Welcome to Rappler's live blog of the Philippine Year-End Economic Briefing 2013.
Rappler's business journalists Lala Rimando, Cai Ordinario, Aya Lowe and Christian Bautista are at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City to provide a blow-by-blow account of event.
Registration starts at 8 am. The main event starts at 9 am.
ABOITIZ: "I don't think there is any doubt that the country will be upgraded to investment grade status."
Business climate is ideal.
The main concern in power industry is excess power. Mindanao is new business frontier. Lack of power is main obstacle of growth.
We want to be part of solution in Mindanao.
BILL LUZ of the National Competitiveness Council moderating the first panel today.
LUZ: what's in store for 2013 and beyond?
GUNIGUNDO: we expect that domestic inflation will range 3-5%.
The current account will continue to bring in dollars for sustaining economic activity
ARSENIO BALISACAN: For this year we are expecting growth of 6 to 7%. we expect govt spending in infra to pick up this year and beyond. looking at it from supply side, services will continue to fuel the economy. within services, tourism and BPO will strengthen, also manufacturing to gain momentum. we are encouraged with the increasing pace of manufacturing, expect to see faster pace this year.
BALISACAN: The big challenge is the employment content of the growth. we need to deepen, accelerate spending on infra devt - connecting rural and urban areas. We are glad to note that the problem in power is not as serious as we thought. Power could have been our most binding constraint.
GREGORY DOMINGO: As Sec Balisacan mentioned, manufacturing was the second fastest growing sector. Based on the registrations with BOI and PEZA, 2011 was a banner year - over P650 billion in investments. In 2012, we surpassed that slightly that over $15 billion in investment
DOMINGO: We were very busy last year and I think 2013 will surpass the stellar year of 2012 in terms of inbound missions. I have been informed by many of the embassies.
DOMINGO: There has been a significant mindset change because of President Aquino. The best is yet to come.
JUN ABAYA: In terms of connectivity, we are about to sign the construction work agreement with Takenaka...we can get NAIA 3 up and going in December. We are bidding out Panglao and Puerto Prinsesa, we are purchasing additional trains for MRT, we are pushing MRT 7, LRT 2 ext to Masinag is in the pipeline.
ABAYA: We are preparing for airport audit on Monday, February 18, its a big day for us, please pray for us. (referring to the Category 2 status imposed by the US FAA body on its Philippine counterpart, CAAP, limiting new or additional flights Philippine carriers can mount to these profitable destinations. EU and other regions have imposed a similar ban).
We are also trying to solve our backlog in our license plates.
ABAYA: We are awaiting a JICA study on the increased utilization of Batangas and Subic ports.
CARLOS JERICHO PETILLA, Energy Secretary: Power is complex.
He jokes: When I try to explain power prices to my wife, she just blames me. No one can understand power prices.
The way I see it, we actually have a problem with oversupply. Nobody will build a plant for 2020, they will build 2016. The best way to address the prices of electricity right now, the key here is, information and transparency. We are developing a website that will bare all electricity costs. Competition will only thrive if there's transparency.
PETILLA: I am a casual employee of the govt, we are temporary but we are trying to find ways to institutionalize things. So that the next Secretary only needs to improve it.
PROCESO ALCALA, Agriculture secretary: Rice production is up 8%, we are on our way to attaining food self-sufficiency after 2013. We rely mainly on the resourcefulness of our people to attain food security.
ALCALA: We invested in rural infrastructure, irrigation systems, big and small post harvest facilities, access to markets, and research and devt. We have engaged in LGUs to deliver support services to farmers since agriculture is site-specific. I visited 80 provinces in my first 2 years in office.
ALCALA: Growth of agriculture may be modest but has contributed in keeping inflation low. Compared to the cost of rice in neighboring countries, we are trying our best to develop new technologies to bring down prices. We are investing in better seeds.
Question: The election period has just kicked in and despite the governments announcement about surplus there needs to be a better augmentation of budget such as the food and drug administration. Do you have plans to augment their budgets?
Finance Secretary Purisima to give closing remarks
PURISIMA: This morning we have heard from leaders who have pegged an exciting chapter in the story of economics.
Purisima is giving an overview of the different panels we heard from this morning.
PURISIMA: Today we mark and celebrate many historic milestones in the story in the Philippines. Who would have thought 2.5 years ago we would have been on the growth leaders in the region and that we would now be at the doorstep of investment grade. Who would have though that the potential for Mindanao would be achieved? Who would have thought that reforms such as the SinTax and RHBill would be passed?
PURISIMA: We appeal to the rich when they file their tax collections to file the right amount. Can lead to a 3% increase in GDP. At the bureau of customs we appeal to the exporters to importers to pay the right amount of duties and taxes.
PURISIMA: The challenge of the Philippines is to make every Filipino a more active and productive component of our economic story. We will remain dedicate din investing our people to ensure he or she would be fully equipped to take on meaningful jobs and professions.
PURISIMA: Goal is to increase tax by 16%, revenue by 18%. We appeal to the rich to pay correct estate taxes. We will continue to invest in infrastructure. We will not cease in making doing business easier.
PURISIMA: Reaching investment grade will just be another chapter. Good governance is good economics.
The session has now ended. Panelists are now taking the stage for photo ops. All presentation materials can be downloaded from their website www.iro.ph