Government cites gains in doing business, tourism


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The Trade and Tourism departments have touted the gains achieved by the Philippines in terms of global competitiveness as well as in tourism.


Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez reported the huge improvement in the country’s ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report while Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the Philippines was named the 8th Favorite Country of readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine in New York.


The Philippines jumped 29 notches to place 95th among 190 economies included in the ease of doing business (EODB) index. This was a great leap from 124th place in the previous year.

Lopez said the Philippines’ EODB score increased to 62.8 this year from 57.68.


He noted that the Philippines was the third highest “jumper”, next to Togo (+40), and Saudi Arabia (+30). The Philippines shares this achievement with Jordan, whose rank also jumped 29 notches.


Lopez also said the World Bank cited the Philippines as one of 42 economies which implemented regulatory reforms (in more than three topics) that resulted in significant improvements in EODB scores.


“The last time the Philippines ranked 95th — the highest spot we held, so far— was in the year 2014. This DB 2020 cycle increase remains the highest recorded (annual) improvement of the country since 2010,” Lopez said in a statement that he read in a press conference on October 24, 2019.


He said the Philippines performed best in three areas: Getting Credit (with EODB score of 40 from the previous 5); Protecting Minority Investors (from EODB score 43.33 to 60) and Dealing with Construction permits (from 68.58 to 70).


Reforms


“We also registered higher scores in Paying Taxes (72.6 from 71.8), and slightly higher scores on Enforcing contracts (46 from 45.96) and Registering property (57.6 from 57.56), but still our ranking declined because other countries moved faster in these areas,” he added.


The World Bank had noted that payments for local business tax and community tax are made together. The World Bank also cited the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which reduced the number of hours in the preparation and filing of corporate income tax to 24 hours from the previous 38 hours.


On enforcing contracts, Lopez said the Philippines was cited for reforms to reduce the time and cost of resolving a standardized commercial dispute. He also noted that the Supreme Court has increased the threshold for small claims cases filed before the Metropolitan Trial Courts from P300,000 to P400,000.


“The WB team acknowledged this reform however, there was not enough time to assess impact of the Revised Rules of Procedure for Small Claims Cases on the standardized commercial dispute. This, we believe will have an impact in the next cycle of the DB 2021, together with the Court’s E-library,” Lopez said.


On Registering Property, Lopez said that as of May 1, 2019, the Land Registration Authority (LRA) Register of Deeds, has implemented a comprehensive and functional database to check for encumbrances.


“When a background check of a property is required, LRA can now use the property number to search the title and obtain information of all encumbrances, caveats, charges or privileges affecting the registered property,” he said.


Tourism


Meanwhile, Romulo-Puyat thanked readers of Conde Nast Traveler for making the Philippines the 8th Most Favorite Country in the world.


DOT Attaché in New York Francisco M. Lardizabal received the award on behalf of the Philippines during the awarding ceremony held recently at the One World Trade Center in New York City.


"Gaining yet another prestigious recognition as the 8th Favorite Country in the World speaks well of concerted efforts of the Philippine tourism industry stakeholders in nurturing the many natural wonders the country is blessed with," Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.


Conde Nast Traveler readers had also listed Boracay as their top choice for island destinations in Asia. Cebu and the Visayas Islands were cited in second place while Palawan came in 4th.


Related story: Cebu, 2 other PH islands again rank best in Asia


The DOT recently reported that visitor arrivals breached the 5-million mark in August. A total of 5.55 million tourists visited the country between January and August 2019.


The Philippines also posted a 14.08% year-on-year increase in international visitor arrivals.


Based on the CNT Readers’ Choice Awards 2019, the Philippines scored 90.63 from 600,000 readers of the New York-based luxury and travel magazine.


“All these accolades that the country and our other island destinations continue to receive bode well for the country’s sustainable tourism development program as continuity is the very essence of sustainability,” Romulo-Puyat said. (Ventures Cebu)


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