Statement of Finance Secretary CESAR V. PURISIMA on 2013 Q4 GDP growth

Statement of Finance Secretary CESAR V. PURISIMA on 2013 Q4 GDP growth

 

“The Philippines grew 6.5% in the last quarter of 2013 or at an astounding 7.2% for the full year. This is the country’s highest growth rate since 2010, above the 6-7% target set by the Development Budget Coordinating Council, and the 8th consecutive quarter with above 6% GDP growth during the Aquino administration. This growth demonstrates theresilience of the country even despite a slew of natural calamities that hit the nation in the last quarter of 2013. The main drivers of growth, namely manufacturing, trade, real estate, and finance, grew 12.3%, 7.4%, 6.3%, and 9.9% respectively in 2013 compared to 2012 figures.

“The Philippines continues to be the second fastest growing economy in Asia, after China, with its strengthening BPO and tourism sectors. The country’s current account surplus averages 4.3% of GDP in the last eight years, US$83.8 billion in reserves as of December 2013, compared the ASEAN average of 2.5%.

“The socio-economic and fiscal impacts of calamities such as Typhoon Yolanda stress the urgency of preparing the country against the adverse effects of climate change. However, our strong Q4 and annual 2013 growth also shows the ability of the Philippine economy due to weather these challenges due to strong macroeconomic fundamentals. Moving forward, our efforts in disaster risk management will include increasing microinsurance coverage, stimulating infrastructure development, maximizing the participation of local government units in funding, and providing a fiscal buffer against large-scale disaster responses.

“The Philippines has succeeded in many fronts under the Aquino administration. However, when it comes to ease of doing business, we still fall behind our ASEAN peers. Hence, as we approach ASEAN Economic Integration in 2015, a key priority is improving the Philippines’ ease of doing business index to ASEAN levels in order to ensure a productive and conducive investment climate.

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[INFOGRAPHIC] What is the average price with which importers have imported tobacco in 2013?

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PDIC increases to P50,000 the amount of valid deposits eligible for payout without need to file a claim

PDIC increases to P50,000 the amount of valid deposits eligible for payout without need to file a claim

 

 

The Board of Directors of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) has approved to increase the amount of valid deposits of closed bank depositors eligible for outright payment of deposit insurance from P15,000 to P50,000.   Valid deposits eligible for payment without the need to file deposit insurance claims are accounts with balances of P50,000 and below, which have no outstanding obligations with the bank as of date of closure, and have complete and updated addresses in the bank’s records.

The PDIC reported that historically, 84.5% of the total number of accounts in a closed bank have balances of P50,000 and below.   It is therefore expected that under the new policy, only about 15% of a closed bank’s depositors will be required to file deposit insurance claims.  These are depositors who have account balances greater than P50,000 or have outstanding obligations with the closed bank; and those who do not have complete or updated addresses in the bank’s records as of date of closure.

This increase will therefore make it even more convenient for most of the depositors of closed banks because there will be no need to go to the site where PDIC conducts its field operations claims settlement (FOCS) to file claims.

Among the bases for PDIC being named the Deposit Insurance Organization (DIO) of the Year for 2013 by the International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI) was for significant achievements in banking resolutions and payouts.   IADI is a Switzerland-based organization of 71 member deposit insurance organizations across the globe.

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Customs Official Dismissed from the Service for Dishonesty

Customs Official Dismissed from the Service for Dishonesty

 

 

The Office of the Ombudsman dismissed Rafael Mendoza Merencilla, Chief Customs Operations Officer for Dishonesty for his untruthful, inconsistent and misleading declarations of his assets, liabilities and net worth as shown in his submitted Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) for the years 1997 to 2009 and for his apparent accumulation of properties grossly disproportionate to his income. The case was filed in May 2011 by the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), the anti-corruption arm of the Department of Finance, after it conducted a lifestyle check on Merencilla.

In its 23-page decision, the Ombudsman said that Merencilla’s “failure to file true, detailed and sworn statements of assets, liabilities and net worth and resorting to a narration of all properties in one description defeats the very purpose of the law which is safeguarding the integrity of every public official through transparency and accountability in the pursuit of good governance”.

Non declaration of assets

 

The Ombudsman found that Merencilla did not disclose some of his assets. In particular, he did not declare in any of his SALNs his ownership of a 9,190 sq. m. lot also in Lipa City.  In another property, he also did not declare the existence of residential buildings on his 18,535 sq.m. agricultural/residential lots also in Sto Nino, Lipa City which he acquired in July 2001.

Lumping of assets

 

“Respondent’s motor vehicles were declared together with his other personal properties in his SALNs making it difficult to ascertain its composition. Worth noting is the declaration of the respondent that his Honda Accord was acquired in 1998 and was actually a part of his cash on hand during the same year. However, our scrutiny of his cash for the year is only Php70,000.00 vis-à-vis his acquisition cost for this car which amounted to Php510,000.00”, according to the Ombudsman decision.

Untruthful declarations

 

The Ombudsman found that Merencilla made untruthful declarations in his SALNs when he declared that he acquired two townhouses through a loan from GSIS. However, RIPS investigators found out that he did not receive nor did he apply for any loan from the GSIS. “We also cannot accept his (Merencilla’s) reason that declarations for GSIS loan were made based merely on an honest belief that they obtained a loan from the GSIS since GSIS Loan continuously appeared on his SALNs from 1997 up to 2009.  To our mind, the scheme was intentionally resorted to by the respondent (Merencilla) to conceal the increase in property holdings by making it appear that he and his wife obtained loans from the GSIS. Furthermore, it is rather absurd to claim that a housing loan was obtained from the GSIS when neither respondent nor his wife accomplished any loan application therefore. While good faith is considered as a valid defense, the fact that respondent repeatedly and continuously declared in is SALNs from 1997 to 2009, for a period of 13 years, that he and his wife availed of real property loan from the GSIS negated such a defense”, the Ombudsman said.

Properties grossly disproportionate to his income

 

“From the pieces of evidence at hand, it has become evident that there has been an astonishing increase in Merencilla’s total assets from Php4,480,000.00 in 1997 to Php29,301,380.64 in 2009”, the decision states. The Ombudsman did not accept Merencilla’s justification that the increase of his properties came from the income from his business connections. It said that “as regard his business connections, no mention was made on his income received therefrom, neither did he present any financial statement, statement of operations, and income tax return to support his claims that he has legally obtained other incomes from his businesses and investments”.

 The dismissal order, which takes effect immediately, includes the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service.

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[INFOGRAPHIC] Who is the top rice importers for 2013?

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Who is the top rice importers for 2013?

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