Vietnam to further affirm proactive, effective contributions at 43rd ASEAN Summit

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh leading a high-level Vietnamese delegation to attend the upcoming 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings continues to affirm Vietnam’s proactive, positive, and effective contributions to the regional development processes.

The attendance is made at the invitation of Indonesian President Joko Widodo. The events will take place in Jakarta from September 4 to 7, marking the culmination of Indonesia’s ASEAN chairmanship in 2023. In line with the chair’s theme of “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”, the summit provides an opportunity for ASEAN leaders to discuss and chart the directions for strengthening the ASEAN Community and making the bloc the focal point of growth amidst the complexities and changes in the current global and regional landscape.

Vietnam officially joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on July 28, 1995. Promoting its role as a nucleus for unity and cohesion, the country actively promoted the accession of Laos, Myanmar (in 1997), and Cambodia (in 1999) to the bloc shortly after becoming a member. These efforts contributed to realising the idea of an ASEAN encompassing all 10 Southeast Asian countries, creating a significant transformation within the organisation and the regional situation at that time.

Vietnam has made substantial contributions to defining ASEAN’s goals, development directions, and major policies, while playing a part in building and passing several crucial documents such as the ASEAN Vision 2020, ASEAN Charter, and ASEAN Community Vision 2025. Given complex global and regional dynamics, Vietnam has participated in shaping the region’s principles and “rules of the game”, joining ASEAN’s efforts to ensure peace, security, stability, dialogue, and cooperation. With other member states, Vietnam has proactively and vigorously promoted community-building across all pillars, from politics and economics to culture and society, with a strong emphasis on enhancing ASEAN connectivity and expanding relations with global partners. In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency’s correspondents in Jakarta, Ambassador Nguyen Hai Bang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to ASEAN, stated that in 2023, amid the multidimensional challenges in the region and the world, ASEAN remains united and reaffirms its identity.

The diplomat held that with its readiness, proactivity, responsibility, Vietnam has made significant contributions to the collective success of the bloc’s conferences this year. The message Vietnam wants to convey is a spirit of solidarity and determination to make substantial and effective contributions to building the ASEAN Community. This also highlights the consistent approach of the Vietnamese Party and State, considering ASEAN as an integral part of its foreign policy.

According to Bang, with the above-mentioned attitude, Vietnam has achieved several important results. Firstly, Vietnam consistently advocates a united, cohesive, developed, strong ASEAN that serves as a nuclear force in maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia, Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Secondly, Vietnam has worked with other countries to advance the bloc’s community-building process, maintain unity, and uphold ASEAN’s principled stance on international and regional issues.

Thirdly, Vietnam has promoted regional connectivity in terms of institutional mechanisms, infrastructure, and human connections, thereby unlocking cooperation potential and contributing to ASEAN’s growth objectives.

Sharing insights into efforts and contributions of the Vietnamese Delegation to ASEAN, the ambassador noted that from the beginning of 2023, Vietnam was prepared to participate and effectively contribute to all bloc activities. As the lead agency responsible for negotiating many documents throughout the year, the Vietnamese Delegation has worked to proactively put forth initiatives. Other member countries highly valued and recognised Vietnam’s contributions, which helped further enhancing its image, role, and position within the bloc./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

DICT inks P5.6-B int’l gateway investment with Japan

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy has reported that Japan’s telecom giant IPS Inc. has earmarked an additional USD100 million (PHP5.6 billion) in new investments into the Philippines for 2023 to 2024. Uy and IPS chief executive officer Koji Miyashita signed a memorandum of support in a ceremony held in Tokyo on Aug. 25 to expand the capacity of a modern and secure gateway for the Philippines to the rest of the world via Japan. ‘This will likewise ensure unhampered data connectivity via the Eastern Seaboard away from the highly contested South China Sea,’ Uy said in a news release over the weekend. In another development, InfiniVAN Inc., an IPS affiliate in the Philippines, offered another estimated investment of PHP4 billion under a public-private partnership arrangement that would fast track the deployment and connectivity of the National Broadband Plan, also known as Broadband ng Masa Program (BBMP). The proposal is now being considered by the DICT. Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center executive director Alexander Ramos welcomed the partnership with IPS and InfiniVAN as a testament to the nation’s growing importance in the global digital landscape. ‘The investment aligns seamlessly with the country’s Digital Transformation Strategy, which seeks to leverage technology for inclusive growth and progress,’ said Ramos, who was also at the Tokyo signing. During the exploratory talks, InfiniVAN proposed the acquisition of dark fiber pairs on the Infinivan-led Philippine Domestic Submarine Cable Network to complete the backbone of the BBMP. Securing dark fiber-based capacities on international submarine cable systems that have touch points in major hubs such as Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, the United States and Europe with landing points in the Philippines was also discussed during the exploratory talks in Tokyo. InfiniVAN’s proposal covers a distance of 2,700 kilometers of fiber optic cable linking Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and covering 26 new landing points. They include Batangas-Mindoro, Mindoro-Boracay, Lucena-Marinduque, Marinduque-Tablas, Capiz-Tablas, Masbate1-Capiz, Iloilo-Bacolod, Negros Occidental-Western Cebu, Zamboanga Del Norte1-Negros Oriental, Surigao Del Norte-Southern Leyte, Western Leyte-Cebu1, Samar-Masbate2, Masbate2-Sorsogon, Boracay-Aklan, Siargao-Surigao Del Sur, Camiguin-Misamis Oriental, Masbate1-Western Leyte, Cebu2-Bohol, Bohol-Cagayan de Oro, Cagayan de Oro-Zamboanga Del Norte1, Zamboanga Del Norte2-Zamboanga Del Norte1, Zamboanga Del Norte2-Zamboanga Del Sur, Camarines Sur-Tablas, Southern Leyte-Cebu1, Masbate1-Masbate2 UG Terrestrial, and Cebu1-Cebu2 UG Terrestrial

Source: Philippines News Agency

Gov’t sees PH as ASEAN’s No.1 creative economy by 2030

The government is resolved to make the Philippines the No. 1 creative economy in ASEAN by 2030, a lawmaker said on Sunday. “The goal is for the Philippines to be the number one creative economy in ASEAN by 2030. It’s now 2023, so we have seven years to do that,” said Pangasinan 4th District Rep. Christopher de Venecia during the Philippine Creative Industries Month media launch at Metropolitan Theater in Manila. “Now we have a developmental framework in place because of the law. Now we just need the resources so that we can implement the different mandates of the law, so that we can come up and prime up our performance, especially in exports of our creative content,” he said, referring to Republic Act 11904 or the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act. RA 11904 mandates the promotion and development of the country’s creative industries by protecting and strengthening the rights and capacities of creative firms, artists, artisans, creators, workers, indigenous cultural communities, content providers and other stakeholders in the creative industries. Under the law, creative industries include audiovisual media (vlogs, films, television, animatronics, broadcasts, music); digital interactive media (software and mobile apps, video games, digitalized creative content); creative services (creative research, development, and real-time artistic performances); design (fashion, toy making, footwear making, textile development, urban landscaping, jewelry making); publishing and printed media (comics, blogs, magazines, published media); performing arts (musical theater, circus, opera, puppetry); visual arts (drawings, sculptors, paintings, photographs); traditional cultural expressions (arts and crafts, gastronomy); and cultural sites (museums, cultural exhibitions). Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that in 2022, the creative economy amounted to PHP1.60 trillion and contributed 7.3 percent to the country’s gross domestic product. The industry currently employs more than seven million Filipinos. De Venecia said the Philippines is number one in ASEAN in terms of exporting creative services. “But our creative goods are sort of middling because of so many different problems. Of course, high power rates, a weak or struggling manufacturing base, we have logistics concerns,” he said. “This creative industry law is an enabling mechanism for a whole of government approach to developing the sector and addressing the many different pain points that have been plaguing the different creative industry sectors for decades,” added de Venecia. To spur the growth of the industry, de Venecia cited the need to amp up investment promotions and educate the country’s investment promotion agencies on the different opportunities that await investors when they come to the Philippines to support the creative ecosystem. He added that the memorandum of understanding signed last year between the Philippines and Indonesia could also help the former’s creative industry to grow. “This is something that we’re looking forward to materializing to see how we can encourage more cooperation not just within the bilateral relationship of Philippines and Indonesia but also how to mainstream creative economy in the ASEAN through creating a technical working group because this is really something that is an emerging economic sector within ASEAN,” said de Venecia. The lawmaker said the government is working on increasing the budget for the Malikhaing Pinoy Program which aims to harness Filipino creativity as a key driver of economic growth and recovery through the development of a robust and all-inclusive creative ecosystem in the Philippines. “Now we are in the process of deliberating the budget for 2024 and the initial allocation of the DBM to Malikhaing Pinoy is PHP50 million as opposed to last year’s zero,” he said. “So for me that’s already a win, that our economic managers recognize the value that creative industries bring to the table. Of course, it’s now incumbent upon us in the lower house and the Senate to be able to raise the PHP50 million to at least at the same level or even higher,” de Venecia added

Source: Philippines News Agency

OECD sees PH economy growing by 5.6% in 2023

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) forecasts the Philippine economy to grow by 5.6 percent this year. “A key growth driver in the second half of 2023 will be a strong rebound in government spending, from its 7.1 percent contraction in the recent quarter, executed through catch-up plans and frontloading of programs and projects,” the OECD said in its Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China, and India 2023 Update released on Sunday. The latest projection is slightly below the OECD’s 5.7 percent earlier forecast. The Philippines, however has the highest economic growth projection among the member countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN-5). The OECD forecasts Indonesia to grow by 4.7 percent this year, Malaysia by 3.9 percent, Thailand by 2.8 percent and Vietnam by 4.9 percent. According to the report, fiscal stimulus activities currently being implemented by the government will help fuel activities of both the public and private sectors in the Philippines. “Domestic demand is expected to continue to underpin economic growth in the remaining semester of 2023 and up to 2024, supported by labor market expansion, personal income tax cuts, stable inflows of remittances and the steady recovery of tourism,” said the OECD. The report, however, noted that private investment is expected to continue to weaken amid high-interest rates and a subdued global economy. It also noted that the improving business sentiment and the implementation of reforms will encourage investor confidence and attract more foreign direct investment. The services sector is likewise expected to boost economic growth due to the improved outlook of tourism and the rapid growth of the business process outsourcing industry. The OECD said the prolonged weak external demand from the United States and China, the country’s top trading partners, will continue to drag down exports in the coming months. “Another major downside risk to the growth outlook is lingering high global inflation, which could spur a further tightening of global financial conditions across advanced economies, possibly triggering capital outflows,” it said. “This could push down the value of the Philippine peso, which is forecast to recover slightly from a sharp depreciation episode in 2022,” the OECD added. The OECD said the persistent global financial turmoil could translate into higher borrowing costs for the government, adding pressure to public debt. While headline inflation continues to decelerate, the OECD said core inflation remains elevated. As of July this year, headline inflation was down to a 16-month low of 4.7 percent while core inflation, which excludes volatile oil and food items, settled at 6.7 percent. “Upside risks to inflation remain, such as the looming threat that El Niño will impact agriculture output, wage increases in the urban sector and the lingering restrictive policy stance of the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) and the European Central Bank (ECB),” said the OECD. Meanwhile, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is expected to maintain a high-interest rate regime, which the OECD said will dampen economic growth should pent-up demand ease. For 2024, the OECD expects the Philippine economy to grow by 6.1 percent

Source: Philippines News Agency

Over 1K Ilocos residents remain isolated due to non-stop rains

Over a thousand residents living in Barangay Nalasin and Sitio Lipay in the mountainous town of Solsona in Ilocos Norte have been isolated for almost a week now as rains brought by the southwest monsoon that is intensified by Typhoon Hanna continued to affect many parts of the province. Solsona Mayor Joseph de Lara confirmed this Sunday as he reported that the access road leading to Nalasin and some embankments were earlier damaged by the previous Typhoon Goring, making it hard for residents to cross raging floodwaters that have not receded up to this time. To assist the affected residents, the local government, with the aid of different units of the Philippine National Police, 4th Marine Brigade, and the Bureau of Fire Protection mobilized teams to deliver food packs, potable water equipment and other essentials to isolated villages and sub-communities. ‘We will continue to extend all forms of assistance to our affected constituents to help them cope with the adverse effects of these catastrophic disasters,’ said de Lara as he thanked the provincial government and other support units for assisting the municipality. Nalasin village chief Noriel Pascual said once the rains stop, they would build a temporary bridge that would connect them to the town proper and allow them to access their needs. For now, Nalasin residents depend on relief aid from the local government. ‘We don’t know when our supply last. I just hope it won’t be too long for this heavy rain to stop,’ he said. Hanna is moving toward Taiwan and is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility Sunday night or Monday morning, according to state weather bureau PAGASA.

Source: Philippines News Agency

Tiger Spikers secure V-League Collegiate Challenge semis seat

University of Santo Tomas hung tough in the fourth set to beat Far Eastern University and secure a semifinal berth in the 2023 Men’s V-League Collegiate Challenge at Paco Arena in Manila on Sunday. Outside hitter Josh Ybañez sizzled with 33 points — 29 on attacks — and had three blocks and an ace for the Tiger Spikers, who escaped with a 25-22, 26-24, 20-25, 25-18 victory after one hour and 58 minutes. Middle blocker Flor Rainier scored 11 points and three blocks, outside hitter Rey Miguel De Vega chipped in 10 points while libero siblings Nathaniel and Van Tracy Prudenciano made seven and six excellent digs, respectively, for UST. “I think yung blocking at digging namin worked today, which is ‘yung focus naman talaga ng training namin. On that aspect masaya ko (I think our blocking and digging worked today, which is really the focus of our training. On that aspect, I am happy),” coach Odjie Mamon said after the match. UST’s next game will be against Ateneo on Sept. 10. “We’ll prepare for Ateneo. Hindi lang kami dapat dumepensa dun, dapat sumuntok rin kami (We shouldn’t only defend there, we should also hit),” Mamon said. Opposite hitter Zhydryx Saavedra and middle blocker Martin Bugaoan finished with 12 points each for the Tamaraws, who also got 11 points from outside hitter Jerold Talisayan. Bugaoan and middle blocker Lirick Mendoza had five and four blocks, respectively. Meanwhile, Emilio Aguinaldo College rallied past San Beda University, 14-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-17, 15-11, to nail its first win in five matches. Opposite hitter Frelwin Taculog led the Generals with 13 points, three service aces and one block, while middle blocker Jester Noel Bornel scored 15 points, 13 of them on attacks. “Para sa akin, magandang halimbawa sila, kahit pa kami ay naghahanap pa ng mga tao na pwedeng pumosisyon na maaaring namin dalhin sa NCAA. Maganda na makita na mayroon silang potensyal (For me, they are a good example, even though we are still looking for people who can take positions that we can bring to the NCAA. Good to see they have the potential),” coach Rod Palmero said, referring to Taculog and Bornel. Opposite hitter Kevin Montemayor finished with 20 points and middle blocker Andrei Bakil contributed 15 points for the Red Spikers, who absorbed their fourth consecutive loss

Source: Philippines News Agency