- This socio-economic outlook is framed not only by the COVID-19 “black swan” but also by the recognized need to shore up the Philippines’ policy reform agenda toward sustaining and enhancing productivity and social equity. Prioritization of reforms taken in combination, in critical areas such as social protection, public health, foreign direct investments, supply chains and logistics, telecommunications/digital transformation reform and regulation, among others, can ultimately create the long-awaited architecture of resilience. This can be accomplished while building in flexibility attuned to the dynamism and unpredictability of the new environment and improving the capability to respond effectively and efficiently under the broadest range of risks and uncertainty.
- The Ecosystem Vitality policy objective of the 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI)1 by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy measures how well countries are preserving, protecting, and enhancing their ecosystems.
- The fourth pillar of the Duterte Administration’s socioeconomic strategy against COVID-19 aimed for an economic recovery program to create jobs and sustain growth. The COVID-19 resilience ranking (Bloomberg, June 2021) measures the success of 53 largest economies (valued at more than $200 billion) in containing the COVID-19 pandemic with least amount of social and economic disruption. Bloomberg considers various datasets, indicators, and indexes produced by organizations worldwide and applies three fundamental criteria—1) how complete is the data, 2) how current is the data, and 3) who collects the data—in whittling the list down to the 12 indicators that make up the Ranking. The data indicators are aggregated through the “max-min” method and scored on a 0-100 scale with 100 indicating the best performance and zero the worst, except on some indicators when the opposite applies.
- This paper examines the crucial challenges in strengthening the policy and institutional framework for performance budgeting. Considered as a sound Public Financial Management (PFM) practice, performance budgeting seeks to strengthen the government’s focus on delivering societal results (e.g., number of people lifted out of poverty) that matter most in the spending of limited government funds. These challenges including the gaps in the existing legal framework, the capacity to implement the reform, and performance measurement systems--affect the quality and utilization of performance information in budget preparation, execution, and accountability.
- The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is a government-owned and controlled corporation under the direct supervision of the Office of the President. A large part of the income from corporate operations goes to the Presidential Social Fund for the delivery of health programs, medical assistance and services, and other charities and the Prize Fund for the payment of prizes.
- Latest data from TomTom Traffic Index showed that Metro Manila’s annual traffic congestion significantly dropped to 53 percent in 2020 from 71 percent in 2019. This means that a 30-minute trip would take 53 percent longer that it would have during baseline uncongested conditions in Metro Manila. Despite the improvement in the annual traffic congestion following the imposition of COVID-19 community lockdowns, the Philippines remains to be the fourth most congested city in the world, from second place in 2019.
PB2021-04: Ratifying the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) : What’s in Store for the PhilippinesAs one of the signatories, the Philippines is expected to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement through Congress, specifically the Upper House or the Senate. As opinions vary on whether individual member countries stand to benefit from RCEP, there is a need to assess if the Agreement has the potential to benefit the Philippines in terms of trade and investments. This paper presents the topics included in the recently concluded RCEP Agreement, describes the economic linkages between the Philippines and its member states, examines the expected implications for the Philippines, and attempts to determine the possible steps the Philippines should take in order to maximize the gains from RCEP. Current data on Philippine trade and investments with RCEP member economies and related literature show that the Philippines will have minimal gains in being a member of the RCEP as the balance of trade with RCEP countries is expected to deteriorate and the bulk of current investments still comes from Japan and traditional non-RCEP economies such as the US and EU. However, given RCEP’s wider geographic coverage, the possibility of cumulation within RCEP if commitments to common/harmonized rules of origin for all goods traded in the region will be implemented has the potential to increase the Philippines’ trade and investments given the country’s moderately high global value chain participation, especially in medium- and high technology manufacturing sector. Maximizing the gains from RCEP, however, will depend on the country’s ability to address supply side constraints such as high administrative and compliance costs, infrastructure constraints, governance concerns, and market entry restrictions.
- The 2019 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report on the State of the World’s Children (SOWC) discusses issues involving children such as birth weight, nutrition, illnesses and immunization coverage, among others. The report noted the following health indicators on children in the Philippines: highest rate of low birth weight among ASEAN Member States (AMS); third highest percentage of pre-school children who are stunted; and lowest immunization coverage for vaccinepreventable diseases among AMS.
- The World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY), first published in 1989 by the International Management and Development (IMD), is a comprehensive annual report and worldwide reference point on the competitiveness of countries. It provides benchmarks and trends, as well as statistics and survey data based on extensive research. It analyzes and ranks countries according to how they manage their competencies to achieve long-term value creation.
PB2021-03: Moving Forward with Sustainable Forest Management: A Review of Philippine Forest Protection PoliciesThe apparently massive decline in the country’s forest cover over the decades is alarming as forests provide vital ecological services and are crucial to human survival. Ideally, Philippine forest policies should promote sustainable forest management. This paper analyzes major forest policies of the country, namely Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM), National Greening Program (NGP)/Expanded NGP, National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS)/Expanded NIPAS, and assesses how responsive these policies are mainly in terms of helping to protect and/or enhance the country’s forest cover. The policies are studied based on relevance, effectiveness, impacts, equity, feasibility and sustainability. The reforms proposed by the author to make these policies work or succeed better are widely institutional in nature.
- National government (NG) revenues in January-April 2021 grew by 3.9% -- from P950.8 billion in 2020 to P988.4 billion. Compared to pre-COVID pandemic (2019) level, NG revenue performance year-on-year (y-o-y) is behind by P8 billion.
- The Philippines placed 68th spot (out of 120 countries) in the 2021 Inclusive Internet Index (3i). For 2018-2021, the ranking of the Philippines continuously declined from 55th to 68th. The Inclusive Internet Index (3i), commissioned by Facebook and developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit, seeks to measure the extent to which the Internet is not only accessible and affordable, but also relevant to all, allowing usage that enables positive social and economic outcomes at the individual and group levels.
- According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), there are 12,870 total banks comprising the Philippine banking system (PBS) in 2019. The PBS includes universal and commercial banks, thrift banks, and rural and cooperative banks located all over the country plus their overseas offices. Universal banks make up almost half of the PBS, while the shares of other banks are as follows:
- The Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 10000) mandates all government and private banking institutions to allocate at least 25% of their total loanable funds for agriculture and agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs). Fifteen percent of the loanable funds must be allocated to the agriculture sector and the remaining 10% to ARBs.
- The third strategic theme under the Governance Framework: Duterte Administration 2016-2022 is Permanent and Lasting Peace, reinforced by significantly improved welfare through housing, particularly for the marginalized and the impoverished. Despite the increasing demand for decent housing, the level of production as well as the budget allocation for residential projects and related services continue to be inadequate. This is partly reflected in the continuing housing backlog problem and in the increasing prices of housing units over the years.
- The Philippine Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) is a multi-sectoral initiative that implements the EITI, the global standard of transparency in the mining, oil and gas industries for open and accountable governance of natural resources. PH-EITI was formally established through Executive Order (EO) No. 147, s. 2013, pursuant to EO No. 79, s. 2012.
- Republic Act 4566 (Contractors’ License Law), as amended by P.D. No. 1746 provides that no contractor, sub-contractor or specialty contractor shall engage in the business of contracting without an existing approved contractor’s license from the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB). All architects and engineers preparing plans and specifications for work to be contracted in the Philippines shall indicate in their invitation to bidders whether they are residents of the Philippines or not. Moreover, a bidder (whether contractor, sub-contractor or specialty contractor) must possess an existing approved license in order to qualify to bid.
- The Climate Change (CC) issue category in the 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy measures the progress of countries in dealing with global warming, which exacerbates all other environmental threats and imperils human health and safety. This category is composed of eight indicators focusing on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
- One year into nationwide quarantine since March 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic, the country recorded the lowest unemployment rate of 7.1% in March 2021 which translates to 3.44 million unemployed Filipinos 15 years and over, according to the latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) Report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). This represents a decrease of 10.5 percentage points compared to the 17.6% recorded in April 2020 when unemployment rate was at the highest.
PB2021-02: Strengthening the Policy Framework for Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Infrastructure DevelopmentThis CPBRD Policy Brief looks into the progress and performance of the Philippines’ PPP program over the years. PPPs continue to be an important pillar of infrastructure development providing a viable option for infrastructure financing apart from the traditional procurement using the national budget and official development assistance (ODA). Improvements in the country’s overall PPP framework are indeed a work in progress that needed to be sustained especially in tackling key issues on contingent liabilities and unsolicited proposals which weighed heavily on the country’s fragile fiscal position in the past.
- Some 62.1% of Filipino households experienced moderate to severe food insecurity in 2020 amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Rapid Nutrition Assessment Survey (RNAS) conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute.
- The National Budget for FY 2021 is so crucial as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic on two fronts—health and economy. The socio-economic effects of the health crisis are far-reaching such that government needs to strike a careful balance in addressing the COVID-19 threat while helping the economy to recover from a huge slump. Restarting the economy is vital in order to generate the jobs needed to raise household incomes and provide for unmet basic needs (including education and healthcare).
- The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2021 from -0.7 percent in the same period in 2020 (Figure 1). This translates to PhP187.7 billion real value loss, and marks the fifth straight quarter of decline of the GDP since the first quarter of 2020. For each of the next three quarters of 2021, the Philippine economy needs to expand by roughly 10.1 percent in order to reach the lower end of the government’s full year growth target of 6.5 percent.
- The economic freedom rank of the Philippines declined from 70th (out of 180 countries) spot in 2019 to 73rd (out of 178 countries) in 2020 with a score of 64.1 points. This still placed the Philippines in the moderately free economy category, which refers to a geographically and economically diverse group of economies having a score which is above the world average in the economic freedom index. Other categories include free, mostly free, mostly unfree, and repressed economies.
PB2021-01: Promoting Sustainability through Reform in the Pension System for Military and Uniformed PersonnelThe current Military and Uniformed Personnel Separation, Retirement, and Pension System has long exerted considerable strain on the National Government’s (NG) finances and has been the subject of reform proposals. The issue can be summed up in two points. The first is the direct-funding mechanism where the NG appropriates significant amounts in the annual budget due to the absence of a contributions-based scheme. The second point refers to generous features, particularly the indexation policy that automatically adjusts pensioners’ benefits to the base pay of their counterparts in active service, resulting in both fiscal and equity issues among government personnel. Recent government estimates revealed that without reform, the NG will need about P800 billion annually in the next 20 years. To address the situation, several house bills proposing for the establishment of a contributionsbased system and the abolition of the indexation policy, among others, have been filed. This paper discusses (a) key features of related measures and (b) presents equity and budgetary implications of proposed reforms. Under the proposed Executive-supported bill, the NG can see a significant drop in projected budgetary requirements due to the creation of a contributions-based system and declining directly-appropriated amounts for pension benefits of existing retirees.
- The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has reported the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 9.6 percent in 2020 from an expansion of 6.1 percent in 2019. Economic output in all of the seventeen (17) regions of the Philippines declined in 2020 (Table 1). Double-digit contractions in output were recorded by Region III (-13.9 percent), Region IVA (-10.5 percent), and NCR (-10.1 percent). In total, these three regions accounted for 57.1 percent of total GDP for 2020.
- The Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) seeks to correct a number of deficiencies in the tax system to make it simpler, fairer, and more efficient. This report presents the revenue impact of the three CTRP reform packages on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) tax collections.
- Although higher than the programmed expenditure of P609.3 billion for 2020 by 11.8 percent, the country’s actual public infrastructure spending amounting to P681.1 billion in 2020 is 22.8 percent lower compared to P881.7 billion in 2019. Similarly, the 2020 public infrastructure expenditure at 4.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) is also lower compared to 2019’s 5.4 percent of GDP (Figure 1). According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the lower infrastructure spending in 2020 is largely due to the discontinuance of some capital outlay projects to fund the COVID-19 expenditures of the government under the Bayanihan We Heal as One Act (Republic Act No. 11469) and the unintended delays in the execution of some other programs because of the pandemic.
- The 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, Yale University provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability around the world. The 2020 EPI used 32 indicators to rank countries based on their environmental performance. The ranking is based on two major categories: a) environmental health with 7 indicators and b) ecosystem vitality with 25 indicators.
- The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported a total of P4.4 trillion in allotment releases (as of 31 December 2020). Total programmed appropriations amounting to P4.1 trillion was fully released, with an additional P273.4 billion—mostly funded out of Unprogrammed Appropriations (P193 billion). Table 1 shows that budgetary adjustments in 2020 resulted in an overall reduction of P45.9 billion from the original program for Departments. On the other hand, the adjusted program for Special Purpose Funds (SPFs) and Automatic Appropriations increased by P35.9 billion and P10 billion, respectively.
FF2021-27: Employment, Household Income and Associated Coping Mechanisms Amid Covid-19 in Select ASEAN Member StatesThe World Bank launched in November 2020 its COVID-19 High-Frequency Monitoring Dashboard. It is intended to provide timely and relevant information that may be used by policymakers to assess the impact of COVID-19 such as on employment, household income, and hunger. The data was generated from nationwide household mobile phone surveys undertaken on different months in 2020. For the countries covered in this report, surveys took place in May (Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar), June (Vietnam), July (Lao PDR) and August (Philippines).
- The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported a 5.5 percent headline* inflation rate for the country’s bottom 30 percent income households (HH) for March 2021. This income group posted the same rate in February 2021 which is also significantly higher compared with the 2.4 percent inflation rate logged in March 2020.
- Non-tax revenues are fees collected in relation to direct services of government agencies to the public and those arising from the government’s regulatory and investment activities.
- On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic and called on all countries to take urgent and aggressive action to mitigate or prevent its spread. Republic Act (RA) 11469, also known as the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” or Bayanihan 1, was signed into law on 24 March 2020 as a response of the government to the COVID-19 crisis. Note that initial measures were already undertaken by the President through—(a) Presidential Proclamation No. 922 issued on 08 March 2020 declaring a State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines, and (b) Presidential Proclamation No. 929 issued on 16 March 2020 imposing an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) throughout Luzon due to the continuing rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and the serious threat to the health, safety, security, and lives of the Filipino people.
- National Government (NG) cash expenditures increased by 11.3% to P4.2 trillion in 2020 from P3.8 trillion in 2019. Expenditure-to-GDP ratio also went up by 4 percentage-points to 23.5% in 2020. The increase in GDP ratio can be attributed partly to lower GDP from the previous year. Higher cash expenditures coupled with lower revenue collection resulted in the doubling of deficits in 2020 to P1.4 trillion which was financed by borrowings.
- There is an estimated 3.9 million unemployed Filipinos in January 2021, which translates to an unemployment rate of 8.7% based on the Labor Force Survey Report of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
- The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) defines Consumer Price Index (CPI) as an indicator of the change in the average retail prices of a predetermined fixed basket of goods and services commonly purchased by households relative to a base year. Inflation rate is derived by measuring the rate of change in the CPI between two periods.
- The national government (NG) yielded P2,856.0 billion in total revenues in fiscal year 2020, of which P2,504.4 billion were derived from tax sources and P351.5 billion from non-tax sources. As shown in Figure 1, actual tax collections exceeded the revised program of P2,205.2 by 13.6% (or an amount equivalent to P299.2 billion) but was significantly lower than the original target of P3,332.4 billion.
- The Philippines ranked 9th in the world as the most affected country from extreme weather events in the 2020 World Risk Index (WRI) with a score of 20.96 (Table 1). On November 2020, Super Typhoon Goni (Rolly), the world’s most powerful tropical cyclone during the year brought torrential rains, violent winds, storm surges, and massive flooding all over Luzon. The Pacific island state of Vanuatu leads the index as the country with the highest disaster risk at 49.74.
- In December 2020, loans outstanding (net of reverse repurchase agreements) of the Philippine banking system declined by 1.3 percent to P10.1 trillion from P10.2 trillion in December 2019. The weak bank lending, largely a result of the pandemic, was already observed earlier in November 2020 when it fell by 0.2 percent. This was the first time that the growth in loans from the Philippine banking system contracted after more than 13 years of positive growth, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
- The COVID-19 pandemic heavily ravaged economies and disrupted lives. It prompted governments to impose lockdowns and health protocols to control the spread of infection. A year into the pandemic, countries continue to impose minimum health standards, and in some cases, lockdowns or some form of mobility restriction. These measures have the unintended effect of curtailing economic activity, thus, requiring governments to provide relief to individuals and support to different sectors, especially critically-affected ones.
- The FY 2020 National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF) is a lumpsum appropriation under Republic Act No. 11465 or the General Appropriations Act of 2020. The NDRRMF is intended for aid, relief and rehabilitation services to areas and communities affected by human-induced and natural calamities.
- The Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) involves a set of policies and practices that enables a country to attract, develop, and retain the human capital that contributes to the productivity of a country. The GTCI was jointly produced by the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD), the Adecco Group (a multinational human resource consulting company), and Singapore’s Human Capital Leadership Institute.
- The Global Connectivity Index (GCI) is a report published by Huawei Technologies to analyze a broad spectrum of indicators for information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and digital transformation. The GCI benchmarks 79 countries according to their performance in four pillars and 40 indicators that track the impact of ICT on a nation’s economy, digital competitiveness and future growth. Combined, these countries account for 95 percent of global GDP.
- There are a total of 45 bills currently filed that seek to establish a Magna Carta for Barangays that will provide barangay officials with compensation at par with City/Municipal Councilors. Currently, the barangay chairperson receives a minimum rate of P1,000 per month while the barangay kagawads, secretary, treasurer, and SK chairpersons receive a minimum of P600. The proposed legislation will entitle the barangay chairpersons to compensation ranging from salary grades 24-27, depending on LGU type. Meanwhile, barangay kagawads will be given eighty percent (80%) of the salary of their barangay chairperson, and the SK chairpersons, barangay secretaries, and treasurers are set to receive seventy-five percent (75%). This paper aims to estimate the funding that the proposed measure entails.
- The Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project of the World Bank (WB) reports on the six broad dimensions of governance for over 215 countries and territories over the period 1996 to 2019. The dimensions include: 1) Voice and Accountability; 2) Political Stability and Absence of Violence; 3) Government Effectiveness; 4) Regulatory Quality; 5) Rule of Law; and 6) Control of Corruption. The Philippine Development Plan (PDP) envisions that by next year (2022), the country will have improved rankings in the global governance indices..
- The National Government (NG) borrows from domestic and external sources to finance its operations and investments, given inadequate tax and non-tax revenues. Borrowings form an integral part of NG financing, especially during periods of economic distress, when a decline in economic activity leads to lower revenues. The greater role of borrowings is evident during economic contractions, such as the crisis that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of access to adequate water for safe drinking, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH)1 in preventing diseases. For instance, the World Health Organization recommended washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to eliminate the virus effectively.
- The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) was first launched in 1995 by the Transparency International (TI). The goal of the CPI is to provide data on extensive perceptions of corruption within countries, and to enhance understanding of levels of corruption from one country to another. The countries and territories included in the CPI report increased from 41 in 1995 to 180 in 2020.
- The Philippine economy, as measured by the gross domestic product (GDP), contracted by 8.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 from a growth of 6.7 percent in the same period in 2019. For the whole of 2020, GDP shrank by 9.5 percent from an expansion of 6.0 percent in 2019. This is at the low-end of the government’s growth estimate of -8.5% to -9.5% for 2020. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the 9.5 percent GDP contraction in 2020 is the worst economic performance ever based on recorded data since 1945.
- The Philippines ranked 17th in the world as the most affected country from extreme weather events in the Global Climate Risk Index (CRI) 2021. The country got a score of 26.67 using 2019 data. In 2018, it ranked 2nd in the index with a score of 11.17, the lowest during the 2015-2019 period. Note that Typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong), a category 5 super typhoon and the most powerful typhoon recorded worldwide in 2018, made landfall in Cagayan province in September of that year.
CSP-59: A COMPENDIUM OF BRIEFS ON PRIORITY LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE 18TH CONGRESSThe urgent demands of policy formulation, midway into the Eighteenth Congress, involves the continuous grind of the legislative mill even as key legislation have been enacted in the first half, notably those that seek to address the COVID-19 pandemic, namely the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1) and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), among other measures likewise crucial to national development. To give research support to the remaining work of the Eighteenth Congress, the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) produced this compendium of briefs on 96 individual legislative proposals classified into four policy areas, namely economic, social development, fiscal, and governance. Each brief presents key aspects requiring legislative intervention and the salient features of the specific legislative proposal.
- The Global Food Security Index (GFSI) by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Corteva Agriscience considers the core issues of food affordability, availability and quality across a set of 113 countries. GFSI further assesses a country’s exposure to the impact of a changing climate, its susceptibility to natural resources risks, and how the country is adapting to these risks. Scores are categorized as weak (20.0- 39.9), moderate (40.0 - 59.9), good (60.0 - 79.9), and very good (80.0+).
- The Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO) is a report published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) which aims to assess water management and security conditions of 49 economies in the Asia-Pacific region. To measure the extent of water security, each country is assessed in the AWDO through the National Water Security Index (NWSI) representing the five stages of water security. The NWSI has a maximum value of 5 and a maximum score of 100. Each stage of the index corresponds to the total scores of a country’s five key dimensions (KDs) on water security with the most advanced stage categorized as “model” and the least advanced as “nascent.”