Int’l fintech firm Payoneer supports Geeks on a Beach for the second year



International financial technology firm Payoneer is supporting the global startup conference Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) for the second straight year as one of this year’s most awaited event’s silver sponsors.


Miguel Warren, Payoneer Philippines Country Manager, said the company is delighted to once more take part in this year’s GOAB which will be held at Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines on August 24-25, 2017.


“We are in Geeks on a Beach to talk about the huge potential of e-commerce, freelancing, and outsourcing in the Philippines; and how Payoneer can help these fields with their online and cross-border payments.” said Warren.


This year’s GOAB, which has been done annually since its first staging in Boracay Island in 2013, again promises to bring together some of the biggest names of the tech, design, and startup world from across the world.


“We really like to see the kind of folks gathered together in Palawan for the Geeks on a Beach – startups, techies, and corporates – to see how we can help them facilitate payments on an easy, convenient, and cost-efficient way,” said Warren.


Warren is part of the panel on “Corporate Digital Transformation: Becoming Victorious in a Collision between Businesses and Today’s Challenging Digital Forces” during the second day of the GOAB conference.


His fellow panelists include Robertson Chiang of Dragonpay Corporation, Arup Maity of BlastAsia & Xamun Inc., Joey Limjap of PLDT Innolab, Ramon Escueta of Philippine Chamber of Commerce, and Annabelle Ong of the Puerto Princesa Chamber of Commerce.


This panel is especially envisioned for corporates and businesses wishing to jumpstart their digital innovation by incorporating automated processes and tools, using software to reach out to new customers and expand profits, harnessing the power of social media and digital marketing techniques to increase revenue and boost their branding, and partnering with experienced and trusted digital experts.


PLDT, Smart, Voyager, PayMaya, ePLDT, Smart DevNet, PLDT Enterprise, and PLDT Innolab, Ideaspace and QBO are supporting GOAB as co-presenters while ASPACE Philippines is co-producer. GOAB is held in partnership with the City Government of Puerto Princesa, Palaweño ICT Association, and DOST-PCIEERD.


GOAB is organized by, powered by, branding by Happy Garaje, and pr by PRWorks.   For registration or partnership information or further details, visit, follow on Twitter/Facebook Geeks On A Beach, or contact

First Bohol Coastal-wide Dive Forum


The Province of Bohol through the Bohol Tourism Office conducted of Bohol’s first ever “Coastal-wide Dive Forum” on August 11, 2017 at Bohol Plaza Resort, Dayo Hill, Dauis, Bohol.

The forum was in partnership with the Bohol Provincial Tourism Council (PTC), Inc. and the Panglao Association of Dive Operators (PADO) has taken new steps in its efforts for sustainable tourism development.

LGU environment and tourism officers, representatives of Municipal and Provincial Tourism Councils, headed by Atty. Lucas M. Nunag, scientists, national agency representatives from the Department of Tourism, Department of  Environment and Natural Resources, Philippine Coast Guard, PNP Tourist Police and employees of the provincial government attended the forum.

Also present and facilitated the workshop, were private sector stakeholders many of whom are dive operators all over the province, hotel and resort owners, business groups and individuals advocates for Bohol’s sustainable environment and inclusivity of business practices.

Jo Cabarrus, Head of the Bohol Tourism Office welcomed the participants and gave the forum’s statement of purpose. Atty. Mitchell John Boiser, Acting Provincial Administrator and the Provincial Legal Officer in behalf of the Governor speaks of the forum as timely, considering that the diving industry in our province is flourishing with the influx of tourists who come to Bohol to experience one of the best dive sites in the country. Aside from Balicasag being famous as a world-class dive spot, there are other sites like Cabilao, Anda, Jagna and many more that offer the same exhilarating experience.  He emphasized that the diving industry and the community need to be conscientious in creating balance between tourism development and ecological preservation and that government needs to lay down the rules and implement them and for stakeholders and implementers to follow such enactments.

The forum aimed to instill the importance of marine resource conservation for environmental sustainability and formulate appropriate legislations thereto; raised issues and concerns besieging the diving industry. In the workshop conducted, strategies were generated for the development of a uniform marine life protection policies and standards by all MLGUs and ensure that players in the industry comply with such diving industry operations.

“Protecting the resources in the coastal vicinity of Bohol is a shared responsibility between and among LGUs, local communities, NGOs and private sector. If the marine resources are properly managed, sustainable economies will last not only in this generation but also unto the future.”, according to Neil Antoque, a Marine Biologist and Coastal Extension Officer of DENR Bohol, who gave an input on the Science of Coral Reef Ecosystem, its Relationship to the Diving Industry and The Relevant Enabling Policies, Rules and Regulations in Marine Conservation for Livelihood Development.

As best practice model in diving operation, Mr. Holger Horn, President of PADO, shared the Status/Profile of the Diving Industry in Panglao and their Efforts to Save Panglao Dive Sites for Sustainability.  On the part of government, Panglao, Coastal Resource Management Officer (CRMO), Darwin Menorias, presented the CRM Initiatives in Marine Conservation vis-à-vis Diving Industry Operations.

The following next steps were noted down:  (1) Creation of a Technical Working Group (TWG) for a future Bohol Dive Expo; (2) a unified ordinance/legislation (relative to marine conservation, diving regulations and incorporation of diving policies in the Bohol Tourism Code), (3) a Position Paper to DOT so strengthen PCSSD/to establish Regional Offices to facilitate accreditation applications and (4) the establishment of a community-based monitoring task force.

Ms. Liza Quirog, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Governor and Head of the SEEM Cluster, a dive enthusiast and a conservationist at heart, in her closing statements, remarked, that “in order to make our aspirations happen, we can only depend and raise our expectations on the things that we can control. Let us not expect or put to task people who or agencies which are not under our control. For we can only make sure that things are done because WE CAN DO it ourselves or that the agencies or personalities that are mandated to do them are under our systems; either of the Philippine government or under our community’s influence”.


The workshop closed with the signing of the Commitment- ‘to act collectively to conserve and sustainably use our seas, coasts and marine resources for sustainable development’, by all the participants.

Finalists of the Asian Hospital Management Awards 2017 announced


418 entries from 102 hospitals in 17 countries

Manila, Philippines, 9 August 2017 – Hospital Management Asia (HMA) announced the finalists of the 16thAsian Hospital Management Awards (AHMA). Hosted by leading health technology company, Philips, the awards received 418 entries from 102 hospitals in 17 countries in Asia Pacific and the winners will be awarded on Thursday, 24th August 2017 at Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila, Philippines.

For sixteen years now, AHMA has been recognizing hospitals in Asia that have implemented outstanding programs and best practices that served patients, hospital employees, and the community. Thirteen awards categories were vied for.

The AHMA 2017 finalists will be displaying posters of their respective programs during the two-day Hospital Management Asia conference on August 23 and 24 at Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila, Philippines. The poster display will offer a venue for the finalists to share the benefits of their winning programs with the HMA community.

The awarding ceremony of AHMA 2017 is hosted by Philips and will take place during the Awards Gala Dinner at Shangri-La at the Fort in Manila, Philippines on the evening of August 24, Thursday.

For the list of AHMA 207 finalists, please visit:

Learn more about AHMA award categories and criteria at:

About HMA

HMA was awarded the MARK OF EXCELLENCE FOR THE BEST OPERATIONS TEAM in the Global Conference Awards 2015 and BEST MANAGED EVENT in the Asian Conference Awards 2013, organized by the London-based Global Conference Network. This year, HMA is a finalist in BEST AWARDS EVENT CATEGORY in the Global Conference Awards 2017. HMA, now in its 16th year, is the largest educational event for healthcare managers in Asia, organized by Clarion Events. HMA 2017 is co-hosted by the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines and supported by Siemens Healthineers, Joint Commission International, Philips, GE Healthcare, Microsoft, Wolters Kluwer Clinical Drug Information, VK Architects & Engineers, Orion Health, Elsevier, Workplace by Facebook, the Institute of Healthcare Leadership and Management, Superior A.R.T, Tektone, United Technologies, Practo and a number of national associations and organizations across Asia. For more information on Hospital Management Asia, please visit




For more information:

Marketing Executive

Rahmah Ishak
Clarion Events Pte Ltd


Tel: +65 6590 3970

Fax: +65 6223 9196


Asian Hospital Management Awards 2017

List of Finalists

(Alphabetically ordered)


List also available here: AHMA 2017 Finalists

CATEGORY: Bio Medical / Facilities Maintenance Project

  • Hoan My Medical Corporation (Vietnam)
  • Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals (India)
  • Medcare Hospital Dubai (United Arab Emirates)


CATEGORY: Clinical Service Project

  • Apollo Hospitals, Chennai (India)
  • Medcare Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital (India)
  • Sterling Addlife India Pvt Ltd (India)


CATEGORY: Community Involvement Project

  • Hong Kong Baptist Hospital (Hong Kong)
  • Medanta, The Medicity Hospital (India)
  • Princess Margaret Hospital (Hong Kong)


CATEGORY: Cost Reduction Project

  • Hoan My Medical Corporation (Vietnam)
  • Max Healthcare Institute Limited (India
  • National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (Singapore)
  • National University Hospital (Singapore
  • RK. Charitas Hospital Palembang (Indonesia)


CATEGORY: Customer Service Project

  • Apollo Speciality Hospitals (India)
  • Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals (India)
  • Makati Medical Center (Philippines)


CATEGORY: Innovations in Healthcare Technology Project

  • Aster DM Healthcare (United Arab Emirates)
  • Dr. Ramesh cardiac & Multispeciality Hospital Pvt. Ltd (India)
  • KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital (Malaysia)


CATEGORY: Innovations in Hospital Management Project

  • Aga Khan University Karachi (Pakistan)
  • Apollo Hospitals (India)
  • KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (Singapore)


CATEGORY: Mobile and Online Services Project

  • Caritas Medical Centre, Hospital Authority (Hong Kong)
  • Integrated Health Information Systems (Singapore)
  • West China Hospital of Sichuan University (China)


CATEGORY: Nursing Excellence Project

  • Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals (India)
  • Fortis Hospitals Ltd (India)
  • KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (Singapore)
  • Tan Tock Seng Hospital (Singapore)


CATEGORY: Innovations in Healthcare IT

  • Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals (India)
  • North District Hospital (Hong Kong)
  • Philippine Heart Center (Philippines)
  • Rajagiri Hospital (India)
  • West China Hospital of Sichuan University (China)


CATEGORY: Patient Safety Project

  • Johns Hopkins Singapore (Singapore)
  • KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (Singapore)
  • National University Hospital (Singapore)
  • Prince of Wales Hospital, Hospital Authority (Hong Kong)
  • St. Luke’s Medical Center – Quezon City (Philippines)


CATEGORY: Physician Leadership Project

  • KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (Singapore)
  • Max Smart Super Specialty Hospital (India)
  • The Medical City (Philippines)


CATEGORY: Talent Development Project

  • Apollo Speciality Hospital OMR (India)
  • Farrer Park Hospital (Singapore)
  • Fortis Hospital Mulund (India)
  • Hospital Authority (Hong Kong)
  • Lorma Medical Center (Philippines)

Aris pushes for eco-zone, mitigate climate change






BETTER job opportunities for his constituents, and a cleaner, greener and fresher earth.

These are the ends-in-view Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) is pursuing so that he filed twin bills last week.

House Bill (HB) 5951 proposes to establish a special economic zone in Bohol. On the other hand, HB 5549 which he co-authored, aims to improve air quality and mitigate the effects of climate change.

To manage and administer the special economic zone, the bill also proposes the creation of the Northern Bohol Special Economic Zone Authority (NBSEZA) with the corresponding appropriation.

But, Aumentado said, businesses and industries that locate in the NBSEZA must only be light, and environment-friendly.

These must complement, not compete, with agriculture and tourism which are Bohol’s prime economic drivers, he emphasized.

Heavy industries, he noted, tend to be detrimental to the environment.

The bill is now being studied by the House committees on Economic Affairs and on Trade and Industry.

Meanwhile, Aumentado said, HB 5549 aims to require parents to plant one tree for every child born to them.

The bill is now being studied by the committees on Natural and Resources, on Ecology and the Special Committee on Climate Change.

Among others, the committees will finalize the mechanics of the requirement, including the types of trees recommended and the planting area for families who do not own land.

The solon said when passed, this law will be the country’s contribution to the mitigation of the effects of climate change.

He said the Philippines cannot compare to Bhutan wherein 70% of its land area is still covered with virgin forests.

This means, he explained, Bhutan is not only carbon neutral but carbon negative, meaning, the oxygen its forest cover produces is more than the carbon dioxide its population, households, machineries and industries produces.

As things are, Aumentado admits, the Philippines cannot yet hope to become another Bhutan.

But the one tree per child policy can certainly improve air quality and with it, the health of its citizens, he explained.

Panglao kids start Energy revolution

PANGLAO, Bohol, August 7 (PIA) –Clean energy revolution in small amperage light rolls off from here and it is a wolf in sheep’s cloak.

An ordinary dirty energy kerosene lantern which otherwise would have given a warm flickering incandescent glow now gets a new light source: clean Light Emitting Diode (LED) powered by solar energy.

“Thanks to Liter of Light and MyShelter Foundation who taught us how to do it,” confesses Jane Heberly Bompat, Grade VI pupil at Lourdes Elementary School (LES) in Panglao.

Assembled by LES kids, the repackaged lantern would soon be among the innovations the Liter of Light and its 34 Bohol children ambassadors would be using to spread light into the country’s communities still darkened by energy poverty.

“How could we help 20 million Filipinos without access to light? Do we give them light from patented sources which is expensive and hard to repair or do we think of innovations?” asked Liter of Light and MyShelter founder  Ilac Diaz.

Asked how his mission came about, Diaz was more willing to share.

It all started with one bottle, one carpenter, one inspiration and an empty liter bottle of soda.

Diaz said they had to come up with a solution in providing light to help communities wiped out by Haiyan, and Filipino bayanihan was a good concept to start with.

Liter of Light filled the PET bottle with water and bleach and stuck it in house roofs to produce refracted illumination indoors.

But for Haiyan victims, “buying was an option but shipping cost would eat up about 70% of our budget, we need to come up with something unique not top down imported, patented and expensive , but bottom up and local so it can be fixed,” Diaz added.

“Why import when we could just overhaul what is there?” he pointed out citing the kerosene lamps which were given to communities after the disaster.

In these areas too, kerosene lamps caused other problems: they burned children and women and houses, he noted.

“In kerosene lamps, we thought of converting it to solar powered lamps using LED,” Diaz who presided over a workshop at the Asian Cooperation Dialog (ACD) in Panglao intoned.

“We want local materials, done by local skills and fixible so the community can build and rebuild or fix it again as we go,” he excitedly narrated his soon-to-be mainstreamed clean energy.

Operating on empowering people to do more to uplift them instead of doling out, Liter of Light saw that transforming a dirty energy into sun power is most sustainable.

“The country has this south-south orientation which provides us maximum exposure to the sun,” he commented on why solar of all low cost and renewable energy sources.

The lanterns they asked children to build is 1 ampere LED mounted on a printed circuit board and getting solar energy packed in a battery inserted inside the lamp.

At the ACD, 34 children: 17 boys and 17 girls patiently showed to the representatives of the 34 country energy bloc how to build and rebuild the solar lanterns.

The ACD gathered Asian energy leaders and think-tanks to share and exchange expertise and ideas about making energy sustainable and affordable to energy deprived areas.

This is transforming a dirty energy to a clean energy solution and the government  is keen in its support because solar energy is the right energy because it preserves our resources, Diaz summed. (rahc/PIA7/Bohol)

Carabao dairy: Bohol farmers

option for additional income

TAGBILARAN CITY, August 11 (PIA)–Then thought of only as a farm animal and meat source, the Philippine water buffalo now proves is also a source of extra income in high quality milk and cheese, says experts at the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC).

A potential source of additional income for farm families who have to sideline farm work to allow a birthing carabao the respite to nurture the young, carabao milk has been proven to be a good income source, according to PCC veterinarian Dr. Gondolino Bahinting.

To highlight on the viability of carabao as milk source, the PCC at the Ubay Stock Farm (USF) says other than giving off a calf, a mother carabao can also be a good source of high protein, low cholesterol, mineral and calcium rich milk that could be suitable for mozzarella.

Compared to other milk, a 200 milliliter glass of carabao milk contains about 9 grams of heat resistant protein.

“Because it doesnt break down easilly, the body tends to get more from it,” explains a dietician when asked about heat resistant proteins.

And carabao milk contains low cholesterol and is ideal milk for persons with diabetes, dyslipidermia, hypertension, kidney diseases, polycystic ovarian disease and obesity, PCC claimed.

Known to have high fat percentage and is thicker than other kinds of milk, the heavy carabao milk has been identified as good for healthy weight gain and is excellent for cheese and ice cream making, says PCC information officer Leniefe Libres.

In Bohol schools now, carabao milk supplemental feeding program supports the province’s goals of wiping malnutrition.

Besides, carabao milk is extremely rich in calcium and is a great source of minerals like potassium, magnessium and phosphorus which is great for building bone and bofy strength, Libres added to highlight its nutritional prowess.

“Experiments showed that carabao milk has very good stretching and melting characteristics that make it ideal for mozzarella,” PCC claimed.

“The native carabao however could only produce about 6 liters in two milking sessions a day compared to 12 liters from foreign breeds, but with a calf to add to the profit, it should be just okay,” a PCC carabao loan porgram beneficiary posed in comparison.

A farmer with a milking carabao however has to wean the calf early and induce the milking to harvest enough to feed the calf and process more milk.

With the provision of carabao milk as alternative, the PCC nears in its mission to make available locally produced affordable and high quality fresh dairy products while uplifting the socioeconomic status of dairy farmers as well ad improve nutrition and lives of Boholanos.

Along this line, the PCC has been tending a carabao ranch, a milking shed and has produced 200 liters of milk a day to prove milking  can be viable for farmers.

“We do not do this for profit. We are doing this for farmers to imbibe as livelihood,” Dr. Bahinting claimed as he explained to tourists at the PCC farm tour.

From its processed milk, PCC and its supervised Bohol Dairy Cooperative makes pasteurized fresh milk, chocomilk, mango flavored milk, yoghurt, banana loaves, milk cakes, torta, pastillas de leche, vinegar-based white cheese, caramilk ice cream and its nutri packaged milk bars. (rahc/PIA7/Bohol)

Good health keeps
body off from “TB”TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, August 12 (PIA)–Always get a good rest, eat the right food and exercise, that in itself can be a great defense against tuberculosis.

A nurse at the Provincial Health Office and the Provincial Coordinator for the National Tuberculosis Program (NTP) dished out this advice amidst the reality that there are still a good number of undetected cases of microbacterium tuberculosis (TB) in Bohol.

While the PHO noted a high curing rate for people treated with TB, the case detection rate in Bohol is still a low 62%, Rances reported at Kapihan sa PIA for Lung Month in August.

The NTP pegs a target of 90% TB case detection rate but PHO cited problems with finding these people afflicted with the contagious bacteria.

Communities are supposed to help us seek these people who may have cough for the past three weeks, have unintentionally lost weight, has fevers, chest and back pains, said PHO nurse and NTP Bohol coordinator Polizena Rances.

Once reported, these people vould undergo confirmatory tests through gathering of sputum samples and when found positive, be placed under the free Directly Observed Treatment System for TB (TB DOTS).

Unreported, these people put their family members at high risk of infection, Rances added.

TB bacteria is spread with the air as the TB positive coughs or sneezes and the air is inhaled.

Although most healthy people have antibodies that naturally fight off the infection, those with low immunity tend to contract the disease.

About 95% of healthy people with strong resistance can self-cure TB, Rances revealed.

In fact she added that the usual habit of detaining patients in a closed room exacerbates the possibility of infection.

You close the room, you contain the bacteria which can degrade when exposed to sun and thins into insignificant numbers in open air, she explained.

In addition, as soon as the patient has been placed under TB treatment regimen, the possibility of him spreading the bacteria stops.

She however cautions.

A patient ho has started medication has to religiously obey the fixed dose or he could develop a Multi Drug Resistant TB, a much tougher bacteria to beat, PHO said. (rahc/PIA7/Bohol)

DoE works for “LNG”
powerbarge to BoholTAGBILARAN CITY, August 9 (PIA)–Consistent with Bohols green development agenda, the Department of Energy (DOE) unwittingly leaked its plan to bring to Bohol a cleaner source of power in a  barge.

During a press conference at the BE Grand Hotel in Panglao, no less than DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi timidly confirmed the plan after a  slip of the tongue when he exposed the plan to send in a liquified natural gas (LNG) floating power plant to Bohol.

The press conference of the First  East Asia Energy Forum which also had Japanese professor president of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia Hidetoshi Nishimura, Shigeru Kimura of ERIA, Energy Research Institute Network Chair and associate professor Romeo Pacudan,   Sec. Alfonso G. Cusi tackled the directions East Asia and the Philippines is taking in its energy development in response to the pressing industrialization needs of the times.

While the DOE admitted its direction towards an establishment of an energy source that is  attainable in the shortest term to keep up to the countrys development pace, the Philippine direction towards clean coal became apparent.

“The Philippine direction is building up more coal fired plants, which should comprise 50% of the 80% energy supplied by conventional energy,” he said.

The rest of the 20% should be from  renewables.

The downside for renewables however is that these are dependent on the times.

When the sun is out for example, less energy is gathered or hydropower is dependent on the water supply, energy sources said.

The move for coal considers that the Philippines has coal while it is also available from Indonesia, Australia and Russia, its import price affected by economics of supply and demand, Sec. Cusi who led the host nation in the Asian Cooperation Dialog in Panglao.

As to the environmental concerns of coal, the energy bigwig was quick to the follow-through: 50% is from green-coal technology, he stressed.

“Technology has done great lengths to reduce coal carbon emissions,” the secretary said even as he assured that the government is also looking at socio economic as well as the ecological impacts of coal.

But with Malampaya in the Philippines producing natural gas, the DOE is eyeing these as source of back up power for Bohol.

This is also considering that the only time Bohol could have a redundant power supply system is when the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines completes its Cebu-Bohol interconnection by 2020.

An earthquake that shut down the geothermal plants in Leyte last July disrupted Bohols power supply blanketing the island in darkness for a few nights.

A few landbased plants later supplied 20 megawatts of the 69 megawatts the entire island needed.

Weeks later, NGCP tapped Bohol to the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid which supplied some of its power requirements.

Bohol officials who have yet to accept bids for more landbased power, has arranged for a diesel power barge to complement the supply, but none has arrived yet.

The DOE did not also say when the clean barge is coming and from where would this come from. (rahc/PIA7/Bohol)

ASEAN Task Force recommends boosting intra-regional trade and investment as global economic growth picks up

HLTF-EI Leads from L-R: Deputy Director General Prasith Suon (Cambodia), Director General Iman Pambagyo (Indonesia), Director General Saysana Sayakone (Lao PDR), Secretary General Datuk Jayasiri Jayasena (Malaysia), HLTF-EI Chair and Permanent Secretary Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi (Brunei Darussalam), Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo (Philippines), Permanent Secretary Loh Khum Yean (Singapore), Deputy Director General Ronnarong Phoolpipat (Thailand), and Director General Luong Hoang Thai (Viet Nam). Also in attendance was AEC Deputy Secretary-General Lim Hong Hin.

Amid the backdrop of steady economic recovery, high-ranking officials from the 10 Member States of ASEAN gathered in the Philippines for the second time this year to finalize recommendations that could further bolster the region’s trade and investment flows.


The High-Level Task Force on ASEAN Economic Integration (HTLF-EI) is composed of trade vice-ministers and serves as the visionary body for progressing the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). It convened its 32nd Meeting on 1 – 2 August 2017 in Makati City in preparation for the upcoming 49th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting in September 2017. The HLTF-EI is primarily responsible for ensuring that the 10 ASEAN economies are on-track and on-time with the plans and programs intended to realize regional economic integration and achieve the vision of an AEC. The Philippines was led by DTI Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo.


Among the issues discussed for Economic Ministers’ consideration include the rapidly changing global economic environment and current technological and scientific advancements brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). The HLTF-EI underscored the need for ASEAN to be well prepared and in a position to maximize the opportunities from 4IR to foster the region’s economic growth, and promote inclusive and equitable economic development.


The HLTF-EI exchanged views on the need to strengthen ASEAN’s centrality and leadership in driving the RCEP negotiations, as well as in working towards the timely completion of the priority economic deliverables set by the Philippines for its Chairmanship of ASEAN 2017.


“As established in the AEC 2025, the region needs to be together to mitigate the changes. Regional economic integration must therefore be strengthened, with the target to narrow down the development gaps and look into raising intra-ASEAN trade and investment,” HLTF-EI Chair Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi remarked.


Latest forecasts from the International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank indicate that the pickup in global growth remains on track especially in developing economies, with global output projected to grow by 3.5% in 2017 and 3.6% in 2018. Strong economic outlook for ASEAN is also expected with 4.8% GDP growth in 2017 and 5.0% in 2018. The Philippines continues to lead the region with an expected GDP growth rate at 6.8% this 2017.


As global trade growth steadily rebounds from a post-crisis low in 2016, the HLTF-EI discussed the importance of improving the overall trade environment in ASEAN through better institutions and well-designed trade and regulatory policies, particularly by mainstreaming of Good Regulatory Practice (GRP) and addressing the issue of non-tariff measures (NTMs). The HLTF-EI further underscored that NTMs have different regulatory objectives, which often become too extensive and complex that they act as barriers to trade. In order to address this, enhancing transparency was thereby recommended to the Ministers, as well as compliance to ASEAN agreements on notification, effective usage of existing ASEAN tools, private sector engagement, and regional cooperation on developing clearer guidelines to identify and eliminate such trade barrier effect.


“For the Philippines, priority is in pushing for an ASEAN that is driven by inclusiveness and innovation,” PH HLTF-EI Lead DTI Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo highlighted. “Inclusive, Innovation-Led Growth,” AEC’s thematic priority for 2017, sets the tone for the Philippines’ agenda on increasing trade and investments, integrating MSMEs in the Global Value Chains (GVCs), and developing an innovation-driven economy.


The meeting also tackled updates on the Grand Celebration of ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary on 08 August, as well as other commemorative activities lined up for the remaining months of 2017 to celebrate the region’s Golden Jubilee.


The recommendations of 32nd HLTF-EI Meeting will be submitted for consideration and further discussion at the 49th Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM), which will chaired by DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, on 4 – 10 September 2017 in Manila, Philippines