Another credit-rating upgrade: R&I says infrastructure investments, reforms to boost incomes in PH

Another credit-rating upgrade:

R&I says infrastructure investments, reforms to boost incomes in PH

 

The Philippines has secured another credit-rating upgrade, this time from Japan-based R&I, which sees consistent rise in per-capita income in the country as a result of immense growth in infrastructure investments and continuity of reforms.

R&I raised the country’s long-term foreign-currency issuer rating by a notch from the minimum investment grade of BBB- to BBB. The rating was assigned a “stable” outlook, which means it is unlikely to change within a year.

At the same time, the credit watchdog maintained the country’s short-term debt rating at a-2, which indicates high certainty that short-term financial obligations would be paid.

“The Philippines’ economy continues to show strong growth, thanks to brisk investment coupled with private consumption driven by remittances from overseas Filipinos,” R&I said in a report released Wednesday.

“This should allow for relatively high growth and raise per-capita income levels steadily,” it stressed.

Per-capita income in the Philippines has been modest compared with those of more advanced neighbors, but the country is catching up in this area. From $3,684 in 2009, per capita income in the country (using current prices and purchasing power parity) increased to $4,649 last year.

R&I recognized the country’s healthy fiscal situation, saying this helps fulfill the plan of boosting public spending.

“Savings in interest payments, thanks to fiscal consolidation, help the government to finance infrastructure projects. Budget execution is also expected to accelerate,” it said.

This year’s state budget for infrastructure at P404.3 billion, R&I cited, is 40 percent more than last year’s.

R&I also said the rollout of more projects under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program would help drive more job-generating investments and sustain the rise in incomes.

“Furthermore, public-private partnerships, which utilize private capital [for funding public infrastructure], are underway, albeit gradually, and will likely boost investments,” R&I said.

Earlier this year, the government awarded contracts for two PPP projects, namely the P1.72-billion automated fare collection and single ticketing system for the MRT and the LRT, and the P17.5-billion Mactan Cebu International Airport expansion project. This brings to seven the total number, and to P62.6 billion the aggregate cost, of the PPP projects awarded so far.

R&I also recognized the country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals, including ample foreign-exchange reserves, improving manageability of government debt, and within-target inflation.

It also said reforms instituted by the Aquino administration, including legislative and administrative reforms in tax collection, helped improve the investment climate. R&I expressed belief reforms will be sustained even beyond 2016.

“There is risk that the next government will not be as reform-minded as the Aquino administration. However, pressures from growing international relationships, such as the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, along with public expectation for sustained reform initiatives, should deter the post-Aquino government from going backwards,” it said.

Meantime, Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas welcomed the upgrade, saying this validates soundness of existing policies.

“The latest development on the country’s credit standing is a recognition of a host of favorable macroeconomic indicators, particularly an inflation outlook that is conducive for business and the stability of the financial system amidst a difficult operating environment,” Tetangco said.

“The upgrade is an expression of confidence, in part, on the ability of the Monetary Authority to implement appropriate and timely measures that ward off threats to the economic stability we are enjoying. The BSP will continue to craft policies that will help maintain this stability,” The BSP chief added.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima likewise affirmed the focus on sustainability of favorable trends for the economy.

“Reforms that this government has started to institutionalize help ensure that the positive momentum will not falter,” Purisima said.

“On the fiscal front, administrative and policy reforms implemented by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will make it easier in the future to keep the growth trend in public revenues,” he said.

Investor Relations Office (IRO) Executive Director Editha Martin said the country’s upward movement in the credit-ratings scale bodes well for raising the country’s international profile as an investment destination.

“It is always good to have institutions outside the government point out the strengths of the Philippine economy. The string of credit-rating upgrades that the country has secured in recent years makes it difficult for investors not to notice the Philippines,” Martin said.

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PDIC advises borrowers of Asian Consumers Bank to pay their obligations

PDIC advises borrowers of Asian Consumers Bank to pay their obligations

The Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC), the Receiver of the closed Asian Consumers Bank (A Rural Bank), Inc., reminded borrowers of the bank to continue to pay their loans and transact only with authorized PDIC representatives. 

In a statement, PDIC advised borrowers of the Asian Consumers Bank to pay their loans and other obligations directly at any Philippine National Bank (PNB) Branch under account name, PDIC FAO BURL – ASIAN CONSUMERS BANK.  The Receiver cautioned borrowers that it has discontinued the engagement of the bank’s collectors.  PDIC has not engaged any person to collect the loans of the bank.  To ensure proper recording of payments made by borrowers, it further advised borrowers to keep copies of the PNB Deposit/Payment Slips.  The Receiver emphasized that only payments with validated PNB Deposit/Payment Slips shall be considered valid payments.  Official receipts will be issued by PDIC upon validation of payments.  For proper accounting of their payments, borrowers who do not receive their official receipts are advised to send a copy of their deposit slips by mail to the Deputy Receiver for loans Ms. Josefina R. Fajardo at the PDIC Office, 5th Floor, SSS Bldg., Ayala Avenue corner V.A. Rufino St., Makati City or send via e-mail to Ms. Eunice L. Durana at eldurana@pdic.gov.ph or to Ms. Bettina Acosta at bnacosta@pdic.gov.ph.

The Monetary Board (MB) placed the Asian Consumers Bank under the receivership of the PDIC by virtue of MB Resolution No. 981 dated June 26, 2014.  As Receiver, PDIC took over the bank on June 27, 2014.  Upon takeover, all bank records were gathered, verified and validated. 

Asian Consumers Bank is a four-unit rural bank with Head Office located along Magsaysay Ave., Poblacion, Basista, Pangasinan.  Its three branches are located in Calasiao, San Carlos City and Urdaneta, all in Pangasinan.

Borrowers of the bank may also communicate with the PDIC – Loans Management Department II at (02) 841-4761 or 841-4776.  Queries may also be sent through email at pad@pdic.gov.ph.

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Customs X-Ray machines boost revenues at NAIA

Customs X-Ray machines boost revenues at NAIA

 

New X-Ray machines deployed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have generated incremental revenues as the Bureau of Customs (BOC) beefed-up its capability to detect highly taxable items such as jewellery, luxury watches, designer bags, undeclared foreign currencies and even prohibited drugs hidden in travellers’ luggage.

“So far, the new fixed X-Ray machines in NAIA have made significant headways in ensuring that duties and taxes are properly paid, and at the same time, prompted the seizure of undeclared, high-value items,” said JulitoDoria, Office-in-Charge of the BOC X-Ray Inspection Project.

Doria noted that BOC-NAIA alone collected revenues of P972,977.50from May to June 2014 from duties and taxes paid by airline passengers on goods detected in their luggage by X-Ray. These items include luxury watches, electronic goods of commercial quantity, assorted machine parts and jewelry.

Last May, four state-of-the-art fixed baggage NutechX-ray machines were deployed at NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3—the first tranche of eight (8) fixed baggage X-Ray machines purchased by the BOC early this year. Aside from NAIA, two (2) other X-Ray machines have also been deployed at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport; and one (1) each at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga and the Kalibo International Airport in Aklan. The Bureau allocated about P145-Million for the purchase of new X-Ray machines.

“The additional x-ray machines will allow us to better detect contraband goods being smuggled in by airline passengers, rather than just relying on profiling techniques. It will allow us to release luggage faster and improve the traveling experience for passengers,” Doria added.

Improving customs processes at the country’s airports is a priority project of Customs Commissioner John P. Sevilla. Last April, BOC scrapped the mandatory Customs Declaration Form for passengers arriving on international flights if they carry only goods that are duty-free and required passengers to queue at either the red or green lane for customs clearance at the airport. The Green lane is for those with “Nothing to Declare,” meaning they do not have items in their baggage that are not subject to duties and taxes, can be brought-in duty-free and are not subject to any import prohibition, regulation or restriction. On the other hand, the Red lane is for passengers who bring-in goods are subject to import duties or taxes, are above the exempted Customs limits, or are prohibited, controlled or regulated by several statues.

The Bureau plans to procure additional fixed X-Ray machines this year, aside from at least six hand-held X-Ray units and four mobile X-Ray machines. These will be deployed in international airports in the country, including those inLaoag and Davao. In tandem with the X-Ray machines, the BOC will also install close-circuit television systems (CCTV), initially at the NAIA. The acquisition of CCTVs is expected to be completed next year.

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Customs donates seized laptops to DepEd

Customs donates seized laptops to DepEd

 

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) turned-over 3,915laptop computers to the Department of Education (DepEd) to beef up its computerization program which deploys computer packages to public elementary and high schools nationwide to support the teaching and learning process.

The computers, entry-level ASUS laptops, were seized in December 2011 from consignee ORZA Marketing for undervaluation and misdeclaration. Section 2503 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines mandates outright seizure and forfeiture in favor of the government if the discrepancy between what the importer declared and what was found by the customs examiners has a difference of over 30% in terms of value, volume or weight.

However, as the specifications and features of the personal laptops are not suitable for business use, Customs Commissioner John P. Sevilla opted to donate these to DepEd to support its Computer Training and Educators and Resource for Students (CompuTERS) Program, which aims to bring access to computer technology to more than 20 million learners and more than 600,000 teachers across 46,603 elementary and secondary schools nationwide.

“While the donation was approved in 2012, it took time to waive the storage, demurrage and other port charges. It is our goal to expedite the disposition of forfeited items so that we can help decongest the ports and maximize returns—whether in terms of revenues or other non-monetary benefits—for our government and our people.

Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI), operator of the Port of Manila; and the shipping lines concerned waived their charges to expedite the donation and transfer of the laptop computers to DepEd.

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PDIC raises P118.01 million from sale of assets

PDIC raises P118.01 million from sale of assets


The Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) successfully raised a total of P118.01 million from the sale of closed banks and corporate assets during a public bidding on July 1, 2014 held at the PDIC office in Makati City.

The total amount raised for the 21 properties sold had a premium of P11.31 million as against the properties’ aggregate minimum disposal price of P106.70 million.  Of the total properties sold, 16 were owned by closed banks, while five were corporate assets.

A total of 186 properties was bidded out during the public bidding.  The properties sold were located in the cities of Caloocan, Parañaque and Pasay; Calamba, Laguna; Tuguegarao, Cagayan; and in the provinces of Camarines Norte, Cavite, Cebu, Ilocos Norte, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Rizal, Romblon and Sorsogon.

Proceeds from the sale of closed banks properties are automatically credited to the funds held in trust for the closed banks concerned and are used to settle claims of creditors and uninsured depositors.  In accordance with the law, payment to these parties is subject to the rules on concurrence and preference of credits.  Meanwhile, proceeds from the sale of corporate assets are added to the Deposit Insurance Fund, PDIC’s main fund source for payment of insured deposits.

The PDIC, as Liquidator of closed banks, conducts public biddings in accordance with its strategic direction of expeditious disposal of non-financial assets.  Properties not sold during the bidding are available for negotiated sale or may be bidded out again.  Interested buyers are encouraged to visit the PDIC website at www.pdic.gov.ph and use the PDIC’s Property Finder for information on available inventory of assets for sale.  Prospective buyers may also call the Asset Management and Disposal Group at (02) 841-4650 for inquiries on available assets.

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