Sunday, March 26, 2017
Saturday, March 25, 2017
CHARTER NEEDS UPDATING TO 21ST CENTURY REALITIES, SAYS BELARO
Restricting land ownership and the practice of professions "make no sense in this century," House Assistant Majority Leader Salvador Belaro, Jr. said Friday morning as he made his case for amending the 1987 Constitution before the 16th Annual Convention of Lawyers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).
"In the 21st century the sources of wealth are no longer the traditional notion of land, labor and capital. Now land could be of little value, but paramount are capital and labor also," Belaro, 1-Ang Edukasyon Party-list Representative, said at the sidelines of the IBP convention, which tackled the role of lawyers in ASEAN integration.
Belaro filed House Bill 4257 calling for an ASEAN Integration Plan that will guide national efforts to interface the Philippines with its immediate regional neighbors.
Other speakers at the convention include President Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senate President Koko Pimentel and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre.
Belaro said, "wealth today is generated by entrepreneurship and expertise or a combination thereof. The specific situation of our country is that we don't have capital so we must attract it."
He is the author of a bill (HB 4227) aiming to attract investments in education and another bill (HB 4234) on public-private partnerships in education.
Belaro added that, "since economics is a function of supply and demand, the Constitution should be flexible to the vicissitudes in the market."
At least seven sections of the Constitution are on Belaro's list for "updating to 21st Century realities." These are: Sections 2, 7, 10, 11, 14 of Article XII on the national economy and patrimony, Section 11 of Article XVI, and Section 4 of Article XIV. (END)
DTI, Robinsons Department Store
launch first Go Lokal! store for MSME dev't
MANILA—Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in partnership with Robinsons Department Store, launched its first Go Lokal! store in Robinsons Place Manila on March 24.
Go Lokal! is a public-private collaboration between DTI and local retailer partners. Among its partners, Robinsons Department Store, an affiliate of Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc.,is the first to launch the project in a mainstream outlet. It serves as incubation, marketing, and branding platform for the best of Philippine micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) products including next generation One Town One Product (OTOP) offerings.
Go Lokal! stores showcase modern and indigenous quality products crafted, designed, and created by innovative Philippine MSMEs. It can be found in consumer-frequented locations as a mainstream distribution channel for world-class Filipino products while offering value for money for targeted consumers and tourists.
"DTI is excited to open its first mainstream Go Lokal! store with Robinsons Department Store as its dynamic partner in this effort of maximizing market access and providing exposure to our MSMEs. Go Lokal! is truly a vibrant model for MSME development and inclusive business. We are happy that committed partners like Robinsons have taken on this challenge. We look forward to opening more outlets in their malls and department stores across the country," said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.
The trade chief also said that aside from providing market access for MSME products, the Go Lokal! program is a platform for new entrepreneurs to test the marketability of their products without the fear of losing rental and commercial costs because their experience is free of charge.
The market access platform is set to revolutionize the way hard-to-find and artisanal Filipino products are sold in the local market. The design-led concept store will bring together a specially-curated line-up that ranges from food, apparel, accessories, home décor, gadgets and gift items.
"This is Robinsons way of featuring world-class locally-made quality products by our MSMEs. Go Lokal! supports Filipino entrepreneurs into their initial foray into more mainstream markets making them more accessible to both local and foreign consumers. The diverse product line of Go Lokal! brings together the best products that the Philippines has to offer," said Mr. Johnson Go, General Manager of Robinsons Department Store.
"Ultimately, it's all about accessibility and opportunity for MSMEs, both of which you need to be successful in retail. Go Lokal! is one way for DTI and Robinsons Department Store to give assurance to these business owners that they have support from both the government and the private sector so they may profit from ventures that they are passionate about," Robinsons Department Store President and COO Robina Gokongwei-Pe said.
Portion of Go Lokal! revenues will go to various corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects of Robinsons Department Store including the government's drug rehabilitation program.
DTI, SM's Kultura sign deal to operate Go Lokal!
MAKATI – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Kultura, the country's largest retailer of homegrown products, signed an agreement on 24 March to open Go Lokal! stores in SM Makati.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, together with Industry Promotion Assistant Secretary Rosvi Gaetos and DTI 4-B Regional Director Joel Valera signed the agreement with Kultura represented by its Senior Vice-President for Operations Ivy Frances Yap and Merchandising Head Fatima Uy. This partnership allows Kultura to operate and manage Go Lokal! in order to provide greater market access to micro, small, and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs).
Go Lokal! is a design-led concept store and market platform showcasing modern and indigenous quality products crafted, designed, and created by innovative Philippine micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). It is mostly found in consumer-frequented locations as a mainstream distribution channel for world-class products while offering value for money to consumers. Go Lokal! is a public-private collaboration and serves as avenue for incubation, marketing, and branding for the best of Philippine MSME products including the next generation One Town One Product (OTOP) offerings.
"Kultura and Go Lokal! are complementary avenues to help our local MSMEs gain retail foothold in the Philippine domestic market. We are pleased to open a Go Lokal! together with Kultura as a testament of our collective thrust of inclusive growth and development of our MSMEs." said Secretary Ramon Lopez.
The trade chief also said that aside from providing market access for MSME products, the Go Lokal! is a platform for new entrepreneurs to test the marketability of their products without fear of losing out on rental and commercial costs because their Go Lokal! experience is free-of-charge.
Kultura is the leading brand for uniquely Filipino products.
"Kultura has become a showcase of local artistry and craftsmanship and furthers its advocacy by partnering with the DTI for its Go Lokal Project, providing a venue for the distribution and promotion of products sourced from MSMEs," said Ms. Ivy Yap.
Its Go Lokal pop-up store opens in April and will run throughout the year at the 2nd level of SM Makati.
Friday, March 24, 2017
Friday, March 17, 2017
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez met with senior executives of Japan's seven major trading houses in Tokyo recently (March 1, 2017) to discuss President Rodrigo Duterte's economic programs and Japanese Companies investment interests in the Philippines, conservatively valued at Php198.5B.
During a breakfast dialogue, Lopez—together with Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and PH Ambassador-Designate Jose Laurel V—got together with representatives of the sogo shoshas or Japanese companies with a broad range of business activities. Companies present at the meeting were Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui and Co., Ltd., Sumitomo Corporation, Itochu Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, Toyota Tsusho, and Sojitz.
"Through sound and consistent macroeconomic policies, the country continues to attract serious investments. The fundamentals are there in terms of a fast-growing economy, a 109-million population base, standing trade agreements, and a young, talented, and dedicated work force," Sec. Lopez said on the Japanese companies' willingness to investment in the Philippines.
"All these—plus political will and focused trade and investment policies—act as a magnet for foreign investments," Sec. Lopez added.
The investment interests of the sogo shoshas would cover the period spanning late 2016 to 2020, and include:
- Marubeni willing to invest in additional coal power plants worth Php75B over the medium term;
- Itochu and Sumitomo (through PH subsidiaries Dole and Sumifru respectively) willing to invest an additional Php12.9B through 2018 to expand their integrated farming projects in Mindanao;
- Sumitomo, Sojitz, and Mitsui jointly invested in Coral Bay Nickle Corporation and Taganito High Pressure Acid Leaching (THPAL) Nickle Corporation in Surigao and Palawan, at a cost of Php80B;
- The CARS program, under the DTI-driven Manufacturing Resurgence Strategy, enjoying the support and participation of Mitsubishi, Sojitz, Mitsui, and Toyota Tsusho; and,
- All 7 trading houses expressing interest in the Philippines' "Golden Age of Infrastructure," i.e. the Railway and Subway Projects, the Clark Green City Project, the Expanded Port and RoRo Building Programs, and the Airport Development Projects.
"With DTI's inclusive business model, our resource-based country has the potential to become a major supplier to the world by fostering value chain linkages and partnerships between the MSMEs as suppliers of goods and services, and the large enterprises as buyers," Sec. Lopez said.
When asked about the Philippine government's mining and tax policies, Secretaries Tugade and Lopez responded that government reforms are being crafted along balanced and fair consideration of both industry and consumer interests.
They also assured investors that with public sector agencies rigidly adhering to President Rodrigo Duterte's zero corruption dictum, projects would receive adequate protection and fair treatment.
The two officials likewise encouraged the Japanese trading houses to use their expansive business systems to help in planning an efficient set of economic infrastructure, such as farm-to-market roads, bridges, seaports, airports, railways for cargo, passengers and RORO vessels, and service providers.
MAKATI—The Philippines successfully advocated its trade priorities in ASEAN as the country's hosting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting (AEM) Retreat and Related Meetings ends (10 March), laying the groundwork for the 49th AEM in September.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) led by Secretary Ramon Lopez secured endorsements from ASEAN Economic Ministers on the timely realization of Philippine priority deliverables for 2017.
"Aside from championing our trade agenda as a country, we are also able to advance the economic agenda of our fellow ASEAN Member States (AMS); thus, bringing our domestic interest to the regional platform," said Sec. Lopez, who chaired the AEM Retreat and Related Meetings, adding that AMS' endorsements will strengthen the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025.
"Our objective is to make AEC work and to make AEC felt in the day-to-day experience of Filipinos," said Philippine lead Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, who presented before the Meeting the summary of priority deliverables.
Innovative, inclusive growth
"The Philippines is taking the lead in seeking new policy interventions that are expected to contribute towards helping MSMEs harness the opportunities presented by open and increasingly integrated markets," said Sec. Lopez.
A self-certification scheme for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will allow the sector to partake in the benefits of the free trade agreements, while the action agenda on investment, inclusive business and women and youth entrepreneurship will strengthen the investment linkages between MSMEs and Multinational Enterprises (MNEs)—a thrust that Sec. Lopez has been pushing in the domestic front to foster inclusive development towards shared prosperity for all.
Aligned with the inclusive growth agenda is the endorsement of the ASEAN Declaration on Innovation, which advocates for an enabling ecosystem that supports entrepreneurial activities in technology and innovation.
"Inclusive business will allow companies to engage the poor and low-income communities as partners, customers, suppliers, and employees in their supply chains because it makes good business sense," added Usec. Rodolfo.
Connectivity, services, private sector
The AEM Retreat also touched on the launching of the Davao-General Santos-Bitung route of the ASEAN Roll-on Roll-off (RORO) Network, a system that will both enhance intra-regional connectivity and bolster socio-economic growth in the regions.
On the services sector, the endorsement of the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement (ATISA) means fostering a more transparent trade in services, boosting further contribution and competitiveness of the services sectors in ASEAN.
The meeting also explored on convening regular dialogue with the private sector to highlight its business priorities and recommendations, as well as identify ways to complement existing public efforts toward taking full advantage of opportunities under the AEC.
"Public-private sector engagement not only reduces the gap of understanding of the private sector and the general public on ASEAN, it also promotes intra-ASEAN and global trade and investment and reduces current and future impediments faced by business enterprises," Sec. Lopez added.
The AEM Retreat discussed preparations for the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN, which coincides with the Philippines' ASEAN chairmanship.
An equally relevant element of this chairmanship is the push to achieve considerable progress on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), showcasing ASEAN's headship in bringing about a regional partnership that integrates major economic players China, Japan, India, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
The shared optimism on RCEP will mean more foreign investments and more dynamic trade and business alliances. As noted by DTI, RCEP will expand the ASEAN market of 600 million to 3.5 billion as it will include ASEAN's six Dialogue Partners—that accounts for almost half of the world's population, representing a huge integrated market base.
This expanded economic partnership is seen to shape the future of trade and economic liberalization in Asia. At the backdrop of recent economic uncertainties and rising protectionism, RCEP is poised to keep the momentum of trade as an engine for regional and global economic growth.
"The chairmanship is an event to strengthen the enduring ties that bind us all and an important occasion to reaffirm the shared aspirations and values which will lead us to our envisioned integration come 2025," Usec. Rodolfo concluded.
The Philippine hosting of the ASEAN Summit to be chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte will be held next month, while the bigger meeting 49th AEM is scheduled in September 2017.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is poised to champion the Philippine trade agenda as it takes helm of the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM) Retreat and Related Meetings on 8-10 March 2017 to be participated in by the 10 trade ministers from ASEAN Member States (AMS).
As lead agency for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Pillar, DTI led by Secretary Ramon Lopez will promote one of the current thematic priorities of ASEAN on "inclusive, innovation-led growth" for shared prosperity. The other two pillars touch on politico-security and socio-cultural.
Increasing trade and investment, integrating the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the global value chains and developing an innovation-driven economy are the identified measures to achieve said priority.
"Our strategic measures are consistent with our current agenda to promote employment and entrepreneurship. The AEM is an excellent platform to push for the country's core thrusts on trade and investment, MSME development and innovation," said Sec. Lopez, who will serve as the chair of AEM Retreat and Related Meetings.
The trade chief, however, ensured that his meeting's chairmanship will be "fair, workable, rational and inclusive" among AMS.
The AEM aims at strengthening partnership with stakeholders to expand knowledge and utilization of ASEAN-related free trade and economic agreements, provisions and initiatives, including the benefits that an ASEAN national can receive.
The trade chief aims to give meaning to these highly-technical engagements, in a manner that ASEAN nationals, including the Filipinos, can identify how they can benefit from the opportunities posed by regional integration without fear and hesitation.
"It's time for us to make people feel that their membership in ASEAN is relevant to their day-to-day experience," he said, adding that DTI's hosting also presents good opportunity to raise awareness, to promote understanding on the AEC and the Philippine participation in it, and to re-tell the country's growth story.
On increasing trade and investment, Sec. Lopez emphasized that the creation of a sound policy environment and the right mix of support programs are crucial to improve the capacity of businesses to expand, upgrade and diversify. He mentioned that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an agreement involving the 10 AMS and the six Dialogue Partners will expand the ASEAN market from 600 million to 3.5 billion. DTI will be pushing for the substantial conclusion of RCEP by year-end at the AEM, according to him.
On MSME development, Sec. Lopez said that the thrust continues for instituting an enabling environment that allows the sector to develop and internationalize through e-commerce, as well as policies that ease the cost of doing business and provide skills and business training and facilitate the link with the global value chain.
The country will also prod ASEAN to embrace the evolving digital technology as leverage to enhance trade and investment, to provide an e-based business platform and to promote good governance and green technology.
"We hope to gather, harmonize and mobilize public-private efforts towards taking full advantage of opportunities under the AEC," he concluded.
ASEAN 2017 bears the theme, "Partnering for Change, Engaging the World", which is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte's objective to enhance cooperation with global partners, ensuring that ASEAN citizens, including the Filipinos, can live in peace, stability, security and growth, despite cultural diversities.
Following the AEM Retreat and Related Meetings is the ASEAN Summit in April to be chaired by President Duterte. The bigger meeting 49th AEM, meanwhile, is scheduled in September 2017.