Category Archives: economy


Hundreds of MEPI ARB wait for their turn to sign amended AVA providing significantly enhanced economic benefits.

The Marsman Estate Plantation, Inc. (MEPI) and its Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) have reached yet another milestone in their decades-long partnership following the signing of a new agribusiness venture agreement (AVA) that would provide workers in the MEPI banana farm a significantly improved package of land rental, salaries and benefits that remain the highest in the industry. 

Both the MEPI management and members of the Davao Marsman Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development Cooperative (DAMARB) described the amended  AVA as a “win-win” solution that would guarantee the ARBs an unmatched array of benefits, which include a signing bonus and retroactive and advance rental payments for each ARB-signatory amounting to P105,000 as well as a regular monthly income for each of them. 



MEPI president Antero Sison, Jr., who reported this positive development in a letter dated June 21 to President Rodrigo Duterte, said majority of the ARBs working in the Marsman plantation have already signed the amended agreement. 
“As of this writing, 489 out of the 793 ARBs have already signed the amended agreement. At least 18 more ARBs who are residing outside Davao del Norte and/or are sick or incapacitated have committed to sign through their representatives. As your Excellency has voiced in a number of occasions, the Republic continues to be run under democratic principles and hence, the wishes of the majority must prevail,” Sison said in his letter to the President. 
Hernando Rivero, the chairman of the board of DAMARB, said the organization’s members find the amended agreement “to be reasonable and economically beneficial for themselves, the community, the banana industry and the government.” 
The amended lease AVA, Rivero said, will ensure that more than 1,800 employees of MEPI would get to keep their jobs, which will, in turn, benefit nearly 8,000 dependents. 


The new AVA signed between MEPI and DAMARB last June 1 also includes payment for land rental of P50,000 per hectare per year plus an escalation of P10,000 every five years, which is more than double the industry average. 
“For all ARBs, this will total P40 million per annum for the first five years alone, and getting higher as the escalation takes effect,” Sison said in his letter. 
As part of MEPI’s continued commitment to social responsibility, the new pact also grants medical/death benefits for retired ARBs, which are beyond the provisions of the existing collective bargaining agreement. 
Sison said the guaranteed monthly income for each ARB that would take effect starting January next year will come from an “innovative monthly rental payment scheme” that was agreed upon by the MEPI and the beneficiaries. 


The MEPI president said that even ARBs belonging to the minority groups, such as the Santo Tomas Individual Farmers Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (SIFARBCO) and Sto. Tomas Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (STARBENCO) may also avail themselves of this unprecedented increase in benefits by merely proposing to MEPI the same amendments to their lease AVA. 
He informed the President that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), which had recommended the cancellation of the lease AVA, “has also been notified of the win-win solution through a letter sent by DAMARB on 03 June 2017.” 
MEPI also followed this up with a separate notification to DAR on June 5. 
“Whilst MEPI has strong legal grounds to question the cancellation of the lease AVA, this will be a very long process which will delay the grant of benefits to landowners. With this win-win solution, the ARBs immediately enjoy the economic benefits of land ownership. This may be considered a landmark approach for addressing other AVA controversies,” Sison said in his letter to the President. 
Sison said that with the President’s support, the MEPI and the ARBs “look forward to finally putting this controversy to rest with the interest of all concerned parties accordingly addressed, most especially the economic welfare of the ARBs.” 
On top of getting pay and benefits that are way above industry standards, ARBs and their families in the MEPI banana farm also enjoy educational and health care coverage; generous vacati on and sick leaves with pay; housing, meal and medical allowances; performance, production, Christmas, Labor Day and longevity bonuses; life and accident insurance; and retirement benefits. 

Addressing poverty is key to more inclusive, sustainable growth

With the strong growth of the Philippine economy in the last six years, with average growth rate rising to around 6.2 percent from about three percent in the past, it is sad that more people still live in poverty.

Thus, the Duterte administration has proposed several tax reforms, citing that the current tax system in the country have lots of loopholes, which hampers the inclusion of more people from the domestic expansion and limits the country’s competitiveness, among others.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, in his speech during the 1 with the 99 Tax Forum in EDSA Shangri-La Wednesday, said reforms in the tax system targeted to slash poverty incidence rate in the country to 14 percent by 2022.
Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data show that poverty incidence among Filipinos is estimated at 21.6 percent as of end-2015, lower than the 25.2 percent in 2012.
Subsistence incidence, or share of those with incomes below the food threshold, was estimated at 8.1 percent in end-2015, down from the 10.4 percent in the previous three years.
How will the government ensure that more Filipinos have money to finance even their basic needs?
Dominguez said this could be done if more people would be able to go to school, healthy and eventually find quality jobs, which in turn would be provided by higher investments on infrastructure.
The current government targets to spend at least PHP8 trillion until 2022 for its massive infrastructure program, called “Build, Build, Build!”.
Domiguez said the government’s “ambitious” infrastructure program aimed to “allow the economy to be as efficient as the economies of our progressive neighbors.”
“We have called our infra program “Build, Build, Build!” to emphasize the urgency of addressing the congestion and inefficiency that threaten to choke our economic expansion. Bad infra can only contribute to economic exclusion,” he said.
The Finance chief said bringing the country’s infrastructure and logistics backbone at par with other Asian countries and aligning tax rates to regional average would enable the country to be among the high-income economies by 2040.
He said the government should maximize the benefits of current low interest rate environment in the country, along with oil prices that are currently “at benevolent levels,” and the regime of demographic sweet spot, or having a young workforce.
“This is the chance for us to break out from the cycle of moderate growth and achieve a fast-growing, dynamic and investment-driven economy. This is a conjuncture that allows us to join the ranks of tiger economies. We should not let this historic opportunity pass us.
“If we fail to reform our tax policies at this time, we will miss economic opportunities that may never converge again. On the other hand, if we act promptly and decisively, we will have the means to bring the next generation of Filipinos to prosperity,” he added. (PNA)


Signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on June 1, 2017, EO 27 directed all government agencies, including government-owned or -controlled corporation (GOCCs), and local government units (LGUs) to align their programs, budgets, and strategies with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and Public Investment Program (PIP) for 2017-2022.
The PDP 2017-2022 is the first medium-term development plan to operationalize Ambisyon Natin 2040—of attaining inclusive economic growth in the country and eventually transforming the Philippines into a globally competitive knowledge economy.
Launching of Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022
On the other hand, the PIP 2017-2022 contains the priority programs and projects to be implemented by the national government agencies and instrumentalities, including GOCCs, that contribute to the goals and outcomes in the PDP and within the medium term. Formulation of the PIP is slated for completion in July this year.
Under EO 27, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), headed by NEDA Director-General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, will monitor compliance, assess outcomes, update outputs, and recommend policy directions for the implementation of PDP and PIP 2017-2022.
“The NEDA Secretariat shall work together with various implementing agencies for the prioritization and sequencing of identified strategies, policies, programs, and projects, including proposed legislation. The monitoring of outcomes and implementation shall be reported regularly to the appropriate NEDA Board Committees, existing Cabinet Clusters, and Inter-Agency Committees of the government,” the EO stated.
“All heads of departments, offices, and instrumentalities of the national government, including GOCCs, are hereby directed to submit to the NEDA Board, through the NEDA Secretariat, the agency performance / accomplishment reports with respect to the outcomes and outputs identified in the PDP and PIP, in the format and frequency prescribed by the NEDA Secretariat. The NEDA Secretariat shall prepare the Socioeconomic Report to present the accomplishments of outputs and outcomes and recommend policy directions for moving forward,” the Order added.
As for the funding, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will identify the amount necessary to implement provisions of the Order. The annual appropriations, the EO said, shall be prepared in accordance with the regular government budget procedures and included in the budgets of the concerned government agencies under the General Appropriations Act. (PCO-Content)

DUTERTENOMICS in World Economic Forum



Members of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Cabinet presented before the international media the economic and development blueprint of the Philippines, aptly called “DuterteNomics,” on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN 2017 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital on Thursday, May 11.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, who opened the event said, ““Our milestones are ambitious. We will spend 5 to 7% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) every year on infrastructure.”
The Duterte administration plans to invest USD 160 billion in the country’s physical infrastructure under the program “Build-Build-Build Infrastructure Plan.
Included in the Build-Build-Build Infrastructure Plan are a 650-km network of new or improved roads from La Union in the north to Camarines Sur in the south, the country’s first subway system running in Metro Manila, rail projects running to the north and south of Manila and the Mindanao Railway.
Other projects include the transformation of Clark Airport into the country’s second premier gateway and the overall upgrading of the country’s entire airport system.
“Dutertenomics underlies our 6-year development plan to achieve high middle income status by the time our President leaves office within a generation. We aim to eliminate poverty and rank among the thirty largest economies in the world,” Andanar said.
This is similarly echoed by Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez who pointed out that the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is not just about drugs, but it is about making business and bringing change and prosperity for all, as envisioned by this presentation, which gathered some of the President’s cabinet officials.
Dutertenomics is a platform with accompanying ways of doing things, added Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, embodied by zero tolerance against corruption under the principle of accountability and transparency in a safe and secure environment. It is creating a scenario of return of investments, Tugade said.
Joining Andanar, Lopez and Tugade in the Dutertenomics Presentation were Secretary Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Secretary Alfonso Cusi of the Department of Energy (DOE), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Ernesto Pernia, President and CEO Vivencio Dizon of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.(PND/PNA)