Peter Beckingham, Chairman of the PBBC, and Chris Nelson, Executive Director British Chamber of Commerce Philippines, write to the Philippines Ambassador to the UK concerning the contribution of Philippines medical staff working in the UK helping fight the Covi-19 pandemic.
Letter to Philippines Ambassador to UK
TO: HIs Excellency Ambassador A Lagdameo,
Philippine Ambassador to The United Kingdom
16th June 2020
We want, on behalf of the British Chamber of Commerce Philippines and the U.K. arm of the Philippine British Business Council, to express our organisations’ admiration for the work of Philippine nurses and carers in the British healthcare system since the start of the virus. We know that thousands of Filipinos have worked tirelessly through the epidemic supporting hospitals and care homes, and that tragically some thirty have already lost their lives as a result.
Please could you pass on our deepest condolences to the relatives and friends of those Filipinos who have passed away, and our thanks for the work of so many Philippine workers whose hard work, commitment and bravery has helped to ensure that our health system continues to function.
Peter Beckingham, Chair, Philippines British Business Council, London, UK.
Chris Nelson, Executive Director British Chamber of Commerce Philippines, Manila, Philippines.
Cc : Richard Graham, MP, Prime Minister’s Trade Representative to the Philippines;
Clark is a new and bustling metropolis, and is the fastest growing investment destination in the Philippines today. it is strategically located from key trading points and financial centres, a vital factor that can ensure prompt delivery of services and goods to major destinations in Asia and the world over.
It has a total land area of 31,400 hectares and is located in a region with one of the highest population and best literacy rates.
Clark has its own international airport and is master-planned to suit a work-live-play environment in one contained community.
It is considered as a major gateway to the Philippines with about 4 hours travel time to key cities in Asia and with regional flights that have onward connections to the world.
Clark has its own Freeport and nearby Special Economic Zone where there are enormous business opportunities in manufacturing, electronics, information technology, business process outsourcing, among the many profitable industries.
A country of notorious traffic jams may soon start to unclog.
So says The Economist in January 2020.
Should you get up at 4am to get to work on
time, or risk
waiting until five?
That is the .question confronting many commuters in Manila, the capital
of the Philippines, which has some of the world’s worst traffic jams. Geography
is one reason. The 2m people trying to get in and out of the metropolis each
day must squeeze into a narrow strip between the sea on one side and a lake and
hills on the other; But poor urban planning and a dearth of infrastructure
investment in recent decades have compounded the problem. Filipinos spend 16
days a year stuck in jams, according to the Boston consulting Group. The World
Economic Forum ranks the Philippines 96th of141 countries tor the quality of
its infrastructure. Nearby Indonesia, another nation of thousands of islands,
On January 17th the public-works minister announced that by
the time President Rodrigo Duterte leaves office in 2022, he wants to have cut
the number of cars that pass along the city’s main artery each day bv a third.
Such bold declarations have been characteristic of Mr Duterte’s approach to
infrastructure. When he became president in 2.016 he considered demanding
emergency powers from Congress to help him deal with the traffic. In the end,
he settled instead on a long-term scheme to spend 9trn pesos ($177bill) on new-
infrastructure called ”Build, Build, Build”. The focus on construction
represents a “very bold shift in government priority”, believes Vince
Dizon, a presidential adviser.
As the jams in Manila suggest, not much has shifted yet. Such
change is corning, “Build, Build, Build” involves 100 big projects.
Construction is under. way on almost half of them. In 2018 the government
introduced a law to cut red tape in permitting, partly to
speed up infrastructure investments. Some planning committees are meeting three
times as often as they used to. Twenty projects were approved in the final
three months of last year, says Mr Dizon. Impractical schemes promoted by the
president, such as a plan to link all the main islands of the Philippines by
bridge, have been quietiy set aside.
One of the biggest projects still in the works is New Clark
City, which is eventually supposed to house um people and lots of government
offices, in an effort to ease traffic in nearby Manila. The city was planned
under Mr Duterte’s predecessor, but embraced by him in an unusual display of
political continuity. The first phase was completed in November. Mr Duterte has
also presided over the opening of a new airport in the province of Bohol, and
of the Philippines’ largest passenger-ferry terminal on his home island of
Spending on infrastructure has roughly doubled since the
president took office.
The plan is for it to reach 7% of GDP up from 2.6% in 2015
(see chart on next page). The austere policies of past presidents have left Mr
Duterte scope to borrow. Public debt is around 41% of GDP. He has introduced a
series of sensible tax reforms, which are expected to help boost government
revenue, and diversified the Philippines’ sources of funding. Japan has
provided some $12bn in recent years. The Asian Development Bank(ADB) is so enthusiastic
about Mr Duterte’s infrastructure plans that last year it lent the Philippines
more than any other country bar India. China has also promised $9bn for
infra” structure, although it has signed formal agreements to provide only
Public-private partnerships are also being used. More than a
quarter of big projects under “Build, Build, Build” will involve
private investors. Ensuring that the terms of concessionary agreements are fair, however, has been an
obsession of Mr Duterte’s administration. The president’s ongoing spat with two
water companies in Manila over their contractual rights is a case in point.
Shares in one of the firms, Manila Water, dropped to a 14-year low at the height
of the furore last month. That may worry companies that are thinking about
joining the infrastructure push.
The government says that by the middle of 2022 roughly half
of the 100 “Build, Build, Build” projects should have been completed.
Kelly Bird of the ADB says even finishing 30 would make the programme
“hugely successful”; Filipinos are well aware. of Mr Duterte’s
efforts. A survey by Pulse Asia, a pollster, for December found that 69% of
respondents thought his government was doing a “better” job of developing
infrastructure than its predecessor.
Obstacles will mount as Mr Duterte nears the end of his time
in office, however, and his political power begins to ebb. And once he steps
down there is no certainty that his successor will complete his plans. New
presidents in the Philippines often kill projects initiated by their predecessors.
In 2011 Benigno Aquino, the president of the day, cancelled 66 of.72 car-ferry
ports planned by the previous president, Gloria Arroyo, alleging corruption.
With luck, though, Mr Duterte’s successor will see the benefit in inheriting
dozens. of partially constructed projects and a host of shovel-ready ones. A
bulging pipeline of sensible projects could
BIRAL Meteorological Sensors – Lightning Storm Detection System
The country’s friendliest resort airport, Mactan-Cebu International
Airport, was recently recognized by two international awards-giving bodies in architecture for
the design of Terminal 2, its international terminal. Terminal 2 was designed by renowned
architectural firm Integrated Design Associates Hong Kong. Terminal 2 opened in July last year.
“MCIA continues to be recognized globally not only because it embodies our positioning as a Filipino
resort airport, but also because its design and quality of engineering allows us to deliver world-class
service and operations,” said Louie Ferrer, President GMR MEGAWIDE Cebu Airport Corporation
(GMCAC), the airport’s private developer.
Last year, MCIA received three awards, one of which was Asia Pacific Medium Airport of the Year
during the CAPA Aviation Awards for Excellence ceremony, one of the most respected awards in
the airport and aviation industry
Ease of Doing Business and Efficient
Service Delivery Act of 2018
11032 (also referred to as Ease of Doing Business or EODB Law) is part of the
continuing effort of the PH government to eliminate red tape and improve the
environment for doing business in the PH. You may recall that Item Number 3 in the
President’s 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda is to “Increase competitiveness and the
ease of doing business.” The particular focus
of the law is on the accountability and integrity of government service,
specifically, ensuring greater efficiency in the delivery of services and
preventing graft and corruption.
Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the EODB Act were signed on 17 July 2019 by the
Chairperson of the Civil Service Commission, the Director-General of the
Anti-Red Tape Authority and the Secretary of Trade and Industry.
be pleased to note that the basics such as number of steps, signatories and
documents to complete procedures will be addressed, as well as compliance and
transaction costs. For instance,
prescribed processing times will be 3 days for simple transactions, 7 days for
more complex transactions and 20 days for highly technical transactions. Failure of agencies to meet such timelines
will mean automatic approval of the transaction. Automation and electronic versions of
licenses, permits, certifications and authorizations will be adopted to the
extent possible, under the coordination of the Department of Information and
Communications Technology (DICT).
Equally important is the directive to make clear and transparent all of
approach in reengineering government services will be adopted to ensure uniform
service standards and harmonization of existing and applicable laws and
consistent legal interpretations across all agencies. The end objective is seamless end-to-end
processing in the delivery of government services.
and evaluation of the compliance of all government agencies shall be the
responsibility of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), which is under the Office
of the President.
The Ease of Doing
Business and Anti-Red Tape Council is established to set policy directions and
programs to continuously advance competitiveness and ease of doing business
initiatives. It is chaired by the DTI
Secretary and has as its members the ARTA Director General, Secretaries of
DICT, DILG, DOF and 2 private sector representatives.
Innovative Startup Act of 2019
by President Duterte in April 2019, Republic Act 11337 (or the Innovative
Startup Act) forms part of the government’s policy to foster inclusive growth
through innovative economy by streamlining government and nongovernment
initiatives, to create new jobs and opportunities, improve production, and
advance innovation and trade.
The law creates
the Philippine Startup Development Program (PSDP), which shall be composed of
programs, benefits, and incentives for startups and startup enablers. The
Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Information and
Communications Technology (DICT), and the Department of Trade and Industry
(DTI) are the lead agencies tasked specifically to promulgate the rules and
regulations for the efficient registration and assessment of startup enablers
to be registered under the PSDP.
provisions include the creation of Philippine Startup Ecozones or Special
Economic Zones in order to spur the growth and development of startups and
startup enablers. The DTI has also been tasked to spearhead initiatives to
develop short, medium, and long-term strategies in order to spur investment in
startups. Finally, the law introduces the concept of a Startup Visa which shall
be issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to foreign owners,
employees, and investors of startups. These shall have an initial 5-year
validity, and its bearers shall be exempt from securing an Alien Employment Permit
from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), subject to the implementing
rules to be promulgated by the DFA. DOLE, and Bureau of Immigration.
• The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of the PH merchandise for the total trade to the UK from 2014 to 2018 is at 9.6%. During the same period, the CAGR for import is 15.5%; whilst for export is at 3.8%.
• The top 5 PH exports over the past five years are: a) electronic products (↑7.6%); b) machinery and transport equipment (↓ 11.1%); c) other manufactures (↑ 9.2%); d) tuna (↑ 12.8%); and e) processed food and beverages (↑ 13.4). 2
• Meanwhile, the top 5 imports in 2018 are: a) optical, photographic, measuring or surgical instruments and apparatus; b) miscellaneous manufactured articles; c) furniture, bedding, mattresses; d) toys, games and sports requisites; and e) commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere.3