October 21 2015

APEC News Release

Relief goods distributed by Mar, Leni in Baler not from government, says Palace official
Malacañang on Wednesday clarified that the relief goods distributed by administration candidates Manuel Roxas II and Leni Robredo to families affected by Typhoon Lando in Baler, Aurora province were not from the government.Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has prepositioned goods in Baler and the relief goods brought by Roxas and Robredo were for augmentation.

“These relief goods that are being given by Mar and Leni are augmentation. Ibig pong sabihin may mga prepositioned goods po ang DSWD roon,” Secretary Laciera said during a press briefing at the Palace.

“So, augmentation ‘yon. Meron hong mga prepositioned goods. Hindi ho ginamit ang goods ng gobyerno,” he added.

The Palace official stressed that the Liberal Party’s presidential and vice presidential bets went to Baler only to check on the typhoon victims and distribute relief goods.

“Bakit niya lalagyan ng pulitika ang isang bagay na hindi naman dapat lagyan ng pulitika? Nasabi po natin ay tutulungan po ang taumbayan,” Lacierda said in reaction to reports that Baler Mayor Nelianto Bihasa denied receiving relief goods from Roxas and Robredo because the mayor belongs to PDP-Laban.

“Ang mahalaga sa amin ‘yung taumbayan. Ang taumbayan dapat ang makatanggap ng relief goods, at hindi si Mayor Bihasa,” he said.

“May litrato pong nilabas ang media bureau po nila ay nakatanggap po ang taumbayan ng Baler ng relief goods. Ang mahalaga kasi rito ang relief goods mapunta sa taumbayan, hindi po doon sa mayor… At saka ang PDP-Laban, hindi ho kalaban, kasama ho sa coalition ang PDP-Laban,” he added.

Lacierda also noted that Roxas’ group announced the suspension of campaigning last Monday.

“Sinabi niya ‘nung Lunes nagsuspinde sila ng kampanya dahil, in fact, kinonvert (convert) nila ‘yung Balay, ‘yung headquarters nila into a relief packing (center). So, lahat sila. kung mapapansin ‘yung litrato nila, hindi sila nakasuot dilaw at saka hindi sila nagsasalita, nangangampanya roon, diretso pagbigay ng relief goods, kausap ang mga taumbayan, tapos alis na. So, klarong-klarong sinuspinde ng kampo nila ang kampanya,” Lacierda explained. PND (jm)

Participation of progressive leftist groups in politics, good for country’s democracy, says official
The government wants progressive leftist organizations to become active participants in the country’s politics to give them an opportunity to air their views, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Wednesday.

A spate of killings in Mindanao, including the slaying of Lumads, has called attention to the need for the government to distinguish between armed communist guerillas and those who belong to legal fronts.

On views that, following the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law, the New People’s Army (NPA) gained momentum in some areas and grew bolder with the support of organizations that are considered legal, Secretary Lacierda said the Supreme Court has already declared the Anti-Subversion Law unconstitutional and this cannot be reversed.

“Now, certainly, we want the progressive left to come join the mainstream,” he told reporters during a media briefing in Malacañang.

“That is why you have the participation of Bayan Muna, Bayan, and all the other progressive left organizations, which is good because they participate in the mainstream society. They are able to discourse in public their views,” he explained.

“As to whether they are fronts of the New People’s Army and all that, that is not something that we would like to comment on. It is up to them to convince people what their organizations are.”

As to whether these organizations are violating the law, there are laws and guidelines that the government must enforce, he said.

There are laws for specific crimes, for instance, sedition or inciting to sedition, Lacierda said, adding that it is up to authorities to determine whether these groups break the rules.

“Alam nila kung ano ‘yung batas. ‘Yan po ay isang bagay na, on the progressive left, kaya sila bumaba, kaya sila nag-join ng mainstream ay talagang kailangan din natin ang kanilang tinig para magkaroon ng mas magandang diskusyon sa publiko,” he said.

Members of the NPA are suspected of being behind the recent killing of a Lumad mayor and his son in Agusan del Sur province. PND (as)

APEC officials highlight advantage of info provided by World Bank’s ease of doing business report
(LAPU LAPU CITY, Cebu) The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) could take advantage of the new developments and improvements introduced by the World Bank Doing Business (DB) Report and other resources, including information on regulatory challenges and reform experiences at the local level, to work towards increasing economic opportunities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).The move would stimulate the creation of new businesses, facilitate access to credit, reduce unemployment, and support innovative firms, which would in turn result in a more inclusive and sustained economic growth in the APEC region, said ministers and high level officials of APEC economies who gathered here last month to discuss the progress of the APEC’s work on structural reform.

The APEC officials made the declaration in Attachment B – Second APEC Ease of Doing Business Action Plan (2016 to 2018) of the joint statement they issued following the conclusion of the 2015 APEC Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting, even as they pointed out the inaccuracies of the World Bank’s DB Report that examines the progress made by APEC member economies in enhancing the business environment in their respective areas of concern, in particular, and the Asia-Pacific region, in general.

They pointed out the issue of “potential under-reporting of progress” as measured by World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings.

“The World Bank’s Doing Business Report does not always accurately reflect changes in the enabling environment for each economy under analysis,” the APEC officials noted.

“Hence, numerous reforms undertaken by APEC economies in the 2010-2014 period and that have been highlighted by economies during APEC Economic Committee (EC)-related workshops and policy dialogues may not have been captured by DB. Over time, they eventually will translate into outcomes reported by the World Bank’s DB report.”

The DB Report, a study elaborated by the World Bank Group every year since 2003, aims to measure the costs to firms of business regulations in 189 countries in 2015.

The study has become one of the flagship knowledge products of the World Bank Group in the field of private sector development, and is claimed to have motivated the design of several regulatory reforms in developing countries.

It presents every year a detailed analysis of costs, requirements and procedures a specific type of private firm is subject in all countries, and then, creates rankings for every country.

The study is also backed up by broad communication efforts, and by creating rankings, it spotlights countries and leaders that are promoting reforms.

Widely known and used by academics, policymakers, politicians, development experts, journalists and the business community to highlight red tape and promote reforms, the DB Report is usually released in late October or early November of each year.

However, in pointing out its inaccuracies, APEC officials noted the fact that the World Bank uses standardized assumptions about firms in its DB Report.

“For example, it contemplates firms that do not engage in foreign transactions,” the APEC ministers said. “Thus, some improvements that are inherently important for furthering the APEC objective of integrating small and medium-size enterprises and entrepreneurs into global value chains may not be adequately captured by the World Bank’s Doing Business indicators.”

In 2009, the APEC launched the Ease of Doing Business Action Plan and set an aspirational target of making it 25 percent cheaper, faster and easier to do business in the Asia-Pacific region in five priority areas by 2015, with an interim target of 5 percent by 2011.

The APEC ministers instructed officials to develop multi-year capacity building work programs for each Ease of Doing Business priority area: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, trading across borders, getting credit, and enforcing contracts.

In an effort to present a more accurate assessment of the progress of each member economy, the APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU) subsequently conducted annual interim assessments, which show that APEC economies have made continuous progress in the five areas from 2010 to 2014.

The collective improvement registered as of early 2015 (12.7 percent) is lower than the pro-rata 2014 benchmark of the 2015 goal (20 percent). Moreover, improvements in some areas were more difficult than others, like enforcing contracts and getting credit, reflecting the challenges in pursuing and implementing complex structural reforms.

The PSU report showed that many of the easier improvements, such as streamlining procedures and reducing costs, have in large part been accomplished. More difficult issues involving institutional changes that will help sustain reform in the long run still need to be addressed.

In the current economic context, APEC economies recognize the importance of renewing the emphasis on structural reforms needed to boost productivity and to make growth stronger and more inclusive, and thus, have agreed to continue supporting the implementation of regulatory reforms to improve the business environment in the region through the Second APEC Ease of Doing Business Action Plan (2016-2018).

The APEC said it will build on the experience and information shared during the 2010 to 2015 period to intensify its efforts to implement reform, while also contributes to the advancement of several other APEC priorities and initiatives, such as the APEC Growth Strategy, APEC Structural Reform Agenda, and the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Working Group Strategic Plan. (APEC Communications Group)