THREAD: Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III leads the first meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines for 2021 | LIVE

Updates by our digital producer @meltlopez
New MAP president Gigi Montinola: A list shows that the PH has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in ASEAN. But we remain financially strong as a country.…
MAP President Montinola: The poor and the small businessmen have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.
MAP President Montinola pushes for the passage of the CREATE bill, a ₱250-billion stimulus for the economy. He says the group signed a joint statement among business groups to call on Congress for the passage of this law.…
MAP: Gloomy forecasts are ahead, but let's prove our critics wrong. Let's do a great reset for the common good
DOF Sec. Dominguez: Some of the jobs lost may never return, but the pandemic gave us the opportunity to accelerate digitalization. It creates new jobs needing new skills
DOF Sec. Dominguez says the government's COVID-19 response is worth ₱2.66 trillion, which includes fiscal and monetary initiatives as well as spending and borrowing
According to the Budget Department, total COVID-19 releases are at ₱500.7 billion as of Dec. 19, 2020
DOF Sec. Dominguez: We encourage banks to share the incentives given to them by granting low-cost housing loans. This will create new jobs
DOF Sec. Dominguez: Despite many 'populist excuses' to blow up the fiscal deficit, we chose fiscal prudence
Economists and market watchers have been calling on greater fiscal stimulus to revive the economy, but DOF says they want to keep the debt burden relatively low to preserve the country's credit ratings…
DOF Sec. Dominguez: Our emerging deficit spending is at 7.5% of GDP in 2020, or over P1 trillion.

Our debt to GDP ratio is at 53.5%, based on preliminary data
In 2019, the debt-to-GDP ratio was at 39.6%. Dominguez says the government had to resort to additional borrowings in 2020 to support COVID-19 response programs.

The DOF borrowed an additional ₱2.63 trillion last year.
DOF Sec. Dominguez: We appreciate the importance of continuing fiscal discipline to ensure resilience. While we hope for the best, we must prepare for the worst.

The Duterte administration has ample ammunition to outlast the COVID-19 pandemic.
DOF Sec. Dominguez: PH to borrow an additional ₱3.025T in 2021, debt burden to be at 57% of GDP. We're confident we can raise what we need.
DOF Sec. Dominguez: The passage of economic bills will bode well for our recovery – the 2021 budget, extension of the 2020 national budget and Bayanihan 2
DOF Sec. Dominguez prods passage of CREATE bill, which lowers corporate income taxes and incentives to new businesses
DOF Sec. Dominguez cites signs of economic growth rebound in 2021, such as a record-high dollar reserves, a stronger peso vs US dollar, low inflation
Sec. Dominguez says DOF has secured enough funding to inoculate 'majority' of Filipinos: A safe and effective vaccine will be a game-changer for reopening the economy
DOF Sec. Dominguez on funding the country's vaccination plan: We have 110M Filipinos. Of them, around 40M are below 18. It's not recommended that they are vaccinated, it leaves you with 70M people
DOF Sec. Dominguez: We have a total budget of ₱82.5B, but we have in place ₱75B so far. A conservative cost of inoculation per person is around ₱1,300-₱1,150 for the vaccine itself and ₱200 for the logistics, info campaign, monitoring. We can vaccinate around 57M of the 70M
DOF Sec. Dominguez: We expect the 13M shortfall to be covered by the LGUs, the private sector, and those who refuse to get vaccinated. We'll be covered
DOF Sec. Dominguez: We have ₱12.5B from the budget and we will borrow ₱62.5B from ADB, AIIB, and World Bank ($1.3B)
DOF Sec. Dominguez says he doesn't know the basis of international credit rater Moody's Analytics in saying that the Philippines will be among the last to recover from the pandemic.

Full recovery for PH is seen only by late 2022.…
DOF Sec. Dominguez says he has been named as the chairman-designate of the government's Climate Change Commission
DOF Sec. Dominguez says he wants the CCC to impose a ban on single-use plastics to help combat climate change
DOF Sec. Dominguez on cha-cha push: I am for opening up the economy on all areas possible except land ownership. It's so emotional and any mention of that will stop the whole program.

Let's do something doable –– open retail trade, construction to more foreign participation.
DOF Sec. Dominguez: I just found out that we have an import quota for goats. How stupid is that? Isn't goat milk healthy
DOF Sec. Dominguez says despite the law allowing cheap rice imports, local production rose…
DOF Sec. Dominguez: Economic theory works – opening up the economy challenges local production and makes them respond when there's good support. Rice prices have gone down also by 20%
Dominguez on slumped consumer confidence: People are scared of getting infected, but we do have a low death rate.

Now, we say that most likely, this vaccine availability will give people confidence to go out again. But survey shows half are hesitant, so we have to promote it.
DOF Sec. Dominguez: By February, a vaccine will be available – unfortunately for some, it's the Chinese vaccine. But it will be available.…
DOF Sec. Dominguez on CREATE bill: I think it's worth it that we drop our collection rate and leave the money with the private sector, rather than collect high income taxes then distribute it again. There are what they call 'friction costs'
DOF Sec. Dominguez: The private sector can buy the vaccines, but drug makers refuse to sell and only want to talk to the government.

He says AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive in May.
Dominguez on reopening schools: I look at my grandkids and I think they are not getting their money's worth, but let's listen to the health authorities for this.

Duterte earlier wanted to try limited face-to-face classes but took back the order due to the new COVID-19 variant.
Will gov't grant incentives for companies doing sustainable, environment-friendly practices?

DOF Sec. Dominguez: Why is everyone asking for incentives? If it's good, you do it. There's too much dependence on government –– come on, guys.
DOF Sec. Dominguez on paused PhilHealth contribution hike: The PhilHealth issue is a huge problem, it has many layers. We're working hard to ensure there's enough money for it.

If you put in less, you take out less. That's the story.…
DOF Sec. Dominguez: You want to be insured and you want a higher payout? You put in more. There's no other way to do it sustainably.
DOF Sec. Dominguez: It will be good for us to have the GUIDE Bill, which allows gov't to provide a bailout for systemically-important companies
Dominguez on NAIA rehabilitation project: Law requires you have a certain amount of capital and they don't have it. We've only seen it in press releases, not in actual terms

He tells private firms: You make up your mind, or else NAIA will do it by itself…
DOF Sec. Dominguez: It took 5 years to build the Cavite-Laguna Expressway. Why? They sued each other. Who wasted 2.5 years? It's not government.

You want us to bend over backwards each time? This administration won't do it.
DOF Sec. Dominguez says he will review contingent liabilities of SSS, GSIS, and PhilHealth: They have not been following the prescribed accounting standards. You will be shocked when we publish the 2020 financial statements of these organizations
DOF Sec. Dominguez says there are 'pretty huge' contingent liabilities in the books of these state corporations

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