03 February 2015

APEC News Releases

Government aims to create quality jobs to reduce unemployment, Palace says
The government is focused on generating highly remunerative jobs to address the country’s unemployment woes, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Tuesday.

“Ang ating pakay ay makapaglikha ng mga tinatawag na highly remunerative jobs, ‘yung quality jobs, para may stabilidad ang empleyo ng ating mga mamamayan at magagamit ang kanilang likas na talino at galing,” Secretary Coloma told reporters during a press briefing in Malacañang.

A recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey put unemployment among adults in the country at 27 percent, equivalent to an estimated 12.4 million Filipinos, during the last quarter of 2014. The survey was conducted from November 27 to December 1 last year among 1,800 respondents.

Coloma noted that the SWS survey differs from the government’s Labor Force Survey, which follows the standards set by the United Nations International Labor Organization.

He said that according to the Labor Force Survey, conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment, unemployment rate dropped by 6 percent in October last year.

“Kaya ang pagharap natin dito ay ‘yung mga kongkretong programa ng pamahalaan hinggil sa economic development at employment generation,” he said, citing the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s programs that aim to give the country’s workforce more employable skills.

“Puspusan din ang pagsisikap na maibaba ang bilang ng mga walang trabaho. At kahanay diyan ang mga programa on poverty reduction and social protection,” Coloma added. PND (ag)

Palace acknowledges bills to create Mamasapano Truth Commission
A Palace official on Tuesday acknowledged the bills filed to create a Truth Commission that would investigate the incident that led to the death of 44 police commandos during a law enforcement operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

“Whatever independent body that may be formed by Congress would find the relevant information that are now being gathered by the PNP (Philippine National Police) Board of Inquiry, the International Monitoring Team, and the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, as useful reference for their work,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a press briefing in Malacañang.

The commission will reportedly include former Supreme Court chief justice Hilario Davide, Sr. and former senator Wigberto Tañada.

“Sa kasalukuyan, patuloy na ginagawa ng pamahalaan ang lahat ng nararapat upang mabatid ang kumpletong salaysay at buong katotohanan hinggil sa naganap sa Mamasapano, Maguindanao noong Enero 25,” he said.“Bigyan natin ng pagkakataon ang nasimulan na proseso ng Board of Inquiry ng PNP upang alamin ang bawat aspeto ng isinagawang operasyon, mula planning hanggang sa retrieval ng mga labi ng mga nasawing kasapi ng PNP-SAF.”

Secretary Coloma noted that according to PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, the comprehensive operational audit aims to identify those responsible for the operation and see if the PNP’s operational procedures were violated to prevent a recurrence of the incident.

The International Monitoring Team and the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities are also gathering information, he said, adding that all pertinent information will be relayed to the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“Ang ine-emphasize lang natin sa kasalukuyan ay ang bigyan natin ng pagkakataon ang mga nasimulan nang pagsisiyasat at makakakuha naman ng relevant information na maaari din namang gamiting reference kung meron pang ibang gustong mag-aral kung ano ang nangyari,” he said.

Asked if the President would be willing to face the commission to give his version of the events, Coloma said the President has related what he knows about the incident.

“At noong kinausap niya ang mga kasapi ng PNP-SAF, iyong mga wounded sa Camp Bagong Diwa noong nakaraang Biyernes, hiniling din niya sa kanila na isulat ang kanilang naaalala dahil sila ay tuwirang lumahok doon sa operasyon na iyon at mahalaga ang kanilang ibibigay na impormasyon,” he added.

Coloma said the Palace hopes to get an update within the week. PND (ag)

Officials gather for first APEC Public-Private Dialogue on Services
(CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Angeles City) Officials attending the First Senior Officials’ Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) here Tuesday conducted the First Public-Private Dialogue on Services to discuss issues confronting the service sector.

The country’s hosting of the APEC will put services at the center of the discussions, APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting Chairperson Laura del Rosario said when opening the event.

Services will be at the forefront of their priorities, such as regional economic integration, human capital development, promoting small and medium enterprises (SMEs), integration to the global supply chain, and sustainable and resilient communities, she said.

“We have been discussing connectivity in the past two years, specifically on the physical… person-to-person connectivity. But from where we are, we have always thought that services are the underlying glue in connectivity,” del Rosario said.

“Services are already being discussed in various working groups in APEC, for example, in health, tourism, transportation, energy, IT, human resources development, telecoms, e-commerce, global supply chain and also the SMEs.”

The APEC however has no coordinating mechanism in place, no framework on regulations and capacities in this area, she noted, adding that through the dialogue, she hopes to understand the intricacies of the universe of services.

Tuesday’s meeting is the first public-private dialogue on services to be held this year. It is expected to guide stakeholders in crafting policies, strategies and plans in moving toward the future.

The discussion will examine developments, challenges and opportunities for the services sector and identify new strategies for building the sector’s full potential.

Stakeholders will also try to generate policy options toward removing barriers to services trade and develop an innovative approach in pursuing the APEC’s services agenda.

The meeting is expected to foster collaboration and best practical exchanges to promote growth in the service sector.

The First Public-Private Dialogue will cover information technology and business process management (IT-BPM), creative industries, and research and development services.

The second dialogue will tackle services relevant to the goods sector, such as manufacturing-related services.

The two Public-Private Dialogues to be held at the margins of the First and Second Senior Officials’ Meetings will lead to the first Regional Conference of Services Coalitions and Services Industries of the Third Senior Officials’ Meeting in Cebu. PND (as)

Service sector as major engine for growth, tool versus poverty, trade expert says
(CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Angeles City) The rapid advancement of technology and information technology (IT) makes the service sector a major driver in fighting poverty in different economies, a trade expert saidTuesday.

Jane Drake-Brockman, senior service advisor of the International Trade Center, said that based on the latest available data, the service sector contributes more than the manufacturing sector.

Drake-Brockman was one of the speakers during the First Public-Private Dialogue on Services held here as part of the First Senior Officials’ Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) being hosted by the Philippines.

As services eclipse manufacturing, it has made a strong correlation in the reduction of poverty, she said, adding that increased employment in the service sector has been associated with an increase in the employment of women.

Services create deep relations between client and service provider, she said, noting that services now have high added value and are knowledge-intensive, although recent data have not kept track of the fast development in the sector.

Being high-value and knowledge-intensive make the sector a big contributor to productivity, Drake-Brockman said.

“Amazingly in this transition to highly traded, and highly knowledge-intensive, we have not lost any of that human resource intensity. Service is still the big employer and is still accounting for the bulk of job growth predicted into the next two decades,” she said.

“This is a remarkable thing and causes us to think very deeply about what we are doing to make sure that we all benefit from this.”

Drake-Brockman further said that services are twice as important to trade policy discussions.

Major developments in the service sector, she said,have occurred because of technological advancements.

Services, which are about the movement of people, information and capital, are now packaged and traded through the Internet due tothe advancement of IT and technology, Drake-Brockman explained.

The First Public-Private Dialogue on Services is the first of a series of meetings on services, envisioned to guide public and private stakeholders of APEC member economies. PND (as)

APEC Business Advisory Council pushes for the promotion of digital technology
(CLARK FREEPORT, Angeles City) The APEC Advisory Business Council (ABAC) underscored the importance of promoting digital technology as a way to attain the goal for a balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure regional growth.

Doris Magsaysay Ho, ABAC 2015 chair, in her welcome remarks during the Public-Private Dialogue on Services in the ongoing APEC Seniors Officials’ Meeting held at the Fontana Leisure Resorts here, said there is a need to make internet accessible to all in order to have an equal opportunities in the global market economy.

“The digital economy is increasingly giving opportunities never experienced before,” Ho said.

Thus, she said that a key part of ABAC’s agenda this year will focus on how to make the internet ecosystem work for everyone.

She said that one deliverable will be an online capacity building course to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including entrepreneurs, women at home, people with disabilities and young traders not only in goods but also in services across borders.

She said that among the factors that will make this goal successful include access to low cost digital goods.

Another one, Ho said, involves cross border data flows to allow financial institutions to analyze customer information and provide financial services.

However, she said that those opportunities are threatened by non-tariff barriers in the form of regulatory restrictions, lack of regulatory coherence and poor transparency in the development, implementation and application of regulations.

The ABAC chair expressed hope that through the Public-Private Dialogue on Services, the participants would be able to share best practices and experience and discuss emerging disruptive industries born out of the use of technology and other trends.

“We also hope to benefit from the wise counsel of experts to help our economies shape market regimes for services in the digital economy in a way that allows businesses and entrepreneurs to do well in the global services market,” she added.

She is also confident that the public-private dialogue will shape concrete work plans that will harness opportunities “for all to participate in the digital space as sound regulatory systems and conditions are necessary for businesses to operate effectively.”

The first Public-Private Dialogue on Services covers information technology and business process management, creative industries and research and development services. /ZST PND (as)