Undersecretary GIL BELTRAN on inflation rate for February 2014

Statement of Undersecretary GIL BELTRAN

on inflation rate for February 2014

“The slight decline in headline inflation in February to 4.1% (from 4.2% in January) and the bigger decline in core inflation to 3% (from 3.2%) confirm the continuing macroeconomic stability of the country. These are within the 3-5% target of the DBCC.

 

“Basic consumer goods and services showed lower increases but several volatile items like electricity and some food products, particularly rice and fruits, showed increases. International prices of oils and fats including coconut oil and cocoa beans also rose, boosting local prices of complements like sugar and chocolate.

 

“The 36.3% increase in M3 (domestic liquidity) in the quarter ending January barely affected inflation, implying that funds have been used in boosting production.

 
CONSUMER PRICES, YEAR-ON-YEAR  (%)

2013

2014

  January-February

3.2%

4.2%

  February

3.4%

4.1%

CORE INFLATION, YEAR-ON-YEAR (%)

  January-February

3.2%

3.1%

  February

3.4%

3.0%

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3Q 2013 General Government Debt to GDP improves to 39.7% from 44.3% in 2009

3Q 2013 General Government Debt to GDP improves to 39.7% from 44.3% in 2009

Purisima: Proactive debt management creates fiscal space, strengthens fundamentals

As of September 2013, the country’s General Government (GG) Debt stood at P4.468 trillion or 39.7% of GDP, lower than 40.3% as of September 2012. The current GG debt is P4.468 trillion or 39.7% of GDP, slightly up quarter-on-quarter from P4.315 trillion or 39.1% of GDP as of June 2013, but has improved significantly since President Aquino took office in 2010.

 

“Before President Aquino took office, GG debt to GDP was 44.3% in 2009. By reducing government debt, we are attempting to ensure the sustainability of our recent economic resurgence,” Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said.

 

“The Aquino Administration continues working towards the virtuous cycle of good governance through proactive liability management. As a result of these initiatives, we are creating fiscal space in the budget to increase investments in our people, our key driver of economic growth,” Purisima added.

 

GG debt went down as the National Government (NG) purchased more debt from domestic sources at cheaper interest and longer maturities. Of the total NG debt as of 3Q 2013, 66% is domestic and 34% is foreign, a number that has improved over the previous year, at a debt mix of 61% domestic – 39% foreign. The GG debt mix has notably improved from 51% domestic – 48% foreign as of 3Q 2012 to 59% domestic – 41% foreign as of 3Q 2013.

 

A decline in Local Government Unit debt to P70.7 billion, or 0.6% of GDP, as compared to the September 2012 level of P71.3 billion, or 0.7% of GDP, also contributed to the decline in GG debt.

 

GG debt is computed as National Government less the NG debt held by the Bond Sinking Fund (BSF). To this number is added the debt of Social Security Institutions (SSIs, e.g., GSIS, SSS and PhilHealth) and the Local Government Units (LGUs), and finally deducting intra-sector debt holdings. Intra-sector debt holdings are the NG debt held by SSIs, LGUs, and LGU debt held by the Municipal Development Fund Office (MDFO).

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Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) hosts LGU Briefing to increase transparency and accountability in the Mining Sector

Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) hosts LGU Briefing to increase transparency and accountability in the Mining Sector

 

Century Park Hotel, Manila on February 2014 –   With the theme: “Understanding the EITI: Engaging Local Government Units in EITI Implementation,” the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative held a two-day event to explain the role of the LGU, national government, CSOs, and industry in implementing EITI to ensure the sustainability of extractive industries in our communities.

 

Undersecretary for Local Government Austere A. Panadero of the Department of Interior and Local Government opened the two-day event by highlighting the importance of EITI as “part of our governance instruments put in place to ensure that [the extractive] industry is contributing to development of the country and is meeting the needs of our stakeholders.”

 

Under EITI, LGU must make data on revenues from mining and other extractive industries readily accessible and available. Speakers from various stakeholders presented their roles to the participants to solidify the commitment of LGUs and identify potential issues in EITI implementation. LGU officials signed of a statement of commitment expressing their support for the EITI.

 

Mindoro Governor Alfonso Umali said, ”Mining is a complex issue faced by the LGUs. The MICC seeks to examine these issues and EITI plays a big role in thepakikipagugnayanKaakibat ito sa daang matuwid because of its thrust for greater transparency. ”

 

Department of Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said, “Mining represents only 1.04% of GDP but has potential to attract FDIs and increase exports. However, President Aquino wanted to ensure mining was not only profitable but more importantly sustainable for our communities and our environment. EITIallows us to track revenues to ensure accountability through transparency. Looking forward, mining can only be sustainable if we institutionalize reforms and good governance through initiatives like EITI.”

 

For more information on

PH-EITI, and the LGU Briefing, visit their websitehttp://ph-eiti.org/ph-eiti-lgu-briefing.html

 

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Encouraging 2013 to propel stronger 2014 Customs performance

Encouraging 2013 to propel stronger 2014 Customs performance

BOC collections up 5% in 2013; cash collections surge 19.3% in December 2013

 

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) generated P304.5-Billion in revenues for the full year 2013, on the back of improvements in operational efficiencies and reforms that were undertaken in the last quarter of the year. Final numbers reconciled by the Bureau of Treasury show that total BOC collection in 2013 was up 5.1% year-on-year, or P14.67-Billion over the P289.9-Billion collected in 2012.

 

For December 2013 alone, Customs collections reached P23.796-Billion, 99.86% were derived from actual cash collections. Actual cash collections of the BOC grew 19.3% in December alone, its fastest pace for 2013. Collections from the Tax Expenditure Fund (TEF), which are non-cash collections recorded on paper for government transactions, reached only P2-Million in December 2013.

 

For the months of November and December 2013, actual cash collections grew over 19%, bringing total cash collections for the whole of 2013 to P302.13-Billion, up seven percent (7%) year-on-year.

 

“The surge in the growth trajectory in the last quarter of 2013, which broke the trend growth of 5% in the first three quarters, indicates that the President’s Customs Reform Program implemented in October 2013 is beginning to bear fruit.  With vigorous and continuous systemic reforms, we are confident that the Bureau can become a greater contributor to government coffers and become a more reliable and credible partner in nation-building and economic growth. We are hopeful that the momentum will be carried over in 2014,” said Customs Commissioner John Sevilla.

 

The Collection Districts of Legaspi, Subic, Clark, Aparri, Iloilo, Cebu, Cagayan De Oro and Davao picked up part of the slack from the Ports of Manila and Batangas, the Manila International Container Port and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport—the largest in terms of revenues and trade volume, exceeding their collection target by a total of P9.2-Billion in 2013.

 

The BOC, which contributes about 22% of total revenues of the National Government, had a collection target of P340-Billion for 2013 and is tasked to collect P408.1-Billion this year.

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Customs welcomes Supreme Court TRO on Davao illegal rice imports

Customs welcomes Supreme Court TRO on Davao illegal rice imports

 

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) welcomes the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) by the Supreme Court that stops the enforcement of a ruling handed down by Branch 16 of the Regional Trial Court in Davao City. The TRO from the Supreme Court bars the enforcement of an order issued by RTC Branch 16 Judge Emmanuel Carpio last December 12, 2013 that restrains the District Collector of the BOC in the Port of Davao from seizing, alerting or holding rice shipments of petitioner Joseph Ngo, a businessman who purchased rice imported by Starcraft International Trading Corporation.

 

The TRO is effective immediately until further orders from the Court. The Supreme Court considered “meritorious” the arguments raised by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) regarding the lack of adequate representation of the BOC during the hearings before the Davao RTC and the lack of legal standing of Ngo to sue.

 

“This is good news for the Bureau of Customs and even better news for our farmers. The action taken by the Supreme Court should serve as a strong signal to judges that injunctions issued by the lower courts pertaining to rice importations without permits are at the very least questionable or suspect. The Magistrates of the High Tribunal are closely watching this issue, judging by their prompt action on our application for a TRO. We are committed to challenging court orders that favor illegal rice importations that no doubt have a devastating effect on our farmers,” said Customs Commissioner John Sevilla.

 

Ngo purchased 15 shipments containing 91,800 bags of white rice either from Thailand or Singapore from Starcraft International Trading Corporation. Ngo was informed that the shipments could not be released without proper import permits from the National Food Authority (NFA). Ngo filed a complaint with the Davao RTC and sought an injunction, citing that the expiration of the Special Treatment for Rice Importation under the World Trade Organization meant that quantitative restrictions such as requiring import permit on the importation of rice may no longer be imposed.

 

Last month, the BOC was compelled to release 167 container vans with 3,348 tons of rice from Vietnam from the Port of Davao in compliance with the Preliminary Injunction issued by Judge Carpio. With the TRO issued by the Supreme Court in effect, the BOC can continue to hold the remaining 85 containers of rice imported by Starcraft that are being held at the Port of Davao.

 

To date, the BoC has put on hold a total of 1,822 container vans of rice that were imported without the required import permits from the NFA through the ports of Manila, the Manila International Container Port. Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Batangas and Davao, accounting for an estimated 50,000 metric tons.

 

“The TRO issued by the Supreme Court clearly establishes the legal right of the Bureau to hold these rice shipments. We earnestly hope that the OSG can help us secure similar rulings in the Manila and Batangas RTCs whose injunctions have helped rice smugglers,” Sevilla added.

 

Last January 30, Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 54 Judge Maria Paz R. Reyes-Yson issued a Preliminary Injunction that prevents the Bureau of Customs from implementing any alerts, seizures, or hold orders, whether current or future, against rice shipments of Starcraft International Trading Corporation. On the other hand another Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued by Executive Judge Eutiquio L. Quitain of the Region IV, Branch 5 Regional Trial Court in Lemery, Batangas  prevents the Bureau of Customs from implementing any alerts, seizures, or hold orders in the future against rice shipments of Bold Bidder Marketing and General Merchandise.

 

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