04 February 2015

APEC News Releases

High energy cost affecting country’s information technology – business process management competitiveness
(CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Angeles City) The Philippines is losing to India in some areas in information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) because of the high cost of power and other factors, an industry leader said Tuesday.

However, despite these issues, the country still has an edge over other competitors, executive director for external affairs and membership of the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP),GennyInocencio-Marcial, said.

Inocencio-Marcial was one of the resource speakers during the First Public-Private Dialogue on Services held here as part of the First Senior Officials’ Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) being hosted by the Philippines.

Clients prefer the Philippines to other countries due to its huge pool of educated workers, she said, noting that the country produces half a million college graduates each year.

The Philippines has a total population of 100 million, with more than 39 million within the working age.

Of the total number of graduates, more than 3,000 are certified public accountantswho create a huge value for accounting work being done in the Philippines.

In terms of cost competition, the labor cost for English-speaking professionals in the Philippines is still among the lowest in the world, Inocencio-Marcial explained.

The country also has a predictable and manageable inflation and very good IT infrastructure, she said, adding that the Philippines has good round-the-clock transportation and a lot of IT economic zones.

According to Inocencio-Marcial, the IBPAP is aggressively partnering with the government, and government investment promotions agencies, such as the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)and the Board of Investments (BOI), are very supportive.

She further noted that the industry enjoysnumerous incentives from the government, such as tax exemptions, and that there are ongoing talks in both houses of Congress on bills seeking to rationalize fiscal incentives for the sector.

The Philippines, she said, has a proven track record in voice services, basically in customer care, technical support, financial services, and sales and collections.

The industry recorded a year-on-year compounded annual growth rate of 25 percent in 2013 and closed the year with revenues amounting to $16.1 billion.

Employees of the IT-BPM industry increased from 917,000 in 2013 to more than one million in the last quarter of 2014, Inocencio-Marcial said.

In an IT-BPM event in Pasay City last week, President Benigno S. Aquino III pledged additional support to make the sector more competitive.

This year, the government is set to expand its support for the sector by allotting P443.6 million to education and training, a significant increase from its P304.5-million budget in 2014, the President said.

This initiative is being done through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. PND (as)

APEC Senior officials to create framework on cooperation paradigm to promote services sector
(CLARK FREEPORT, Angeles City) Senior officials of member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on Tuesday began holding dialogues that seek to create a framework on a cooperation paradigm that could help promote and advance services in the Asia-Pacific region.

Senior analyst of the APEC Policy Support Unit, Gloria O. Pasadilla, said the ultimate objective of the Public-Private Dialogue on Services is the creation of a framework on a cooperation mechanism that could help promote services and at the same time, lower barriers on trade and investment.

Pasadilla said that although services have already been tackled in various working groups, such as those on health, tourism, transportation, information technology, energy, human resources development, telecommunications, and small and medium enterprises, the APEC has no coordinating mechanism in place.

“So far, the APEC has no coordinating framework on regulations and capacities,” she said at the start of the Public-Private Dialogue on Services at the ongoing APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting held at the Fontana Leisure Resorts here.

The 2015 Public-Private Dialogue on Services is the first of a series of dialogues envisioned to guide the APEC’s public and private stakeholders in fostering collaboration and best practice exchanges for services growth.

Pasadilla expressed hope that through the series of dialogues, senior officials of the APEC member economies would be able to understand the intricacies of universal services.

“We hope that APEC’s public and private stakeholders would be able to examine the developments, challenges, and opportunities for the services sector, identify new strategies for building the full potential of the service sector, generate policy options toward removing barriers to services trade, and develop an innovative approach, pursuing the services agenda of APEC,” she said.

She also expressed belief that innovation and greater progress will be achieved by the APEC in pursuing its services agenda as a result of increased interaction and collaboration.

“The Public-Private Dialogue is designed to be a collective brainstorming on how APEC can push the services agenda forward,” she added. PNA (zts)

Regional connectivity is an effective strategy for inclusive growth
(SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Angeles City) Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Wilfredo Santos on Monday stressed to member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) the need to accelerate the region’s connectivity in various areas of interest as an effective strategy to attain inclusive growth.

“As recognized by the APEC Economic Leaders in 2013, we have already been able, and should continue, to move ahead in a common direction towards furthering travel facilitation for the benefit of business people across economies, in pursuance of the need for more efficient flow of goods, services, capital and people,” Santos pointed out during the Business Mobility Group (BMG) meeting.

Santos also sought his fellow officials’ support in developing the APEC Business Travel Card scheme as a major enabling mechanism to facilitate the movement of business people within and among member economies.

“Part of our effort in maintaining this free movement of people is ensuring that border control authorities are equipped with tools needed to make better informed decisions for which the Regional Movement Alert System (RMAS) plays a vital role,” he added.

In closing, he announced that the Philippines and Australia have reached an agreement regarding the second phase of the RMAS, which he cited as a milestone in border protection initiatives coming from the APEC based on the context of the Philippines’ collaboration with Australia.

The BMG is among the ongoing related technical meetings being held in Clark and Subic Freeports in line with the First Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1) of the APEC.

“During the discussions of the senior officials during the SOM1, they will take into account the results of these technical meetings, in addition to recommendations from the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC),” the APEC has said in a statement. The ABAC held its first meeting this year from January 27 to 30 in Hong Kong, China.

Marking the inaugural gathering of APEC senior officials for this year’s Philippine hosting, SOM1 will foster discussions on a range of issues relevant to the region, including the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific, trade facilitation and implementation, environmental goods and services liberalization, and efforts toward development and against corruption.

The SOM1 will be held from February 6 to 7 at the Fontana Convention Center here.

The APEC began as an informal dialogue group in 1989, but has since become the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

It is composed of 21 member economies: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia; Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, The Russian Federation, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States of America, and Viet Nam.

This year’s meetings carry the theme, “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World. (cljd/mjls-PIA 3)

APEC Business Advisory Council chair expresses full support for decongestion of Metro Manila, full development of Clark
(CLARK FREEPORT, Angeles City) Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council Chairperson (ABAC) Doris Magsaysay Ho on Tuesday expressed her full support for calls by local businessmen to decongest Metro Manila and for the full development of Clark Freeport in a bid to attain inclusive growth.

“We need to grow wealth around the country. Manila is not the only place in this country. We need to grow wealth in different production hubs, not just Clark but there’s a whole corridor here. We have Pampanga, Tarlac, and all the way to Subic. Why is it great? Because you have an airport and a seaport,” Ho said in an interview during the first APEC Public-Private Dialogue on Services in 2015 (PPD 2015), held at the Fontana Leisure Park here.

She encouraged all stakeholders — from the local government units, national agencies, to the private sector — to promote this corridor due to its potentials, and become “great producers, great manufacturers, great agricultural processors so that we create trade.”

The PPD 2015 is the first of a series of dialogues that will be held on services, envisioned to guide the APEC’s public and private stakeholders in examining developments, challenges, and opportunities for the sector; identifying new strategies for building the sector’s full potential; generating policy options towards removing barriers to services trade; developing an innovative approach in pursuing the services agenda of the APEC; and fostering collaboration and best practice exchanges to promote services growth.

The first PPD, which was held in Clark Freeport coinciding with the First Senior Officials’ Meeting of the APEC, covered discussions on Information Technology and Business Process Management, Creative Industries, and Research and Development Services.

The Second PPD, on the other hand, will be held in Boracay, in conjunction with the Second Senior Officials’ Meeting. It will center on manufacturing-related services.

These would lead up to the First Regional Conference of Services Coalitions and Services Industries in Cebu City, which is among the highlights of the Third Senior Officials’ Meeting.

“The most important part is always to have the talent available. As you go up the ladder of services, we need to see what the future person is going to be. Right now our strength is English, but one day, maybe our strength should be Spanish, should be Chinese, should be French. That is one…” Ho said.

“Aother one would be analytics,” she continued. “Let us be good in Math and learn it all the way up, so we can go higher up the ladder. And then eventually, we can translate those services into much more complex systems, such as programming development and honing the Information Technology.”

“Let us dream, let us be ambitious because we have the talent, we have the brain, we have the energy, and we are young — that is the greatest thing we have. So, let us really have a dream and let us have a vision for it,” Ho added. PIA3 (cljd)

Internet provides small businesses, entrepreneurs big opportunities, Google policy manager says
CLARK FREEPORT, Angeles City, Feb. 4 — The Internet is becoming an important and growing driver of the global economy, a policy manager for Google’s Public Policy and Government Affairs said Wednesday.

Access to the Internet and the ability to move data freely across borders increase the productivity of businesses and reduce trade costs, thus creating economic growth and jobs, said William Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald served as one of the resource speakers in the First Public-Private Dialogue on Services at the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s First Senior Officials’ Meeting (APEC-SOM1) being held at the Fontana Convention Center here.

During the dialogue, Fitzgerald discussed the evolving services landscapes brought about by digital trade, citing the huge potential opportunities, particularly for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

He said that the Internet and cross-border data flows are providing small businesses and entrepreneurs great opportunities to participate in the global economy.

Small businesses and entrepreneurs, he said, can now use the Internet to reach customers around the world, unlike before when they had to use local newspapers and other traditional platforms to advertise their products.

“Small businesses can do better when they establish a strong web presence,” he said.

Fitzgerald observed that small businesses and entrepreneurs who use the Internet sell their products four times faster than competitors who use traditional methods.

The Internet is also giving small businesses and entrepreneurs access to business services that could increase their productivity and global competitiveness, he said, adding that Google search and other apps help businesses gain access to market intelligence.

The Internet, he said, is increasingly being used by businesses in innovative ways, for instance it allows companies to harness the intelligence of users by interacting with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders in product development efforts. PNA (zst)

Palace calls for calm amid public outcry over Mamasapano incident
The Palace on Wednesday called for calm amid the furor over the death of 44 police commandos during an operation to arrest two suspected terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.“Ang kailangan po ng ating bayan sa kasalukuyan ay kahinahunan at pag-aaral ng mga usapin na kaharap natin. Isa po sa mga usapin ay hinggil sa patuloy na pakikipaglaban sa terorismo na siya namang misyon na ginampanan ng buong kabayanihan ng ating PNP-SAF (Philippine National Police Special Action Force). At isa rin po diyan ang ating paghahangad na makamit ang pangmatagalang pangkapayapaan sa Minadanao,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

Secretary Coloma enjoined every Filipino to study the issue calmly and face the challenges borne by the incident.

“Harapin po natin ang mga hamon na bunsod ng mga kaganapan noong nakaraang linggo na mayroong determinasyong magbagong-tatag at palakasin pa ang demokrasya at ang katatagan ng ating bansa,” he added.

He said inquiries are being made by the PNP, as well as the International Monitoring Team and the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, and it is best to wait for the result of these investigations to understand what exactly occurred in Mamasapano.

“Sa takdang panahon, nahahanda namang magsalita muli ang Pangulo kapag nabuo na ang salaysay at nagampanan na ang mga mahahalagang dapat na gampanan ng (PNP) Board of Inquiry,” he said in response to a question if President Benigno S. Aquino III is again willing to address the public regarding the incident.

Asked for the Palace’s reaction to calls made by militant groups and some Church officials for the President to resign due to the incident, Coloma said the Chief Executive is determined to complete his term of office.

“Determinado si Pangulong Aquino na gampanan ang kanyang sinumpaang tungkulin na maglingkod sa bayan na may buong katapatan at tapusin ang kanyang paglilingkod hanggang sa kahuli-hulihang araw ng kanyang panunungkulan,” he said. PND (ag)

Palace: Armed Forces and National Police remain united
The Palace said on Wednesday that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) remain united.

“Wala pong hidwaan o wala pong pag-aaway na nagaganap sa pagitan ng AFP at PNP. Sila po ay nagkakaisa sa ilalim ng iisang bandila at republika, at ginagampanan po nila ang kanilang tungkulin ng tapat sa bandila at tapat sa republika,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

He was commenting on the separate press conferences held by the AFP and PNP on Wednesday to give their respective versions of the incident that resulted in the death of 44 members of the police’s Special Action Force (SAF).

“Ang batid po natin ay ipinaparating ng ating mga sundalo at pulis sa mga mamamayan ang isang mahalagang mensahe: Sila po ay mga lingkod-bayan. Sila po ay tapat sa pangangalaga sa seguridad ng ating bansa, sa pagtatanggol sa katatagan ng ating mga komunidad, sa katahimikan at kaayusan, at sa paglaban sa mga kaaway ng estado na bumabagabag at lumiligalig sa kapanatagan ng ating mga mamamayan at sa ating katahimikan bilang isang bansa,” Coloma said. PND (ag)