DA approves P1-billion loan program amid pandemic

THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture (DA), through its Agriculture Credit Policy Council (ACPC), has approved an initial P1 billion for loans to help the sector amid threats to food security caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said in a statement the allotment is part of the agency’s Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid) and Recovery Project. The loans will provide working capital to ensure…

"DA approves P1-billion loan program amid pandemic"

ERC authorizes transfer of FiT-All component to fund renewable energy firms

THE ENERGY Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Friday allowed the National Transmission Corp. (TransCo) to draw funds from the Feed-in-Tariff Differential (FD) component of the Feed-in-Tariff Allowance (FiT-All) chest to augment deficiencies in the cost recovery revenue (CRR) sub-account to continue funding renewable energy producers. This came following the suspension of the FiT-All collection as ordered by the ERC, bringing a power rate cut by P0.04 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in the next utilities billing cycle. “This…

"ERC authorizes transfer of FiT-All component to fund renewable energy firms"

PHL WiFi use increases in March

FREEPIK.COM WIFI USE in the country rose consistently in March, registering Asia’s largest increase in internet use by the third week, a global mobile analytics company said. OpenSignal data on smartphone WiFi use amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic said time on WiFi in the Philippines grew 4.2% week-on-week to 55.8% in the second week of March, according to their metric. Time on WiFi then jumped by 13.4% to 63.3% by the third week,…

"PHL WiFi use increases in March"

Current account deficit seen widening to 2.6% of GDP as exports weaken — Fitch Solutions

THE CURRENT account deficit is expected to expand this year to about 2.6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to weak external demand during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic, according to Fitch Solutions Macro Research. The current account was in deficit by $464 million in 2019, narrowing from the $8.773 billion deficit in 2018, according to the central bank. The 2019 deficit was equivalent to 0.1% of GDP, against 2.4% of GDP in 2018.…

"Current account deficit seen widening to 2.6% of GDP as exports weaken — Fitch Solutions"

DoE preparing to tap funds for COVID-19

PHILSTAR THE Department of Energy (DoE) has prepared a draft circular directing the use of all available and unremitted funds accumulated under Energy Regulation 1-94 (ER 1-94) to bolster the government’s efforts to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic. The order is authorized by the Bayanihan to Heal as One law, granted special powers to President Rodrigo R. Duterte to repurpose funds for the containment effort. The law empowers him to redirect cash, funds,…

"DoE preparing to tap funds for COVID-19"

PHL to be among ‘first to know’ of new Vietnam rice policy

REUTERS AGRICULTURE Secretary William D. Dar said Vietnam has issued assurances on its intent to supply rice to the Philippines, its biggest foreign market, after Hanoi suspended export clearances in late March pending a review of its own domestic requirements during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In a letter to Mr. Dar, Vietnam’s Agriculture and Development Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh said Hanoi values its relations with the Philippines within the Association of Southeast…

"PHL to be among ‘first to know’ of new Vietnam rice policy"

ADB implements $5 M food aid project for vulnerable communities

BERNARD P. TESTA THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) rolled out its $5-million project to provide food to up to 55,000 poor households in Luzon affected by the month-long enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). In a statement, the bank said the $5-million Rapid Emergency Supplies Provision Projected will benefit poor families and workers in the informal sector who lost their livelihoods due to quarantine protocols and business closures. The first batch was delivered Tuesday, including 2,000 50-kilogram…

"ADB implements $5 M food aid project for vulnerable communities"

QC extends property tax deadline by one month

PHILSTAR QUEZON CITY has extended the deadline for the payment of annual and first quarter real property taxes to April 30 from March 31 after an enhanced community quarantine was imposed on Luzon. “All annual and/or first quarterly Real Property Tax due payable to Quezon City Government for 2020 which is due to be paid on or before March 31, 2020, can be paid not later than April 30, 2020, without penalty, surcharges and interest,”…

"QC extends property tax deadline by one month"

Palay output estimate for first quarter slashed by 6.7%

PRODUCTION of palay, or unmilled rice, in the first quarter of 2020 is now estimated at 4 million metric tons (MT), 6.7% lower than the previous projection, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said. In its updated Palay and Corn Estimates, PSA said that the new projection for palay in the just-concluded quarter compares with the initial estimate of 4.28 million MT issued on Jan. 1. The new projection, if realized, would represent a 9.5% year-on-year…

"Palay output estimate for first quarter slashed by 6.7%"

Fitch Solutions reduces PHL consumer spending 2020 growth outlook

PHILSTAR FITCH SOLUTIONS Macro Research said it reduced its 2020 consumer spending growth estimate for the Philippines to 6.7% from 7% due to the lockdown imposed on Luzon to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Fitch Solutions said spending will be focused on food and health-related products, depressing purchase activity for items deemed less essential like clothing, footwear and appliances. In a note issued Tuesday, Fitch Solutions said the new estimate is also lower…

"Fitch Solutions reduces PHL consumer spending 2020 growth outlook"