NWPC  focuses on people- centric technologies & innovation  for MSMEs

As the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 gain momentum, the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE),  focused its 2018  National Productivity Conference on  people-centric technologies & innovation for MSMEs.  DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunsad, III pointed out that  the on-going concern on inflation can also be addressed by improving the productivity of producers which will influence prices.  As such, he emphasized the need to embrace new technologies, but put people in control of technology.
Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) supports the NWPC as she said that human capital is crucial for innovation and entrepreneurship.  DTI’s approach to implement Industry 4.0  is through the Inclusive Industrial Innovation Strategy  that aims to link the manufacturing sector with agriculture and services. Such links can be realized when there are regional inclusive innovation centers where government, research agencies, academe and industry collaborate for improved competitiveness.
Asian Development Bank’s Director of Development Economics and Indicators Dr. Rana Hasan confirms that technology increases incomes, contrary to the fear of many that  jobs will be  lost with the use of artificial intelligence (AI). He said that AI cannot be stopped as it is already here. Education, training and social protection such as unemployment insurance are necessary to cope with these new technologies. (EZM)

PH infrastructure development programs unveiled for competitiveness

DPWH Undersecretary Catalina Cabral presented in the recently concluded Arangkada Philippine Forum 2018 the convergence programs with other government agencies like DOT, DTI- BOI and DA that will further fuel high growth of domestic investments as well as the surge in foreign direct investments of the country.

Undersecretary Cabral highlighted the masterplan of the Metro Manila Logistics Improvement Program that will enhance the road connectivity around Metro Manila. In addition to the 26 existing bridges crossing Pasig River, Marikina River, and Manggahan Floodway, 12 new bridges will be constructed to provide alternative linkages between major thoroughfares and increase the number of usable roadways that will decongest traffic in Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) and other major roads in Metro Manila.

On seaports and shipping, high cost of international and domestic shipping translates to high cost of consumer goods. Hence, Ms. Doris Magsaysay-Ho, president and chief executive officer of Magsaysay Group of Companies, recommends the creation of manufacturing and industry clusters in each region to create trade volumes, lower shipping costs, and make the country competitive. These clusters, she noted, should be developed close to port and airport infrastructures and be designed to make handling products more efficient.

On air, Senator Grace Poe pointed out the P350B NAIA Consortium project that will rehabilitate, expand, operate, and maintain the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for 35 years. Also, she mentioned the unsolicited proposal of Bulacan Airport that is one of the two gateways being prioritized by the government to decongest NAIA’s three terminals, which have been operating over their capacity.

On telecommunications, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is hoping to fix the dysfunctional dynamics of the infrastructure development by fostering liberalization and competition through reform legislation.

These measures include amendments to the 80-year-old Public Services Act to clarify the definition of public utilities as only those public services which are natural monopolies by nature. This is being sought by Senate Bill No. 1754. He also clarified that easing the country’s foreign investment restrictions is not meant to favor foreign firms over domestic players.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, Senator Gatchalian pointed out that the Philippines continues to lag behind its ASEAN neighbors in terms of capturing foreign investments due to the country’s relatively restrictive and less competitive economic policies.  (MJA)

FDA prioritizes CPR for export products 


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that processing of  applications for Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) for export products are prioritized.  Exporters are advised to indicate in the list of products for CPR application that such are for export.
Ms. Helena Alcaraz, Chief of the Licensing and Registration Division of the  FDA Center for Food Regulation and Research, said that issuance of the CPR will be facilitated even better if the application is accompanied with a proof of prospective order (e.g., email showing interest of a foreign buyer).  FDA will also validate if the applicant is an exporter. (EZM)

Mandatory training for new exporters recommended

PEDP 2018-2022 Stakeholders Engagement in CALABARZON
“First time exporters need to undergo training and seminars before they can apply for Client Profile Registration System (CPRS),” says CALABARZON experienced exporters  This was aired during the Stakeholders Engagement to implement the Philippine Export Development Plan 2018-2022. Existing exporters advise aspiring exporters to first  learn, not only the market requirements, but also the Philippine government’s requirements and procedures before making their first shipment,  thus  sparing them of the problems that the former have encountered.

The CPRS is an application that  registers exporters to access the e2M system of the Bureau of Customs. Export transactions cannot be processed unless the exporter is registered in the CPRS.

Capacitating exporters through  trainings and seminars on domestic and international regulations, policies and trends  will also help exporters exploit existing and prospective bilateral, regional, and multilateral trading agreements.

Bill separates the regulatory and commercial functions of PPA

House Bill (HB) No. 8005 seeks to separate the regulatory and commercial functions of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and create a new port agency called Philippine Ports Corporation (PHILPORTS) will focus on developing, managing, and operating public ports.

The bill also proposes to transfer the regulatory functions of the PPA to the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).

Representative Arthur Yap, author of HB 8005, aims to reform the country’s ports administration to avoid conflict of interest arising from regulatory agencies vested with both regulatory and development or commercial functions.

If enacted, PHILPORTS will collect port fees and dues approved by MARINA, which will fund port development, modernization, and expansion, among others.
PHILPORTS will become more of a service provider than a revenue generating entity. It is not envisioned as earning revenue from cargo handling and/or any service providers contracted by PHILPORTS.

As such, it shall continuously give utmost priority and importance to public service delivery and promotion of public interest. It also addresses the problems of port users (domestic shippers, exporters and importers) such as low service quality, inefficient port operations and ever-increasing port charges.

Under HB 8005, it will be governed by a 15-member Board, which includes representatives from both the government and the private sector.
The Export Development Council together with other stakeholders has been stressing the need for such policy reform to lower the cost of port services for shippers that will eventually benefit the consumers.

To download a copy of the bill, please click House Bill No. 8005.

Heightened Industry-Government-Academe partnership increases employment and improve international competitiveness

“Since the inception of the industry-government-academe linkage, there is now greater participation and partnerships between companies and universities in the implementation of this reform at ground level.”  This was reported by Mr. Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr., president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT) and Vice-Chair of the Export Development Council (EDC), during the  recently concluded 8th National Education Forum.

The industry leader cited both the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) and the Electronics industries as models for industry-government-academe partnership. They have been adopting and implementing the said reform in order for them to address their jobs-skills mismatch and make their respective industries become more globally competitive.

To date, The BPO employs 1.3 million people last year and is expected to grow up to 1.7 billion within the year, while the electronics industry employs 3.2. million direct and indirect workers.  In addition, both industries have established work immersion and internship programs as well as various industry-based programs that promote employment.

Ortiz-Luis, Jr, later explained that responding to the global realities and domestic demands would require a balance between what is being demanded by the labor market and what is being supplied by the education and training sector. He added that there is need to respond to the challenges posed by globalization, trade liberalization, information and technological advancement, international cooperation and agreements.

He continued that “globalization, includes among others, freer and borderless movement of capital goods, services, technology, information and human resource development between and among countries. Thus, the rapid change in information and communication technology directly impacts on the way work is being organized and executed, how products are being manufactured and shipped, and how systems and processes are implemented”.

PEDP 2018-2022 Stakeholders Engagement Series takes off in General Santos City

The Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) and the Export Development Council (EDC) will hold a series of Stakeholders Engagements on the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2018-2022 in Regions. It aims to present the PEDP 2018-2022 and solicit commitments among stakeholders to implement the Plan. The first Stakeholders Engagement was conducted in General Santos City and Koronadal City for Region 12 last July 25-26, 2018.

Government agencies in Region 12 agreed on reported programs to align to the PEDP 2018-2022 Strategies. The agencies are committed on implementing the strategies as well as developing new programs that will help increase their region’s exports.

The Stakeholders Engagements will also serve as a venue to ensure an efficient, responsive and well-coordinated strategies among the concerned government agencies and entities that are directed to collectively work, review, institute reforms, and implement all relevant policies in harmony with the PEDP, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Development Plan and the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) to boost export growth.

The succeeding Stakeholders Engagements will be held in NCR and Region IV-B on August 15; Regions IV-A on August 31; Region VIII on September 5; Region X on September  7; Region XI on September 11; Region III on September 19; and Region VII on September 27.

Bureau of Customs to form multi-agency unit to address port issues

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña announced that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will create a multi-agency body composed of government agencies and port stakeholders and users that will address issues hounding the private sector.

Various stakeholders discussed the recommendations and action plans for the implementation of the Terminal Appointment Booking System (TABS), the Anti-overloading Act, port congestion, turnaround time of trucks, return of empty containers, and issues with international shipping lines.

On TABS, the web-based booking platform for trucks at Manila International Container Port and Port of Manila, port users to extend the early arrival margin to three hours, and improve the system to promote transparency.

On Anti-overloading, stakeholders recommended the extension of moratorium period of 6 months on the implementation of the maximum Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) for Code 12-2 and Code 12-3. The stakeholders views that the law is inconsistent and not implemented properly because of redundancy of weighing exercises. It was proposed that there should be a mandatory weighing of laden containers prior to exit from the yards. Meanwhile, for long term solution, stakeholders recommend the amendment of the law’s implementing rules and regulations to increase the maximum allowable GVW.

On port congestion, multi-sectoral body is proposed to determine and declare any port congestion. Also, for overstaying of empty containers, stakeholders recommended to shorten the allowable stay of empties from 90 days to 60 days.

Other important recommendations are the following: (1) International Shipping Lines to put up or lease their own depots outside Metro Manila; (2) PEZA to possibly dedicate a space and designate a facility for the empty containers near to them; (3) International Shipping Lines to remove the unwarranted charges by specifying absolute container depot fees when returning empty containers; (4) BOC to initiate the implementation of rules and regulations to regulate the shipping lines.

To address the high cost of origin and destination charges of international shipping lines, the Export Development Council (EDC) together with other stakeholders endorsed a draft bill entitled “An act establishing guidelines for the application of local charges (origin and destination fees) imposed by international shipping lines to comply with existing laws and international standards (INCOTERMS)” to the House of Representatives Committee on Economic Affairs.

Economic Development Cluster endorses PEDP 2018-2022 for approval of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

The Economic Development Cluster, in its meeting last 14 June 2018, strongly supported and endorsed the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP) 2018-2022 for approval of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, Chair of the Export Development Council (EDC) eyes the approval of the PEDP 2018-2022 soon.

The PEDP 2018-2022 is a five-year roadmap that identifies three strategies and action plans to reach the country’s export targets of US$ 122 Billion in 2022.

The first strategy dwells on the government’s goal of improving the overall climate for export development through removal of unnecessary regulatory impediments, enhancement of trade facilitation, improved access to trade finance and export competitiveness.

The second strategy will exploit existing and prospective opportunities from trading arrangements. DTI has programs that aim to increase awareness on various opportunities offered by free trade agreements that the Philippines currently enjoys. In the new PEDP, the strategy proposed a dedicated program like DTI’s Doing Business in Free Trade Areas (DBFTA) to strengthen promotion efforts to prospective and existing exporters.

Lastly, the plan proposes the crafting of comprehensive packages to promote select products and services for export.

PHILEXPORT- Cebu now endorses Travel Tax Exemption applications

The PHILEXPORT-Cebu Chapter can now endorse applications of its members for travel tax exemption.   The Technical Working Group on EO 589 Exempting Exporters for Travel Tax Exemption (TTE) recently approved the request of PHILEXPORT-National for the additional signatories from PHILEXPORT- Cebu. This is to facilitate the release of TTE certificate by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA). PHILEXPORT-Cebu may now endorse TTE applications directly to the Export Development Council which monitors and oversees the implementation of the Executive Order.

Under EO 589, exporters who will travel abroad to participate in international trade fairs  and exhibitions are entitled to TTE.

Exporters in Cebu may contact PHILEXPORT-Cebu at telephone numbers (032)254.4333/ 254.9266/254.433 or email at info@philexportcebu.org