Thursday, 29 November 2012

Philippine economy grows thanks to private sector

Jojo Robles
Manila Standard

With almost no help at all from government, the national economy grew impressively and beyond all expectations in the third quarter. And the top Aquino administration finance official said this is proof that “Aquinomics” is supposedly working.

It’s true that the gross domestic product rose by 7.1 percent from July to September. But before government tries to grab all the credit for this good news, it’s important to see how the surprising growth took place.

According to National Statistics Coordination Board, which released the official economic figures on the third quarter yesterday, the growth was driven by the services sector, which grew by 7 percent during the period. The industry sector also posted growth for the fifth consecutive quarter, growing by 8.1 percent, while good weather made the agriculture sector expand by 4.1 percent.


Indeed, despite the claims of administration officials, it was the private sector that did all the heavy lifting during the period. There were no major, big-ticket government projects begun, no significant private-public partnership schemes that went online, no arrival of significant investments (the foreign direct kind, not the hot-money variety that is flooding the stock market) as a result of novel government schemes like tax holidays and such like.

To borrow one of President Noynoy Aquino’s favorite expressions, “minana lang namin ito” [We just inherited this]. Of course, Aquino often says this when referring to the supposed problems that he has had to deal with that were left behind by his predecessor.


Indeed, by far the best thing that Aquino ever did for the economy was not to do anything—or not to do enough damage to things that he knows nothing about. One of these is retaining Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amado Tetangco.

Tetangco has helped keep a tight watch on interest rates, dollar reserves, the exchange rate and the banking industry, fine-tuning the economy as it weathers the continuing economic slowdown that is besetting both the Eurozone and the United States. Aquino’s economic managers, on the other hand, have only scared investors with their tax-to-the-max schemes, the unfriendly and protectionist regulatory environments they have created and their failure to rein in smuggling and meet revenue targets.


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Philippine billionaire to spend big

Arno Maierbrugger

Andrew Tan, a Filipino billionaire who engages in real estate, liquor and fast food, plans to spend $1.5 billion to triple his Alliance Global Group Inc.’s hotel rooms and become the nation’s largest hotel owner as the country lures more tourists, according to a report by Bloomberg.


Property boom in the Philippines

Justin Calderon

The Philippines is in the midst of a property boom that is shifting Manila’s skyline upwards and redefining its status in the world as a viable business hub after a drawn out and undesirable reign as  the “sad-sack” of Southeast Asia.

Office space leasing this year is predicted to hit new heights, setting a record of 400,000 to 450,000 square meters, up 25 per cent from last year, according to property managers and consultancies Jones Lang LaSalle and CBRE Philippines, one of the country’s largest firms in that segment.

Pointedly, increased confidence in the rising Philippine economy, which enjoyed 6.1 per cent GDP growth the first half of 2012, has led to office space being snatched up even before completion.

“Pre-leasing is back,” said Rick Santos, chairman of CBRE was quoted by Reuters. “We are now experiencing the best real estate market in the Philippines in the last 20 years.”


Philippines GDP hits 7.1% 3Q

Beating expectations, the domestic economy accelerated for the third consecutive quarter to 7.1 percent this year from the 3.2 percent last year.  The beyond expectation third quarter growth was driven by the Services sector with the robust performances of Transport, Storage  & Communication, Financial Intermediation, and Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities supported by the five consecutive quarters of sustained accelerated growth of the Industry and the seemingly weather tolerant Agriculture sector.  With the upwardly revised second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimate, the growth for the first nine months of 2012 at 6.5 percent surpassed the upper end target of the 6.0 percent for the whole year.

On the demand side, increased consumer and government spending, increased investments in Construction, and the third consecutive quarter of growth in external trade contributed to the highest quarterly growth since the third quarter of 2010.

The rebound of the Net Primary Income from the Rest of the World by 4.9 percent pushed the Gross National Income (GNI) to grow by 6.6 percent from 2.2 percent in 2011.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, GDP grew by 1.3 percent from 1.2 percent while GNI grew at a slower pace of 1.2 percent in the third quarter from 1.4 percent in the second quarter of 2012.  Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishery sector grew by 0.2 percent, a slowdown from the 1.7 percent in the previous quarter while Industry accelerated at 2.1 percent from 0.2 percent with all subsectors except for Mining and Quarrying contributing robustly to the growth.  On the other hand, the Services sector recorded a 1.0 percent growth for the third quarter of 2012 from 1.7 percent in the previous quarter with the positive growth of all its subsectors.

With projected population growing by 1.7 percent to 96.0 million, per capita GDP grew by 5.3 percent, per capita GNI accelerated by 4.8 percent while per capita Household Final Consumption Expenditures (HFCE) upped its growth by 4.4 percent.

Secretary-General, NSCB

Monday, 26 November 2012

New train arrives for UP-Diliman's automated transit system


Philippine Railways on Sunday announced the arrival of the new University of the Philippines train, which will be used in the first Filipino-built Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) System within the Diliman campus in Quezon City.

The blue and white train bears the logo of the Department of Science and Technology as well as the University logo on one side.

DOST is in charge of the design and detailed engineering plan of the AGT, while UP gives technical assistance and implements community relations activities, a previous report said.

The DOST and UP will conduct test runs of the train on a 500-meter elevated concrete track, according to a report by Anna Kristine Regidor on the UP website.

If the results are favorable, the AGT prototype may be designed to run throughout the entire UP Diliman campus, the report said, adding that the next phase of the project is an intracampus loop that will run approximately 6.9 kilometers.

"Ikot jeepneys" are the most common mode of transportation around the 493-hectare campus.

Moreover, the report said the DOST created an earlier prototype of the AGT in Bicutan, using a straight 150-meter track. The UP Diliman campus is a chance to test the system on a curved and circular track.

President Benigno Aquino III cited the project in his State of the Nation Address in July 2011.

According to the president, the monorail system "could potentially provide a home grown mass transport solution that would cost us as little as 100 million pesos per kilometer, much cheaper than the current cost of similar mass transit systems."

"The potential savings could result in more kilometers of cheap transport, decongesting our urban centers and allowing rural communities easier access to centers of commerce and industry," Aquino said.

Aside from serving the UP Diliman community, the AGT is expected to be a harbinger of the future of mass transport systems developed and made locally by Filipinos, an earlier report said.  — LBG, GMA News