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People's Journal

People's Journal

6.9% growth attainable -- Diokno

Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno is optimistic of a 6.9 percent growth of the economy this year following the sustained expansion in the third quarter.

“Maybe a 6.9 percent full year growth is attainable,” he said in a briefing Wednesday.

The government's 2017 growth target for this year is between 6.5-7.5 percent.

Diokno identified government spending as among the main drivers of domestic growth in the remaining months of the year.

He said implementation of infrastructure projects, request for payments by contractors and disbursement of government employees’ year-end bonus would boost expenditures in the last two months this year.

In the third quarter this year, domestic growth, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), exceeded expectations because of improvement in government disbursement and strong government consumption, among others, he said.

Diokno said government spending on infrastructure is targeted to increase to 5.4 percent of  GDP in 2017 up to 7.3 percent of GDP by 2022.
    
“To give you some perspective for the last 50 years we have only spent 2.6 percent of our GDP for infrastructure that’s why you’ve been complaining about poor roads,” he said.
    
In the third quarter alone, government 's final consumption expenditure rose 8.3 percent, higher than the 3.1 percent growth same period in 2016 and the 7.1 percent rise in the second quarter this year.
    
Diokno attributed the higher state spending from July to August this year to increased spending on personnel services, which rose 13.9 percent, due to higher base pay of civilian workers and higher allowances of military and uniformed personnel.
    
Disbursements for maintenance and operations during the same period improved by 8.2 percent due to increased spending on education, healthcare, and social protection programs, he said.
    
The government intends to spend at least P8 trillion on infrastructure projects until 2022 and this, Diokno said, would ensure the sustained growth of the domestic economy.
    
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board has, thus far, approved 23 of the proposed 75 infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration.
    
NEDA data show that of the 23 approved projects, 14 will be completed by the end of the current administration’s term.
    
Diokno is confident that all the proposed projects will be approved by the NEDA Board and most will be completed before the end of the Duterte administration.
    
He said one of the projects expected not to be finished within the Duterte administration is the proposed subway line from Quezon City to Taguig City, which is expected to be finished by 2025.
    
He said signing for the project is set for the first quarter of 2018, with the design and implementation to be given to the future winning bidder.
    
Traffic is expected to be hard during the project’s construction but Diokno said people need to sacrifice a bit.
    
“To me that’s just the start. That’s phase one. Their plan is to leave their equipment here after they finished the project,” he said, citing that these equipment could be used by the government for its other projects.
    
Another expenditure booster next year is the scheduled increase of state workers’ pay, which under the proposed 2018 budget has been allocated P24 billion.
    
The salary hike is the third tranche under the Salary Standardization Law (SSL). The last tranche will be in 2019.

  • Published in Business

Massive search on after US plane crash

THE United States has deployed several ships and aircraft in Philippine waters to find the three US sailors still missing after a C-2A Greyhound aircraft crashed southeast of Okinawa on Wednesday afternoon.

“Search and rescue operations continue for three sailors following a C-2A Greyhound aircraft crash southeast of Okinawa at 2:45 p.m. yesterday,” the US 7th Fleet said.

The next of kin of the sailors have been notified about the incident but their identities are being withheld.

Eight sailors were recovered and transferred to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) for medical evaluation. All are in good condition at this time, the 7th Fleet said.

“USS Ronald Reagan is leading combined search and rescue efforts with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF).  Searching through the night, several ships and aircraft covered more than 320 nautical miles as of this morning.”

The following ships and aircraft are searching the area: U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyers USS Stethem (DDG 63), USS Chafee (DDG 90) and USS Mustin (DDG 89); MH-60R Seahawk helicopters of the “Saberhawks” from U.S. Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM 77); P-8 aircraft from the “Fighting Tigers” of U.S. Navy Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Squadron (VP) 8; P-3 Orion aircraft of the “Red Hook” U.S. Navy Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Squadron (VP) 40; JMSDF Helicopter Carrier Japan Ships (JS) Kaga (DDH 184) and JS Ise (DDH 182); JMSDF Akizuki-class destroyer JS Teruzuki (DD 116); JMSDF Murasame-class destroyer JS Samidare (DD 106), and JMSDF Hatakaze-class destroyer JS Shimakaze (DDG 172).
    
On Wednesday, at approximately 2:45 p.m. Japan Standard Time,  the C2-A aircraft with 11 crew and passengers onboard crashed into the ocean approximately 500 nautical miles southeast of Okinawa.
    
The aircraft was conducting a routine transport flight carrying passengers and cargo from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to Ronald Reagan.
    
The C2-A is assigned to the “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron Three Zero, Detachment Five, forward deployed in NAF Atsugi, Japan. Detachment Five’s mission includes the transport of high-priority cargo, mail, duty passengers and Distinguished Visitors between USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and shore bases throughout the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia theaters.

  • Published in World

China offered 3rd telecom carrier slot

President Rodrigo Duterte has offered the People’s Republic of China the privilege to operate the third telecommunications carrier in the country as a means to end the existing duopoly in the vital industry, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the offer was made during the extended bilateral meeting last week between Duterte and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

The Palace official said the offer to China was due in part to the country’s proven track record in the telecoms industry as well as in consideration of the warming relationship between Manila and Beijing.

“The President said China has the capital and the technology to provide efficient telecom service. With the number of subscribers that Chinese telecoms companies have in China, there can be no doubt that they are amongst the biggest in the world,” he said.

“Consider also the proximity and the fact that we want to avail of as much economic advantage that we could arising from the renewed friendly ties with China,” Roque said.

While no Chinese company has yet been designated as the third carrier, Roque said Duterte has instructed that all applications be filed and acted upon directly by the Office of the Executive Secretary.
    
“Upon submission of documents, it will take 45 days to decide whether or not it’s a go or no go. That’s how serious the President is in allowing a third party carrier to come in,” he said.
    
The offer for a Chinese company to be the third player in the telecoms industry comes after the Philippine government signed with an affiliate of Facebook to build a broadband infrastructure capable of providing a bandwidth of two terabytes per second.
    
On November 15, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), along with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and Facebook, signed an agreement for the Strategic Engagement and Collaboration to Undertake a Reliable and Efficient Government Internet (SECURE GovNet) project.

  • Published in Business

CCC Week highlights importance of science on climate change

THE Climate Change Commission (CCC) has lined up various events to mark the observance of this year’s 2017 Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness (CCC) Week, as mandated by Presidential Proclamation 1667 issued in 2008.

With the theme “Aligning Science, Policy, And Practice For Climate Change and Disaster Resilience,” this year’s CCC Week  that  started on November 20 and ends on Nov. 24 is being held  at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.

It will showcase expert presentations on climate data and the collective efforts of the different sectors of the society in pursuing the sustainable low-carbon and climate-resilient development pathway.

“This year, we are emphasizing the value of science informing policy and practice in the context of climate action. We want to highlight the significance of science in developing climate resiliency strategies and pathways, as well as in inspiring climate action from the different stakeholders,” said Climate Change Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman.

The CCC Week kicked off with a forum focusing on the ongoing efforts to update the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) and to prepare the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
    
The NCCAP is a comprehensive action plan outlining the country’s agenda for adaptation and mitigation from 2011 to 2028.
    
”The NCCAP review was done through several rounds of multi-stakeholder consultations. It will help the Commission determine the gaps and come up with measures to fill in it,” De Guzman explained.
    
Meanwhile, the NDC is intended to be the Philippines’ commitment to achieve the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.  
    
“Our NDC will define our roadmap on how we intend to transition towards a green economy. It would represent the core of the country’s new development plan,” De Guzman added.

  • Published in World
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