na loob (debt of gratitude). It is not just meaningful choice that is taken away from the voter. Dynasties are hotbeds of corruption. They also undermine the rule of law.
Paterno relates: After one representative was found guilty of murdering the sons of his political rival, his seat in the House was taken over by his wife, ensuring that the family name remained relevant long enough for him to seek reelection after the appellate court cleared him of all charges.
Politicians regale us with political gobbledygook when arguing for dynasties. They actually lose sight of the ultimate aim. Passing the bill into law will allow more Filipinos to participate in politics and governance, thus effecting political inclusiveness through equal opportunity. Democracy is the one important dimension of an antidynasty bill.
A study cited by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies notes that in Latin American countries with similar political climates as the Philippines, there was growing evidence of improvements in the democratic processes after reforms against political dynasties were introduced. Countries with antidynasty regulations are Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, Colombia and Paraguay.
Framers of the 1987 Constitution were initially divided on banning political dynasties. Prodynasty proponents cried antidemocratic, arguing that it disqualifies competent and honest candidates from political families. What was reached was an impressively educated consensus"the effect of excluding a dynast was deemed far smaller than the exclusionary effect of many political candidates from humble backgrounds who had the misfortune of not belonging to political clans. It is in fact one of the most propoor provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
Benigno Aquino III vowed to ban dynasties when he ran in 2010. His terms recorded history tells us he abandoned that crusade. Now under a new administration elected as a harbinger of hope, it appears we are on the way instead to abandon all hopes. President Dutertes announcement of a constitutional assembly to amend our Constitution will do exactly what we reasonably fear"perpetuate political dynasties. Legislators are not the solution"they are the problem. Federalism"the perceived cure to the Manila-centric malady ailing the nation"is secondary only to the need to pass an antidynasty law. Without it, expect dynasties to become fatter in federal states.
The same goes true for a Bangsamoro political entity. It is doomed to fail without demolishing the power of the feudal royal families and the ruling political elite that fuel socioeconomic poverty, as is also true elsewhere in the Philippine countryside. Federalism will be mere talk and no walk.
To break the gangrenous cycle of dynasties, one method remains"a constitutional convention where family members, consanguineal or affinal, of political dynasties will be banned from running. It will be a bitter pill to swallow for our thieving politicians, but who cares about them? What should matter is the ultimate good for the greater populace. The new constitution to be crafted can be more forthright and defining of the ban on political dynasties.//

Author: Antonio Montalvan II
Date: August 01, 2016
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE tag line under the banner announcing the forum said it all.
"69 Billion Pesos, 100 Million Subscribers, 700 Megahertz, 2 Dominant Telcos, 1 Crappy Internet
That seemed to me a perfect way to summarize what is at stake with the P69 billion buyout by PLDT and Globe of San Miguel Corp.s telecommunication assets.
The buyout, now the subject of a court case in which the two giant telecommunications companies are seeking to stop the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) from doing its job, was the focus of a forum ]organized last week by the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA) and the Philippine chapter of Internet Society (ISOC PH).
Setting the tone for the forum hosted by the Ateneo School of Government, Dean Ron Mendoza described the buyout as an important test case on the policy of competition, as set out in the Philippine Competition Act of 2015.
In case you were too busy chasing Pokemon on your mobile phone to notice, here is the story so far.
Toward the end of May, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Globe Telecom announced that they would buy the telecommunication assets of San Miguel Corp. for P70 billion.
The crown jewels of the purchase is the right to use the 700-megahertz spectrum, which San Miguel had planned to use in partnership with Telstra of Australia to compete against the duopoly. The spectrum is significant because the 700-megahertz band is best at penetrating buildings and traveling long distances.
But San Miguels $1 billion deal with Telstra fell through, helped no doubt by heavy lobbying from both PLDT and Globe, which was pressuring the government to grant them a share of the spectrum, too"an outcome that would have cut the competitive advantage and profitability of San Miguels prospective joint venture. PLDT even threatened to go to court over the issue, adding an element of uncertainty to the viability of the new would-be competitor.
When Telstra backed out, PLDT and Globe agreed to split San Miguels telecommunications assets 50-50.
The sale was a coup for both carriers, which have dominated the industry by buying out smaller competitors"with PLDT gobbling up Digitel, which operated Sun Cellular, and Globe buying out Bayantel.
To nobodys surprise, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), which has always taken the side of the telcos over consumers, approved the buyout on the condition that PLDT and Globe would increase capacity, i.e., broadband and internet access speed within one year--without specifying what this actually meant.
When the newly formed Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) announced it would investigate the buyout because of anti-trust concerns, Globe and PLDT went to court separately to stop it, arguing that the commissions own transitory rules allowed them to go ahead with the deal.
When the Court of Appeals 6th Division threw out Globes request to stop the PCC from reviewing the deal, the telco sought to consolidate its petition with that of PLDT, which is still pending with the Appeals Courts 12th Division.
On July 28, the 6th Division approved the consolidation of the Globe and PLDT cases, over the objections of the PCC, which saw the move as a form of forum shopping.
Examining the economic implications of the deal during last weeks forum, Adora Navarro, senior research fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said allowing the deal to push through would make it highly unlikely that a third player would be able to enter the market to challenge the duopoly of PLDT and Globe.
This is unfortunate, because as Navarro noted, markets with three dominant players such as those in Malaysia and Thailand are more competitive than duopolies, which are prone to price collusion.
At the same forum, Greg Tangonan, a computer and communications engineering professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, said that from a technical perspective, allowing PLDT and Globe to buy up the right to use the 700MHz band would deprive consumers of more innovative applications such as interactive TV. He, too, said the entry of a third carrier would be better because the two dominant telcos have no incentive to innovate.
Commenting on the poor quality of services provided by PLDT and Globe, Tangonan said part of the problem was the gutless NTC.
Theyve been throttling back on their services to keep us on SMS and voice and we dont complain because we dont have the NTC on our side, he said.
While Tangonan held out hope that the NTC under the newly formed Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) would do better, that prospect looks unlikely at best, since the department is headed by none other than the former chief legal counsel of Globe.
The best hope, for now, then, is that the PCC be allowed to do its job.
As Winthrop Yu, chairman of ISOC PH, noted, it is clearly the mandate of the commission to ensure that consumers are not on the losing end of any business transaction, especially those that directly affect their daily lives. This mission, it seems clear to me, ought to trump any legal parsing of the transitory rules that PLDT and Globe are using to ram the deal down our throats.//

Author: Chin Wong,
Date: August 08, 2016
Source: Manila Standard Today

The early months of the Duterte administration is bringing fresh hopes of better Philippines-Chinese relationships which has given proponents of peace and progress through fair and equitable partnerships an opportunity to put forward suggestions for improving relationships. A structured sharing was crafted under the auspices of the Center for Philippine Studies and Institute of Southeast Asian Studies of Jinan University, Guangzhou China, and the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence, and Terrorism Research and the Philippine-Chinese Friendship Clubs. I joined other respected and recognized Chinese-Philippine analysts give their prognosis on the Future of Philippine-Chinese relationships: Beyond Conflict.
Mr. Chito Sta. Romana, a veteran Filipino journalist who has lived and worked in China for more than three decades, sees the election of President Duterte and his desire to open bilateral talks and improve relations with China as an opportunity for opening a new chapter in bilateral ties. But he considers major factors that have an impact " the legal victory attained by the Philippines in its arbitration case against China and the Chinese leaderships attitude of negating the arbitral tribunals ruling. He believes both sides will need a significant degree of creativity, flexibility, and pragmatism to find way forward. He considers the key challenge for both sides is to acknowledge and manage their differences as they explore areas of functional cooperation so they can co-exist peacefully as neighboring countries,
Professor Dai Fan, founder of the Center of Philippine Studies at Jinan University, postulates that a balancing policy between China and the United States may serve the Philippines national interest best.
Dr. Rommel C. Banloi, chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism and director of the Center of Intelligence and National Security Studies believes that beyond the South China Sea disputes, the Philippines and China can cooperate in many areas of common interests especially in countering the virulent threat of terrorism.
Dr. Ellen Palanca, director of Confucius Institute at the Ateneo de Manila University, analyzed and explained the trends of the various economic aspects of Philippines-China relations " trade, investments, loans and ODAs, and tourism " showing how global trade integration, global financial crisis, slowdown, and structural changes in Chinas economy explains the trends. However, Philippine domestic governance and political relations with China are important determinants for loans and ODAs from China.
Dr, Jay L. Batongbacal, the director of the UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea and recognized marine policy researcher, explained that the arbitration ruling has cleared the air and provides a good basis for bilateral talks and better relations in the future.
Prof. Lu Jian-Ren, chief research fellow of the China-ASEAN Research Institute of the Guangxi University, suggests the proper resolution of the South China Sea dispute, shelving disputes and move to joint development, start bilateral talks on economic cooperation, promote tourism, and strengthen cultural, people-to-people exchange.
Dr. Gilberto Llanto, president of the Philippines Institute for Development Studies, considers infrastructure as an important area of cooperation between the Philippines and China. China has technical and financial resources that should be tapped to address the infrastructure lack which is a binding constraint to Philippine growth. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, being a good vehicle to improve Philippine infrastructure and connectivity with East Asia and Southeast Asia, should make the Philippines ratify AIIB membership, allocate a budget for capital contribution, prepare the project pipeline, and negotiate co-financing.
Mr. Lucio Blanco Pitlo III, assistant professorial lecturer for International Studies at the De La Salle University, thinks that while disputes persist in the South China Sea, proximity and contiguity (by land and sea) can actually be used to foster mutually beneficial ties which can serve as foundations for improved relations and enduring regional peace and order.
General Victor Corpus, former chief, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, boldly offers a win-win solution by both sides agreeing to set aside the issue of sovereignty for the rest of the century; making clear that each party is not surrendering its claim so no one loses face. Then the win-win talks begin, leading to joint exploitation of fishery resources, exploration of oil, gas and other minerals, Manila as easternmost HUB of the maritime Silk Road of the 21st century.
Dr. Aaron Jed Rabena who recently obtained his PhD in International Relations from the School of Political Science and Public Administration at Shandong University, Jinan, underscores the need to understand the dynamics behind the China-Philippine tension and recommends potential management solutions/policy actions in easing the situation and advancing the bilateral structure of the relations.
Professor Ju Hai-Long, vice dean of the School of International Relations/Academy of Overseas Chinese, Jinan University, believes that the future development of Sino-Philippines relations relies on the choice of the Duterte administrations SCSs policy, the pressure that the US puts on the Philippines, and the scale that China and the Philippines cooperate science in the region.
Dr. Aileen Baviera, professor and former dean of the UP Asian Center, argues that from a Philippine perspective, managing the disputes with China will have to be undertaken at various levels and using different frames " the role the disputes play in perceptions of China as a security threat, the need to address the question of access and rights to the oceans resources, and the role the disputes play in regional integration.
Dr. You Hong-Bo, assistant professor of the School of International Relations, Sun Yat-sen University, traces the quick development of media diplomacy and argues that Weibo which has become an important tool of public diplomacy be used to better Philippine-China relations.
Ms. Mean Ang See, director of Bahay Tsinoy museum, explores how the Chinese in Philippines see their places in the SCS/WPS discourse and presented the result of an identity study done in 1995 and 2016.
Ms. Ivy Marie Ganadillo, university extension specialist at the University of the Philippines Diliman, poses the question " will the Chinese presence bridge the gap or pose suspicion between the two nations?
Wilson Lee Flores, a multi-awarded writer, college teacher, and real estate entrepreneur, contends that the generations of Chinese in the Philippines have always supported the promotion of Philippine-Chinese relations.
Having engaged China since the 80s " lectured in 7 Chinese universities, participated in joint media forums of ASEAN and China, negotiated the trade deals with Minister Wui which opened the door to Philippine banana exports, and held discussions with Communist Party officials on the Rule of Law and other Structural Reforms in China " I shared the belief that greater understanding of each other will allow Philippines and China to go beyond conflict. More responsible media will help improve Philippines- China relations.//

Author: Melito Salazar Jr.,
Date: August 07, 2016
Source: Manila Bulletin

MANILA, Philippines " A forum to boost the capacity of small- and medium- enterprises (SMEs) to contribute more to economic growth will be held this week.

The event themed Harnessing the Capacity of SMEs as Engines of Growth is sponsored by state-run think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and University of Southeastern Philippines at the latters campus in Davao City.

It would focus on the critical policies and programs to assist SMEs develop their capacity to become sustainable engines of growth and enhance their resilience to economic, sociopolitical, and environmental risks.

Two major research studies will be presented by PIDS senior research fellows Dr. Erlinda Medalla and Dr. Sonny Domingo during the forum.

In assessment of DTIs shared services facilities, Medalla would speak about SME development in the Philippines and the shared services facilities (SSF) program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The SSF project is a strategy employed by the DTI beginning in 2013 to improve the competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through the provision of machinery, equipment, and skills on a shared basis.//

Author: Czeriza Valencia
Date: August 08, 2016
Source: Philippine Star

MILLIONS of Filipinos, especially those in far-flung areas, live without electricity despite the intensified electrification program of the government.
The electrification rate in the Philippines stands at 87.5 percent, which means that nearly nine out of 10 households have access to electricity, according to the World Bank.
A research from government-owned think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said that at least 16 million Filipinos had no access to electricity in 2013.
That year, the countrys electrification rate was 83 percent. Urban electrification was at 94 percent and rural electrification stood at 73 percent.
In some off-grid areas, residents rely on the typical large hybrid solar battery installations to store energy from the sun. But this equipment is too pricey and dangerous to install.
A group from the University of the Philippines"Diliman hopes to minimize the cost of home solar installations by coming up with Jolt, a portable, high-energy capacity, multi-functional and easy-to-use energy storage device that can be connected to solar panels.
Basically, if you want to capture the suns energy, you have to find a way to store it. And
the only way is to install a hybrid system, project head Professor Joey Ocon of the Chemical Engineering department told The Manila Times.
Unfortunately, its very expensive to install solar panels plus batteries. And so our idea is to hasten the transformation to renewables, he added.
Through the invention, homeowners can directly charge the energy-storage device to solar panels.
It basically solves the complexity in storing and using energy from the sun, Ocon said.
Recently showcased at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City, the Jolt is based on cylindrical lithium-ion batteries, composed of an input-flexible charger (AC and DC), a step-down charger, a 48V battery pack with internally designed battery and passive heat management systems, a DC-AC inverter for three 220V outputs and three USB 5V 2A outputs.
It can power three laptops. You can also charge appliances and fast charge easy devices like smart phones simultaneously, Ocon said.
Inversion is done by incorporating a micro-inverter inside Jolt, with the device capable of delivering AC power output.
In the buck power stage, a simple current controlled charger off-the-line from AC or from solar panels is designed.
An LED lamp is embedded in the casing of the battery pack to provide lighting for emergency situations or in off-grid uses.
When the battery pack performance degrades over time, this can be easily replaced with a detachable battery pack cartridge.
Our dream for this actually is to help people from rural areas and those who are not connected to the national grid. So with this, we could bring more power to the communities in far-flung areas, co-proponent Jun Jeffri Lidasan said.
The device, which is the size of a rice cooker, can also be charged through wall outlets so even urban households, campers, field professionals who need reliable access to power can use it.
Joining Ocon and Lidasan in the project are students Raphael Layosa and Daniel Fadi Rahayel.//

Author: Michael Joe T. Delizo
Date: August 06, 2016
Source: Manila Times

Government think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) is proposing that the government bid out bus routes that use the countrys main highway, Epifanio de los Santos Ave.

This will ease congestion and at the same time force competition in the market, PIDS said.

Under the PIDS policy note, Competition for the market: A policy framework for improving bus operation along Edsa, the government by setting service standards and bidding out bus routes will help decongest Edsa.

Bus operators would be required to comply with the set standards-the type and age of buses used- and pay the fee for the service-routes- they will provide.

PIDS said that the system could also provide the means to the number of buses plying Edsa. It said that it would be more efficient for the government to limit the number of players operating and to define
their scope of activity or work.

Competitive bidding, PIDS said would force bus companies or operators to merge or consolidate in order to have the financial, managerial and technical muscle to compete for the right to service a route or a set of routes.

The competitive tendering mechanism also ensures that only the most efficient bidder can provide services in the market at a specified price or condition or criteria, the report said.

For example, the government may require operators to service non-profitable routes that need, nonetheless, a regular bus service (e.g., poorer sections of the metropolis). In this case, the basis of
remuneration could be the lowest gross payment or subsidy for the required service as submitted by the bidders, it added.

The paper said the application of the framework does not necessarily result in a monopoly provision, such as having only one operator per route.

In some countries, more than one company is allowed to operate a route to maintain competition and drive efficiency. In this case, at a given tariff and vehicle specification, bidders may offer different bids in terms of subsidy or compensation (gross contract) for the service, the policy note said.

The bidder that offers the lowest subsidy or compensation for the service is allocated more of the bus service schedule while the next lowest bidder is offered less. The procuring entity would need to set an
acceptable range of bids in this case, it added.

Where only one operator per route is appropriate, the report said costs and performance can be benchmarked against the performance of similar bus operators.

In cities abroad, the competition for the market framework has paved the way for bus consolidation as a component of a hybrid system of public and private provision, such as in the case of the TransMilenio
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Bogota, Colombia, the paper said.

The competition for the market approach has made it possible to improve the service outcomes in a liberalized urban bus market. It was done successfully in Bogota. There is no reason the same approach
could not be done in Metro Manila! it added.

The report noted government should develop the capacity, if it does not yet have this, to design or define the optimal market structure.

This includes how many operators will be granted franchises to operate, how these operators will be compensated, what service standards to require, among others.

The DOTCs (Department of Transportation and Communications) pipeline of BRTprojects (i.e., Cebu and Manila Line 1, both approved by the government for implementation, and EDSA BRT Line, which is in progress) will serve as a test case for the competition for the market framework in the Philippines, the report said.//

Author: Angela Celis
Date: August 08, 2016
Source: Malaya

MANILA, Philippines " The P69.1-billion deal to buy out the telecommunications business of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) created "more barriers" to the entry of more players in the country, said consumer welfare and public interest groups.
In a forum organized by the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA) and the Philippine chapter of Internet Society (ISOC PH), the groups said both the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) should take a closer look at Globe Incorporated's and PLDT Incorporated's acquisition of San Miguel assets, involving the 700 MHz frequency band.
Independent groups, such as ISOC PH and FMA, said the biggest telecom acquisition in the country thus far creates deep concern, after PLDT and Globe sought court intervention to stop the PCC from reviewing the deal.
PLDT and Globe dominate the Philippine telecom industry.
Hopes of San Miguel coming in as a 3rd player were shattered after the two telecom giants bought all of its telecom assets last May.
PLDT and Globe have repeatedly said the buyout is a done deal. But for the newly-enacted quasi-judicial antitrust body, it is still subject to a "comprehensive review."
The two giants have gone to the Court of Appeals (CA) to stop the PCC's comprehensive review.
"Has the feasibility of a 3rd player in the near future been quashed by the deal? My answer is a qualified yes," Adora Navarro, a senior research fellow of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, said during a public forum recently held at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City.
Ron Mendoza, dean of the Ateneo School of Government, said there needs to be evidence-based discussions between the public and private sectors to improve the competition environment in the Philippines.

Mendoza cited the San Miguel buyout deal as an "important first-test case" for the Philippine Competition Act.
"We want a more competitive telecom industry so that Filipinos enjoy innovative and fast and reliable internet services at affordable prices and high network quality," Grace Mirandilla-Santos, an independent researcher specializing in telecommunications, said during the forum.
Meanwhile, Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin also expressed support for the PCC review, informing the audience that he filed a resolution requesting the House of Representatives' trade and industry committee to look into whether or not the buyout would benefit consumers.
'3rd player would be better'
For the public interest groups, having "a 3rd carrier would be better."
Greg Tangonan, director of the Ateneo Innovation Center and professor of engineering and physics, said they randomly measure internet speeds at the Ateneo and these have showed that PLDT and Globe "are not even delivering half of what they promise."
"I would rather see a 3rd party come in like SMC-Telstra (Corporation)," Ateneo's Tangonan said.
For PIDS' Navarro, 3 is the magic number.
"Counterfactual evidence exist. You can look at other countries which have the 'Big 3.' They engage in musical chairs in intense competition," Navarro said.
"When customers suffer poor service, another firm responds with more attractive plans. The dominant firm's business strategy is to come up with better internet experience," she added.
Navarro also said the San Miguel telecom acquisition poses the risk of "losing contestability or the existence of the threat of new entry."
Tangonan, meanwhile, pointed out that "the possibility of a 700 MHz system with 90 MHz bandwidth has profound implications for people's access systems design."
He added that "the 700 MHz band offers many more possible network configurations than just expanded rural access at a lower cost.... Other stakeholders like broadcasters have need for this spectrum to create interactive content delivery in conjunction with ISDB-T broadcast."
Possible scenarios
It is now up to the appellate court if the buyout deal will be reviewed by the PCC or not.
In July, the CA approved Globe's petition to consolidate its petition with that of PLDT.
This was after the CA 6th Division denied Globe's request to stop the PCC review. PLDT still has a pending petition filed before the CA 12th Division.
"Should the PCC review proceed, there can be two scenarios. First is the PCC revokes the deal, and then there can be two options " NTC can recall the 700 MHz, then immediately hold an auction, or, NTC can recall the 700 MHz spectrum and consider a future auction, ideally in a not-so-remote future. The money raised can be used for public services. A second scenario is the PCC approves the deal and imposes conditions," Navarro said.
For Gigo Alampay of the TRADE Project, "the ideal scenario is for PCC to review the deal and approve the deal, with conditions that can ensure more genuine competition and make it easier for more players to come in."
For Winthrop Yu, chairman of ISOC PH, it is precisely the mandate of the PCC under the Fair Competition Act to ensure that consumers are not on the losing end of business transactions.
"It is our right as consumers to demand improvements and fair competition, and the PCC, being the country's antitrust agency, has a specific responsibility to uphold that view. We fully support the review," Yu added. " Rappler.com

Author: Chrisee dela Paz
Date: August 08, 2016
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

QUEZON CITY, Aug. 8 - The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) recently granted the clearance on the conduct of the 2015 Survey on Innovation Activities of Establishments (SIA) under the Statistical Survey Review and Clearance System (SSRCS).

The conduct of the 2015 SIA is a joint collaboration between PSA and the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS). It is designed to generate information on the innovative behavior of establishments in selected areas in the country. The survey also aims to determine the factors that push innovation performance among establishments. The survey was first conducted in 2009.

Data collected from the survey shall serve as basis for mainstreaming the innovation system approach into the center stage of national policy-making through the establishment of a systems-oriented, policy-relevant and internationally comparable innovation survey and indicator system in the country.

The following were major findings of the 2009 SIA:

54.0% of establishments were classified as being innovation active;
65.0% of medium-sized establishments and 65.2% of large-sized establishments were found to be more likely to engage in innovative activities;

Only 34.0% and 48.6% of micro and small-sized establishments, respectively, were innovation active;
Among industries, the electronics manufacturing industry is the most innovation active among the three industries with 64.3% of establishments in the industry reporting innovation activities, compared to 47.1% in food manufacturing industry and 58.5% in IT industry;

Electronics manufacturing industry also registered the highest average expenditure in innovation activities amounting to PhP 25 million;

One fourth (25.1%) of all establishments considered innovation costs as too high.
Innovation active establishments are: (a) product innovators; (b) process innovators; (c) engaged in innovation projects that are either not yet complete or abandoned; and, (d) engaged in expenditure of innovation activities for: (i) internal or outsourced R (ii) training; (iii) acquisition of external knowledge machinery, equipment or software linked to innovation activities; (iv) market introduction of innovations; and, (v) other preparations to implement innovations.

A total of Php 4.0 million or Php 4,000.00 per establishment nationwide was allocated to the survey to cover the travelling expenses, supplies, and printing expenses related to survey.

The said survey was reviewed and cleared for conduct under the SSRCS of PSA, a mechanism being implemented by virtue of Rule 28 of Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA No. 10625 to:

ensure sound design for data collection;
minimize the burden placed upon respondents;
effect economy in statistical data collection;
eliminate unnecessary duplication of statistical data collection; and,
achieve better coordination of government statistical activities.
In line with this, all establishments are enjoined to support the said survey.

For further information on the SSRCS, please contact the Statistical Standards Division (SSD) of the Standards Service (SS) at telephone numbers (02) 376-1928 and (02) 376-1931, and email address: ssd.staff@psa.gov.ph. (PSA)

Author:
Date: August 08, 2016
Source: PIA

Labor rigidities are binding constraints to growth. By labor rigidities, I mean the high minimum wages and the inflexible rules in the Labor Code guaranteeing security of tenure to workers after a mere six months.

These are big binding constraints to growth, meaning if unaddressed, fetter the growth of labor-intensive industries that can make a significant dent on poverty and unemployment.

Yes, its true that foreign ownership restrictions in the Constitution are also a big binding constraint to growth. However, liberalizing these restrictions will only promote competition and foreign investments in capital-intensive strategic sectors like telecoms, shipping, and ports. It will reduce costs of strategic inputs to industry but not do much in promoting large investments in labor-intensive industries.

Labor market reform should be front and center in conversations about economic reform for inclusive growth.

Im not the only one talking about the critical need for labor market reform. In fact, much earlier (and I owe an intellectual debt to them), in their individual capacities, Dr. Gerardo Sicat, Dr. John Nye, and Dr. Vicente Paqueo have been pointing out that labor rigidities are constraining industrialization and employment, and are in fact, anti-poor.

Dr. Gerry Sicat is the countrys first Socioeconomic Planning secretary and founding NEDA director general. For many years, he has been saying that the minimum wage should be an entry-level wage and not be set so high, which it is, that it discourages the hiring of new and untrained workers in the formal sector. He has batted for special economic zones where the restrictive Labor Code can be relaxed to promote investments.

Dr. John Nye is the Frederic Bastiat Professor of Political Economy in George Mason University. He was the valedictorian in former President Aquinos Ateneo high school class. Check out his YouTube lecture zeroing in on labor rigidities as a core constraint preventing the country from industrializing: http://bit.ly/2b9tQx5

Dr. Vicente Paqueo is a retired World Bank economist whose expertise is in economics and human development. He led a team composed of economists from the Philippine Institute of Development Studies, the governments economic think tank, which wrote the paper, Labor Policy Analysis of Job Expansion and Development (available in the PIDS Web site) in 2014. Its a courageous paper because it goes against the prevailing political orthodoxy that ever escalating minimum wages are good. In fact, Paqueo et al. concluded that the legal minimum wage is anti-poor and worse, anti-youth, anti-uneducated, and anti-women and reduces economic welfare where it is applied.

Comes now the World Bank, which recently published its Republic of the Philippines Labor Market Review, and confirms essentially what these eminent economists have been saying. The report can be downloaded from the WB Web site. On the state of jobs and employment in the Philippines, it says:

Economic growth did not bring about wage growth.

Employment structure remains traditional, and the modern sector of the economy is still relatively small.

Informality looms large.

Many jobs require little skills, and laborers are the largest occupational group.

The problem of low educational attainment is particularly pronounced among youth from poor families, most of whom live in rural areas.

A large fraction of the youth is idle.

Incidence of low-pay is particularly high in the informal sector

Incidence of low-pay is significantly higher among women than men.

People are poor in the Philippines because they earn little, not because they do not work.

From the perspective of poverty, underemployment is a bigger problem than unemployment.

Workers covered by the minimum wage policy represent a minority among the working poor.

Workers who benefit from minimum wage are not necessarily poor.

Labor regulations in the Philippines, on paper, provide workers considerable degree of protection but in reality, benefit only a small group of workers.

Labor wages are high relative to worker productivity.

Informality limits the actual coverage of the minimum wage policy.

While informality confines the effective coverage of labor regulations, strict labor regulations contribute to informality.

Strict employment protection legislation leads employers to increasingly use temporary employment contracts.

High minimum wage may exclude low-productivity workers from formal employment.

Making regular employment contracts more flexible could reduce segmentation.

Aligning minimum wage with worker productivity can improve the chances of less-skilled workers being hired formally.

It would be well, therefore, for President Rodrigo Duterte to be cautious about ending endo as the centerpiece of his labor market reform. Companies resorting to endo or terminating employees before their six-month contracts are up is a symptom of the overly strict and unrealistic protection provisions in the Labor Code. Killing employers for resorting to endo is not going to solve the problem and will only drive more companies underground.

Even President Duterte admitted that government cannot police and ensure compliance to the law. Unleashing labor inspectors on erring companies is not only unrealistic but will also breed more corruption.

Curing the disease rather than the symptom requires a twin solution. One is liberalize the permanency provisions in the Labor Code and to relax administrative procedures for termination but protect workers with termination pay. The other is to encourage more low-productivity workers into the formal sector by aligning minimum wage with productivity.

To those politicians acting like ostriches and sticking their heads in the sand, I say: Stop. Labor market reform is central for inclusive growth.

Theres no going around this: if we want to industrialize, if we want the economy to generate jobs and alleviate poverty, if we want inclusive growth, if we want the social justice that President Duterte wants for the Filipino people, the most urgent, the most important, the most consequential reform is minimum wage and labor security reform. Not tax policy reform, not power sector reform, not reorganization of the Bureau of Customs, but minimum wage and labor security reform.

Calixto V. Chikiamco is a board director of the Institute for Development and Econometric Analysis.

idea.introspectiv@gmail.com
www.idea.org.ph

Author: Calixto V. Chikiamco
Date: August 08, 2016
Source: Business World

SOMETIMES, there is a simple solution to a complex problem.
For some 1.5 million Filipino households without access to safe drinking water, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recently developed a pitcher equipped with a water filter made from red clay that can make deep well and tap water clean and safe to drink.
Hopefully, with this technology that is very cheap and reusable, we will help more Filipinos get access to clean and potable water, said Carlos Primo David, executive director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD).
PCIEERD funded the project initiated by DOSTs Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) in 2014, following Supertyphoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) that devastated Eastern Visayas, leaving thousands of people dead and some four million others homeless.
The ceramic water filter project was headed by Blessie Basilia, chief of the ITDI-Materials Science Division.
It was undertaken with the countrys severe water pollution problems in mind, David told the Inquirer in a recent interview.
This was also partly inspired by Yolanda because clean water sources became a problem in most parts of Eastern Visayas. So this was a solution for that, he said.
Premature deaths
Nearly 6,000 premature deaths occur in the country every year due to waterborne diseases, according to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
Citing a 2010 study by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the DOST said diarrhea was rampant in the country because 432 municipalities where 1.5 million households outside Metro Manila had no access to safe drinking water.
In a nation with severe water pollution problems, these affected families may be able to get their potable drinking water if their houses are outfitted with ceramic water filters, it said.
If households with poor water sources will be equipped with this filtering device, the countrys accessibility rate to potable water would rise from 82.9 percent in 2007 to 86.6 percent this year, according to DOST.
The ceramic filter developed by DOST-ITDI makes use of micro-filtration technique, which is an effective way to get rid of infectious microorganisms, said Dr. Ruby Raterta, a senior science researcher for the environment sector.
Cost-effective
It is also cost-effective and sustainable since red clay is an abundant resource in many parts of the country, such as Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Aurora, Tarlac, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Aklan, Leyte and South Cotabato provinces, and Cagayan de Oro City.
The filter can purify tap water and those from deep well and springs, Raterta said. Tests also showed that water purified by the ceramic filter conformed with the Philippine National Standard for drinking water, she added.
But the use of rain and floodwater are still prohibited. There is an ongoing research to find out whether the filter can also be used to purify water from rain or flood because these sources have other contaminants aside from microorganisms. They also contain heavy metals, she pointed out.
Targeting the distribution of an initial 20,000 water filters to various barangays, DOST has started mass producing the product in Isabela, Vigan, Bauko in Mt. Province and Tacloban City, Raterta said.
Some of the filters have been distributed to National Housing Authority households in Muntinlupa City and Cagayan de Oro and in 10 barangays in Quezon City.
We recommend that they use it in the barangay center so that more people can benefit from it, she added.//

Author: Jocelyn R. Uy
Date: August 08, 2016
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Philab Industries, a pioneer and market leader in the healthcare and education market, has joined hands with the University of the Philippines for the construction of P1.6 billion National Institute of Health (NIH) building in Manila.

Engr. Hector Navasero, chairman and CEO of Philab Industries, Inc., together with Dra. Eva De La Paz, executive director of NIH, and Dra. Carmencita Padilla, chancellor of UP Manila, broke ground recently to commence the construction of an 18-storey building.

This building will house the institutes that will help improve the quality of life of the Filipinos, Navasero said.

The project, which costs around P1.6 billion to be funded by the state-owned university, will include specialized laboratories and the erection of the entire structure.
In a statement, Philab said the NIH will be home to 10 institutes namely Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), Institute of Child Health and Human Development (ICHHD), Institute of Clinical Epidemiology (ICE), Institute of Health Policy and Development Studies (IHPDS), Institute of Herbal Medicine (IHM), Institute of Ophthalmology (IO), Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (IPS), Philippine National Ear Institute (PNEI), Institute of Aging (IA), and Institute of Human Genetics (IHG).

Both Philab Industries and the UP NIH have committed to do research to provide key health information that will improve the medical situation in the country.

Navasero said that through this partnership, a synergy between the academe and the industry will be created.

The partnership will bring out the intellect of the academe and the best practices and expertise of the industry, he said.

Philab Industries was established in 1959 and has since designed, built and equipped laboratories across a diverse range of industry sectors in the Philippines such as, but not limited to, medical, scientific, academic, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, semiconductors, mining and petroleum with specialized focus on healthcare, research, and education sectors.

Meanwhile, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) was created in 1996 by the UP Board of Regents to reinforce the research capability of UP Manila, and serve as an institutional home of a network of researchers and research institutions.//

Author: Bernie Magkilat
Date: August 18, 2016
Source: Manila Bulletin

Philab Industries, a pioneer and market leader in the healthcare and education market, has joined hands with the University of the Philippines for the construction of P1.6 billion National Institute of Health (NIH) building in Manila.

Engr. Hector Navasero, chairman and CEO of Philab Industries, Inc., together with Dra. Eva De La Paz, executive director of NIH, and Dra. Carmencita Padilla, chancellor of UP Manila, broke ground recently to commence the construction of an 18-storey building.

This building will house the institutes that will help improve the quality of life of the Filipinos, Navasero said.

The project, which costs around P1.6 billion to be funded by the state-owned university, will include specialized laboratories and the erection of the entire structure.
In a statement, Philab said the NIH will be home to 10 institutes namely Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), Institute of Child Health and Human Development (ICHHD), Institute of Clinical Epidemiology (ICE), Institute of Health Policy and Development Studies (IHPDS), Institute of Herbal Medicine (IHM), Institute of Ophthalmology (IO), Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (IPS), Philippine National Ear Institute (PNEI), Institute of Aging (IA), and Institute of Human Genetics (IHG).

Both Philab Industries and the UP NIH have committed to do research to provide key health information that will improve the medical situation in the country.

Navasero said that through this partnership, a synergy between the academe and the industry will be created.

The partnership will bring out the intellect of the academe and the best practices and expertise of the industry, he said.

Philab Industries was established in 1959 and has since designed, built and equipped laboratories across a diverse range of industry sectors in the Philippines such as, but not limited to, medical, scientific, academic, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, semiconductors, mining and petroleum with specialized focus on healthcare, research, and education sectors.

Meanwhile, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) was created in 1996 by the UP Board of Regents to reinforce the research capability of UP Manila, and serve as an institutional home of a network of researchers and research institutions.//

Author: Bernie Magkilat
Date: August 18, 2016
Source: Manila Bulletin

MANILA, Philippines " The government should strongly develop the loan repayment capabilities of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) to sustain the Agrarian Production Credit Program (APCP) and enable them to graduate to formal lending by the private sector, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies said in a new policy note.
The APCP is a P2-billion credit program for agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) jointly implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).
It was created to finance for a period of five-years the production and enterprise projects of agrarian reform beneficiaries who are not yet eligible for financing under the LBPs regular lending programs or other formal means of obtaining credit. Because of limited financial literacy of the target clientele, borrowing and payment requirements have been simplified.
In a paper titled How to improve smallholders access to formal credit: Lessons from the Agrarian Production Credit Program, PIDS president Gilberto Llanto and researchers Ma. Piedad S. Geron and Jocelyn Badiola said that while the APCP seems to have accomplished its objectives of providing credit to ARBs and ARB Organizations (ARBO), it has not capacitated its beneficiaries to qualify for the regular lending program of the LBP.
Loan repayment, not just provision of credit, should be equally emphasized to sustain the program, said the researchers.
In terms of enhancing capabilities, the capacity- building assistance received from APCP has been mostly random. While most of the trainings may be considered demand based, they were not designed to systematically build and strengthen the capacities of the ARBO to become viable institutions that can eventually qualify and graduate into the LBP regular lending program, they added.//

Author: Czeriza Valencia
Date: August 17, 2016
Source: Philippine Star

THIS REFERS to Estanislao Albanos and Tony Levistes letters (Opinion, 7/25/16 and 8/1/16, respectively) expressing their dissatisfaction with the National Greening Program (NGP).
For their and the publics complete understanding of the NGP, we wish to explain in detail.
Formally launched on May 13, 2011, the NGP aimed to plant 1.5 billion seedlings over 1.5 million hectares in six years, primarily for poverty reduction, food security, environmental stability, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation. Under the program, farmers"considered among the poorest of the poor"have been trained and hired to develop agroforestry plantations that involve timber, fuelwood, coffee, cacao, rubber, bamboo, rattan and fruit-bearing trees, to provide them with permanent livelihood and raise their level of living.

As of Aug. 5, 2016, the NGP had planted 1.08 billion seedlings on a 1.45 million-hectare spread and generated about 3.3 million jobs. By the end of 2016, it would have 1.37 billion planted seedlings on 1.6 million hectares, thus exceeding its overall target of 1.5 million hectares, without exhausting its total allocation of 1.5 billion seedlings.
Admittedly, the NGPs implementation has not been without challenges, as attested by the Commission on Audit, but these have been addressed.
On the delays in the delivery of seedlings: At the start of implementation in 2011, we did experience delayed deliveries to some planting sites because of the PhilGEPS (Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System) requirement on seedlings purchases from commercial nurseries. Beginning 2012, the NGP had allowed community organizations to do seedling production and partnered with state universities and colleges, civil society organizations (CSOs) and other stakeholders in propagating planting materials, especially the endemic species.
Survival of seedlings is an utmost concern; the science of forestry and technology is focused on this. Site characterization is a major requisite to ensure species-site and market matching. The quality of planting materials is continuously enhanced through clonal nurseries and proper sourcing of superior seeds from seed production areas. Likewise, replanting activities are done by the contracting peoples organizations (POs) within three years after planting, without cost to government.
On maintenance, protection and mechanisms to exact accountability, here are some of the NGPs good governance practices:
Incorporated in a database, all NGP sites are geotagged with geographic coordinates and time stamp to define the exact location of plantations.
All sites are covered with individual certificate of site development, duly signed and attested by the respective Centros, Penros and regional directors, with pictures taken before and after planting.
Reports on the conduct of annual 100-percent monitoring of all NGP sites are submitted under oath by the regional offices.
Funds are directly released to the implementing offices (Penros/Cenros).
All procurements adhere to the procurement law. Payments to creditors, like POs, are done through Advice to Debit Account (ADA), thus promoting checkless/cashless transaction.
The National Economic and Development Authoritys Philippine Institute for Development Studies (Neda-Pids), an independent third party audit, was commissioned and, based on its findings, recommended the NGPs continuation.
We thank the Aquino administration for giving the NGP utmost support, and our partner CSOs, POs, academe, media and private sector, for their enthusiastic collaboration. It is because of their help that the NGP has become a success and the Philippines has been ranked fifth among countries with greatest forest area gain from 2010-2015 (2015 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations Global Forest Resources Assessment Report).
Under the leadership of Secretary Gina Lopez, a staunch environmentalist, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is confident of taking the Expanded NGP (Executive Order No. 193) to even greater heights.
"RICARDO CALDERON, director, Forest Management Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Author: Ricardo Calderon
Date: August 16, 2016
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

THIS REFERS to Estanislao Albanos and Tony Levistes letters (Opinion, 7/25/16 and 8/1/16, respectively) expressing their dissatisfaction with the National Greening Program (NGP).
For their and the publics complete understanding of the NGP, we wish to explain in detail.
Formally launched on May 13, 2011, the NGP aimed to plant 1.5 billion seedlings over 1.5 million hectares in six years, primarily for poverty reduction, food security, environmental stability, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation. Under the program, farmers"considered among the poorest of the poor"have been trained and hired to develop agroforestry plantations that involve timber, fuelwood, coffee, cacao, rubber, bamboo, rattan and fruit-bearing trees, to provide them with permanent livelihood and raise their level of living.

As of Aug. 5, 2016, the NGP had planted 1.08 billion seedlings on a 1.45 million-hectare spread and generated about 3.3 million jobs. By the end of 2016, it would have 1.37 billion planted seedlings on 1.6 million hectares, thus exceeding its overall target of 1.5 million hectares, without exhausting its total allocation of 1.5 billion seedlings.
Admittedly, the NGPs implementation has not been without challenges, as attested by the Commission on Audit, but these have been addressed.
On the delays in the delivery of seedlings: At the start of implementation in 2011, we did experience delayed deliveries to some planting sites because of the PhilGEPS (Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System) requirement on seedlings purchases from commercial nurseries. Beginning 2012, the NGP had allowed community organizations to do seedling production and partnered with state universities and colleges, civil society organizations (CSOs) and other stakeholders in propagating planting materials, especially the endemic species.
Survival of seedlings is an utmost concern; the science of forestry and technology is focused on this. Site characterization is a major requisite to ensure species-site and market matching. The quality of planting materials is continuously enhanced through clonal nurseries and proper sourcing of superior seeds from seed production areas. Likewise, replanting activities are done by the contracting peoples organizations (POs) within three years after planting, without cost to government.
On maintenance, protection and mechanisms to exact accountability, here are some of the NGPs good governance practices:
Incorporated in a database, all NGP sites are geotagged with geographic coordinates and time stamp to define the exact location of plantations.
All sites are covered with individual certificate of site development, duly signed and attested by the respective Centros, Penros and regional directors, with pictures taken before and after planting.
Reports on the conduct of annual 100-percent monitoring of all NGP sites are submitted under oath by the regional offices.
Funds are directly released to the implementing offices (Penros/Cenros).
All procurements adhere to the procurement law. Payments to creditors, like POs, are done through Advice to Debit Account (ADA), thus promoting checkless/cashless transaction.
The National Economic and Development Authoritys Philippine Institute for Development Studies (Neda-Pids), an independent third party audit, was commissioned and, based on its findings, recommended the NGPs continuation.
We thank the Aquino administration for giving the NGP utmost support, and our partner CSOs, POs, academe, media and private sector, for their enthusiastic collaboration. It is because of their help that the NGP has become a success and the Philippines has been ranked fifth among countries with greatest forest area gain from 2010-2015 (2015 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations Global Forest Resources Assessment Report).
Under the leadership of Secretary Gina Lopez, a staunch environmentalist, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is confident of taking the Expanded NGP (Executive Order No. 193) to even greater heights.
"RICARDO CALDERON, director, Forest Management Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Author: Ricardo Calderon
Date: August 16, 2016
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

KALIBO, Aklan, 15 August (PIA6) -- When you are a 30-something mother of three young children with a husband prematurely suffering from Alzheimers Disease, maybe you will feel desperate and question God why He gave you this kind of trial. This was how Maricris Bernardino Sanchez of Altavas, Aklan found herself years ago. With her sick husband, a farmer, already unable to support his family, Maricriz found herself doing laundry for her neighbors, selling goods at the Altavas Public Market, and farming for the survival of her family. She never questioned God why this kind of fate came her way, rather, she pushed herself to work hard and lived from day to day, until the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) came along. The Pantawid became a big help to our family. It was really like that - a pantawid, which was to augment what we are earning so we could survive, or live a little better, Maricris told the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) when she, together with Beverly Salazar, Social Welfare Officer III and Pantawid Operations Officer (POO) in Aklan were recent radio guests in the program hosted by the agency and aired over RMN-DYKR Kalibo. The 4Ps is a conditional cash transfer program of the Philippine government under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). It aims to eradicate poverty in the country by investing in health and education. During its first years of implementation, the 4Ps only covers children from 0 to 14 years old only. Presently however, 4Ps already covers children up to 18 years old, to ensure that beneficiaries will finish secondary education, a move resulting to the study of the Philippine Institute of Development Studies that the program will have less impact if coverage is only up to 14 years old. Under the program, her high school children get P500.00 each a month, while her elementary grader gets P300.00 a month. For her part as the parent, she gets P500.00 a month, which will be used to augment her funds to buy food and other needs of her children. Salazar said the cash payout is made every two months, so Maricris receives a total of P3,600 a month to help them tide over. To ensure that her children will not be taken off the list (as children must regularly attend classes in order to continue receiving the grant), Maricris said she daily monitors her children if they really attend classes, especially her high school kids, in between her vending activities at the public market. Apart from the cash grants, Maricris regularly attends the Family Development Sessions conducted by the DSWD to help educate beneficiaries in uplifting their lives. It was during these sessions that Maricris realized that education is the answer to uplift their situation, inspired by 4Ps. And so in her mid-thirties then, Maricris enrolled at Altavas College to finish her interrupted studies when she married early. Studying while at the same time watching her children proved challenging to Maricris, she said. When before she goes directly to school to monitor her children, she said she had to request her childrens teachers to help her. However, these struggles of hers as a 4Ps beneficiary, a working housewife, a mother, and as a student paid off this year " her family was adjudged the Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya of the Province of Aklan. Not only that, she has also graduated from college just this year, and is currently attending review classes prior to her taking the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET). She is hopeful she would pass the examination and be a full-pledged teacher, a legacy she will remember 4Ps for forever, for what it has done for her and her family, helping and encouraging them to rise above the dire situation they were in before. Out here in Aklan, there are currently 27,197 families benefiting from 4Ps. These families, just like that of Maricris, for sure have good stories to tell too, of how 4Ps changed their lives positively. - See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/961471180464/news-feature-huwarang-pantawid-pamilya-in-aklan-levels-up-#sthash.1SNj3z7N.dpuf

Author: Venus Villanueva
Date: August 15, 2016
Source: PIA

Despite the 3.48-percent decline in farm output in the January-to-June period, the Department of Agriculture (DA) remains upbeat over the growth prospects for the sector this year.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piol said the various interventions he is implementing for the sector should allow it to post optimal growth by the end of 2016.

I cannot project a growth of 3 percent [by the end of 2016], but I believe that we are moving toward that, Piol told the BusinessMirror, when asked whether the sector could hit the growth target set by the previous DA chief.

In June Piol said he has crafted a road map following his biyaheng bukid initiative, which helped him identify factors that hindered the growth of the farm sector.




Aside from providing free seeds and other farm inputs to farmers and fishing boats to fishermen, Piol said he will conduct a nationwide inspection of irrigation services, dredging of silted dams and provide shallow tube wells.
The DA is also crafting a color-coded agricultural guide map, which will guide farmers on which crop or farming practices are suitable based on geographic, climatic and soil conditions.

Data from Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that agricultural output declined by 2.34 percent in April to June due to El Nio.

The crops subsector, which accounted for 48.31 percent of total output, recorded a 4.97-percent drop in output in the second quarter.

Palay production at 3.71 million metric tons (MMT) was 6.10 percent lower than last years level. The PSA attributed this to significant decreases in harvest areas and yield caused by the prolonged dry spell in Soccsksargen, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Caraga, and the Visayas regions.

Corn production at 910,000 metric tons [MT] was lower by 10 percent during the second quarter. Reduction in area harvested and lower yields because of the dry spell in Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen and ARMM were the main reasons for the drop, the PSA said.

PSA data showed that production gains were recorded by sugarcane, eggplant, mongo, abaca and pineapple. In the first half of the year, crop production went down by 6.8 percent. The livestock subsector grew 6.56 percent and contributed 17.66 percent to the total agricultural output in the second quarter.

Hog, the major driver of growth, expanded at 7.41 percent. At current prices, the subsector grossed P63.9 billion, a 2.75-percent increase from last years earnings. In the first half of 2016, livestock production grew by 5.6 percent, the PSA report read.

PSA data showed that production in the poultry subsector rose by 1.25 percent in April to June. It accounted for 15.72 percent of total agricultural production. Output gains were recorded for both chicken eggs and duck eggs while their corresponding meat production declined. From January to June, the subsector recorded a 1.12-percent growth in output, the PSA said.

It was a different story for the fisheries subsector, which accounted for 18.31 percent of total farm output
in the second quarter. Production contracted by 5.9 percent as lower output was noted across fish species. Major gainers were milkfish and tiger prawn, which grew by 1.57 percent and 7.65 percent, respectively.

At current prices, the subsector grossed P60.2 billion, or 6.91 percent lower than last years level. In the first half, the subsector recorded a 5.92-percent drop in production, the report read.

Sanguine outlook

Local economists agreed with Piol, saying the farm sectors output could still recover in the second half of the year.

University of Asia and the Pacific (UA and P) Center for Food and Agri Business (CFA) Executive Director Rolando Dy told the BusinessMirror that the rains in the second semester of the year will help boost agriculture production.

Rice, which accounts for 15 percent of total farm output, will benefit from the increase in rainfall as it is a water-loving crop.

[Positive growth is] possible with better rains. But it will not be easy. Magat Dam in Isabela with 85,000 hectares [is still at] critical level. Nonetheless, we still have five months to go, Dy said. The 2.34-
percent decline in farm output in the second quarter of the year is the lowest since the third quarter of 2014, when production contracted by 2.99 percent, according to the PSA.

Between 1998 and 2015, the sector recorded the lowest growth in the third quarter of 2001, when it declined by 18.05 percent.

To exceed zero for full year 2016, agri must grow 3 percent to 3.5 percent in [the] second half. Key result areas would be short term crops, [like] rice, corn, sugarcane and banana productivity, among others, Dy said.

Philippine Institute for Development Studies Research Fellow II Roehlano Briones said the decline in farm production due to El Nio in the first half was worrisome. He noted that the last time the agricultural output declined was in 2014, which was also an El Nio year.

Prior to 2014, the El Nio episode experienced by the Philippines was during the 1997-to-1998 period.

Briones said the intervals between El Nios seem to be getting shorter. With this, the Philippines should prepare for these kinds of weather events twice, or even thrice, in a span of a decade. While much of the countrys agriculture growth is based on nature and farmers planting intentions, Briones said the government can prioritize efforts to improve basic food-production systems.

Maybe we should go back to the basics and see how the underlying food production system can be made resilient. This will not happen overnight or even in a year, he said.

He added that these food-production systems include irrigation. Briones said many irrigation systems nationwide do not get repaired immediately after typhoons and other disasters, reducing the efficiency of these systems to provide water to farms. Briones said the government can focus on improving these systems by ensuring adequate water supply, silt-free and aggressively spending for their maintenance.

The government must also ensure that the actual service received by farmers from irrigation systems nationwide is sufficient. By so doing, the country can be better prepared when the next El Nio occurs.

Author: Jasper Y. Arcalas with Cai Ordinario
Date: August 15, 2016
Source: Business Mirror

AGRICULTURAL officials cited the poor conditions for crops in the El Nio-hit second quarter, signaling another contraction when the agricultural output report is released today.

Analysts said another negative quarter may be sufficient to push output into the red over the full year, though they added that any gains in the latter part of the year will depend on the severity the wet season with La Nia setting in.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel F. Piol told BusinessWorld he expects a recovery by years end with a projected surplus harvest for rice and corn.
I would assume second quarter gross domestic product for agriculture is really low, Mr. Piol told BusinessWorld in a phone interview over the weekend. Thats coming off negative 4% in the first quarter.

He added that delayed planting due to the lack of irrigation as a result of the drought will play a part in weighing down the output for the period, with Mindanao and parts of the Cagayan Valley among the worst affected.
He would not give a range of estimates for second-quarter output.
After being struck by El Nio, which peaked early this year, the value of farm output in the three months to March slid 4.53% year on year to P193.123 billion. This was a reversal from the 1.77% growth registered a year earlier.
Agricultural production in the second quarter of 2015 contracted 5.21% to P372.4 billion.
Roehlano M. Briones, senior research fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies likewise projected that second quarter results would be a follow-on from the first quarters drop.
For second quarter, [it will] continue depressing trends from first quarter. Main driver is hot dry weather, said Mr. Briones in a mobile message.
Other economists concurred in projecting a contraction.
Its still going to be negative; most likely it could equal the first quarter, Alvin P. Ang, economist at the Ateneo de Manila University, said in a phone interview.
For his part, Rolando T. Dy, executive director of the Center for Food and AgriBusiness of the University of Asia and the Pacific, reiterated his earlier projection of the second quarter experiencing negative growth rate in the order of first quarter, adding in a text message that low palay production will drive a negative first half.
For the first quarter this year, the crops subsector accounted for more than half of agricultural production. It slumped 8.55% year on year.
Palay (unhusked rice) and corn, which make up under a third of total crop output, contracted last year by 3.78% and 6.04%, respectively
Mr. Piol earlier told reporters that palay output will be significantly depressed for the whole of the first half.

During the three months to March, palay volume contracted to 3.9 million metric tons (MT), 9.97% lower than the governments forecast of 4.01 million. The figure is also considerably lower than 4.37 million MT output level during the January to March period last year.
Palay production in the half is estimated to total 8.12 million MT, 2.4% lower than level booked in the comparable period last year and 0.98% below the first estimates released in January by the Philippine Statistics Authority-Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.
Engineer Ariel T. Cayanan, the DAs assistant secretary for Field Operations, declined to give initial estimates for palay output but replied in the positive when asked if output will fall a quarter-on-quarter basis.

Mr. Cayanan, however, assured that the slump would not reach double-digits.
Both Mr. Dy and Mr. Ang pointed out that with the decline deriving largely from the effects of a dry spell, the livestock and poultry sectors will not be showing the negative effects of El Nio.
The previous government pursued initiatives to boost livestock and poultry to balance out any decline in the crops subsector, a move supported by economists.
Livestock and poultry, maybe those will be positive, but the problem is crops are not just palay and corn. Its really across the board, added Mr. Ang.
For full year projections, Mr. Ang hopes for better results.
Maybe by the third quarter, flat and then well have a pickup in the fourth quarter. But well end up in the negative. A negative 4% (quarter) is a big thing, said Mr. Ang, referring to the first quarter performance.

Hopefully better results, but we dont know what happens with the La Nia, added Mr. Ang.
Typhoons during the later part of 2015 created spillover effects in early 2016.
However, Mr. Briones said that the rainy season may end up buoying crops. Whole-year performance [will] depend on this recovery, Mr. Briones said.
Mr. Dy said the best possible result for agriculture output in 2016 is zero growth but he said as things stand the year is trending negative.
Mr. Piol was more bullish in his full-year projections, noting that his field visits suggest a strong rice and corn crop that will become apparent only late in the year.
The projection right now, based on my visits, is that there will be surplus production in rice and corn but since planting was delayed, we will see the gains towards the end of the year, Mr. Piol said.
In 2015, farm output rose 0.11% to P788.698 billion on the back of the El Nio dry spell and Typhoon Lando, which hit in the fourth quarter.//

Author: Janina C. Lim
Date: August 15, 2016
Source: Business World

global network of contacts.
The 8 firms singled out by the fellowship are:
Cleverheat: The firm aims to provide heat-driven refrigeration and air-conditioning in order to significantly reduce costs by cutting electric consumption.
HiGi Energy: They convert water hyacinth and agricultural waste into cooking energy like briquettes for low-income communities.
RE Analytics: The company provides highly accurate energy forecasts through machine learning and superior climate analytics. Through this, it envisions renewable energy integration in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
Solar Sari-Sari Store: The company aims to empower local communities by providing them lighting, water purification, mobile charging, and refrigeration systems, thereby creating solar energy stations.
Juan Generators: This startup makes kinetic wind sculptures that produce electricity. The team believes that by combining art and energy production through renewable energy, it will help communities generate their own electricity.
Kitchen Energy for Island Communities: The firm provides a home biogas systems to be used to decompose kitchen wastes to provide energy for cooking and fertilizers as by-product.
Big Mike Bike: The firm provides bicycles that convert the rotatory motion to electrical energy in a multitude of uses, such as a shredder, food processor, washing machine, or spinning wheel. It aims to help low-income families be empowered by earning an income and helping the environment.
Team Triad / Electric Motorbikes: The firm offers an logistical solution for deliveries by use of electric motorcycles and a battery swapping station at key location points convenient when making a delivery.
Innovative energy
The countrys energy deficit has been highlighted again recently by the Luzon grid being under yellow alert for the past few weeks, dipping briefly into red alert last week.
The problem runs deeper than just the threat of power outages, as many in the country still have to live in the dark. A 2013 study done by Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) pointed out that 16 million Filipinos still have no access to electricity.
The shortage of energy also hinders development, with high energy prices constantly cited as a deterrent to job creating foreign investment.
At the same time, a renewed focus has been placed on renewable energy by entrepreneurs, especially after the countrys carbon emission targets " committed to as a result of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change " are set to take effect within the next few years.
Due to this factors, as well as the high capital barriers to putting up fossil fuel plants, the fellowship sought to highlight the areas where innovation can be applied such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, access to energy and offgrid solutions, alternative energy systems and reducing energy consumption.
All 8 will undergo rigorous training for 6 weeks, along with partners such as the Asian Development Bank, in order to refine their business models.
The training will also prepare them for the final pitching day set for October 6, where the final 2 to 3 companies will be awarded as the Impact Hub Fellows and receive the additional seed funding. " Rappler.com

Author: Chris Schnabel
Date: August 14, 2016
Source: Rappler.com

The motor vehicle users charge (MVUC) needs to be overhauled first to make it more effective and efficient before any rate adjustments are made, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said.

According to the policy note, The Motor Vehicle Users Charge: Some issues and recommendations, the law provides for increase in MVUC rates.

Given that the new administration will need an even greater fiscal space to implement projects, it will only be a matter of time before adjusting the MVUC rates is viewed as a source of additional resources, the policy note said.

The law states that the Philippine president may adjust the MVUC rates not more than once every five years.

At this point, there is a need to demonstrate first that the MVUC can be made effective and efficient through an overhaul of the processes and institutional setup, the report stated.

Afterwards, the public must be made aware of the improvements and the concrete effects of the changes implemented to gain its support for any proposed increase in the MVUC rates, it added.

The MVUC, which is imposed through the registration fees of vehicles and penalties for overloading, is envisioned as a source of funding to finance road maintenance and minimize air pollution.

According to Republic Act (RA) 8794, funds collected from the MVUC should be placed in four special accounts in the National Treasury: Special Road Support Fund (80 percent), Special Local Road Fund (5 percent), Special Vehicle Pollution Control Fund (7.5 percent) and Special Road Safety Fund (7.5 percent).

Specifically, the MVUC is intended for road maintenance and improvement of drainage of national, primary and secondary roads; maintenance of local roads, traffic management and road safety devices; installation of traffic signs, pavement markings and safety devices; and for air pollution control.

The research paper said the administration of the MVUC is in dire need of institutional reforms.

The report pointed out that frustration with the MVUCs performance even led to a proposal, Senate Bill 3131 in the 16th Congress, to amend RA 8794 particularly for the purpose of abolishing the Road Board.

The Senate bill, however, does not propose an oversight arrangement for the MVUC.

Rather than abolish the Road Board, the more rational option could be to strengthen its oversight capability and transparency. For instance, its membership can be restructured to include other road users, such as business users and the logistics and supply chain sector, the paper said.

The report noted the country experiences show there is usually a strong representation of the road users in the oversight body.
An examination of successful cases in other countries also reveals good practices that are worth looking into, such as ensuring that the road fund administrator is strictly an administrator rather than a project implementer, advanced preparation of a long-term vision and short- to medium-term road investment programs, and variations of the reimbursement-basis payment system that are supported by strong audit systems, it said.

In an earlier discussion paper, Results of the Assessment of the Utilization and Impacts of MVUC in the Philippines, PIDS said the funds collected through the MVUC is underutilized due to the lack of a definitive operating procedure system on how to identify and prioritize projects funded by the said road users tax.

Project identification does not follow the prescribed procedures. The approach is bottom up, rather than top down, (thereby) failing to incorporate a network perspective of accident blackspots, and leading to projects that are not of the highest priority being approved and implemented, the report said.

The report cited total collections generated from the MVUC fund in 2001 to 2014 stood at P112.5 billion.

The PIDS study said project approval and fund release under the Special Local Road Fund requires the prerogative of the city mayor, leaving the process open to politicking.

Project implementation is, ideally, a coordinated effort among several government agencies and the Road Board, the paper said.

However, in reality, there is evidently a real potential of overlaps of functions, especially between the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Road Board Secretariat, it added.

The report also cited the lack of transparency, given the absence of a clear schedule for proposal submission and approval of the projects.

It pointed out that this setup leaves the process open to political interference.

Aside from underutilization, the study also enumerated potential sources of discrepancy in fund collection, due to incorrect agency and transaction codes and the lack of a list of deposited collections.//

Author: Angela Celis
Date: August 25, 2016
Source: Malaya

The government is encouraging the countrys stakeholders in the manufacturing and its allied industries to take full advantage of the integrated Asean Economic Community (AEC) and other free trade agreements (FTAs) that the Philippines has with trading partners given that the local sectors are heavily engaged in regional value chains.
At the 17th Edition of the Trade and Industry Development (TID) Updates organized by the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, said that local industries have not fully maximized the benefits of the available FTAs.

She said a survey showed a 44 percent awareness level, with limited knowledge of the detailed impact of the AEC on business.
The survey indicated that based on various studies conducted in the past, the FTAs utilization rate is at a low of 11.8 percent in 2008, lower than 15 percent from 2006 to 2007.
The utilization rate however increased to 20 percent in 2010 and 30.8 percent in 2014, but Aldaba said countrys businesses and industries should have been utilizing more.
According to the survey, Asean Trade in Goods Agreement is the most frequently used FTA, followed by ASEANs FTAs with China and Japan.
Findings of the survey showed that out of the 939 firms asked, only 207 or 22 percent are FTA users with the lack of knowledge on how to use the FTAs, difficulties in complying with rules of origin (ROO) requirements and high administrative costs as the top reasons for the low utilization rate.
Large enterprises have a higher utilization at 39 percent while among SMEs, only 16 percent are FTA users.

Aldaba said some businesses especially those located in special economic zones are less inclined to use FTAs since they already enjoy duty- and tax-free importation of raw materials, supplies, capital equipment, and spare parts.
The other factors behind the FTAs low utilization include small trade volumes with countries, and countries outside of AEC being their major markets, such as the United States and Mexico.

Aldaba cited recommendations to improve the industries understanding of the FTAs including more awareness programs on how to use FTAs and how firms can take advantage of opportunities and the use of information and communication technology such as more interactive websites to increase scope and reach of promotional and technical training program.
Dr. Ceferino Rodolfo, BOI managing head, urged local industries attending the TID Updates to further seize the opportunities of the sound economic fundamentals and sustained investor confidence that the country is presently in as investment pledges continue to pour in.
Rodolfo cited a report from Credit Suisse which indicated that the Philippines so far this year was the clear winner among member countries of the Asean, in attracting foreign direct investments which stood at a multi-decade high of $8 billion as of end-April, up from $6 billion in 2015 and $1 billion just five years ago.//

Author:
Date: August 25, 2016
Source: Malaya

The government is encouraging the countrys stakeholders in the manufacturing and its allied industries to take full advantage of the integrated Asean Economic Community (AEC) and other free trade agreements (FTAs) that the Philippines has with trading partners given that the local sectors are heavily engaged in regional value chains.
At the 17th Edition of the Trade and Industry Development (TID) Updates organized by the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, said that local industries have not fully maximized the benefits of the available FTAs.

She said a survey showed a 44 percent awareness level, with limited knowledge of the detailed impact of the AEC on business.
The survey indicated that based on various studies conducted in the past, the FTAs utilization rate is at a low of 11.8 percent in 2008, lower than 15 percent from 2006 to 2007.
The utilization rate however increased to 20 percent in 2010 and 30.8 percent in 2014, but Aldaba said countrys businesses and industries should have been utilizing more.
According to the survey, Asean Trade in Goods Agreement is the most frequently used FTA, followed by ASEANs FTAs with China and Japan.
Findings of the survey showed that out of the 939 firms asked, only 207 or 22 percent are FTA users with the lack of knowledge on how to use the FTAs, difficulties in complying with rules of origin (ROO) requirements and high administrative costs as the top reasons for the low utilization rate.
Large enterprises have a higher utilization at 39 percent while among SMEs, only 16 percent are FTA users.

Aldaba said some businesses especially those located in special economic zones are less inclined to use FTAs since they already enjoy duty- and tax-free importation of raw materials, supplies, capital equipment, and spare parts.
The other factors behind the FTAs low utilization include small trade volumes with countries, and countries outside of AEC being their major markets, such as the United States and Mexico.

Aldaba cited recommendations to improve the industries understanding of the FTAs including more awareness programs on how to use FTAs and how firms can take advantage of opportunities and the use of information and communication technology such as more interactive websites to increase scope and reach of promotional and technical training program.
Dr. Ceferino Rodolfo, BOI managing head, urged local industries attending the TID Updates to further seize the opportunities of the sound economic fundamentals and sustained investor confidence that the country is presently in as investment pledges continue to pour in.
Rodolfo cited a report from Credit Suisse which indicated that the Philippines so far this year was the clear winner among member countries of the Asean, in attracting foreign direct investments which stood at a multi-decade high of $8 billion as of end-April, up from $6 billion in 2015 and $1 billion just five years ago.//

Author:
Date: August 25, 2016
Source: Malaya

The government is encouraging the countrys stakeholders in the manufacturing and its allied industries to take full advantage of the integrated Asean Economic Community (AEC) and other free trade agreements (FTAs) that the Philippines has with trading partners given that the local sectors are heavily engaged in regional value chains.
At the 17th Edition of the Trade and Industry Development (TID) Updates organized by the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, said that local industries have not fully maximized the benefits of the available FTAs.

She said a survey showed a 44 percent awareness level, with limited knowledge of the detailed impact of the AEC on business.
The survey indicated that based on various studies conducted in the past, the FTAs utilization rate is at a low of 11.8 percent in 2008, lower than 15 percent from 2006 to 2007.
The utilization rate however increased to 20 percent in 2010 and 30.8 percent in 2014, but Aldaba said countrys businesses and industries should have been utilizing more.
According to the survey, Asean Trade in Goods Agreement is the most frequently used FTA, followed by ASEANs FTAs with China and Japan.
Findings of the survey showed that out of the 939 firms asked, only 207 or 22 percent are FTA users with the lack of knowledge on how to use the FTAs, difficulties in complying with rules of origin (ROO) requirements and high administrative costs as the top reasons for the low utilization rate.
Large enterprises have a higher utilization at 39 percent while among SMEs, only 16 percent are FTA users.

Aldaba said some businesses especially those located in special economic zones are less inclined to use FTAs since they already enjoy duty- and tax-free importation of raw materials, supplies, capital equipment, and spare parts.
The other factors behind the FTAs low utilization include small trade volumes with countries, and countries outside of AEC being their major markets, such as the United States and Mexico.

Aldaba cited recommendations to improve the industries understanding of the FTAs including more awareness programs on how to use FTAs and how firms can take advantage of opportunities and the use of information and communication technology such as more interactive websites to increase scope and reach of promotional and technical training program.
Dr. Ceferino Rodolfo, BOI managing head, urged local industries attending the TID Updates to further seize the opportunities of the sound economic fundamentals and sustained investor confidence that the country is presently in as investment pledges continue to pour in.
Rodolfo cited a report from Credit Suisse which indicated that the Philippines so far this year was the clear winner among member countries of the Asean, in attracting foreign direct investments which stood at a multi-decade high of $8 billion as of end-April, up from $6 billion in 2015 and $1 billion just five years ago.//

Author:
Date: August 25, 2016
Source: Malaya

The government is encouraging the countrys stakeholders in the manufacturing and its allied industries to take full advantage of the integrated Asean Economic Community (AEC) and other free trade agreements (FTAs) that the Philippines has with trading partners given that the local sectors are heavily engaged in regional value chains.
At the 17th Edition of the Trade and Industry Development (TID) Updates organized by the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, said that local industries have not fully maximized the benefits of the available FTAs.

She said a survey showed a 44 percent awareness level, with limited knowledge of the detailed impact of the AEC on business.
The survey indicated that based on various studies conducted in the past, the FTAs utilization rate is at a low of 11.8 percent in 2008, lower than 15 percent from 2006 to 2007.
The utilization rate however increased to 20 percent in 2010 and 30.8 percent in 2014, but Aldaba said countrys businesses and industries should have been utilizing more.
According to the survey, Asean Trade in Goods Agreement is the most frequently used FTA, followed by ASEANs FTAs with China and Japan.
Findings of the survey showed that out of the 939 firms asked, only 207 or 22 percent are FTA users with the lack of knowledge on how to use the FTAs, difficulties in complying with rules of origin (ROO) requirements and high administrative costs as the top reasons for the low utilization rate.
Large enterprises have a higher utilization at 39 percent while among SMEs, only 16 percent are FTA users.

Aldaba said some businesses especially those located in special economic zones are less inclined to use FTAs since they already enjoy duty- and tax-free importation of raw materials, supplies, capital equipment, and spare parts.
The other factors behind the FTAs low utilization include small trade volumes with countries, and countries outside of AEC being their major markets, such as the United States and Mexico.

Aldaba cited recommendations to improve the industries understanding of the FTAs including more awareness programs on how to use FTAs and how firms can take advantage of opportunities and the use of information and communication technology such as more interactive websites to increase scope and reach of promotional and technical training program.
Dr. Ceferino Rodolfo, BOI managing head, urged local industries attending the TID Updates to further seize the opportunities of the sound economic fundamentals and sustained investor confidence that the country is presently in as investment pledges continue to pour in.
Rodolfo cited a report from Credit Suisse which indicated that the Philippines so far this year was the clear winner among member countries of the Asean, in attracting foreign direct investments which stood at a multi-decade high of $8 billion as of end-April, up from $6 billion in 2015 and $1 billion just five years ago.//

Author:
Date: August 25, 2016
Source: Malaya

THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said the government is not keen on extending incentives to businesses investing in Mindanao.
Neda Director General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said the economic team would be more keen on granting incentives to poverty reduction-linked efforts, such as socialized housing.
We are not too keen on coming up with new fiscal incentives, because theres already a lot of compunction to invest in this region so, in fact, we are rationalizing, we are reviewing our fiscal-incentives system, Pernia said.
Pernia cited the proposal of Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo to extend tax breaks for property developers to encourage them to go into socialized housing.
Robredo earlier said based on preliminary figures obtained by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, the housing backlog is currently at 5.7 million.
To wipe out this backlog, Robredo said the government"together with the private sector"must build 2,602 homes per day in the next six years.
If it [grant of incentives] is to help poverty reduction, then it could be justified, Pernia said.
Neda Deputy Director General for Planning Rosemarie G. Edillon said the government is hoping for more investments to crowd in in places outside of Metro Manila, particularly the Visayas and Mindanao.
Edillon said the government hopes that investors will be encouraged with the developments occurring in these areas.
Increasing investments nationwide has been one of the biggest challenges of the Philippines. The country still has among the lowest foreign direct investments in the region.
A previous study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies showed the countrys investment rate was only around 15 percent to 17 percent in 2009, a deterioration from the 24 percent posted in 1997.
What were looking at more carefully is a possible crowding in [to encourage] more investments outside of Metro Manila, particularly the Visayas and Mindanao, then the other investors will follow suit, Edillon said. Pernia said sectors that could potentially draw in more investors are tourism, agriculture, ports and roads.
On the part of the government, he said, it is focusing on increasing infrastructure investments for roads, particularly in areas outside the Metro Manila Urban Industrial region.
Theres still a lot of things to do so that Metro Cebu, for example, and Metro Davao can be competitive with Metro Manila eventually, Pernia said.
Pernia said despite efforts to decrease inequality, economic growth remains focused on these three regions.
He said the government must help regions outside of the National Capital Region (NCR), Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon (Calabarzon) and Central Luzon to improve lives of millions of Filipinos.
NCR remains the top contributor to the countrys GDP from 2010 to 2015. This was followed by Calabarzon and Central Luzon, primarily due to the expansion of the industry and services sectors and obvious proximity to NCR.
The share of NCR in GDP grew to 36.5 percent in 2015 from 35.7 percent in 2010, while Calabarzon and Central Luzon posted shares of 17.2 and 9.3 percent, respectively, in the same year.//

Author: Cai Ordinario
Date: August 21, 2016
Source: Business Mirror

When I headed the Philippine Statistical Association Inc. (PSAI), the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) invited the PSAI to conduct a third party evaluation of its Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) Program for Yolanda Victims. The emergency UCT program of UNICEF was aimed at providing quick relief to children and their families.
Ten thousand vulnerable families in Tacloban City and municipalities of Burauen, Dagami, Julita, La Paz, and Pastrana in Leyte were identified to receive $100 every month for a period of six months from February 2014 to July 2014.
The 10,000 household beneficiaries of the UNCT included households with pregnant and lactating women (PLWs), children suffering from moderate/severe acute malnutrition (MAM/SAM) or at risk of malnutrition, persons with disabilities (PWDs), persons with chronic illness, elderly persons, single female-headed households, child-headed households, households hosting separated children.

Dr. Celia Reyes, a PSAI lifetime member, and my esteemed colleague at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies who also serves as the Community Based Monitoring System (CBMS) Network Coordinating Team Leader, led the PSAI third party evaluation.
The PSAI conducted three survey rounds to collect information on a panel of households that received the UCT support. In addition, focus group discussions (FGDs) were also conducted to better understand the quantitative results. Key stakeholders, such as the implementing partners and cash distribution personnel, were also interviewed.
Of the 10,000 households, a stratified random sample of 499 beneficiary-households was selected for interviews for three survey rounds by the PSAI. The number of panel households interviewed for the three rounds is 484, thus attrition in the panel was quite minimal: attrition rate from the first survey wave to the second wave 0.82% final attrition rate was slightly over 1 percent (1.22%).

Food, savings
The PSAI observed that across the survey rounds, the top three uses of the emergency cash transfer received by households were on food expenses, miscellaneous expenses and for savings. (See Figure 1). Thus, the cash relief was able to help the beneficiaries smooth their food consumption, with about half of cash received spent on food.
More than half of the cash was spent on food and this led to a significant decline in the malnutrition prevalence among children from 5% to about 1% to 2%.
Despite overall improvement in nutrition among children of beneficiary households, there were at least 21 children who were not malnourished during the first round of the survey were classified as malnourished by the third round of the survey. All of these children were located outside of Tacloban; these children were females, less than 1-year-old and have experienced hunger.
The emergency cash was also used to address some of the other needs of beneficiary households such as medicines, housing repair, livelihood and education-related expenses.
The FGDs revealed that many of the households spent money on vitamins, particularly for children. Savings also became increasingly an important use of the assistance. Proportion that went to savings was highest during the first round since families saved part of transfer to be able to buy materials for repairing their houses.
However, utilization for miscellaneous expenses and savings has continuously declined over time. Some households used part of the money to start or expand livelihood activities, such as pig-raising, sari-sari stores and food vending.
The amount of the cash was very significant compared to their usual income and allowed them to purchase items that they would not ordinarily be able to purchase. Majority of the beneficiaries recovered, either partially or fully, from the devastation of Yolanda after the six-month program.

The UCT was also used for household expenses relating to clothing, shelter, debt, income generating activities, transportation, education, agriculture, water, and communication. Expenditure on shelter almost doubled between the first and third rounds. Utilization for income generating expenses increased by 1.2 percent since the 1st round.
Average monthly income of beneficiary households across sites increased during the duration of the program, but drastically declined after the grant ended. In almost all sites, average monthly income after the program ended was lower compared to the period when the program started. The biggest reduction is marked in the municipality of Dagami where monthly income has been reduced by an average of at least P 3,076 per month.
The UCT grant was twice that of average income of households, so this yielded a substantial effect on poverty incidence reduction. However, considering that the cash transfer constituted a significant portion of total income of the households, the end of the UCT program meant a significant reduction in the total income of the households.

This explains why some households fell into poverty during the third round.
The PSAI also noticed marked improvements not only in nutrition and income, but also in the areas of educational status of children, employment and housing.
Table 2, for instance, shows that there was an overall improvement from round 1 to round 3, though there was a slight decrease in school attendance from round 2 to round 3.
About 61 in every 100 beneficiary households have recovered from Super Typhoon Yolanda. Of these 61 households, about half (28 households) have fully recovered while the other half (33 households) have partially recovered.
In particular, those who used part of their cash transfer for livelihood or for savings were more likely to have recovered. Households received on the average about 5 assistance programs. More than half of the households who received more than 10 Haiyan-related Assistance have recovered.
The UCT assistance program has a number of learning lessons especially for future interventions to disaster victims. While most often people have a condescending view of cash assistance, (whether conditional or unconditional), it appears that the UCT has been a big help to beneficiary households.
The absence of conditionalities allowed the households to use the cash assistance as needed. Not all households, however, have fully recovered almost a year after Yolanda. Six months of assistance may not have been long enough for some households to get back on their feet.
The amount of P4370 per month over a period of six months is rather large compared to the usual income of the beneficiaries and cash assistance provided by other donors. This has allowed the beneficiaries to smooth their consumption of food and start/expand livelihood activities.
Costs, in terms of money and time, could be substantial on the part of the beneficiaries in obtaining the cash grants. More accessible distribution points could be considered for similar programs in the future. Distribution system for cash and non-cash transfers needs to be mapped out as part of disaster preparedness plans. Few and distant distribution points may pose significant costs on the part of the beneficiaries. Arbitrary distribution points may leave out some families in the communities.
Investments should clearly be made in having an updated list of residents in each area, with household and individual level characteristics that could be used as starting point for the list of potential beneficiaries.
Generating local level data such as the CBMS, can make communities and LGUs better prepared to cope with disasters (that are certainly recurring in the country). Well-defined criteria could be used in identifying beneficiaries to lessen reliance on skilled field workers to identify who should get into the program.
Coordination on the types of assistance can be improved. Greater coordination by LGUs, who have the main face of government in the field, can ensure that all affected households are covered by the different programs.
Alternative evacuation facilities should be identified. Return to normal routine, especially going to school for children, helps with the recovery process. Psychosocial impact assessment of disasters, particularly on children, need to be undertaken. Behavioral therapy could be provided to overcome trauma.
More details on the evaluation of UNICEFs UCT program for Yolanda victims are to be discussed during the PSAI Annual Conference this coming August 31, 2016 to September 2, 2016 in Naga City.
The PSAI hopes that stakeholders of disaster risk management and social protection will join the community of statisticians in this upcoming conference. Disasters keep recurring, and it is time we, especially our nations new government, learn from lessons on how best to help those in need of help the most. " Rappler.com
Dr. Jose Ramon "Toots" Albert is a professional statistician who holds a PhD in Statistics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is a Senior Research Fellow of the governments think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), and the immediate past president of the countrys professional society of data producers, users and analysts, the Philippine Statistical Association, Inc. for 2014-2015.

Author: Jose Ramon Albert
Date: August 25, 2016
Source: Rappler.com

Only close to a third of local businesses are currently benefiting from the free trade agreements (FTAs) that the Philippines has entered into due to a lack of awareness and difficulties in complying with the requirements set under these preferential deals, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.
The survey"which covered 105 firms and was conducted for state think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies"showed that while the utilization rate has steadily risen from a low of 11.8 percent in 2008 to 30.8 percent in 2014, an even bigger population of Philippine businesses and industries continued to miss out on the opportunities and benefits offered by FTAs.
The most basic of the problem was the lack of awareness. A separate survey on the awareness level of Philippine industries and stakeholders on the Asean Economic Community (AEC) and FTAs commissioned by the DTI showed the of 939 firms polled, only 44 percent were aware of the deals, while only 207 companies or 22 percent were found to be FTA users.
According to the survey results, the lack of knowledge on how to use the FTAs, difficulties in complying with rules of origin (ROO) requirements and the high administrative costs were cited by companies as among the top reasons for the low utilization rate of FTAs. Large enterprises have a higher utilization rate at 39 percent, while among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), only 16 percent were FTA users.
The study added that some businesses, especially those located in special economic zones were less inclined to use FTAs since they already enjoyed duty- and tax-free importation of raw materials, supplies, capital equipment and spare parts. The other factors behind the FTAs low utilization rate included small trade volumes with countries, and countries outside of AEC being their major markets such as the United States and Mexico. With a report from Bernadette Nicolas

Author: Amy Remo
Date: August 25, 2016
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

When I headed the Philippine Statistical Association Inc. (PSAI), the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) invited the PSAI to conduct a third party evaluation of its Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) Program for Yolanda Victims. The emergency UCT program of UNICEF was aimed at providing quick relief to children and their families.
Ten thousand vulnerable families in Tacloban City and municipalities of Burauen, Dagami, Julita, La Paz, and Pastrana in Leyte were identified to receive $100 every month for a period of six months from February 2014 to July 2014.
The 10,000 household beneficiaries of the UNCT included households with pregnant and lactating women (PLWs), children suffering from moderate/severe acute malnutrition (MAM/SAM) or at risk of malnutrition, persons with disabilities (PWDs), persons with chronic illness, elderly persons, single female-headed households, child-headed households, households hosting separated children.

Dr. Celia Reyes, a PSAI lifetime member, and my esteemed colleague at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies who also serves as the Community Based Monitoring System (CBMS) Network Coordinating Team Leader, led the PSAI third party evaluation.
The PSAI conducted three survey rounds to collect information on a panel of households that received the UCT support. In addition, focus group discussions (FGDs) were also conducted to better understand the quantitative results. Key stakeholders, such as the implementing partners and cash distribution personnel, were also interviewed.
Of the 10,000 households, a stratified random sample of 499 beneficiary-households was selected for interviews for three survey rounds by the PSAI. The number of panel households interviewed for the three rounds is 484, thus attrition in the panel was quite minimal: attrition rate from the first survey wave to the second wave 0.82% final attrition rate was slightly over 1 percent (1.22%).

Food, savings
The PSAI observed that across the survey rounds, the top three uses of the emergency cash transfer received by households were on food expenses, miscellaneous expenses and for savings. (See Figure 1). Thus, the cash relief was able to help the beneficiaries smooth their food consumption, with about half of cash received spent on food.
More than half of the cash was spent on food and this led to a significant decline in the malnutrition prevalence among children from 5% to about 1% to 2%.
Despite overall improvement in nutrition among children of beneficiary households, there were at least 21 children who were not malnourished during the first round of the survey were classified as malnourished by the third round of the survey. All of these children were located outside of Tacloban; these children were females, less than 1-year-old and have experienced hunger.
The emergency cash was also used to address some of the other needs of beneficiary households such as medicines, housing repair, livelihood and education-related expenses.
The FGDs revealed that many of the households spent money on vitamins, particularly for children. Savings also became increasingly an important use of the assistance. Proportion that went to savings was highest during the first round since families saved part of transfer to be able to buy materials for repairing their houses.
However, utilization for miscellaneous expenses and savings has continuously declined over time. Some households used part of the money to start or expand livelihood activities, such as pig-raising, sari-sari stores and food vending.
The amount of the cash was very significant compared to their usual income and allowed them to purchase items that they would not ordinarily be able to purchase. Majority of the beneficiaries recovered, either partially or fully, from the devastation of Yolanda after the six-month program.

The UCT was also used for household expenses relating to clothing, shelter, debt, income generating activities, transportation, education, agriculture, water, and communication. Expenditure on shelter almost doubled between the first and third rounds. Utilization for income generating expenses increased by 1.2 percent since the 1st round.
Average monthly income of beneficiary households across sites increased during the duration of the program, but drastically declined after the grant ended. In almost all sites, average monthly income after the program ended was lower compared to the period when the program started. The biggest reduction is marked in the municipality of Dagami where monthly income has been reduced by an average of at least P 3,076 per month.
The UCT grant was twice that of average income of households, so this yielded a substantial effect on poverty incidence reduction. However, considering that the cash transfer constituted a significant portion of total income of the households, the end of the UCT program meant a significant reduction in the total income of the households.

This explains why some households fell into poverty during the third round.
The PSAI also noticed marked improvements not only in nutrition and income, but also in the areas of educational status of children, employment and housing.
Table 2, for instance, shows that there was an overall improvement from round 1 to round 3, though there was a slight decrease in school attendance from round 2 to round 3.
About 61 in every 100 beneficiary households have recovered from Super Typhoon Yolanda. Of these 61 households, about half (28 households) have fully recovered while the other half (33 households) have partially recovered.
In particular, those who used part of their cash transfer for livelihood or for savings were more likely to have recovered. Households received on the average about 5 assistance programs. More than half of the households who received more than 10 Haiyan-related Assistance have recovered.
The UCT assistance program has a number of learning lessons especially for future interventions to disaster victims. While most often people have a condescending view of cash assistance, (whether conditional or unconditional), it appears that the UCT has been a big help to beneficiary households.
The absence of conditionalities allowed the households to use the cash assistance as needed. Not all households, however, have fully recovered almost a year after Yolanda. Six months of assistance may not have been long enough for some households to get back on their feet.
The amount of P4370 per month over a period of six months is rather large compared to the usual income of the beneficiaries and cash assistance provided by other donors. This has allowed the beneficiaries to smooth their consumption of food and start/expand livelihood activities.
Costs, in terms of money and time, could be substantial on the part of the beneficiaries in obtaining the cash grants. More accessible distribution points could be considered for similar programs in the future. Distribution system for cash and non-cash transfers needs to be mapped out as part of disaster preparedness plans. Few and distant distribution points may pose significant costs on the part of the beneficiaries. Arbitrary distribution points may leave out some families in the communities.
Investments should clearly be made in having an updated list of residents in each area, with household and individual level characteristics that could be used as starting point for the list of potential beneficiaries.
Generating local level data such as the CBMS, can make communities and LGUs better prepared to cope with disasters (that are certainly recurring in the country). Well-defined criteria could be used in identifying beneficiaries to lessen reliance on skilled field workers to identify who should get into the program.
Coordination on the types of assistance can be improved. Greater coordination by LGUs, who have the main face of government in the field, can ensure that all affected households are covered by the different programs.
Alternative evacuation facilities should be identified. Return to normal routine, especially going to school for children, helps with the recovery process. Psychosocial impact assessment of disasters, particularly on children, need to be undertaken. Behavioral therapy could be provided to overcome trauma.
More details on the evaluation of UNICEFs UCT program for Yolanda victims are to be discussed during the PSAI Annual Conference this coming August 31, 2016 to September 2, 2016 in Naga City.
The PSAI hopes that stakeholders of disaster risk management and social protection will join the community of statisticians in this upcoming conference. Disasters keep recurring, and it is time we, especially our nations new government, learn from lessons on how best to help those in need of help the most. " Rappler.com
Dr. Jose Ramon "Toots" Albert is a professional statistician who holds a PhD in Statistics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is a Senior Research Fellow of the governments think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), and the immediate past president of the countrys professional society of data producers, users and analysts, the Philippine Statistical Association, Inc. for 2014-2015.

Author: Jose Ramon Albert
Date: August 25, 2016
Source: Rappler.com

Only close to a third of local businesses are currently benefiting from the free trade agreements (FTAs) that the Philippines has entered into due to a lack of awareness and difficulties in complying with the requirements set under these preferential deals, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.
The survey"which covered 105 firms and was conducted for state think-tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies"showed that while the utilization rate has steadily risen from a low of 11.8 percent in 2008 to 30.8 percent in 2014, an even bigger population of Philippine businesses and industries continued to miss out on the opportunities and benefits offered by FTAs.
The most basic of the problem was the lack of awareness. A separate survey on the awareness level of Philippine industries and stakeholders on the Asean Economic Community (AEC) and FTAs commissioned by the DTI showed the of 939 firms polled, only 44 percent were aware of the deals, while only 207 companies or 22 percent were found to be FTA users.
According to the survey results, the lack of knowledge on how to use the FTAs, difficulties in complying with rules of origin (ROO) requirements and the high administrative costs were cited by companies as among the top reasons for the low utilization rate of FTAs. Large enterprises have a higher utilization rate at 39 percent, while among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), only 16 percent were FTA users.
The study added that some businesses, especially those located in special economic zones were less inclined to use FTAs since they already enjoyed duty- and tax-free importation of raw materials, supplies, capital equipment and spare parts. The other factors behind the FTAs low utilization rate included small trade volumes with countries, and countries outside of AEC being their major markets such as the United States and Mexico.// With a report from Bernadette Nicolas


Author: Amy Remo
Date: August 25, 2016
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

The government is encouraging the countrys stakeholders in the manufacturing and its allied industries to take full advantage of the integrated Asean Economic Community (AEC) and other free trade agreements (FTAs) that the Philippines has with trading partners given that the local sectors are heavily engaged in regional value chains.
At the 17th Edition of the Trade and Industry Development (TID) Updates organized by the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, said that local industries have not fully maximized the benefits of the available FTAs.

She said a survey showed a 44 percent awareness level, with limited knowledge of the detailed impact of the AEC on business.
The survey indicated that based on various studies conducted in the past, the FTAs utilization rate is at a low of 11.8 percent in 2008, lower than 15 percent from 2006 to 2007.
The utilization rate however increased to 20 percent in 2010 and 30.8 percent in 2014, but Aldaba said countrys businesses and industries should have been utilizing more.
According to the survey, Asean Trade in Goods Agreement is the most frequently used FTA, followed by ASEANs FTAs with China and Japan.
Findings of the survey showed that out of the 939 firms asked, only 207 or 22 percent are FTA users with the lack of knowledge on how to use the FTAs, difficulties in complying with rules of origin (ROO) requirements and high administrative costs as the top reasons for the low utilization rate.
Large enterprises have a higher utilization at 39 percent while among SMEs, only 16 percent are FTA users.

Aldaba said some businesses especially those located in special economic zones are less inclined to use FTAs since they already enjoy duty- and tax-free importation of raw materials, supplies, capital equipment, and spare parts.
The other factors behind the FTAs low utilization include small trade volumes with countries, and countries outside of AEC being their major markets, such as the United States and Mexico.

Aldaba cited recommendations to improve the industries understanding of the FTAs including more awareness programs on how to use FTAs and how firms can take advantage of opportunities and the use of information and communication technology such as more interactive websites to increase scope and reach of promotional and technical training program.
Dr. Ceferino Rodolfo, BOI managing head, urged local industries attending the TID Updates to further seize the opportunities of the sound economic fundamentals and sustained investor confidence that the country is presently in as investment pledges continue to pour in.
Rodolfo cited a report from Credit Suisse which indicated that the Philippines so far this year was the clear winner among member countries of the Asean, in attracting foreign direct investments which stood at a multi-decade high of $8 billion as of end-April, up from $6 billion in 2015 and $1 billion just five years ago.//

Author:
Date: August 25, 2016
Source: Malaya

The motor vehicle users charge (MVUC) needs to be overhauled first to make it more effective and efficient before any rate adjustments are made, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said.

According to the policy note, The Motor Vehicle Users Charge: Some issues and recommendations, the law provides for increase in MVUC rates.

Given that the new administration will need an even greater fiscal space to implement projects, it will only be a matter of time before adjusting the MVUC rates is viewed as a source of additional resources, the policy note said.

The law states that the Philippine president may adjust the MVUC rates not more than once every five years.

At this point, there is a need to demonstrate first that the MVUC can be made effective and efficient through an overhaul of the processes and institutional setup, the report stated.

Afterwards, the public must be made aware of the improvements and the concrete effects of the changes implemented to gain its support for any proposed increase in the MVUC rates, it added.

The MVUC, which is imposed through the registration fees of vehicles and penalties for overloading, is envisioned as a source of funding to finance road maintenance and minimize air pollution.

According to Republic Act (RA) 8794, funds collected from the MVUC should be placed in four special accounts in the National Treasury: Special Road Support Fund (80 percent), Special Local Road Fund (5 percent), Special Vehicle Pollution Control Fund (7.5 percent) and Special Road Safety Fund (7.5 percent).

Specifically, the MVUC is intended for road maintenance and improvement of drainage of national, primary and secondary roads; maintenance of local roads, traffic management and road safety devices; installation of traffic signs, pavement markings and safety devices; and for air pollution control.

The research paper said the administration of the MVUC is in dire need of institutional reforms.

The report pointed out that frustration with the MVUCs performance even led to a proposal, Senate Bill 3131 in the 16th Congress, to amend RA 8794 particularly for the purpose of abolishing the Road Board.

The Senate bill, however, does not propose an oversight arrangement for the MVUC.

Rather than abolish the Road Board, the more rational option could be to strengthen its oversight capability and transparency. For instance, its membership can be restructured to include other road users, such as business users and the logistics and supply chain sector, the paper said.

The report noted the country experiences show there is usually a strong representation of the road users in the oversight body.
An examination of successful cases in other countries also reveals good practices that are worth looking into, such as ensuring that the road fund administrator is strictly an administrator rather than a project implementer, advanced preparation of a long-term vision and short- to medium-term road investment programs, and variations of the reimbursement-basis payment system that are supported by strong audit systems, it said.

In an earlier discussion paper, Results of the Assessment of the Utilization and Impacts of MVUC in the Philippines, PIDS said the funds collected through the MVUC is underutilized due to the lack of a definitive operating procedure system on how to identify and prioritize projects funded by the said road users tax.

Project identification does not follow the prescribed procedures. The approach is bottom up, rather than top down, (thereby) failing to incorporate a network perspective of accident blackspots, and leading to projects that are not of the highest priority being approved and implemented, the report said.

The report cited total collections generated from the MVUC fund in 2001 to 2014 stood at P112.5 billion.

The PIDS study said project approval and fund release under the Special Local Road Fund requires the prerogative of the city mayor, leaving the process open to politicking.

Project implementation is, ideally, a coordinated effort among several government agencies and the Road Board, the paper said.

However, in reality, there is evidently a real potential of overlaps of functions, especially between the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Road Board Secretariat, it added.

The report also cited the lack of transparency, given the absence of a clear schedule for proposal submission and approval of the projects.

It pointed out that this setup leaves the process open to political interference.

Aside from underutilization, the study also enumerated potential sources of discrepancy in fund collection, due to incorrect agency and transaction codes and the lack of a list of deposited collections.//

Author: Angela Celis
Date: August 25, 2016
Source: Malaya

THE government is encouraging manufacturers and allied industries to take full advantage of the benefits available from the economic integration of Asean member states under the Asean Economic Community (AEC) and the various free trade agreements (FTAs) that the Philippines has with its trading partners.
Local industries have not fully maximized the benefits of the available FTAs, said Rafaelita Aldaba, senior research fellow and acting vice president of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
Abdaba was speaking at the 17th Edition of the Trade and Industry Development (TID) Updates, a multi-sector conference regularly organized by the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) held last August 22 during which the results of a survey on FTA utilization commissioned by the BOI were presented.
The survey showed a 44 percent awareness level about FTAs with limited knowledge of the detailed impact of the AEC on business.
The survey also indicated that based on various studies conducted in the past, the FTA utilization rate was at a low of 11.8 percent in 2008, lower than the 15 percent rate registered from 2006 to 2007.
The utilization rate increased to 20 percent in 2010 and 30.8 percent in 2014, but Aldaba said the countrys businesses and industries should have been utilizing more.
According to the survey, Asean Trade in Goods Agreement is the most frequently used FTA, followed by Aseans FTAs with China and Japan.
Findings of the survey showed that out of the 939 firms asked, only 207 or 22 percent are FTA users with the lack of knowledge on how to use the FTAs, difficulties in complying with rules of origin (ROO) requirements and high administrative costs as the top reasons for the low utilization rate.
Large enterprises have a higher utilization at 39 percent while among small and medium enterprises (SMEs), only 16 percent are FTA users.
The study also said showed that some businesses, especially those located in special economic zones, are less inclined to use FTAs since they already enjoy duty- and tax-free importation of raw materials, supplies, capital equipment, and spare parts.//

Author: Raadee S. Sausa,
Date: August 25, 2016
Source: Manila Times

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 30 (PIA) -- The second Mindanao Policy Research Forum will be the first of many activities slated for Septembers Development Policy Research Month (DPRM) celebration. Partners Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), and Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) are co-hosting a policy forum which is focused on the theme Nurturing Resilient Communities in Mindanao towards Sustainable Development. A lunchtime press conference will formally open and discuss this years DPRM theme of Investing in Risk Reduction for a Resilient Philippines. These back-to-back events will be held on September 1 at FSUU in the city.
Undersecretary Janet Lopez, executive director of MinDA, will present on Fostering Partnerships with Academic and Research Groups for Mindanaos Sustainable Development. Echoing the DPRM commitment to promoting the role of sound research evidence in policymaking, Lopezs presentation will focus on harnessing the talent and input of Mindanaos research community in shaping the development and sustainable growth of Mindanao.
Other presenters include PIDS Senior Research Fellows Dr. Celia Reyes and Dr. Danilo Israel. Reyess presentation will discuss the massive study evaluating the design, implementation, and impact of the crop insurance programs being delivered by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation.
The study investigated the experience of farmers in various regions with the program, and, in turn, offers recommendations to address the challenge of improving access and awareness among target-beneficiaries. Israel will discuss the results of the impact evaluation of the National Greening Program and will reveal whether or not it has effectively achieved its objectives. He will also discuss the challenges and shortcomings that must be addressed to improve the program.
FSUU and Caraga State University will be delivering presentations in the afternoon. In line with the DPRM theme, FSUU will discuss its disaster reduction and risk management initiatives. Resource persons from Caraga State University will present their study on the Comprehensive Land Administration and Information Management System.
The presentations will be followed by a broad line-up of discussants, which includes people from different sectors"private, government, and civil society. The panel consists of Dr. Mohammad Yacob from the Bangsamoro Development Authority and representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Senate.
The PIDS Socioeconomic Research Portal for the Philippines (SERP-P) team will also be in attendance to discuss the open access agenda. SERP-P is an online repository of socioeconomic research materials amassed from the contributions of PIDS and 52 other research and academic institutions. SERP-P Coordinator Mark Vincent Aranas will speak about the portals role in promoting free access to critical knowledge and relevant research studies and information, and how to use the knowledge resources in SERP-P.
The lunch-time press conference on the 2016 DPRM will be headed by Usec Lopoz of MinDA; Dr. Danilo Israel and Dr. Sheila Siar, PIDS director for research information; Dr. Maricar Casquejo, regional director of CHED Caraga, and Rev. Fr. John Christian Young, FSUU president. Key regional officials from the Office of Civil Defense, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Health will complete the line-up of panelists.
The DPRM is celebrated across the country every September since 2003 in view of Malacaang Proclamation No. 247. This information and advocacy event aims to promote and draw nationwide awareness on the importance of policy research in the formulation of sound development plans, programs, and policies. The proclamation designated state think tank PIDS as the lead government agency in the yearly observance of the DPRM. (PIDS/PIA-Caraga)

Author:
Date: August 30, 2016
Source: PIA

ITS A platform like no other, and a first in the Philippines.
The website daretohiremenow.com is a skills-based job platform that matches PWDs with an employer for free.
And a month after its launch, around 200 persons with disabilities (PWDs) have already signed up.
Given the right conditions, they (PWDs) can be exceptional, said Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi, executive director of Unilab Foundation (ULF), which initiated the project made public last July 15.
She added even the technical team that created the website is composed of persons with disabilities.
To encourage companies to hire PWD applicants, the website features six testimonials of PWDs successfully hired by the ULF through initiative Project Inclusion, which aims to provide a more inclusive society for PWDs.
Information systems student Franklin Chong is blind, but he is now an intern at the Unilab Corporate Information Technology where he works as a back-end developer, creating modules that allow users to manage, edit and upload contents on Unilabs websites.
Chong had difficulty with other internship applications. His professor Martin Manalansan said in the testimonial, When Franklin got rejected, I felt bad. Because each and every student should be given equal opportunity, regardless of their disability.
Randy Motoomull, a computer science graduate, also had problems landing a job.
Interviews would usually end with, We will call you, he said. It is probably just a nice way of saying that Im not the guy for their company.
Now hired by the Univet Nutrition and Animal Healthcare Company, he works as a general clerk, filing payment proposals at the accounting department.
Both found opportunities through Project Inclusion after being rejected by companies despite having the skills for the job.
Hiring PWDs
Palomar-Fresnedi said the ULF has been reaching out to several companies that could offer positions to PWDs.
Were closing some agreements with other companies who dont want to be public about it yet, she said, adding these companies have yet to fully commit to hiring PWDs.
Promoting the inclusion of PWDs in workplaces has strengthened since the passage of Republic Act No. 10524, which encourages private corporations with more than 100 employees to reserve at least one percent of all positions for PWDs.
The signing of the law in April 2013 comes after the study of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, which found that roughly half of working PWDs were underemployed.
Majority of the employed respondents were either self-employed or unpaid family workers.
With the ULF project, at least three employers have already formally signed a memorandum of agreement to accept 55 job coach positions and 192 PWD applicants.
A job coach ensures co-workers and supervisors are aware of the special needs of employees with disabilities.
The goal, said ULF project officer Jim Nemeo, is to hopefully carve out a new position for job coaching here in the Philippines.
Job coaches must first undergo a training program under the ULF.
Its running mainly through bayanihan, said Palomar-Fresnedi, grateful for the rising number of volunteers.
A Filipino expert abroad, whose advocacy is on PWDs, even helped design the curriculum for job coaches.
Better platform
For now, the foundation is doing manual matchmaking, until the number of employers signing up would be enough for automatic online matchmaking.
Nemeo said the website is still in its beta version.
For instance, the websites current account setup allows employers to put only one skill for a job, which lessens opportunities for PWD applicants, as a job position would probably require more than one, he said.
The website also only covers PWD applicants in Metro Manila and cities in provinces.
Some of the sites enabling features are not yet functional. These features, such as text-to-speech for the blind, would supposedly help PWDs navigate the site with ease.


Author: Arianne Christian Tapao
Date: August 30, 2016
Source: Vera Files

Demand for meat products is increasing due to the improvement in the purchasing power of Filipinos, and this will spur the growth of other agricultural subsectors and boost total farm output, according to experts.

Economists told the BusinessMirror that the growth of the livestock and poultry subsectors in the previous two quarters will be sustained in the medium and long term.

Peoples income goes up, and so their diet leans toward more protein sources. Youll still continue to see that trend given the continuous improvement in the livestock and poultry subsectors due to the adoption of new breeds, new feeding practices and continued reduction in conversion ratios, Philippine Institute for Development Studies senior research fellow Roehlano Briones said.

Only the livestock and poultry subsectors posted production growth in the second quarter of the year. Livestock output grew 6.56 percent on the back of increased hog output, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

Poultry production, according to the PSA, inched up by 1.25 percent and accounted for 15.72 percent of total agricultural output in the second quarter.
PSA data also showed that, from 2010 to 2015, only the livestock and poultry subsectors grew consistently. Livestock-production growth peaked at 3.83 percent in 2015. Poultry production also posted the highest annual growth at 5.74 percent last year.

Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piol said his department will prepare projects and programs to boost the livestock and poultry subsectors, such as the establishment of multiplier farms around the country.

Yes. These subsectors [livestock and poultry] are really growing. We have to understand that the consumption of Filipinos of meat has increased. So we really have to prepare for the increase in demand for meat, Piol told the BusinessMirror.

Per-capita meat consumption of Filipinos expanded to nearly 29 kilograms in 2015, from 27.71 kg in 2010, according to latest data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

OECD forecasts that the Philippiness meat consumption per capita will grow to almost 30 kg in 2020.

Economist Pablito M. Villegas, who is also spokesman of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Fisheries Inc., urged the Department of Agriculture to remove the uncertainty over the propagation of genetically modified (GM) corn.

Last month the Supreme Court (SC) reversed its December 2015 ruling, which temporarily stopped the field testing of GM crops, as well as the issuance of permits for the commercialization of GMOs.


The Department of Agriculture should issue an administrative order so that the decision of the SC can be sustained and the industry can respond to it more favorably, Villegas said.

The uncertainty caused by the December 2015 ruling, he said, could discourage farmers from planting GM corn. Yellow corn is a major ingredient used by feed millers in manufacturing animal feeds.

Aside from fluctuations in feed prices, Villegas said abrupt changes in weather conditions may expose hogs and chicken to diseases.

If the weather situation is favorable throughout the remaining months of the year, then production growth will continue and will even be sustained, he said.

Villegas and Briones said the government must continue to impose stricter measures against smuggling to protect the livestock and poultry subsectors. Under the new DA leadership, it seems that the technical smuggling and actual smuggling is already controlled. This bodes well for the two subsectors, Villegas said.

Dr. Rolando Dy, executive director of University of Asia and the Pacifics Center for Food and Agri Business, said the crops subsector should not be neglected to sustain the increase in the income of Filipinos.

Low farm productivity means low income and, in turn, high poverty. Low income means lower demand for livestock and poultry products. Therefore, the poor cannot afford meat. And 26 million of the 100 million Filipinos are poor, Dy said.

These subsectors [livestock and poultry] can boost the agricultural sector, but the government should address the countrys farm productivity across many crops, which is low compared to its peers in Asean, he added.

Author: Jasper Y. Arcalas
Date: August 26, 2016
Source: Business Mirror

LAST week we showed examples of an emerging paradigm of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), sometimes referred to as Corporate Social Values (CSV) or Corporate Social Initiatives (CSI). We noted the changing thrusts of CSR programs. Where before, investors staunchly demanded from their companies not to have CSR programs eat into company profits, the emerging paradigm in our century is that investors demand of the company to have its CSR initiatives translate into genuine sustainable development for the marginalized sectors of society, while at the same time, ensure reasonable returns from their investments. Judith Rodin (Rockefeller Foundation president) and Margot Brandenburg explicitly discussed the trend toward what they termed as impact investing, in their book The Power of Impact Investing: Putting Markets to Work for Profit and Global Good (cf. amazon.com Paperback issue released May 06, 2014).
While questions have been raised whether business and development can be good bedfellows, the number of Philippine companies and associations that have been organized to put into place well strategized impact investing programs is proving the point that, indeed, there is a great change of heart in the business sector " which is to give their best to enhance human life even as they draw from society positive margins for their investments.
Inclusive business (IB)
As to a changing paradigm of CSR, another variant besides impact investing, is inclusive business (IB). This echoes the stress on inclusive education in the K-12 " no child left behind without education, especially those at the base of the pyramid (BoP). So also is (IB), seen as an important driver of inclusive growth and sustainable development carried out by private sector investments. The specific target is the low-income segment by providing decent, well-paying jobs, as well as access to relevant services such as financing, health, education, housing, water, and others.
Unlike impact investing, IB programs are mostly provided by medium-scale companies or as specific business activities of larger enterprises. They are typically very innovative, and . . . create direct and tangible value for both the companys bottom line and for poor and low-income communities..
Unlike the traditional CSR, IB creates an economic enterprise along its companys goals by including sectors in the BoP such as farmers, housewives a part of the value chain of companies core business as suppliers, distributors, retailers, or customers, thereby giving employment. In addition, IB also crafts programs to address socially relevant issues such as poverty, unemployment and community development.http://dirp3.pids.gov.ph/websitecms/CDN/PUBLICATIONS/pidsdps1606.pdf
Thus, business can promote strong, healthy communities that work to respect rights. For Unilever, IB is an opportunity to expand the market for our products and make our business model more resilient in an uncertain world. Unilevers sustainable sourcing of cocoa, tea, vanilla and vegetables for Unilevers products ensures the company of needed materials for its products. The partnership has helped strengthen smallholder farming.By working with their suppliers and partners, the company has enabled around 600,000 smallholder farmers to access initiatives, which aimed to improve their agricultural practices giving them access to better-quality seeds, training and fertilizers.Annual reports reveal the farmers can double or even triple their yields for the crop that is supported by the program.
Proceedings from the ADB Inclusive Business forums, the 2015 APEC High Level Dialogue on Inclusive Business, presentations on the projects from associations like the Philippine Business for Social Progress, the Philippine Business for Education, or those of inter-country chambers of commerce and industry are up to date sources of current business trends. Organized groups of this kind knock on the social conscience of business, extending expert assistance to entrepreneurs in processing IB ventures, offering models that suit a companys nature of services and/or products. They present students with authentic models in the corporate world of strategic drivers to transform the lives of low-income populations.
Along with our discussion on enhancing business internship, we urge to give due focus on value formation during coursework along with honing students in conceptual, technical and people skills. Seasoned executives know that harmonious social relationships anchor on the values of respect, fairness, responsibility, honesty and ability to discern right from wrong. Equally important is cultural competence " the set of behaviors and attitudes appropriate to work effectively in cross cultural situations.. Misunderstandings in corporate life could arise from executives uncertain about dealing with cultural diversity. Likewise suggested is a multidisciplinary approach to shape a habit of mind that looks at inter-connecting aspects of the total picture of a situation. Case studies on the social contribution of business provide students opportunities to reflect on their assumptions, analyses, conclusions and recommendations relative to the purpose of business and how it ought to be fulfilled. Holistic thinking helps interns discern the value, sustainability and fitness of purpose, (social rightness), fairness and the ethics in decision-making relative to the companys business pursuits. Paired with global fluency, there is much hope that academe would continue to help breed corporate constituents who, in adeptly managing or working for positive ROIs, do as well in globally impacted corporate social initiatives and which translate into real gains for the marginalized sectors of our people.
Learners also need both guidance and feedback, from mentors and peers, as they probe the facets of complex issues and test their own insights against both theory and the experiences of others. With preceptors and supervisors providing in-depth questioning experience of interns " internship is enhanced as a deliberative and intentional mediation of theory and practice. (AAC and U20007)
* * *
Teresita Tanhueco-Tumapon, PhD, is one of the Philippines most accomplished educators and experts on institutional management in colleges and universities. Her studies included not only education and pedagogy but also literature, general science and history. She studied not only in the topmost universities in the Philippines but also in Germany, Great Britain and Japan. She headed chartered institutions, was vice president for academics and for external relations and internationalization. She is copy editor of the Liceo journals, an internationalization consultant and professorial lecturer on-call and at the Graduate Studies of Liceo de Cagayan University (in Cagayan de Oro City). She holds a Lifetime Professional Achievement Award from the central office of the Commission on Higher Education.

Author: Teresita Tanhueco " Tumapon
Date: August 11, 2016
Source: Manila Times

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 31 (PIA) - Over 150 multi-stakeholder representatives from the academe, government, private sector and civil society will meet here Thursday at the Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) for a gathering of experts at the 2nd Mindanao Policy Research Forum (MPRF), and push for advocacy initiatives and policies to boost climate change resilience among Mindanao communities.

The conduct of the 2nd MPRF is in line with the 2016 Development Policy Research Month (DPRM), a nationwide event that aims to promote and draw nationwide awareness on the importance of policy research in the formulation of sound development plans, programs, and policies.

Following DPRMs theme of Investing in Risk Reduction for a Resilient Philippines, the MPRF will showcase various policy researches and best practices relevant to developing resilient communities in the island-region.

This is a timely theme to discuss on a policy level since the current administration has consistently cited disaster risk reduction as among its top priorities, said Undersecretary Janet Lopoz, executive director the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

She added the conduct of the 2nd MPRF will become a venue to raise local concerns and efforts in mitigating the climate change impacts to national partners in policy and research communities.

This years forum is co-organized by MinDA through its Mindanao Knowledge Center (MKC), the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), and FSUU, which is also a member of the MKC network.

Given the changing economic and environmental landscape of Mindanao, it has become even more necessary for us to strengthen our policy research and development network through the MKC, since they will be the key players in our pursuit for a green Mindanao economy, Lopez said.

MKC operates under MinDA, along with its partners from higher education institutions and res1earch societies across Mindanao.

The forum will feature policy and research presentations from the PIDS, DENR, FSUU, and the Caraga State University, among others. A team from PIDS Socioeconomic Research Portal for the Philippines (SERP-P) will discuss the open access agenda.

The SERP-P is an online repository of socioeconomic research materials amassed from the contributions of PIDS and 52 other research and academic institutions. A representative from the SERP-P will discuss the portals role in promoting free access to critical knowledge and relevant research studies and information.

At the end of the forum, participants are expected to be able to link policy researches with policy makers and other stakeholders leading to appropriate research utilization and practical application of the completed studies as primary tools in the pursuit for a resilient and progressive Mindanao. (MinDA/PIA-Caraga)

Author:
Date: August 31, 2016
Source: PIA

IN THE past eight weeks (June 30-Aug. 25), President Duterte and his administration have not come up with any action plan to address the traffic crisis in Metro Manila. One thing that he has done to help is not to accept invitations outside Malacaang so as not to further worsen the horrendous traffic.

There has been no executive action by the President on what could have been done immediately on the ground to improve the traffic congestion. There are, after all, government agencies with their respective mandates that can implement measures to effectively ease traffic on Edsa, C-5, Osmea Avenue and other major thoroughfares in the metropolis.

The other thing that the President has done is to send Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to Congress to seek emergency powers to hasten the procurement process, avoid delays with right-of-way issues, and others. But there is no need to wait for these special powers for the executive branch under the President to act swiftly to alleviate the citizenrys traffic woes.

The problem with the projects of the Department of Transportation is that they will not have an immediate impact on the traffic crisis. Why? Because the projects will take at least three years to finish even if emergency powers were granted the President. Thus, these projects are not expected to improve the flow of traffic in the next three years.

Consider the 22-kilometer MRT7 with 14 stations that started construction last April. It will take four years to complete, or until April 2020. Even if another MRT or LRT will be bid out within this year and awarded in January, it will be finished at about the same time as MRT7 if completed in three years under the emergency powers sought by the President.

Let us not forget that the transportation department is in charge only of air, sea and rail transport. This means the airports, seaports, railways and mass transit systems like the MRT and LRT. In terms of traffic engineering, it is only with the MRT and LRT that the transportation department can come in and really help. The only other one is the railway system running parallel to SLEx and Osmea Avenue in Laguna and south of Metro Manila to Quirino Avenue and ending in Tutuban in Manila.

The transportation department cannot improve the traffic flow even if the number of new vehicles are regulated. There are already 2.5 million vehicles registered in the National Capital Region. Then there are hundreds of thousands of vehicles from the nearby provinces going to Metro Manila. Easily, there are close to three million vehicles in the NCR, which explains the horrendous traffic.

But the transportation department cannot effectively regulate the number of new vehicles. The present volume of private vehicles cannot be reduced for the simple reason of inadequate public transport. (An estimated 85 percent of motor vehicles are private vehicles for personal use, per the study of the Philippine Institute of Development Studies, a government think-tank.) The most it can do through the Land Transportation Office is not to renew the registration of vehicles that are not road-worthy. But here



we are looking only at minimal reduction that may not even reach 25,000 vehicles, or 1.0 percent of the 2.5 million vehicles to be registered in NCR in the next five years.

The other mandate of the transportation department is regulation of public utility vehicles through the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. But only the illegal or colorum buses and jeepneys can be removed from the roads, and they run to only a few thousand units at most.

The harm that buses and jeepneys do is their indiscriminate loading and unloading of passengers that impede the traffic flow. They will stop just anywhere, with impunity, hence the need for designated bus and jeepney stops and effective traffic enforcement. There should be no mercy in enforcing traffic rules and regulations!
One agency that can help address the traffic crisis is the Department of Public Works and Highways. The DPWH is in charge of the national roads in Metro Manila and expressways, like NLEx, SLEx and Cavitex, through the Toll Regulatory Board under its supervision. The DPWH can build new roads and bridges that can serve as alternative routes to avoid the traffic areas.

Lastly, the Metro Manila Development Authority has the mandate on traffic management, but has not been effective both in traffic enforcement and engineering. During the last year of the Aquino administration, the Office of the President deputized the Philippine National Polices Highway Patrol Group to take over Edsa from the MMDA due to the traffic crisis that has emerged after six years of a do-nothing administration.

Going back to what can be done immediately, the President can issue an administrative order establishing a unified command for traffic management in Metro Manila composed of the MMDA, DWPH, and the Departments of Transportation, of Interior and Local Government, and of Justice. The DILG is needed due to the involvement of local government units and the PNP-HPG in traffic enforcement. The DOJ is included to immediately address the legal issues.

Tugade can be appointed chair of the Unified Command for Traffic Management. A full-time executive director can implement its decisions. The chair can make decisions on matters of exigency, acting in behalf of the President.

This interagency task force should be convened immediately to address the traffic crisis, while waiting for Congress to grant the special powers sought by the President.//

Ricardo B. Ramos is executive director of Citizens Infrastructure Integrity WatchDog.

Author: Ricardo B. Ramos
Date: August 31, 2016
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

SYUDAD SANG ILOILO, Agosto 30 (PIA6) " Ginhanda na sang Philippine Institute for Development Studies ukon PIDS ang mga aktibidades may kaangtanan sa pagsaulog sang Development Policy Research Month sa bulan sang Septyembre.

Para sa karon nga tuig 2016, ang PIDS ang magapatigayon sang labing una nga hilikuton sang kahiwatan paagi sa Mindanao Policy Research Forum nga hiwaton sa Septyembre 1sa Father Saturnino Urios University ukon FSUU sa syudad sang Butuan.

Ini ang ika-duha nga forum nga hiwaton sa Mindanao kabahin sang tuig nga DPRM nga selebrasyon nga pagabuylogan sang PIDS, Mindanao Development Authority ukon MinDA, kag PSUU. Ang forum maga sentro sa tema nga Nurturing Resilient Communities in Mindanao Towards Sustainable Development.

May mga presentasyon nga himuon sa forum, kon sa diin ini ang pagapangunahan ni Undersecretary Janet Lopez, Executive Director sang MinDA , nga magapatpat sang Fostering Partnerships with Academic and Research Groups for Mindanaos Sustainable Development.

Ang presentasyon sang Undesecretary ang magatutok sa pagkuha sang pagpasakup sang talento kag kontribusyon sang kumonidad sang mga manogpanalawsaw sa Mindanao sa pagpatigayon sang kauswagan sang duog.

May mga presentasyon man nga pagahimuon sanday PIDS Senior Research Fellows Dr. Celia Reyes ytuhoy sa pagpaseguro sang pananum ukon crop insurance, kag Dr. Danilo Israel nga magapatpat sang mga resulta sang impact evaluation sang National Greening Program

Sa bahin FSUU kag Caraga State University, ang ila mga tiglawas ang magapresentar tuhoy sa mga inisyatibo sa patag sang disaster reduction kag risk management kag Comprehensive Land Administration and Information Management System.

May mga magapresentar man sa iban nga mga sektor sa pribado, gobyerno kagt civil society.

Ang panel ang pagatapuan nanday Dr. Mohammad Yacob gikan sa Bangsamoro Development Authority kag mga tiglawas gikan sa Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of the Interior and Local Government, kag Senado.

Ang hubon sang Socioeconomic Research Portal of the Philippines ukon SERP-P sang PIDS ang maga presenter sang topiko parte open access agenda. Ang SER-P ang isa ka online nga bolotangan sang socioeconomic research materials gikan sa PIDS kag 52 ka iban nga mga research kag academic nga mga institusyon.

Mismo si Marck Vincent Aranas nga SERP-P Coordinator ang magahambal parte sa papel sang ila portal sa pagpasanyog sang libre nga paggamit sang malahalon nga mga pagtuon, impormasyon kag ihibalo kag kon paano gamiton ang SERP-P.

May press conference man nga hiwaton kabahin sang forum kaupod sanday Usec Lopoz sang MinDA, Dr. Danilo Israel kag Dr. Sheila Siar sang PIDS; Dr. Maricar Casquejo, regional director sang CHED Caraga; kag Rev. John Christian Young, president sang FSUU; kag mga opisyal sa rehiyon sang OCD, DOST, kag DOH.

Sa Kabisayaan Nakatungdan, may ginpatigayon man nga mga aktibidades may kaangtanan sa pagsaulog sang DPRM.

Ang DPRM ang ginasaulog sa bilog nga pungsod kada Septyembre halin sang 2003 sa pagpamuno sang PIDS santo sa Proclamation No. 247. Ini ang nagahatag bug-at sa importansya sang policy research sa pagdihon sang maayo nga mga plano, programa kag polisiya. (PIDS/PIA6j)

Author: Jaime S. Cabag, Jr.
Date: August 31, 2016
Source: PIA

MANILA - Coordination among agencies and proper project planning - not ample financing - are keys to the success of the Duterte administration's massive infrastructure push in the next six years, according to bankers and a state-run think tank.

Ed Francisco, BDO Capital and Investment, cites some of the reasons for their saying so: "We had more funding than we needed then. The problem that we always had then was we were not disbursing the borrowings, we would be paying fees, loan fees, pero di natin nagagamit [but we were not using them]. The choke point has always been there are not enough projects. From the private sector our complaint was, it's not coming out fast enough.

Francisco said banks have enough money and are more than willing to invest in infrastructure projects rather than tapping the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas's term deposit facility or TDF, where excess funds usually find their way.

"As a banker, how much is TDF . . . 2.9-3 percent. I would rather lend that money for a productive project, like, develop roads, bridges, hospitals, healthcare so that at least [there's a] benefit rather than just giving it to the government [where it's just on] time deposit for 3 months, 3 years or 5 years," Francisco said.

Dr. Adoracion Navarro of the state-run think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) agrees that banks are better off investing extra cash in roads and bridges rather than government securities that may lead to overvaluation.

"There's still a lot of excess liquidity in the market, banking sector. If this will persist it's like too much capital chasing too few investment opportunities and it could lead to over-valuation. probably excessive risk-taking in some sectors wherein it's clearer where the investment opportunities are.

Experts say what slows down the implementation of projects is inadequate research capacity to pinpoint what infrastructure needs to be given priority

"We will see that there is weakness in project planning in the project development stage and this is the stage prior to the actual bidding process. Definitely there's a lot of capacity building needed for national government agencies and LGUs when it comes to project preparation," Navarro said.

This is why the idea of emergency powers so the President can speed up transport infrastructure projects to resolve traffic woes also sits well with bankers, according to Francisco.




"I like the idea of them having emergency powers because sometimes in the old administration they didn't like unsolicited bids, now they are willing to entertain it; so if there's an unsolicited bid it will still go through the process but they can get it out fast because we need to develop the infrastructure," he added.

With the availability of funds, what President Duterte's economic team needs to do is speed up developing feasible projects to get these going.//

Author: Beverly Natividad
Date: August 31, 2016
Source: Bloomberg TV Philippines