BSP to lend gov’t P 300B to fight virus pandemic
The Philippine central bank on Monday unveiled a massive stimulus program for the national government’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, saying it would lend as as much as P300 billion to the Bureau of the Treasury for this purpose.
“Para sabayan,” BangkoSentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a mobile phone message, as he shared the text of a statement explaining the country’s version of the “quantitative easing” scheme first used by the US Federal Reserve in response to the 2008 global financial crisis.
To further support the Filipino people during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Monetary Board authorized the BangkoSentral ng Pilipinas to purchase securities from the Bureau of the Treasury under a repurchase agreement in the amount of P300 billion with a maximum repayment period of 6 months,” the statement said.
“The fund generated from the said agreement shall be used to support the national government’s programs to counter the impact of the coronavirus disease,” it added, explaining the workings of the regulator’s newly restored ability to conduct open market operations.
Firms raise P 1.5B to help Metro’s poor
Top business groups have raised more than P1.5 billion to help over a million of greater Metro Manila’s poorest households put food on the table, recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic and the monthlong lockdown of Luzon would hit the urban poor the hardest.
Through the “Project Ugnayan” initiative, the money will be used to distribute P1,000 worth of grocery vouchers per family, targeting those that were economically displaced by the ongoing “enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila.”In compliance with social distancing guidelines, gift certificates delivered door-to-door will be redeemable for food items from accessible groceries and supermarkets.
The business groups supporting Project Ugnayan are: Aboitiz Group, ABS-CBN/Lopez Group, Alliance Global/Megaworld, AY Foundation and RCBC, Ayala Corp., Caritas Manila, Century Pacific, Concepcion Industrial Corp, DMCI, Gokongwei Group of Companies/Robinsons Retail Holdings, ICTSI, Jollibee, Leonio Group, Mercury Drug, Metrobank/GT Capital, Nutri-Asia, Oishi/Liwayway Marketing Group PDRF, PLDT/Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Puregold, San Miguel Corp., SM/BDO, Sunlife of Canada, Suyen Corp.
Fuel-marking delivers P6B in revenue despite COVID-19 difficulties
The volume of marked tax-paid oil products breached the six-billion liter mark last week, while the Bureau of Customs (BOC) sought exemption of the fuel marking program from movement restrictions during the Luzon community quarantine against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Customs Deputy Commissioner Teddy Sandy S. Raval told the Inquirer last Friday (March 20) that as of March 19, a total of 6.019 billion liters of fuel products had been injected with chemicals signifying payment of correct excise in the case of locally refined petroleum, and import duties for products from abroad.
Raval said 1.1 billion liters was marked in 2019, on top of about five billion from January this year until this month.
Raval said there was no disruption in fuel-marking despite the Luzon quarantine.
Still, Raval said the BOC had sought to exempt the fuel marking program from any quarantine restrictions.
“Disruption of the fuel marking program may mean disruption of fuel supply,” Raval said.
Raval said the BOC sought exemption from at least four government agencies—Department of Health, Department of Energy, Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police.
“We’re optimistic they’ll allow it. Markers are goods anyway, not persons who can infect,” Raval said.
Asian stocks gain after U.S. Fed promises economic support
BEIJING — Asian stock markets gained Tuesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve promised support to the struggling economy as Congress delayed action on a $2 trillion coronavirus aid package.
A currency trader walks by a screen showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Asian stock markets gained Tuesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve promised support to the struggling economy as Congress delayed action on a $2 trillion coronavirus aid package. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man) Market benchmarks in Tokyo and South Korea rose nearly 7% while Shanghai, Hong Kong and Australian markets also gained.
Traders were encouraged by the Fed’s promise to buy as many Treasurys and other assets as needed to keep financial markets functioning.