MAKATI CITY- The Department of Trade and Industry-Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (DTI-CIAP) held its 2nd dialogue with the key players in the industry to keep up with the latest in the Philippine construction scene.
The dialogue also served as a venue for the participants to identify matters that arise and resolve these issues as one unit.
According to Atty. Ruth B. Castelo, Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Ease of Doing Business Group (CEODBG), the dialogue aimed to seek updates on the first CIAP dialogue held last February 16, 2017, had there been changes and new pronouncements on the provisions for tax clearance as part of bidding requirements, DPWH issuance of Civil Works Registry, hotline for contractor complaints, simplified procurement process in infrastructure building, 2017 investment priority plans, and flagship projects.
The dialogue was also geared to encourage more local and smaller contractors to participate in future government projects.
Atty. Ruth B. Castelo (seated 5th from Left), Undersecretary for CIAP and Presiding Chairperson, with major industry players in a round table discussion.
Participating in the 2nd dialogue at the BOI Boardroom, Makati City on April 5, 2017 were representatives from Department of Transportation (DOTr), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Board of Investments (BOI), Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Overseas Employment Authority (POEA), Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Clark Development Corporation (CDC), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PHILGEPS), Philippine Contractors Association (PCA), and the Chairmen of the different Implementing Boards of CIAP.
To strengthen Public-Private Partnerships (P3), DTI-CIAP provided the platform for all industry sectors to exchange notes and express intent to ramp up the Infrastructure agenda in the Golden Age of Infrastructure.
On the issue of timely and complete payment of taxes prior to joining the bidding, Ms. Grace Lacerna of BIR suggested that to avoid difficulties in entering a bid, contractors must duly accomplish a tax clearance. She also clarified that the effectivity of the clearance is now extended to one year.
DPWH stated that there are 6,000 contractors enrolled in the registry but only 2,000 were participating in P3 projects. Ms. Nimfa Potante of DPWH wants to capacitate smaller contractors and encourage them to participate in the biddings. Contractors who will secure projects with the government may opt to upgrade their category in the registry.
DPWH has also emphasized the dedicated hotline for contractor’s complaints. The information can be viewed in the DPWH website and is currently being disseminated through e-mail and SMS.
To simplify the procurement process, GPPB advised implementing agencies to get training every 6 months for knowledge updates. They also consolidated alternative methods of procurement to allow for faster and more convenient acquiring of infra services.
According to Assistant Secretary Bernardo of DPWH, there are projects rolled out by the department that are currently out on bidding. He also encourages contractors to participate and submit documents through PhilGeps.
“Despite the hurdles, there is no doubt that the construction industry is more than ready, and excited to build, build, build.” said Undersecretary Castelo in confidence.
Also according to the Undersecretary, now that the issues have been pointed out and the implementing agencies are actively taking part in bringing resolutions, the industry is evidently entrusting the local contractors to handle major infrastructure projects.
The CIAP is the central authority of the construction industry mandated to promote, accelerate, and regulate growth and development of the construction industry in conformity with the national goals.
As funds for the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) expected to be released anytime soon, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and its micro-financing arm Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) have ironed out the guidelines of its implementation that will help micro entrepreneurs throughout the country.
Being the administration’s program to provide an affordable micro-financing for the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the P3 funding program provides micro enterprises an alternative source of financing that is easy to access and made available at a reasonable cost.
“We’re very much excited because this is our vision in the agency—to help underprivileged by giving better chances to elevate from poverty. Through this micro-financing program, those from the bottom of the pyramid will get to climb the ladder by expanding their businesses,” DTI – Regional Operations Group (DTI-ROG) Supervising Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya said.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez is set to introduce the national conduits and local Micro-financing Institutions (MFIs) for the P3 program.
The Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) is a P1 billion financing program intended to give MSMEs better access to finance and to reduce their cost of borrowing. The fund will also give priority to the country’s 30 poorest provinces.
Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to replace the “5-6” money lending system, the P3 is also seen to help stabilize supply and cost of commodities in public markets, encourage small entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, and offer employment and generate income for Filipinos.
The P1 billion fund of the P3 program from the Office of the President will be coursed through the SB Corp., which will accredit partner institutions such as non-bank MFIs, cooperatives and associations to serve as conduit for the P3 funds. With borrowers identified through these, collection of repayments will be efficient.
“We’re very grateful that this Program has become a reality. MSMEs now have an option to avail of cheaper funds to expand their business,” Maglaya explained.
The P3 Program was launched in Tacloban in Leyte on January 25, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro on January 27, and Alabel, Sarangani last January 30.
The primary beneficiaries of the P3 Program are microenterprises and entrepreneurs that do not have easy access to credit. These include market vendors, agri-businessmen and members of cooperatives, and industry associations.
P3 will also make it easy for borrowers since it will only require minimal documentation requirement; easy to access with only one (1) day processing of application; low cost interest at 2.5% per month; and easy payment with collection on a weekly or daily basis, as necessary.
Loan amounts to end-borrowers will range between P5,000 and P100,000, with no collateral requirement.
Philippine exports posted an increase of 11% with total sales of $4.782 billion for the month of February 2017, marking its third month of positive growth according to a report released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
For February 2017, eight out of ten top major Philippine exported goods rose with electronic products comprising 51.6% of the total exports revenue amounting to $2.470 billion compared to $2.131 billion registered in the same period last year. Other products that increased include cathodes and sections of cathodes, of refined copper (946.9%); other mineral products (107.5%); coconut oil (66.5%); electronic equipment and parts (64.9%); metal components (29.4%); other manufactures (20.1%); electronic products (15.9%); and chemicals (9.6%).
United States (US) topped other Philippine export destinations for the said month, accounting for 15.6% to total exports with receipts valued at $745.22 million. It is followed by Japan with 15.25% share with revenues amounting to $728.35 million.
The increase in February 2017 exports lifted the cumulative value of merchandise exports by 17.36% for the first two months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, based on preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Continued export growth can be attributed to the significant increase of Philippine electronic products by 13.24% in the first two months of 2017. This stemmed from the positive performance of the six out of nine subsectors of the industry which contributed 96.74% share in the cumulative total value of the industry.
Department of Trade and Industry’s Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) noted that the increasing efforts of the Philippines in strengthening ties with its ASEAN neighbors including China is expected to sustain the growth of the sector in the coming months.
“Enhancing trade promotion efforts to huge consumer markets is seen as a viable strategy in sustaining the performance of Philippine exports in the coming months,” said DTI-EMB Director Senen M. Perlada.
As the Philippines serves host for this year’s ASEAN Summit, the country is pushing for the conclusion of the ASEAN-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations. RCEP is the free trade agreement being advocated by the ASEAN 10-member states with its six (6) dialogue partners including China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India.
“RCEP is the chance to balance the country’s trade deficit, especially with China,” emphasized Perlada.
Among selected trade-oriented economies in Asia, the Philippines placed 9th in terms of exports growth, a decline after it placed third last month. Vietnam topped the list for February 2017 with 29.6% recorded exports growth, a significant increase after dropping to among the worst performers for January 2017.
“We see a trend of recovery among economies in the first two months of 2017. For us in the Philippines, the numbers are healthy. While we ranked 9th for this month, on a year-to-date (YTD) analysis among selected trade-oriented economies, we placed third in terms of export growth. This is a signal of a robust export sector,” explained Perlada.
DOHA, QATAR—Dutertenomics, the new way to sum-up Philippine (PH) President Rodrigo Duterte’s key socio-economic agenda, which aims to widen the gains of economic development, to address inequality and to uplift the quality of life of all Filipinos, was used to describe the various initiatives undertaken in the official Middle East visits of President Duterte.
PH Cabinet members reported, in a press briefing, several gains in securing the safety and welfare of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in these countries, several memoranda of understanding (MOUs) and agreements in the field of education, health, vocational and skills training, economic investment and technical cooperation with the three countries that the official delegation visited, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Bahrain and Qatar from 10 to 16 April.
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said that the chief executive’s visits to these Middle East countries significantly strengthened the relationship between President Duterte and each of the leaders in the three nations, resulting in stronger commitment to build-up on PH bilateral trade and investments with KSA, Bahrain and Qatar.
All these initiatives form part the ‘Dutertenomics’ that will create more job and income opportunities, and improve the lives of many Filipinos. These opportunities will be dispersed throughout the country, uplifting the lives of the people in the provinces and addressing inequality in the country.
More trade and investments
President Duterte led the discussion on how trade can be more balanced by encouraging these Middle East countries to buy more of PH products to improve the trade balance. Said countries are the main sources of oil and oil products that PH has to import.
Aside from commitments to expand imports from PH, several initiatives to facilitate investments were signed.
Foremost among which is the Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (IPPA) with Qatar, which should facilitate the flow of bigger sized Qatar investments into PH. This agreement, the negotiations of which started nine years ago, will now make PH an eligible recipient of investment funds from the Qatar Sovereign Fund. Initial estimate of investment allocation is USD 1 billion.
The IPPA will basically provide internationally-recognized investors their rights and safeguards.
“Qatar investors will be treated fairly, will not be disadvantaged and will facilitate identification of opportunities and entry of investments,” Sec. Lopez said.
There are more investment MOUs and Letters of Intent (LOIs) signed that will bring in investments into PH.
PH through PEZA, led by the DTI Secretary as Chairman, together with Director General Charito Plaza, was able to close USD 469 million-worth of business to business (B2B) LOIs, creating 16,000 new jobs in the areas of pharma generics, property development, medical tourism, ports warehouses, agri-industrial economic zones and Halal food processing industry zones, and tourism.
PH company AMA Group Holdings Corporation and Bahrain company Nader & Ebrahim Sons of Hassan Company W.L.L. (represented by Ebrahim Hassan Mubarak Alameer) signed an MOU, wherein parties agreed to acquire, by lease from land owners, an area of 10,000 hectares with additional investment of USD 250 million over three to five years. This will create 3,500 new jobs. When operation is full, employment will go up to 40,000, producing a total volume of 560,000 MT of various fruits and agriculture products, with export value of USD 280 million annually.
Thirteen projects were signed amounting to USD 206 million, generating close to 6,000 workers. These projects will be in the areas of retirement village/hotel/ tourism economic zone in Romblon, Davao or Cebu; information technology (IT) and economic zone management services; hospitals and medical tourism; poultry and Halal food processing; digital marketing; manufacture of coco peat/coco fiber in South Cotabato; manufacture and export facility of nanostructured carbon; and agro-industrial economic zone in Palawan.
More prospects ahead
PH also told investors that the PH is the 2017 chair of the ASEAN regional meetings. At the top of its agenda is steering the ASEAN to full economic integration, which means that by capitalizing on PH’s location, not only will investors be able to access PH market of 105 million, but Phil will be their gateway to the bigger ASEAN market of 620 million people.
President Duterte also encouraged these Middle East countries to explore cooperation on several prime industry sectors in PH that investors can take part in, including agribusiness & agriculture; energy efficiency technologies & renewable energy; infrastructure/public-private partnership (PPP) projects; IT-business process management shared services; oil & gas; and tourism.
The Department of Trade and Industry- Bureau of Philippine Standards (DTI-BPS) adopted as Philippine National Standard (PNS) the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 37001:2016 Anti-bribery management systems – Requirements with guidance for use.
This PNS is applicable only to bribery and specifies requirements and provides guidance for establishing, implementing, maintaining, reviewing and improving an antibribery management system This document addresses bribery in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors; bribery by the organization; bribery by the organization’s personnel acting on the organization’s behalf or for its benefit; bribery of the organization’s business associates acting on the organization’s behalf or for its benefit; bribery of the organization; bribery of the organization’s personnel in relation to the organization’s activities; bribery of the organization’s business associates in relation to the organization’s activities; and, direct and indirect bribery.
The standard sets out requirements and provides guidance for a management system designed to help an organization to prevent, detect, and respond to bribery and comply with anti-bribery laws and voluntary commitments applicable to its activities.
The DTI-BPS is the National Standards Body of the Philippines. It is the Philippines’ member to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
A copy of the standard may be availed for a minimal fee from the Standards Data Centre at 751.4736/507.7307 and [email protected].
For more information on the services of the DTI, log-on to http://www.dti.gov.ph
With high regard for consumers, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) commits in providing the consuming public with a prompt and efficient resolution of their complaints.
The DTI-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) reported that from January to February this year, the department received 1,460 complaints — all of which fully settled.
Of the 1,460 complaints, 337 were dismissed, 274 were archived, 269 were endorsed to other government agencies, 53 were escalated to adjudication, and 527 were resolved early through mediation.
DTI-FTEB Director-in-Charge Ferdinand Manfoste noted that 98.67 percent of those complaints resolved early through
mediation were acted on within 10 working days only.
“The DTI is highly committed to working on a complaint on time and efficiently. To do this, we firmly adhere to our Department Administrative Order [DAO] No. 13-02, Series of 2013,” Manfoste stressed. Section 4 of Rules II and III of the said DAO states that resolution of complaints falling under the DTI’s jurisdiction shall not exceed 10 working days by mediation while 20 working days by adjudication.
Manfoste also pointed out that there were 269 complaints endorsed to other government agencies because those did not fall under the jurisdiction of the DTI. He assured, though, that these were given with necessary actions by the lawful agencies.
Meanwhile, the director-in-charge explained that 53 complaints were escalated to adjudication because some complainants and respondents failed to reach an agreement during the mediation stage.
But Manfoste ensures that, as much as possible, complaints are amicably settled during mediation stage to save both parties’ time and expenses.
One consumer, who asked for help regarding his request for a refund from a company, thanked the department and said, “I hope you will continue exercising your function to protect consumers like me.”
For more information on the services of the DTI, log-on to http://www.dti.gov.ph