19 September 2015

APEC News Release

No credentials for a business loan? Philippines proposes use of utility bills for MSME financing
(MANILA) The Philippines is looking at starting an initiative that would allow micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to apply for financing using their record in paying monthly electricity and water dues as credentials.

Department of Trade and Industry Nora Terrado, chair of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women and the Economy 2015 Fora, said this proposal conforms with the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE) 2015-2018 Strategic Plan that “supports the integration of gender responsive policies to further advance women’s empowerment and gender equality.”

In the Philippines, more than 60 percent of MSMEs are owned by women.

Terrado highlighted the need for the informal sector to build credentials “because most of them don’t have bank accounts.”

One of the initiatives currently being discussed is to get a record “of how good they are at paying simple dues.”

“What is their habit of paying electricity (and water), etc.? If they can establish (credit-paying) habits then that will help them have access to capital,” Terrado explained during the APEC Women and the Economy 2015 Fora press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Most of these micro entrepreneurs, the official said, need only about P500,000 to P750,000 to boost their business capital.

She noted that the Landbank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, for instance, have made credit facilities amounting to P1 million available to MSMEs.

This is what the government aims to provide to MSMEs–“giving our micro entrepreneurs a chance to get loans because they have limited capital.”

“We have to work on certain interventions, both the government and the private sector, as PPP (Public-Private Partnership) to allow more opportunities on that respect,” Terrado said.

On Friday, representatives from APEC member economies delivered their joint statement under this year’s theme “Women as Prime Movers of Inclusive Growth,” aiming to reaffirm women’s “crucial role” in achieving economic prosperity and women’s leadership roles as imperative for competitiveness and success in the private and public sectors.

Terrado said the strategic plan will address five areas of APEC’s women empowerment objective. These are: improved access to capital and assets; access to markets; skills, capacity-building, and health; women’s leadership, voice, and agency; and innovation and technology. (acg)

Palace welcomes passage of Japan’s new security laws
Malacanang welcomed the passage of Japan’s National Diet of legislations that would allow Japanese soldiers to fight overseas in defense of their allies.“We welcome the passage of legislation on national security by Japan’s National Diet,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a radio interview on Saturday.

“As Japan is our strategic partner, we look forward to efforts to strengthen such to further our mutual goals of greater peace and stability in the international community,” he told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

Asked if President Aquino will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the APEC Leaders’ Summit in November, Lacierda said the foreign affairs department is still finalizing the list of the President’s meetings.

President Aquino was reported to be meeting the leader of Vietnam during the summit.

“I don’t have the exact list right now. We will just wait for the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) to make the proper announcement,” he said.

Japan’s parliament passed contentious security bills into law early Saturday, allowing Japanese troops to fight abroad.

Japanese lawmakers approved the bills to ease restrictions on the country’s tightly controlled military, despite mounting opposition as the country drifts away from pacifism. Japan has remained a pacifist nation for the last 70 years.

Like the Philippines, Japan has a territorial dispute with China in the East China Sea. The Philippines and Japan, in recent years, have agreed to strengthen military cooperation in the midst of China’s aggressive posturing. PND (as)

Malacanang vows to help ‘Lumads’ and discourages rebellion
The government will continue to address the needs of the Lumads in Mindanao, the Palace said on Saturday, noting that under the present administration, no one will be left behind.In a radio interview, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said there is a data showing that three out of four rebel returnees in Surigao del Sur are Lumads, which means the area is still gripped by poverty and its people don’t get much government support.

“It’s a significant amount, three out of four rebel returnees, it shows that people… You know, if there is no access to resources by some people, they will really resort to extralegal means,” Lacierda told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“We have seen a number of rebel returnees coming back to the fold. It shows that our serbisyo caravan na ginagawa po natin sa ating mga kababayan, sa ating mga kapatid na Lumad, ay nagkakaroon po ng epekto,” he said.

With regards to the Lumad killings, Lacierda said there was a crime that happened and it is a law enforcement issue. He said the Philippine National Police is investigating, adding that the armed forces had issued a statement about the incident.

“Maraming mga information ang lumalabas, and may nag-iimbestiga, nandiyan ang PNP. I’m certain that the AFP will lend its support to any investigation on the Lumad killings,” Lacierda said. PND (as)

Palace elated over improved global innovation index ranking of the Philippines
Malacanang said it is elated over the Philippines’ ranking in the 2015 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Global Innovation Index (GII) leapfrogging by 17 notches to 83rd from last year’s 100th.

This is the country’s best performance so far in the GII in the last five years.

“We welcome the positive news that the Philippines has moved up 17 notches in the 2015 Global Innovation Index (GII),” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a radio interview on Saturday over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“With our score rising from 29.87 last year to 31.05, we now rank as the 83rd most innovative economy among the 141 economies surveyed.”

“Once again, this affirms the effectiveness of the Aquino administration’s prudent management and reform efforts,” he noted.
Moving forward, he said the administration will continue pursuing inclusivity for all Filipinos, regardless of class or gender, toward a country of equal opportunities and possible dreams.The country’s standing in the GII was not consistent since 2011, according to the data from the National Competitiveness Council (NCC). It fared poorly last year, when its ranking fell to 100th from 90th the previous year.

The new ranking makes the country the fifth most improved among the 144 economies evaluated, according to the business sector.

The Philippines moved up in the business-sophistication pillar, which refers to how sophisticated the business community adopts technology.

This year’s GII considered two main indices—the Innovation Input Sub-index and the Output Subindex, both of which are composed of input and output pillars.

The two indices reflect the regulations the economy has in enabling innovation, and the actual evidence of innovation, respectively.

The 2015 GII ranked the innovation performance of 144 economies. It is co-published by Cornell University and World Intellectual Property Organization and the graduate business school INSEAD. PND (as)

Philippines on track in APEC goal for greater women participation in nation building
MANILA) The Philippines is “on track” in achieving the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) goal of greater women’s participation in nation-building.

“We are on track, the right track,” said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary for Management Services Nora Terrado at the press conference following the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy hosted by Manila this week.

At the same time, Undersecretary Terrado, who is also the vice chair of the dialogue, said that APEC goals related to gender equality are also likely to be reached. Citing the individual reports of the 21 APEC member economies, she said everyone is making progress in ensuring more women are in elective positions, sensitive government posts such as the Supreme Court, and even in private corporations.

The APEC action plan seeks to reduce the gender gap by 25 percent by 2025, especially addressing gender disparities in women’s labor force participation.

“We, APEC ministers, heads of delegations, senior officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations and private sector leaders, affirm Women as Prime Movers to Inclusive Growth and commit to work towards achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women, and building a better world,” according to the APEC Women and the Economy 2015 Fora Joint Statement issued Friday.

In the Philippines, one in four district representatives (or 78 of 289 members of parliament) and one in three senators (7 of 24) are women, Terrado said. Also, the current chief justice of the Supreme Court is a woman; appointed as first- and second-level judges, even under Sharia, are women; and almost two of five (630 of 1,645) public prosecutors are women.

By law, Section 11 of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) expressly mandates the government to undertake the following affirmative actions:

• Increase incrementally within the next five years the number of women in third-level positions in government to achieve a 50-50 gender balance;

• Ensure that at least 40 percent of the members of all development councils and planning bodies in the regional, provincial, city, municipal, and barangay levels shall be women;

• Ensure the opportunity of women on equal terms with men and without any discrimination to represent their government at the international level and to participate in the work of international organizations;

• Provide incentives to political parties with women’s agenda;

• Take measures to encourage women leadership in the private sector in the form of incentives. (acg)