Tuesday, 16 September 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Philippines now conducive to business, President Aquino tells investors

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday assured the business community that the Philippines is open for business and that his administration will work hard to minimize regulatory risk to investors.

Speaking before the participants of the ASEAN Business Awards Philippines in Makati City, the President said his administration has carried out major reforms in the last few years to make the country more conducive to business even in the midst of global uncertainty.

"Our message to investors is clear: The Philippines is once again open for business," he said.

"We have leveled the playing field, and are giving the investors the assurances that matter—that as they deal with the commercial risk that naturally comes with enterprise, our government will do its utmost to minimize regulatory risk."

He recalled that the country's bureaucracy was in shambles when the administration assumed office in 2010.

But through the reforms initiated by the government, registering a business in the Philippines has become easy for investors, he said.

The government set up the Philippine Business Registry, which gathered the business registration processes of several different agencies into a single shop, thus eliminating red tape, he said.

Citing another example of reform, the President noted that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), under Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, has optimized the bidding process, cutting down the required bidding documents from 20 to only 5.

Simply by plugging the leaks in DPWH's system, the agency has saved nearly P28 billion on building, upgrading, and improving the country's infrastructure, he said.

Because of these reforms, the Philippine economy grew by 7.2 percent last year, making the country one of the best performing economies in Asia, he said.

The President further reported that in the second quarter of this year, with some sectors still feeling the effects of the spate of disasters in late 2013, the GDP grew by 6.4 percent.

The international community has recognized the country's turnaround, he said, with credit rating agencies from all over the world announcing a total of 20 positive credit rating actions for the Philippines in the past four years.

Among the most significant upgrades last year were those from Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard & Poor’s, which declared the Philippines investment grade.

The Philippines has also consistently climbed global competitiveness ranking, the latest being the country's leap to 52nd place on the World Economic Forum’s 2014 Global Competitiveness Report, up 33 places from its 85th position in 2010.

"All this was a result of our belief in our people, and in our efforts to put them in the global spotlight. The resurgence of the Philippines is a result of striving for success in the face of challenge," he noted.

And as the ASEAN Integration comes in 2015, the President said he believes the country could compete with its neighbors as it faces another development in the increasingly globalized world.

The ASEAN Business Awards Philippines, the local counterpart of the regional ASEAN Business Awards, was established by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council to recognize enterprises that have contributed to regional growth. PND (as)

President Aquino leads awarding of exemplary Filipino businesses

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Tuesday expressed his confidence in the skills and talents of Filipinos, as he led the awarding of Filipino businesses that excelled in various fields.

In his speech during the ASEAN Business Awards Philippines in Makati City, the President said he believes that Filipinos could compete with their ASEAN neighbors as the regional block integrates next year.

"The nominees and awardees here today are those who will ensure that in the era of globalization, the Philippines will not merely stay afloat, the Philippines will excel," the President said.

"All of you here today are the individuals who, in the coming years, will carry our message to the world that the Philippines works, and that the Filipino is world class," he added.

He further noted that as the country welcomes an integrated Southeast Asia, all companies around the Philippines are entering a global competition of their own.

The Chief Executive said he is hopeful that the awardees would not rest on their laurels but be inspired to pursue even greater heights.

“I am likewise hopeful that companies across the archipelago can follow the examples that our nominees and winners today have set, so that we may show our countrymen, the Southeast Asian region, and the entire world, the skill and talent that runs through the veins of every Filipino,” he said.

The event recognized both large businesses, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

For large businesses, Pointwest Technologies Corp. was recognized as Best in Innovation; International Container Terminal Services Inc. as Best in Corporate Excellence; and Golden ABC Inc. as Best in ASEAN Centricity.

For SMEs, Vcargo Worldwide (Vintel Logistics Inc.) was declared Best Young Entrepreneur; the Community Health Education Emergency Rescue Services (CHEERS) Corp. as Best Women Leader; and Fountainhead Technologies Inc. as Best in Innovation.

The ASEAN Business Awards Philippines, the local counterpart of the regional ASEAN Business Awards, was established by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council to recognize enterprises that have contributed to regional growth.

Since its launch in 2007, the annual awards have recognized more than 60 companies in the region that have excelled in such categories as growth, employment, innovation and corporate social responsibility. PND (as)

President Aquino asks Congress for immediate passage of proposed Bangsamoro Law

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday asked Congress to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law immediately so that Muslim Mindanao would have enough time to prepare to govern itself.

In his speech during the ceremonial turnover of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law in MalacaƱang, the President acknowledged that while Congress has to review the proposed bill thoroughly, there is an urgency to pass it as soon as possible.

“Sa atin naman pong Kongreso: nauunawaan namin na kailangan ninyong suriin nang mabuti ang panukalang batas na ito. Ang hiling lang namin, maipasa po sana ito sa lalong madaling panahon. Sa ganitong paraan po, mabibigyan natin ng sapat na oras ang ating mga kapatid na Muslim na makapaghanda, at tuluyang mapalago ang ipinunla nating pagbabago sa pamamahala sa Bangsamoro," he said.
The President also appealed to the nation to support the important legislation, saying that everyone has a role to play in ensuring a genuine transformation of society.

The people of Luzon and the Visayas must help their Muslim brothers, who have been left behind in terms of progress, he said.

“Kaya naman gusto nating bigyan ng pantay na pagkakataon ang lahat, lalong-lalo na ang mga nasa laylayan, upang mabigyan sila ng kakayahang makiambag sa pag-angat ng bansa," he noted.

He called on all Filipinos to respect the beliefs and rights of the country’s indigenous people, and to harness their knowledge to understand Mindanao’s history and culture, instead of spreading negative news and unfounded assumptions about the region.

Like people from anywhere in the country, Muslim Filipinos also aspire to see their children graduate and live lives without fear and worry, he said.

There is a need to strengthen trust among Filipinos by supporting the immediate passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, he stressed.

“Huwag [na nating hayaan] ang pagkakataong magbigay ng panibagong bukas sa Lupang Pangako; hinihimok ko kayong makiambag tungo sa katuparan nito,” he said.

The President extended his gratitude to the leaders and the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), under Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and Mohagher Iqbal for their solidarity.

He thanked the members of the government’s peace panel, led by Presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles and Chairman Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, and other stakeholders.

President Aquino also recognized the contributions of members of the Cabinet, and foreign partners who helped in crafting the peace accord.

He said that as he leaves for Europe on Saturday evening, he will share with European leaders the Philippines’ peace achievement in Mindanao.

“Ikukuwento ko sa kanila kung paanong sa pamamagitan ng pagtitiwala at pagtutulungan ay nakarating tayo sa kinalalagyan natin ngayon,” he said.

“Ibabahagi ko sa kanila na bagama’t hindi pa ganap ang ating tagumpay, buo ang ating loob na magpapatuloy ang ating pagsisikap tungo sa isang mas maunlad at mas mapayapang Pilipinas."

The President will embark on a European tour next week to visit Spain, Belgium, France, and Germany before proceeding to the United States. PND (as)

Congress aims to pass Bangsamoro Basic Law in first quarter of 2015

Senate President Franklin Drilon said Wednesday they aim to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law in the first quarter of next year.

"We are giving ourselves until the first quarter of next year," Drilon said when asked by reporters about the Senate's timetable in passing the bill.

During the ceremonial turnover of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, President Aquino asked Congress to pass the bill immediately so that Muslim Mindanao would have sufficient time to prepare to govern itself.

Drilon said passing it in the first quarter of next year would give the region enough time to conduct a plebiscite and have the transition commission in place before the 2016 election.

The proposed Bangsamoro law will have bipartisan support in the Senate, he said, noting the presence of Senate minority leader Senator Tito Sotto, chairman of the Senate’s local government committee Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, and Peace and Unification Senator TG Guingona.

“This bill will have bipartisan support. We will co-author it with several of our colleagues and we will immediately set the committee hearings, next week. We will request Senator Bongbong and Senator TG to set the committee hearings next week,” he said, adding that the Senate will tackle the Bangsamoro Basic Law after the ongoing committee hearings on the budget.
Drilon said he is confident that the measure will be passed.

“What we will look at with care is that the Bangsamoro Basic Law should be within the four corners of the Constitution," he said.

The Senate President said he is glad that the President has assured that the bill is within constitutional boundaries.

He in turn guaranteed that they will respect the rights and consider the aspirations of Muslim Filipinos.

Once the basic law is ratified, the Organic Law that created the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will be repealed, Drilon said. PND (as)