Philippines morning news for March 18

Philippines morning news for March 18
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Philippines morning news

Philippines out of ICC amid drug war inquiry
The Philippines was officially out of the International Criminal Court on Sunday, though the beleaguered tribunal has pledged to pursue its examination of alleged illegal killings in the government’s drug war.
— The Sun Daily

External debt up 8% in 2018 to $79 billion
The country’s external debt went up by eight percent year-on-year to $79 billion in 2018 from $73.1 billion with more government funding through loans for infrastructure projects.
— Manila Bulletin

Signal No. 1 hoisted over Davao Oriental as “Chedeng” enters PAR
-Signal No. 1 has been hoisted over Davao Oriental as Tropical Depression “Chedeng” entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Sunday, March 17.
— Eagle News

Current account deficit widens to record $7.9B
The country’s current account deficit hit an all-time high last year as robust economic activity resulted in a wider trade gap, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Friday.
— The Manila Times

Gov’t debt payments rise 14% to P775.6 B
The Duterte administration settled higher maturing debt obligations last year as the national government continues to borrow from foreign and local lenders to support its ambitious infrastructure plan, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed.
— Manila Bulletin

Dengue cases up by 81% in ZamPen
Dengue fever cases in the Zamboanga Peninsula Region reached 1,743 from January 1 to March 7, 2019 which is 81 percent higher as compared to the same period last year.
— Philippine Information Agency

Millions hit in Manila’s ‘worst’ water shortage
Manila has been hit by its worst water shortage in years, leaving bucket-bearing families to wait hours to fill up from tanker trucks and some hospitals to turn away less urgent cases.
— The Asean Post

DOF chief flags risks of underspending as 2019 budget stalls
THE government is losing the opportunity to spend P500 million a day for productive activities such as education, health care, infrastructure and job creation with every week that the government is forced to operate on a reenacted budget, the Department of Finance said.
— Business Mirror

Rediscount loans surge in 2 months
Banks continued to take out more loans from the rediscount window of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
— The Philippine Star

$2.745B sent home by OFWs in January
MONEY sent home by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) fell to a two-month low in January, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported on Friday.
— The Manila Times

‘Water supply 80% restored’ Palace finalizing water executive order
The water shortage situation in Metro Manila is seen to improve in the next weeks as concessionaire Manila Water reported that it has restored supply to about 80 percent of its customers as of Friday.
— The Philippine Star

Trade deficit seen to widen this year
Barcelona-based Focus Economics expects the Philippines to incur a wider trade deficit this year as imports continue to accelerate further.
— The Philippine Star

Duterte’s order to release 150 days’ worth of water from Angat Dam ‘erroneous’ –Bayan
Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes on Saturday described as erroneous and ill-advised President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System to release 150 days’ worth of water from Angat Dam to address the water shortage.
— GMA News

P1.5 billion allotted for Metro subway
Congress has set aside an initial P1.5 billion this year for the 36-kilometer Metro Manila subway project, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said yesterday.
— The Philippine Star

DTI gets $1.24-b Japanese investment pledges
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the department secured $1.24 billion worth of investment commitments from Japanese companies in a recent trade mission.

‘Happy’ Filipinos at record low since 2014 – SWS
At least 8 out of 10 Filipinos feel happy and satisfied with their lives, said a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey relesed on Sunday, March 17.
— Rappler

China to donate P15-M to PCOO for IT equipment
The Chinese Embassy is set to donate an additional PHP15 million worth of information technology equipment to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to help improve its services.
— Philippine News Agency

Senate bets want death penalty for erring cops, corrupt gov’t officials
Two senatorial aspirants on Sunday called for the reimposition of the death penalty for errant police officers and corrupt government officials.
— CNN Philippines

Energy dep’t issues draft rules for duty-free importation of renewable energy equipment
THE DEPARTMENT of Energy (DoE) has issued a draft circular to regulate the duty-free importation of renewable energy (RE) machinery, equipment, materials and spare parts in line with the government’s drive to promote ease doing business in the country.
— BusinessWorld Online

Tax hikes to dampen investor appetite in local financial instruments–expert
THE implementation of tax increases in the banking and finance sector under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Act could discourage investors from buying local financial instruments, according to a consultant of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
— Business Mirror

‘53 children, teenagers HIV-positive through sexual contact’
All of the 53 children and teenagers who were diagnosed as human immunodeficiency virus-positive in January “were infected through sexual contact,” said Patrixia Santos, a volunteer of Project Red Ribbon which helps children with HIV.

EcoWaste Coalition sounds alarm on proliferation of toxic beauty products
A toxic watchdog asked concerned government authorities to “put an end’’ to the rampant sale of make-ups and cosmetic products laden with hazardous chemicals.
— Manila Bulletin

Duterte slammed after Int’l Criminal Court withdrawal
President Rodrigo Duterte’s critics condemned his decision for the Philippines to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC), as the withdrawal took effect on Sunday, March 17.
— Rappler

SSS to generate P10.66B from condonation
The Social Security System (SSS) expects to generate P10.66 billion from its one-time penalty condonation program, the pension fund said in a statement yesterday.
— Malaya

DOE to implement strict rules on coal handling distribution
The Department of Energy (DOE) is looking to implement strict rules for the handling, transport, storage and distribution of coal in the country.
— The Philippine Star

PHL, Malaysia pursue cooperation on halal, barter trade, bolstering BIMP-Eaga
TRADE Secretary Ramon M. Lopez pushed for greater bilateral cooperation on the area of barter trade between the Philippines and Malaysia during his dialogue with Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Ignatius Darell Leiking on March 8, 2019.
— Business Mirror

No disadvantageous China loans — DOF
The Department of Finance (DOF) denied claims that loans extended by China to the Philippines were disadvantageous, saying Manila benefited from low interest rates and better terms under its loan agreements with Beijing.
— The Philippine Star

N. Mindanao gets P9M agri training hub
The Aboitiz Group, through food business unit Pilmico and the Aboitiz Foundation, turned over a P9-million modern livestock training complex in Central Mindanao University (CMU) in Northern Mindanao that is expected to boost agricultural research in the region.
— Malaya

DoLE to sign labor deal with Japan for at least 100,000 specialized jobs
THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said it will sign an agreement with Japan on Tuesday that could result in at least 100,000 workers with specialized skills, including caregivers.
— BusinessWorld Online

PH risks dropping out of global maritime list
THE JOBS of 400,000 Filipino seafarers and the country’s good standing in the global maritime community are at stake because of the country’s supposed failure to comply with global reporting standards.
— The Manila Times

25 PHL food brands net $83.2-million export sales at Dubai food show
TWENTY-FIVE Philippine companies bagged more than $83 million of export sales from over 1,163 foreign buyers when the country joined Gulfood at the Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre, United Arab Emirates (UAE) from February 17 to 21, 2019.
— Business Mirror

Secondary airports boosting air traffic
TRAFFIC in secondary airports in the Philippines will help fuel the government’s goal of growing the commercial aviation sector by double digits this year, with two of the leading airlines now looking at expanding their operations in budding and existing hubs throughout the country.
— Business Mirror

Isabela provincial gov’t offers P6/k incentive to rice farmers
THE ISABELA provincial government is offering its rice farmers a P6 per kilo incentive for the first 100 bags of clean and paddy rice sold to the National Food Authority (NFA), Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said on Sunday.
— BusinessWorld Online

PHL to host 2 regional energy meetings in next two years
THE Philippines will host two important regional energy industry conferences in the next two years.
— Business Mirror

Deep wells tapped to add 100 MLD for Metro Manila
THE National Water Resources Board (NWRB), the state agency tasked to oversee the country’s water resources, has approved the activation of deep wells that will add 100 million liters per day (MLD) to ease the shortage being felt by consumers in Metro Manila’s east zone.
— BusinessWorld Online

Lawmakers fear worse EJKs, rights violations with PHL exit from ICC
Lawmakers have expressed fears extrajudicial killings and human rights violations would worsen with the formal withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court effective on Sunday.
— GMA News

‘Narcolist release not impeachable offense’
Malacañang on Saturday said President Rodrigo Duterte could not be impeached for releasing a list of politicians allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.
— The Manila Times

SM Prime, BCDA fined P2m for late merger details
The Philippine Competition Commission asked SM Prime Holdings Inc. and state-owned Bases Conversion Development Corp. to pay a P2-million fine for late notification of their P51.27-billion joint venture partnership.

DepEd launches cyber expo in shift to digital education
Armed with the goal to fast-track digital transformation in public schools nationwide, the Department of Education (DepEd) has launched its first cyber expo on education and technology.
— Philippine News Agency

Tourism agency to market PHL as safe destination for LGBTQIA community
THE Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) is anchoring its work program this year on conferences and meetings to boost the country’s tourist arrivals.
— Business Mirror

Ex-Oriental Mindoro governor’s firm ordered to return P321-M land
The Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed a lower court’s decision that the firm of former Oriental Mindoro governor Rodolfo Valencia should return 150 hectares of land in Nasugbu, Batangas, worth P321.6 million to its original owner.
— Rappler

Iran eyes PH partner for nano technology
A delegation from Iran engaged in the nano technology is looking for a local partner as the Middle East nation firms up plans to invest in the Philippines.

Philcomsat gets new 25-year franchise
President Duterte has signed Republic Act 11226, extending for 25 years the franchise of Philippine Communications Satellite Corp. (Philcomsat).
— The Philippine Star

MWSS vows to solve water shortage in 150 days
The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System on Saturday, March 16, vowed to solve the water shortage in 150 days.
— Eagle News

AFP claims it has ‘truckloads’ of evidence to prove rights groups are CPP fronts
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Brigadier General Antonio Parlade on Saturday said the military has truckloads of evidence that human rights groups such as Karapatan are front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), as he challenged its Secretary General for a one-on-one discussion on national television.
— GMA News

NCRPO chief struggles to bring drug war to gated communities
While the so-called drug war is continuously intensified across the country as police try to beat President Rodrigo Duterte’s new deadline for a drug-free Philippines, Metro Manila cops are encountering unexpected problem areas: gated subdivisions.
— Rappler

Fighting fraud and hiring right with the blockchain
Blockchain can be a part of your HR department’s operations sooner than you think.
— BusinessWorld Online

Intel agents gathering evidence vs narco pols
Government intelligence units continue to gather more pieces of evidence to pin down other local politicians who are allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade in the country.
— Tempo

Be discerning of news sources, journalists urge students
At a time when disinformation online spreads like wildfire and affects public discourse, journalists urged students to be more discerning of their news sources.
— Rappler

Senate ‘unilaterally’ removed P17-B right-of-way funds from 2019 budget bill — Andaya
Rep. Rolando Andaya alleged that the Senate unilaterally removed P17 billion for right-of-way funds from the proposed 2019 national budget–an act that would cripple the government’s Build, Build, Build program, he said.
— GMA News

When the Catholic Church flexes political muscles
The Catholic Church is clear about its role in politics: bishops and priests have the moral duty to speak, but they should leave partisan politics to the laity.
— Rappler

Sara Duterte: Let voters decide on fate of May poll bets on narcolist
Davao Mayor Sara Duterte on Saturday said she would not refuse any request to raise the hands of candidates running in the upcoming May elections, even — it would seem from her statement — if these individuals are suspected of being involved in the drug trade.
— GMA News

AFP hopes Dawla Islamiya ‘neutralized’ after Abu Dar’s death
The Philippine military believes it may have neutralized the remnants of Dawla Islamiya, an alliance of pro-Islamic State extremists, after the suspected death of Abu Dar, the group’s de facto leader during clashes last week.
— GMA News

DAR trains Ifugao coop members on organic feed formulation
Members of the Panubtuban Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PMPC) here were trained on organic food formulation under the Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty program of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
— Philippine Information Agency

PSC exec urges LGUs to boost livelihood thru sports tourism
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Celia Kiram on Sunday encouraged the local government unit (LGUs) to boost livelihood through sports tourism as she thanked Ilagan, Isabela for hosting the Batang Pinoy Luzon elimination.
— Philippine News Agency

Five more Makati barangays declared ‘drug-cleared’
Five more barangays in Makati have been declared “drug-cleared” by the Regional Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing, Makati Mayor Abby Binay announced in a statement issued on Sunday.

National ID system on track
The national identification system will be rolled out as planned this year with mass registration to be carried out next year, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
— The Philippine Star

Boracay utilities urge consumers to conserve water
Water service providers in Boracay Island reminded establishments and consumers to conserve water on the onset of summer season and El Niño.
— Rappler

5 ‘drug-cleared’ Makati barangays lauded
Mayor Abby Binay on Sunday congratulated five more Makati City barangays that have been cleared of illegal drugs by the Regional Oversight Committee on Barangay Drug-Clearing Program.
— Philippine News Agency

Business of beauty
To say that Filipinos are obsessed with beauty pageants is an understatement with most whooping it up every time someone from the country wins a global title.
— Tempo


Feature photo Yahoo! Philippines

This week’s Philippines morning news feature photo acknowledges World Water Day, March 22.


Find our previous morning news feature photos in the AEC News Today Morning News Feature Photos gallery where you will find a pictorial display of daily life throughout the Asean Economic Community (AEC).

Philippines morning news by AEC News Today is your one stop source for Philippines news on matters of governance and policies affecting Asean business communities. It is published M-F by AEC News Today: Governance, not government; policies not politics.


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Stella-maris Ewudolu

Journalist at AEC News Today

Stella-maris graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Education from Ebonyi State University, Nigeria in 2005.

Between November 2010 and February 2012 she was a staff writer at Daylight Online, Nigeria writing on health, fashion, and relationships. From 2010 – 2017 she worked as a freelance screen writer for ‘Nollywood’, Nigeria.

She joined AEC News Today in December 2016.

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