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Coal-reliant Philippines struggles to power up clean energy

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LAMAO – For Nestor Castro and the other residents of Lamao village, which sits near two coal-fired power plants and an oil refinery, the country’s shift to renewable energy cannot come soon enough. Not only would it lessen the pollution in their village in the northern Philippines, it could also mean cheaper electricity, Castro said. “Coal just adds to the ... Read More »

Philippines President Duterte orders lifting of Kuwait worker ban

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The Philippines lifted its ban on migrant workers heading to jobs in Kuwait, capping a diplomatic row sparked when a murdered Filipina maid was found in her employer’s freezer. The news comes days after Kuwait and the Philippines signed a deal to regulate and protect the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who seek higher-paid employment in the wealthy Gulf state. ... Read More »

Finance pushes higher taxes on ‘sin products’


Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government will push through with its plan to further increase the excise taxes on alcoholic beverages and cigarettes, despite its impact on inflation. “It is the right thing to do. Just because you’re going to get a bad reaction, that doesn’t mean you are going to stop,” Dominguez said in a news briefing. ... Read More »

The Philippines is planning a $14b ‘pollution-free’ city that will be larger than Manhattan


Manila, the hyper-dense capital of The Philippines, is known for its traffic jams. In a 2016 survey, navigation company Waze ranked Manila as having the “worst traffic on Earth.” The city’s reliance on cars also exacerbates its growing air-pollution problem. As a possible solution to Manila’s smog and gridlock, the country plans to build an entirely new, more sustainable city ... Read More »

Economic growth meets forecasts; gov’t flags inflation ‘spoiler’


MANILA – The economy grew 6.8 percent in the first 3 months of the year, meeting analysts’ expectations, but at the same time reflecting faster inflation that slowed consumer spending. Without the effects of inflation, real gross domestic product growth in the first quarter would have fallen “well within” the full-year goal of 7 to 8 percent, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary ... Read More »

New Customs director had recent run-in with Customs over illegal knives


Newly appointed Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency Director Eric Palacios on March 27 tried to bring illegal knives into Guam through the airport, and the knives were seized by Customs, according to the agency’s spokeswoman. Palacios brought the items to the airport on a flight to Guam from the Philippines. “They’re regulated items,” according to spokeswoman Jessi Santos-Torres, who said ... Read More »

Philippine Government to Grant Tax Breaks to Cryptocurrency Companies in Economic Zones


MANILA: Zone Authority (CEZA) which operates the economic zone, said, “We are about to license ten platforms for cryptocurrency exchange.” Companies inside economic zones can be involved in any aspect of cryptocurrency business, including commercial mining, providing blockchain technology-based financial services and hosting Initial Coin Offerings. Companies operating a cryptocurrency exchange, however, will be forced to trade the fiat into digital currency at ... Read More »

Philippine credit rating outlook to positive


MANILA: Philippines’ credit rating from “stable” to “positive,” citing mainly the government’s policymaking that could further improve the country’s finances and economic growth. The upgraded outlook of the country’s current rating of “BBB,” which is one notch above the minimum investment grade, means there is a chance the rating could be upgraded in the coming months. “The positive outlook reflects ... Read More »

Philippines to allow cryptocurrency operators in economic zone


MANILA:  The Philippines will allow 10 blockchain and virtual currency companies to operate in an economic zone to take advantage of tax perks while generating employment, a government official said on Wednesday. The companies would be the first virtual currency firms to operate in the Philippines after regulators legalised their entry into an economic zone in February, in contrast to ... Read More »

Tobacco firms chided for claiming excise tax will worsen due to smuggling


MANILA: Tobacco companies were chided by various health groups for allegedly spreading unfounded claims that the rise in excise taxes on tobacco products will worsen the incidence of smuggling in the country. Insisting the public’s right to be provided with information on good health and wellness, HealthJustice Philippines and the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) revealed that global evidence ... Read More »

Philippine budget chief shrugs off peso and inflation concerns


MANILA: Philippines will likely prove temporary and the weak peso isn’t something to fret over, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said. “We expect inflation to normalize by the end of this year, I am not worried about it,” Diokno said in an interview in Washington on Friday. He pinned price rises on higher taxes on items including cars and beverages. The ... Read More »

Philip Morris plunges as slump in cigarettes accelerates


MANILA: Philip Morris International Inc. spent more than $4.5-billion to develop four new products, including the iQos, a device that heats a tobacco plug without setting it on fire. It’s been most successful in Japan, but now the company says sales growth is slowing. Philip Morris, which sells Marlboros outside the U.S., reported revenue excluding excise taxes of $6.9 billion, ... Read More »

Philips Lighting appoints market leader for ASEAN


MANILA: Philips Lighting has appointed Alok Ghose (pictured) to the newly created role of market leader for ASEAN, and continues to be based in Malaysia. He will report to Murali Sivaraman, president for Philips Lighting Growth Markets. Ghose, who was previously MD and cluster leader for Singapore, Malaysia and Exports, now leads the operations and the transformation in lighting for the Internet ... Read More »

Customs seizes cigarettes smuggled from China


MANILA: The Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized P18.5 million worth of cigarettes smuggled from China into the Manila International Container Port. In a statement on Monday, April 16, the BOC announced it intercepted a 40-foot container with the cigarettes last April 10.  Agents from the X-ray Inspection Project (XIP) had discovered irregularities in the shipment’s x-ray image. “The shipment consigned to Marid ... Read More »

WB warns PHL economy is at risk of overheating


MANILA: The Philippine economy is at risk of overheating should it continue growing at capacity, the World Bank warned on Monday. “We see the economy growing at capacity all capital assets and labor.The labor is used nearly completely,” Birgit Hansl, World Bank lead economist for the Philippines said in a press briefing in Taguig City. “Even if you would like ... Read More »

Phillips 66 target of unusually high options trading (PSX)


MANILA: Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) saw some unusual options trading on Thursday. Investors acquired 15,346 call options on the stock. This represents an increase of 2,008% compared to the typical volume of 728 call options. Phillips 66 stock opened at $102.63 on Friday. Phillips 66 has a 52 week low of $75.14 and a 52 week high of $107.47. The company has ... Read More »

Government allots P6.1 B for emergency rice imports


MANILA:  State-run National Food Authority (NFA) is allocating around P6.12 billion for the procurement of the 250,000 metric tons (MT) of rice as part of the emergency importation via the government to government (G2G) scheme. NFA is set to send the letter of invitation to the governments of Thailand and Vietnam for the supply of 250,000 MT of 25 percent ... Read More »

Philippines sees surge in cryptocurrency exchange applications


MANILA: The number of businesses applying to operate cryptocurrency exchanges in the Philippines has been growing as the sector gains popularity, a senior official of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) confirmed. BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier told local reporters over the weekend that the applications have become so many in the last couple of months. Investors are also having ... Read More »

Philippines Department of Finance establishing online payment gateway for government transactions


MANILA: The Department of Finance (DOF) in the Philippines is establishing an online-based payment gateway to enable taxpayers and other state clients to remit fees and other charges electronically to government agencies. This is in line with the Philippine Government’s efforts to cut red tape and improve the ease of doing business in the country. The PHPay system is designed to be ... Read More »

Zero VAT on sales to PEZA firms to stay


MANILA: The sale of goods and services to Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) entities will remain subject to zero percent value added tax, clearing a confusion over President Duterte’s line veto of zero VAT rating on the sale of goods and services to separate customs territories under the TRAIN Law. The Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) said PEZA issued a ... Read More »