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Daily Archives: May 17, 2020 | 9:48 pm

Defining the New Normal: Solidarity and structural change for a post-COVID-19 economy

WHAT SHOULD our COVID-19 “new normal” look like? As economic stimulus bills for the pandemic are now being debated in Congress, questions on how the Philippine economy will be transformed in the coming months are asked. The shape of the country’s long-term development goals, as expressed in AmBisyon Natin 2040, is also uncertain.

Managing the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis

After revising its GDP growth target to a more realistic -2 to -3.4%, the government is now crafting its economic recovery program in consultation with private sector stakeholders. I have been asked to provide feedback on the draft Philippine Program for Recovery with Equity and Solidarity (PH-PROGRESO), presented by Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua in a virtual meeting with Manila’s top financial executives (FINEX). Below I share with readers my brief commentary.


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The changing face of retail

THE RETAIL TRADE is among the hardest hit industries in this COVID crisis. The bloodbath has cut across all sectors -- from clothing to food, appliances to motor vehicles, electronics to gasoline. No sector is spared except for those relating to health, sanitation, and wellness.

Work from home is fine . . . for now

THERE ARE REASONS to be optimistic about corporate America getting more comfortable with work-from-home arrangements brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Workers gain more flexibility around their working and living arrangements. Both companies and workers stand to save money by relying less on high-cost real estate. If it results in no loss of productivity, what’s not to like?

COVID-19 disruption: Legacy banking

OVER-THE-COUNTER banking will be among the casualties of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Philippines. A decline of up to 50% in branch-based operations can be expected in the wake of this pandemic.
cargo crates container port

Yard utilization hits bottom; seen normalizing as lockdown eases

YARD utilization in Metro Manila’s two major ports may have hit bottom in May after they experienced 90% congestion in early April, with the Bureau of Customs (BoC) now expecting port activity to return to normal with the easing of the lockdown on the capital region.

Wage subsidy first tranche reaches 2.1 million workers; rate of release only 64% —...

THE national government reached 2.1 million workers as of May 12 in releasing 64% of the funds for the first tranche of the Small Business Wage Subsidy program, the Department of Finance (DoF) said.

National Broadband Program seen enabling small telcos to compete

THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) clarified Saturday that the National Broadband Program (NBP) will not directly compete with big telecommunications companies (telcos), but it will allow smaller players to compete.

Quarantine grace periods weaken power firms’ finances as demand picks up

THE quarantine grace periods on electricity bills have weakened the power industry’s finances even with power demand surging in the residential segment and as usage normalizes with lockdowns easing, an industry association said.
antenna cell tower

DICT tapping ARTA to minimize LGUs cell-site delays

THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it is seeking the aid of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to expedite cell-site projects delayed by local government units (LGUs).
computer laptop typing online

Senate bill lays out employment standards for ‘gig economy’

A BILL seeking to define employment standards for the ‘gig economy’ after the pandemic has been filed in the Senate.

Short-term financial management for COVID-19

COVID-19 is generating unprecedented levels of challenges in company ecosystems -- including supply chains, customer demand, strategic planning and operations, and liquidity -- alongside high levels of uncertainty and volatility. Given this, it has become more essential than ever for companies to focus on short-term financial management as part of their overall business continuity plans.

Lawmaker says second wave of infections likely; cases at 12,513

THE COUNTRY should expect a second wave of coronavirus infections as more industries reopen under a relaxed lockdown, a congressman said on Sunday, as 208 new cases were reported, raising the total to 12,513.

Crop damage from Typhoon Vongfong reaches P185.83M

TYPHOON Vongfong caused about P185.83 million in damages across three regions, destroying rice, corn and high-value crops and killing livestock, according to the Agriculture department.

Duterte visits Davao amid travel limits caused by COVID-19

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte’s spokesman on Sunday defended him from critics after he visited his family in Davao City on a private jet amid travel restrictions meant to contain a novel coronavirus pandemic.

#COVID-19 Regional Updates

TRADE Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said failure to provide transportation assistance to employees within areas still under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) does not reflect well on companies.

Nationwide round-up

SOUTHEAST Asian nations, both with or without claims in the South China Sea, are now citing the 2016 international court ruling in favor of the Philippines to protest against China’s activities in the disputed waters, an expert said.

NBA G League welcomes prospects like Kai Sotto

MUCH has been said about what the NBA G League could do for Filipino prospect Kai Sotto and his quest to make it to the National Basketball Association. But the organization shared it is happy and excited in return to have the young player on board, seeing how he could further enhance the profile of the league, particularly in attracting more international talent.

Chooks-to-Go president roots for Sotto in G League journey

WHEN news broke out that Filipino prospect Kai Sotto was lacing his shoes in the NBA G League, the local basketball community celebrated and got excited, including Chooks-to-Go president Ronald Mascariñas, who said he is rooting for the young player to do well in his new journey.

Eerie silence across stadiums on Bundesliga restart

BERLIN -- From social distancing substitutes using airport stairs, to disinfected balls and a potential television audience of one billion, the Bundesliga enjoyed a checkered restart as the first major sports league to resume amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

UFC caps week of return to action; Overeem wins

THE ULTIMATE Fighting Championship capped a busy week of return to action with another event in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday (Manila time), which was highlighted by the second-round technical knockout victory by heavyweight contender Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem.

Singapore F1 promoters say closed-door race in September not feasible

LONDON -- Singapore Grand Prix promoters have ruled out holding their Formula One race without spectators, casting further uncertainty over the likelihood of the September event going ahead.

Constant Novak

Novak Djokovic was on top of tennis just two months ago. A record eighth Australian Open crown and a fifth Dubai Tennis Championships title followed Serbia’s 6-0 ATP Cup run with him at the helm -- all clear indications that he was in the midst of yet another dominant turn to start the year. Unfortunately, the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic compelled the sport to grind to a halt; competitions were suspended indefinitely, leaving him in the dark as to when he could resume his quest to be the best of the best of all time.