08 March 2015

APEC News Releases

APEC member economies could learn from Philippines’ financial system, says Central Bank official
(TAGAYTAY CITY, Cavite) The Philippines has a lot to share in terms of best financial practices, with fellow member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) if they want to emulate those initiatives, Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said Friday.

“I think we have distinguished ourselves in terms of undertaking initiatives in micro finance consumer protection and inclusive financial system,” Guinigundo said during a press conference held at the Summit Ridge Hotel here following the two-day APEC Finance and Central Bank Deputies’ Meeting.

The initiatives under this umbrella include the tweaking of regulations to allow financial institutions to open up windows for micro finance, he said.

He explained that micro finance allows micro enterprises to borrow funds without collateral and without credit history, although the amount of the loan may be limited.

Other countries could also examine the Philippines’ credit surety fund, which the Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas has initiated. This is leveraging on the country’s cooperatives that allows them to borrow 10 times of their minimum P100,000 contribution, he said.

Under this set up, there is an oversight committee composed of cooperatives themselves, the Land Bank of the Philippines, the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), the Industrial Guarantee Loan Fund, and the local government units, he said, adding that more than P1 billion has been granted under this framework.

The good combination of monetary policy and macro prudential policy is also something that the Philippines can share, he said.

Guinigundo said that in some jurisdictions, particularly in advanced economies, macro prudential measures are still in their early stages of being considered, much less implemented.

In the Philippines, these macro prudential measures serve as a means of ensuring financial stability in case of sector-specific shocks, particularly in asset markets, such as real estate properties, and at the same time on the conduct of monetary policy, he said.

The kind of financial reforms that the Philippines has undertaken would also be a good example, Guinigundo said, noting that the Philippines had implemented Basel III earlier than 2019 and it is moving quite prudently across the various components of Basel III, first with capitalization, and second with stable funding ratio, liquidity ratio, and others.

Basel III is a set of international banking regulations developed by the Bank for International Settlements to promote stability in the international financial system. The purpose of Basel III is to reduce the ability of banks to damage the economy by taking on excess risk.

“This is being done in a sequential, very prudent manner and this is also something that we like to share with them,” he said.

Participants of the APEC Finance and Central Bank Deputies’ Meeting wrapped up their two-day discussion held at the Taal Vista Hotel here Friday, with meeting results to be included in the Cebu Action Plan that will be launched in September. PND (as)

APEC member economies to create public private partnership knowledge portal to speed up infrastructure investments
(TAGAYTAY CITY, Cavite) Member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are gearing up to implement two initiatives that aim to leverage private funds towards public private partnership (PPP) projects, including the establishment of a regional PPP knowledge management portal.

In a press briefing at the close of the two-day APEC Finance and Central Bank Deputies’ Meeting here, Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo stressed that while many APEC economies and emerging markets have excess savings, financing for infrastructure development remains a problem.

“While we have the savings, we do not have a sufficient number of bankable and credible infrastructure projects. If we are able to provide the member countries with a sufficient number of projects that are bankable, that which can be taken immediately, I think we would have a good use for our excess savings,” he said.

Guinigundo said APEC finance and central bank deputies explored alternatives for financing infrastructure, including leveraging private funds to the PPP projects as well as the continuous disposition of public funds to advance the cost of infrastructure development in the region.

He said the creation of the PPP knowledge portal hopes to address this problem, as this will provide basic information on the opportunities in the region in terms of infrastructure development.

“It will provide the potential investors an idea of where the opportunities arise and are available and the kind of financing that is needed in the projects,” he added.

Guinigundo pointed out that some of the key components of the portal have already been completed by the Philippines’ PPP Center.

“What we want to do is also to link that knowledge portal with other PPP portals. So you will have an APEC PPP portal,” he said.

Apart from this initiative, Guinigundo said the Philippines is also pushing for “standardized” PPP contracts, considering the differences in terms of legal framework across the APEC economies.

“But the idea was to provide some kind of template, the key features of what a PPP contract should have. (This is) so that we can uphold good governance in conducting those PPP projects and in the process, encourage more interest in the PPP (program),” he said.

The BSP official said standardizing PPP contracts would be very important in facilitating infrastructure investments.

“Both (initiatives) are short term, so these will be done within one to two years. We will try to do these very quickly,” said Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran. PNA (ldv)

Malacanang joins the world celebration of Women’s Day
Malacañang on Sunday joined in the celebration of the Women’s Day held every 8th of March around the world.

“Nakikiisa ang pamahalaan sa buong mundo sa pagdiriwang ng Pandaigdigang Araw ng Kababaihan. Kinikilala ng pamahalaan ang mahalagang papel at kontribusyon ng kababaihan sa ating lipunan, ‘di lamang bilang ilaw ng ating mga tahanan, kung hindi bilang isang matibay na haligi sa patuloy na pag-angat ng ating ekonomiya,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., in a radio interview with dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

In 1990, Congress declared the month of March as the Women’s Month through Republic Act 6949. The same law designated March 8 every year as National Women’s Day, which is a Working Special Holiday.

According to the Philippine Commission on Women, this year’s theme is “Juana, Desisyon mo ay Mahalaga sa Kinabukasan ng Bawat Isa. Ikaw Na!”

“Sa loob ng mahigit na apat na taon ng Aquino administration, higit pang pinaigting ng pamahalaan ang pagpapatupad ng mga programa na magsusulong ng malaya at bukas na pakikilahok at maayos na pagkakatawan ng mga kababaihan sa lahat ng aspeto ng pagbabalangkas ng mga desisyon at pambansang polisiya,” Coloma added.

In the 2014 Global Gender Gap Report conducted by the World Economic Forum, the Philippines ranked 9th and the only country from Asia out of 142 countries surveyed regarding gender equality and promotion of women’s rights. PND (ag)

Government addressing concerns pending the implementation of K-to12 program
The Cabinet cluster on education is currently addressing concerns before the K-to-12 program is implemented in the academic year 2016-2017, a Palace official said on Sunday.

In a radio interview with dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., said the government is encouraging all stakeholders to have a dialogue with the Cabinet cluster on education to discuss their concerns.

The Cabinet cluster on education is composed of the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education and Technical Education Skills Development Authority.

According to reports, many college teachers and non-teaching personal will be affected by the K-to-12 program once implemented.

“The estimated numbers have since gone down to around 8,000 during the first year of implementation on June 2016. DepEd will be hiring around 30,000 and we will be prepared to prioritize those who choose to apply to our senior high school program,” said Coloma.

He added that many private higher education institutions are already preparing and have requested DepEd for a permit to open a secondary high school that could further bring down the number of affected faculty.

“There is also a proposal from CHED for a stabilization fund which could be tapped by private higher education institutions during the transition,” Coloma added.

Under the K-to-12 program, graduating fourth year students will undergo an additional two more years in the “senior high school” instead of proceeding to college.

“Kaya para mapunan ‘yung gap na ‘yon, ang nakikitang alternatibo ay ang pagtatatag ng isang senior high school at doon pwedeng magturo ang mga dating nagtuturo sa first two years ng college habang ipinapatupad ang transition na ito,” said Coloma. PND (ag)

Malta’s Prince concludes seven day official visit to the Philippines
The Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta Fra’ Matthew Festing on Saturday night concluded his seven-day official visit to the country.

Fra’ Festing boarded commercial plane Cathay Pacific flight CX 902 bound for Hong Kong which left Manila at 7:55 p.m. He will then proceed to a connecting flight to Rome, Italy for his trip to Europe.

There to bid him farewell were Vice President Jejomar Binay, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, and Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Jose Angel Honrado.

While in the Philippines Fra’ Festing made a courtesy call on President Benigno S. Aquino III on March 3, where he also presented a symbolic key representing Malta’s donation of 700 core shelters to the Philippines.

On March 5, he visited Basey, Samar to check the 350 core shelters donated by his country. Basey was one of the towns reduced to ruins by Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013. PND (ag)