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Report | The Report: The Philippines 2021

The Philippines is one of the world’s fastest-growing nations. Although economic activity slowed during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic period, stimulus measures, imminent public sector policies and a larger budget are expected to create jobs, generate growth and help kick-start the country’s recovery during 2021.

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Chapter | Legal Framework from The Report: Philippines 2021

This chapter examines the legal system of the Philippines, focusing largely on the stipulations of Bayanihan 1 and 2, which were passed into law in March and September 2020, respectively, to address the economic and health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. The chapter also outlines new guidelines on remote participation, corporate donations, corporate debt vehicles and draft guidelines for the licensing of digital banks, alongside various other changes to tax laws and regulations, labour-related laws and regulations, and regulations for the filing and submission of securities deposits that were implemented during the pandemic period. This chapter contains an interview with Raoul Angangco, Partner, Villaraza & Angangco Law.

Chapter | Tax from The Report: Philippines 2021

This chapter examines the tax system of the Philippines, focusing primarily on the tax implications of Bayanihan 1 and 2, introduced during 2020 in an effort to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as transfer pricing, the arm’s length principle and audit guidelines. The chapter also includes an analysis of tax compliance efforts in light of the pandemic, and commentary on the imminent Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act. This chapter contains an interview with Protacio T Tacandong, COO, Reyes Tacandong & Co.

Chapter | Health from The Report: Philippines 2021

The Philippines’ universal health care (UHC) system is now operative, after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the bill into law in February 2019 and Francisco Duque III, the secretary of health, signed the implementing rules and regulations in October that year. This set the stage for 2020 to be the first year of UHC, strengthened by collaboration and the expertise of the private sector. Limited financing and a shortage of medical personnel remain legacy constraints on the system, with wide-ranging strategies to tackle both communicable diseases and non-communicable diseases among the growing population. Although the Covid-19 pandemic placed further pressure on health care infrastructure, the government forged ahead with its goal, deploying resources to priority areas as funds and capacity allowed. The private sector stepped up to fill some of the remaining gaps, and greater levels of cooperation between public and private actors are expected as UHC gains momentum. This chapters contains an interview with Eugenio Ramos, President and CEO, The Medical City.

Chapter | Digital Economy from The Report: Philippines 2021

Philippine authorities have worked to develop the digital economy in recent years, prioritising strengthened internet service provision and a more competitive telecoms market. The country saw an increased reliance on online services and digital technologies, such as e-commerce, during the its extended lockdown period in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This increased the impetus for players across the value chain to strengthen ICT infrastructure, fast-track the digitalisation of business processes and prepare to upskill the workforce for the new normal. Meanwhile, the versatility of the business process outsourcing industry during the quarantine period, alongside an expanding start-up ecosystem and the entry of a third telco in 2021, signals potential for the digital economy to enhance the post-pandemic recovery. Measures to accelerate digital development look set to improve the ease of doing business, create a more attractive destination for investment, and ultimately facilitate more inclusive and sustainable economic growth. This chapter contains interviews with Marc Carrel-Billiard, Global Senior Managing Director and Technology Innovation Lead, Accenture Labs; and Simoun Ung, President and CEO, OmniPay.

Chapter | Construction & Real Estate from The Report: Philippines 2021

While Covid-19 has thrown the Philippines’ economy into flux, early indications suggest that construction and real estate is one of the most resilient sectors and could provide a platform for national recovery. However, with construction projects delayed by lockdowns during the second quarter of 2020, and demand for office space and high-end residential developments weakened by mobility restrictions, the sector still faces headwinds. At the same time, the disruption of the pandemic is giving rise to new opportunities. For instance, with the pandemic inducing a significant shift towards working from home as companies adhere to social-distancing measures, co-working spaces are emerging as a solution for firms seeking to decentralise while ensuring a sound operating environment for employees. Agile real estate developers have the chance to establish a first-mover advantage and capitalise on emerging opportunities as tenants and buyers seek projects that meet the demands of the new normal. This chapter contains an interview with Jose E B Antonio, Executive Chairman, Century Properties Group.

Chapter | Transport & Infrastructure from The Report: Philippines 2021

Transport operations and infrastructure development in the Philippines were acutely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic as lockdowns stalled construction projects, movement restrictions prohibited travel even within communities, and a ban on international arrivals in March limited aviation services for the rest of 2020. As the country’s response to Covid-19 began to take shape in the first half of 2020, it soon became clear that transport and infrastructure spending would be protected as a key driver of economic continuity and recovery. In an April outline of the socio-economic response, Carlos Dominguez, the secretary of finance, stated that the government would press on with President Rodrigo Duterte’s flagship Build, Build, Build infrastructure programme to generate economic activity and create employment. As early as May 2020 the Department of Transportation announced that, despite ongoing lockdowns in Luzon, it would resume work on 13 big-ticket projects – albeit with certain limitations. This chapter contains interviews with Tony Fernandes, CEO, AirAsia Group; and Rubén Camba, South-east Asia Director, Acciona.

Covid-19 Economic Impact Assessments

Stay updated on how some of the world’s most promising markets are being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and what actions governments and private businesses are taking to mitigate challenges and ensure their long-term growth story continues.

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