PH current account gap doubled to USD 2.5 Bill in 2017

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PHP OecTHE current account deficit more than doubled to $2.5 billion in 2017 from the $1.2-billion gap a year ago on the back of the widening trade-in-goods deficit, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said Friday. Data showed the deficit was the biggest since 1999, when the current account shortfall stood at $2.85 billion. The current account is one of the main components of the balance of payments. Bangko Sentral assistant governor Francisco Dakila Jr. said in a briefing Friday the higher trade deficit more than offset the increased net receipts in the trade-in-services, and secondary and primary income accounts during the year. The trade-in-goods deficit for 2017 rose 15.9 percent to $41.2 billion as the growth in imports of goods of 14.2 percent outpaced that of exports of goods at 12.8 percent “The widening of trade-in-goods deficit was reflective of the continued growth of the economy as the growth in imports was driven by demand for goods to be used for infrastructure projects of the government,” Dakila said .........

International Criminal Court - exit YES / NO

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ICCTHE Philippines said on Friday it had given official notice to exit the treaty that created the International Criminal Court, which is examining President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly drug war. The move comes days after Duterte announced his nation would quit the court over its preliminary inquiry launched last month into allegations his crackdown on illegal drugs amounts to crimes against humanity. Police say they have killed roughly 4,000 suspects who fought back during arrest, but rights groups say the actual number is three times higher and accuse the authorities of murder. However, the president of the member states of the ICC said Friday he regretted Manila leaving the tribunal, warning it would have a “negative impact” on punishing crimes. “I regret this development. A state party withdrawing from the Rome Statute would negatively impact our collective efforts towards fighting impunity,” said President O-Gon Kwon, speaking from The Hague, after the Philippines officially gave notice that it was leaving the court ...............

Warning up, lights out vs total Boracay shutdown

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Beach BoracayA total closure of Boracay could cripple the tourism industry and devastate locals who depend on beach-loving tourists for their livelihood, Sen. Joel Villanueva warned on Friday, a day after three Cabinet members recommended a yearlong shutdown of the island. In a statement, the senator warned of dire consequences if the government went ahead with the advice of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, acting Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo to close down Boracay, widely considered the jewel of Philippine tourism ....................