Today's Top Stories

  • SM CDO partners with LGU for free Covid-19 vaccination drive

    SM CDO partners with LGU for free Covid-19 vaccination drive

    SM Supermalls nationwide begins its multi-mall vaccination drive as it inks partnership with various LGUs nationwide to be the venue for their COVID-19 vaccination program.      In Cagayan de Oro City, the local government has partnered with SM CDO Downtown Premier for the mall to become a venue for the Covid-19 vaccination drive.      “As part of our continuing efforts in preventing the further spread of COVID-19, SM malls all over the country can provide convenient, safe and accessible venues for the community to get vaccinated. Through our long-standing relationship with the LGUs, we remain committed in ensuring the health and safety of the public,” said SM Supermalls president Steven Tan.        SM CDO Downtown Premier’s cinema hallway at the fourth level was repurposed to hold the vaccination activity. The program prioritizes the inoculation of senior citizens.      SM is closely coordinating with more LGUs as it begins to roll out more vaccination centers nationwide to help expedite the administration of COVID-19 vaccines and curb the spread of the virus.

    May 3, 2021

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  • 2GO Group buys new Japan vessel

    2GO Group buys new Japan vessel

    2GO Group, Inc. on Wednesday announced the purchase of a new vessel from Japan, which will make its maiden voyage in the Philippines in May.      “The newly purchased ship will be part of 2GO’s fleet of 10 ROPAX (roll-on/roll-off passenger) and freighter vessels, sailing to 20 major ports of call, linking Manila to Visayas and Mindanao,” the company said in an e-mailed statement.      The acquisition, the company noted, is part of its continuing modernization program, which includes upgrading of its fleet and modernizing its operations.      With its discounted tickets, the company said it is ready for the resumption of domestic tourism.      The company is banking on its modernization projects to return to profitability.      It recently reported an attributable net loss of P1.84 billion for 2020, significantly wider compared with the previous year’s loss of P890.35 million.      But the company said it has no plans to raise additional capital for its modernization efforts.      “At this time, the management is able to fund these investments internally; thus, [we] have no current plans to raise additional capital,” William Charles Howell, 2GO chief financial officer, said at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on April 23.

    May 3, 2021

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  • Prominent Mindanao historian affirms BARMM coming-of-age

    Prominent Mindanao historian affirms BARMM coming-of-age

    COTABATO City – An eminent historian has expressed elation over the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) two years after it was created by law following a plebiscite in 2019 and amidst a popular movement calling for an extension of the transition period from the old to the new autonomous government.      “Historic,” said Rudy Buhay Rodil, a prolific author and academic who used to teach at the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology in Iligan City.      Rodil was a member of the government panel negotiating peace with the Moro National Liberation Front (1993-1996) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (2004-2008).      Responding to questions about his opinion on Muslim Mindanao, he said “the fruit of GPH-Bangsamoro husay exchanges, from 1975 to 2020, has ripened into the BARMM.”      Husay, according to the historian, means “peace processes or peace negotiation.”      “Yang husay, ito ang matagal na nating ginagamit sa lahat ng conflicts, nagkakaiba sa spelling depende sa tribu pero ang husay (means) fixing conflicts, laging meron palitan ng salita, kasali ang facial expressions or gestures by hand or fingers (Husay has been used in fixing all conflicts. It just differs in spelling depending on the tribe),” he said.      He added: “Maraming nuances ang husay exchanges. Naging simula ang paggamit ng (It has many nuances and it was first used in) peace process ng UN (United Nations) at ng (and) Peace Commission before it became OPAPP.”      OPAPP stands for Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. The peace commission was established by the Aquino administration in 1987.      Rodil added that the creation of the BARMM, even as it still awaits an extension of the period of transition, “is good not only for the Bangsamoro (but) also for the peoples of Mindanaw-Sulu, certainly for the Republic of the Philippines.”      “We have federalism in action,” he said.      Federalism has been a longstanding advocacy by several Mindanao groups over the last decades.      Proponents have cited its partiality to decentralized governance and more equitable enjoyment of opportunities and distribution of wealth.      Legislating federalism, however, has remained elusive.      A Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) was set up following the BARMM’s creation in 2019, the tenure of which is currently the subject of an intense campaign for an extension.      The period within which the BTA could operate before finally being disbanded was initially pegged at 2022.      But the Covid-19 pandemic posed practical and serious challenges to institution-building efforts, prompting a multi-sectoral push for an extension to 2025. (PR)

    May 3, 2021

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  • Security in uncertain times: Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas program gives opportunities for returning OFWs amid pandemic

    Security in uncertain times: Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas program gives opportunities for returning OFWs amid pandemic

    Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI), the bottling arm of Coca-Cola in the country, has committed to helping overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) via its Balik Pinas program—an initiative that provides repatriated OFWs due to COVID-19 with opportunities to start their own businesses.   Since the program’s expansion in 2020 as a direct response to the pandemic-wrought job crisis, CCBPI has received over 400 inquiries and has thus far assisted over 40 OFWs in becoming business owners who are now part of the Coca-Cola family as distributors or wholesalers.    “By providing livelihood opportunities, especially to those who suddenly found themselves without stable incomes and unable to provide for their families, Coca-Cola is staying true to its pledge to help revive the Philippine economy via job generation and to support Filipinos confronting adversities,” says Gareth McGeown, CEO and President of CCBPI.   CCBPI assists former OFWs in choosing a suitable business model for their area, helps in managing their cash flow and inventory, and sees to it that they are given proper guidance and training until they are prepared and fully equipped to operate on their own—all in all, a sustainable and profitable business founded on practical support from a global beverage brand.   The Company’s goal to assist Filipinos, and consequently revitalize the economy at such a critical time, has been steadily expanding in reach to transform more lives. Further illustrating the program’s success by bringing Coca-Cola to more communities, we follow these Balik Pinas Program pioneers wo have just rewritten the trajectories of their life stories with their inspiring journeys—Melody Carillo, Jo Mari Biara, and Glenn Dela Cerna.      Selfless motherhood rising above a reversal of fortunes   Returning OFW Melody Carillo with her daughter, proudly shows off Sam Yau Consumer Goods Wholesaling—the business she established in Brgy. Kalaisan, Kidapawan through the help of Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas Program.    With her nine-month-old baby in tow, Melody Carillo returned to the Philippines from Hong Kong, following a series of devastations ranging from personal heartache to professional disappointment. She and her then-newborn were abandoned by the child’s father—and then the pandemic collided against the renewal of her contract as a domestic helper and nanny when her employers had to cut costs after losing their own jobs.   Melody’s story was marked by a reversal of fortunes, but she overcame her challenges with her perseverance and her strong will. Upon her unplanned homecoming in September 2020, Melody bravely confronted the need to support her small family. Her original plan to start her own business—the reason she left for Hong Kong in the first place—found footing in her hometown of Brgy. Kalaisan, Kidapawan.   Melody learned of Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas program through Sales Associate Ariel Pocot, and the two discussed how the program could help her achieve her dream of becoming a business owner. At the tail-end of February 2021, Sum Yau Consumer Goods Wholesaling—named after Melody’s daughter—was successfully launched. In just under a month of operations, Sum Yau has bought and sold around 4,200 cases of Coca-Cola beverages.   Melody shares that she is “so happy and blessed” for having been given an opportunity to pursue a livelihood, no matter the personal obstacles she had to face. She credits the Coca-Cola South Davao Sales Team for guiding her through every step of the process, from the initial orientation to her first order and delivery, from establishing a servicing schedule to training her how to sell.     Avenues for altruistic service   Balik Pinas pioneer Jo Mari Baira with Coca-Cola Representatives led by Region Sales Manager Wendell Dayrit, in front of his store in the Municipality of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat. Joms was one of the recipients of OWWA’s Balik Bayani Award 2020.   Jo Mari Baira had been working in Saudi Arabia for nearly seven years as a payroll officer. He considers himself a passionate individual, with a big heart that was increasingly insisting on a life of service for his country—which is why Joms took the chance to return home to reunite with his family in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat and serve his local community.   A different opportunity for service, however, presented itself to Jo Mari upon his return to the Philippines through a friend who convinced him to team up with his sister to start a small business venture. According to Joms, thanks to Coca-Cola’s never-ending support, the business they started since returning home from Saudi has been fruitful since its first day of operations.   “Hindi nila [Coca-Cola] kami iniiwan, everyday open ang komunikasyon, consistent sila sa mga emails at check-ups o sa kamustahan. At natutuwa kami ngayon dahil hindi lamang nagbebenta sila sa amin pero nag-aasist sila palagi,” shares Joms. [Coca-Cola has never left us behind, communication lines were open every day, and they were consistent with their emails and with checking up on us. We’re happy that the relationship is not just based on selling; they are always present to assist us.]   Joms takes pride in the growth of their small business via the Balik Pinas program—an avenue to provide for his family and an opportunity to serve his community. He shares that he plans to expand his small business as a distributor and dealer, involve and engage the rest of the community, and serve as an inspiration to fellow OFWs.     Family at the heart of the business   Now a businessman thanks to the Balik Pinas Program, Glenn Dela Cerna gives a big thumbs up to celebrate the success of his store in Brgy Quezon, Surigao City. Glenn returned home to the Philippines after working for 15-years in Abu Dhabi. He was recognized by DOLE-OWWA during its Balik Bayani Awards 2020.   Another Balik Pinas program pioneer, Glenn Dela Cerna, spent almost 15 years as a construction worker and electrical foreman in Abu Dhabi—to provide for the needs and the welfare of his family back home in Surigao City. The pandemic, however, had him returning home and worrying about the cost of his children’s education given the loss of his long-standing livelihood.   A small business, one he can attend to in the immediate orbit of his family, was the route he took—and Glenn emerged as a businessman and wholesaler with the help of Balik Pinas. Glenn describes how helpful Coke has been, supporting him throughout the challenges of launching a business—which, in his case, involves servicing a more remote area.   “Nag start na kami at within 24 hours may na-deliver na sa amin na mga produkto. Mga 30 to 40 cases na agad, at nagbigay din sila ng cooler, stand, at lalagyan para sa products,” shares Glenn. [Within 24 hours of starting, we received the delivery of around 30 to 40 cases of Coke products. They also sent over a cooler, stands, and containers for products.]   Glenn and his family take pride in their business, particularly in building it from the ground up. Driven by his immense love for family and his determination to reach a more comfortable future, he shares that he would like to stay in the Philippines and further grow his business.      Coca-Cola standing in solidarity with Filipinos   The common thread winding their way through the stories of Balik Pinas pioneers is the drive to secure a better tomorrow for their family. This reflects Coca-Cola’s main goal for the program—to provide opportunities to Filipinos, especially those who have been severely affected by these challenging times, and help restart the local economy by providing individuals the possibility of starting their own livelihood.   According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), over 400,000 OFWs have been repatriated since January 2021. With the help of DOLE and local government units, Coca-Cola aims to reach more OFWs who are interested in starting their own business through Balik Pinas.    For referrals and more details, contact the Coca-Cola contact center at (02)-8813-COKE (2653). Spread the word to be one with the Company in helping our kababayan.

    May 1, 2021

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PAL eyes non-stop flights to Israel

May 3, 2021

Corporate

By: , FLAG carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is planning to mount non-stop flights between Manila and Tel Aviv, Israel by October.      The company is eyeing twice weekly nonstop flights to Tel Aviv’s Gurion international Airport using its Airbus A350 aircraft.      PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Gilbert F. Santa Maria has been in talks with Israel Ministry of Tourism Director General Amir Halevi on the possible Manila-Tel Aviv-Mania flights, the company said in a statement on Friday. Philippine passport holders can travel to Israel visa-free for up to 90-day visits.      “The Philippines is a strong source of potential travelers to Israel, which welcomes Filipinos without requiring a visa. Our countrymen have been longing for a direct flight to the Holy Land for spiritual pilgrimages or for a Mediterranean getaway when the travel climate allows,” PAL Chief Strategy and Planning Officer Dexter Lee said.      “We also look forward to inviting Israelis to visit the Philippines, so our direct flights will help us restart tourism here in our country.”      The Philippines on May 1 will lift its travel ban on foreign nationals, except for those travelling from India, where coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases have surged. Metro Manila and nearby regions are still under a strict lockdown where tourism attractions are not allowed to open.      Israel, which has fully vaccinated more than half its population, is slowly opening up its borders to international tourists, starting with vaccinated tour groups next month.      “‘Once the global travel climate improves and restrictions are eased, the planned PAL service will enable Israeli tourists to fly nonstop to Manila and connect to the flag carrier’s domestic route network,” PAL said.      The company last week announced that it would test run an international travel pass mobile application that allows passengers to manage travel documents and share COVID-19 test results and vaccination status.

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Aboitiz unit, Swiss firm to build local telco towers

May 3, 2021

Corporate

By: , ABOITIZ InfraCapital, Inc. said it is working with Switzerland-based global private markets investment management firm Partners Group Holding AG to build and operate telecommunication towers in the Philippines.      Aboitiz InfraCapital and Partners Group intend to “build and operate telecommunication towers and support infrastructure across the country” through a telecommunications infrastructure platform called Unity Digital Infrastructure, Inc., the listed company told the local bourse on Thursday.      In February, Unity Digital Infrastructure secured a certificate of registration as an independent tower company from the Department of Information and Communications Technology.      “It is now working on the rollout of its pilot batch of towers with the mobile network operators,” Aboitiz InfraCapital said.      The company said the partnership aims to support the government’s goal to improve the country’s internet connectivity in local communities by increasing the number of cell sites.      Existing mobile network operators may co-locate on Unity Digital Infrastructure’s tower assets, Aboitiz InfraCapital said.      Co-location and sharing of telecom infrastructure should help fast-track expansion, increase service reliability, reduce costs, and lessen redundant sites, it noted.      “The urgent need to expand the country’s infrastructure is creating opportunities for new providers to quickly capture market share,” said Grace del Rosario-Castaño, operating director of Unity Digital Infrastructure and member of Board of Directors of Partners Group.

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2GO Group buys new Japan vessel

May 3, 2021

Corporate

By: , 2GO Group, Inc. on Wednesday announced the purchase of a new vessel from Japan, which will make its maiden voyage in the Philippines in May.      “The newly purchased ship will be part of 2GO’s fleet of 10 ROPAX (roll-on/roll-off passenger) and freighter vessels, sailing to 20 major ports of call, linking Manila to Visayas and Mindanao,” the company said in an e-mailed statement.      The acquisition, the company noted, is part of its continuing modernization program, which includes upgrading of its fleet and modernizing its operations.      With its discounted tickets, the company said it is ready for the resumption of domestic tourism.      The company is banking on its modernization projects to return to profitability.      It recently reported an attributable net loss of P1.84 billion for 2020, significantly wider compared with the previous year’s loss of P890.35 million.      But the company said it has no plans to raise additional capital for its modernization efforts.      “At this time, the management is able to fund these investments internally; thus, [we] have no current plans to raise additional capital,” William Charles Howell, 2GO chief financial officer, said at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on April 23.

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Holcim Philippines jumps 81% after focus on efficiency, cost

April 26, 2021

Corporate

By: , HOLCIM Philippines, Inc. has generated P908.92 million in net attributable profit for the first quarter, 81% higher than the P501.31-million posted in the same period last year due to “operational efficiency and cost discipline.”      “We delivered an excellent performance in the first quarter due to our sustained focus on health, cost, and cash,” Holcim Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Horia Ciprian Adrian said in a statement on Friday.      Sales declined by six percent year-on-year to P6.81 billion from P7.27 billion due to the slow recovery of construction activity.      Around 80% of cement orders in the first quarter are said to be done through its online facility, Easybuild.      “Payments over the platform have also ballooned more than three times from the previous year,” Holcim Philippines said.      The company also launched additions to its product line, such as multipurpose mortar Holcim Multifix and water repellent cement Holcim Aqua X.      Improvements on operational costs caused the company’s earnings before interest and taxes for the period to improve by 69% to P1.31 billion from P693.78 million in 2019.      Holcim Philippines said it also participated in discussions on sustainability to highlight the company’s efforts on climate action and plastic waste management, joining the forums of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.      Its Bulacan plant earned an ISO 45001:2018 certification for Occupational Health and Safety Management System and was recertified for ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System and ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System.      Meanwhile, the company said it will have a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination program for its employees and dependents by the third quarter of the year.      “This will further bolster our resilience and help us sustain robust performance,” Mr. Adrian said.

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Landbank okays P60-B to UCT beneficiaries

May 3, 2021

Banking & Finance

By: , THE Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) has released P60.36 billion in unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) as of December 2020 to beneficiary-households of the Duterte administration's social mitigation program under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN).      These disbursements were from the program funds for the UCT program released from March 2018 up to December last year, Landbank president-chief executive officer Cecilia Borromeo said in a statement Thursday.       From March 2018 to December 2020, a total of P22.53 billion was disbursed by the Landbank to UCT beneficiaries from the UCT program funds under the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA)      Another P23.71 billion under the FY 2019 UCT program funds was released from July 2019 to December 2020, and P14.12 billion from the 2020 UCT program fund in December last year.       Borromeo submitted her report on the usage of the UCT funds transferred by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) to Landbank to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.       Finance Secretary and Landbank chairman Carlos Dominguez III was furnished a copy of the report.       Under the TRAIN, up to 30 percent of the incremental revenues from the law is earmarked for social mitigation measures, such as the UCTs, while 70 percent is earmarked for President Duterte's centerpiece program “Build, Build, Build."      Republic Act (RA) No. 10963 or the TRAIN Law, which also slashed personal income tax (PIT) rates for 99 percent of salary earners, was implemented starting January 2018.       RA 10963 benefits salary earners because the hefty cuts in their PIT tax payments translates into extra income for these taxpayers equivalent to about a one-month take-home pay.      This law also adjusted the excise taxes on fuel, which prompted the inclusion of the social mitigation program to ease the initial impact of the adjustments on the poorest 50 percent of the population.       For 2018, the law provided a UCT of P2,400 each for some 10 million targeted households.        For the succeeding years of 2019 and 2020, each beneficiary-household received P3,600.       The UCT fund for 2018 of P24.488 billion covered the P24 billion in cash grants for 10 million beneficiaries.       While P22.53 billion in UCT funds were disbursed, around P1.47 billion has yet to be distributed because the Landbank is still waiting for the submission by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of the remaining payroll files of beneficiaries under the UCT program.      Under the 2019 national budget, the UCT fund amounted to P36.488 billion, of which P6 billion have yet to be downloaded by the BTr to Landbank, leaving it with P30.488 billion for the implementation of the program.        Of the P30.488 billion, P23.71 billion was released to UCT beneficiaries.       About P6.29 billion in funds have yet to be disbursed, pending the DSWD submission of the beneficiaries’ payroll files.        A total of P5.5 billion of this UCT fund was transferred to the BTr on April 1, 2020, to help fund the government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response programs, and was returned to the fund on December 29, 2020.      For 2020, the total UCT fund under the GAAs was P36.488 billion, of which P13.19 billion have yet to be downloaded to the Landbank.       The downloaded sum of P23.3 billion covered the P14.12 billion disbursed so far to UCT beneficiaries in December last year, while PHP8.9 billion have yet to be released pending the submission by the DSWD of the beneficiaries’ payroll files. (PR)

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House panel approves bill to develop PHL capital markets

April 21, 2021

Banking & Finance

By: , A PROPOSAL to reform the current private pension system to make it portable and actuarially fair was approved on committee level by the House of Representatives.      The House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries on Thursday approved the committee report on the proposed Capital Market Development Act of 2021 subject to style and amendments. The panel has been holding hearings on the measure since last month.      Economic managers earlier backed the measure, saying it will help develop capital markets by expanding the local investor base.      “I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to my esteemed colleagues for helping process this very important measure. I think we have thoroughly discussed it and consulted all possible stakeholders who have likewise actively engaged with us,” Quirino Province Rep. Junie E. Cua, the bill’s author and the committee’s chair, said during the hearing on Thursday.      If enacted, the proposed law will establish the Employee Pension and Retirement Income (EPRI) Account, which will be mandatory for all employees covered under the Labor Code of the Philippines. Workers will also get to decide on what investments they can make using their EPRI assets as long as these are legal and accredited.      Employers are required to contribute an initial 4% to the EPRI account while workers will allocate at least 0% to 1% to their own pensions, depending on how much they earn. The EPRI account will also have a portability feature, which will follow the employee/account holder regardless of change in employer. The measure also mandates the inclusion of financial literacy in the basic education system.

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BSP wants to allow banks to operate satellite tech

April 21, 2021

Banking & Finance

By: , THE central bank wants the government to allow banks to operate satellite broadband to help boost their operations following the liberalization of the sector.      THE CENTRAL BANK is asking the government to allow banks to operate satellite broadband to help boost their operations and give their clients better access to financial services.      This was the central bank’s input for the proposed implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for Executive Order (EO) 127, which gives registered internet and value-added service providers access to satellite systems to build broadband facilities even without a congressional franchise.      “One such input is to allow banks or a consortium of banks to register under EO 127 so they can operate their own satellite broadband for their operations for the benefit of their consumers,” central bank Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said at an online briefing on Thursday.       “[It could also be] banks in conjunction with other local financial service providers. The more open it is, the less constrictions there are, the better,” he added.      Under EO 467 signed by former President Fidel V. Ramos which was amended by EO 127, only enfranchised telecommunications entities authorized by the National Telecommunications Commission and broadcast service providers are given access to international fixed and mobile satellite systems.      “By leveraging liberalized access to satellite technology, banks and other financial service providers in remote areas may now be able to put up more access points such as automated teller machines, cash agents, and branch lite operations,” Mr. Diokno said.      “They can also offer digitalized payment transaction services accessible via the internet,” he added.      Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Financial Inclusion Office Acting Deputy Director Cesar Augusto E. Villanueva said the BSP contributed to the crafting of the IRR as head of the government’s Financial Inclusion Steering Committee, which aims to bring more Filipinos into the formal financial system. He added that they are still waiting for updates from the Department of Information and Communications Technology.      “The IRR was supposed to be issued last April 10 but there was a slight delay, because there was a request for extension from the Philippine Space Agency because it wants to submit its comment,” Mr. Diokno said.      Internet penetration in the country is uneven across Luzon (60%), Visayas (40%, and Mindanao (30%), based on the BSP’s 2019 Financial Inclusion Survey. Mr. Diokno believes satellite technology will help “rural areas where setting up terrestrial infrastructure is not economically justifiable.”      “With EO 127 in place, we expect to bridge the digital divide in the country as it enables the deployment of infrastructure for areas that are currently unserved or underserved by incumbent providers,” he said.      The central bank wants 70% of adult Filipinos to be part of the financial system by 2023, from about only 29% in 2019.      It also targets a cash-lite economy in 2023 where digital payments make up 50% of total transactions both in terms of volume and value.

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Loans for Covid-19 vax program best strategy for PH: DOF chief

April 19, 2021

Banking & Finance

By: , TAKING out loans to help finance the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination program is the best approach for the government, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Thursday.       “We chose this financing strategy because we want to assure the public of two things: First, that the vaccines we are buying are internationally accepted, and have passed the stringent criteria for safety and effectiveness. Second, that the vaccine procurement is totally transparent,” he said during a virtual briefing organized by Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez in Washington DC.       The government has secured total loans amounting to about P58.4 billion ($1.2 billion) from the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)  to help finance the vaccination deployment plan.      It has secured over 140 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, 15 percent of which is scheduled for delivery in the first half of this year while the bulk, or 85 percent, is set for delivery in the second half.       Despite the supply issues, it has started vaccination drives around the country using the supplies donated by China.       The government plans to inoculate at least 70 million adult Filipinos this year.      “The Philippines strongly supports the statement of Mr. David Malpass, former US Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs and now the World Bank President, who underscored the importance of releasing Covid-19 vaccines from countries with excess supplies as soon as possible,” he added.       During the same briefing, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) acting Administrator Gloria Steele announced that the agency is providing “USD3.5 million to further support the Philippines in delivering vaccines received from COVAX”, referring to global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.       “Our assistance will strengthen vaccine supply chains and support local governments to plan, track, and deliver vaccines. And it will help the Philippines’ Department of Health and local government distribute essential public health messaging around the vaccines,” she said.

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SMC to buy 4 million kilos of surplus corn from DA, to utilize its Petron stations as outlets for farm produce

April 26, 2020

Economy

By: , San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is teaming up with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to mass purchase agricultural produce, starting with four million kilos of surplus corn, to provide a lifeline to farmers and help secure the country’s food supply in the midst of COVID-19.     The surplus corn is enough to produce feeds for over 7 million live broilers that can eventually feed 4 million families in one day.     SMC is also in talks with the DA to utilize strategic Petron stations nationwide as outlets for government’s “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” rolling store program, to make farm produce such as fruits and vegetables accessible to consumers. The program is the market system project of the DA that links local farmers to consumers to ensure the sale of agricultural produce at reasonable prices.     “Through this program with the Agricultural department, we will be able to keep our farmers afloat as we navigate these uncertain times. At the same time, we also help people stay safe, healthy and nourished by providing them a convenient way to buy fresh fruits and vegetables from our local farmers,” SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang said.     Petron stations that will be initially tapped as venues for Kadiwa stores are Filinvest, Dasmarinas/Edsa and Katipunan/La Vista. The company said that more gas stations will be added in the coming days. Currently, SMC’s Petron stations also serve as sites for SMC’s Manukang Bayan refrigerated vans, which bring fresh chicken and other refrigerated and canned meats closer to consumers.     He thanked the DA for offering its network of corn and cassava farmers to supply its San Miguel Foods, Inc. with raw materials for continuous food production.     “We thank the DA for helping us identify possible sources of corn and cassava and farmers who are in need of help. By helping them, we will also ensure that we get the needed raw material supplies for our various food products,” he said     Among these are some 25,000 hectares of corn farms in Cagayan, where much of the surplus corn will come from. The company is also looking to the DA to link it with cooperative heads in Tuguegarao for sourcing of cassava.     SMC said it will buy the produce at pre-agreed prices and volume, as part of a long-term partnership.     The company has also reiterated its call to farmers nationwide to supply rice, corn, cassava, sweet potato, coconut oil and other farm products that will be bought at guaranteed prices for the farmers benefit.      Ang emphasized the need to sustain economic activity in the food value chain, which includes agricultural products suppliers, processing, and shipping to retailers.      SMC has assured a stable food supply for at least six months even beyond the ECQ with the 24/7 operation of its food facilities. SMC’s food facilities can produce a daily output of 1.96 million kilograms of fresh meats (poultry, beef, and pork); 524,000 kilograms of processed meats (canned meat, nuggets, and hotdogs); and 2.11 million kilograms of flour/baked goods (flour, biscuits, pandesal, and nutribuns).     It also continues to donate food products, rice, and flour to vulnerable communities in support of the government’s Covid-19 relief efforts.

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Food rationing starts in Davao City

March 25, 2020

Economy

By: Che Palicte, PNA, DAVAO CITY – The city government rolled out food rations to some 50,000 families beginning Monday (March 23), as part of the aid package for those affected by the restrictive measures adopted to prevent the spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19).      Mayor Sara Duterte said those who qualify to receive the food rations are the indigents and out-of-work head of a family, contractual workers whose no pay and out-of-work head of a family, self-employed and out-of-work head of a family, and low-income head of family with significant loss or reduction of income.      “To those who are not residents of this city, do not worry because we [mayors in Davao Region] agreed to give food rations in our respective constituents,” Duterte assured.      She added that in order to avail of the relief goods, ration cards are distributed through the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) and the barangay leaders.      “During the distribution of the relief goods, we still have to observe social distancing,” she said, adding that a system will be in place to ensure the smooth distribution of the rations.      Mayor Sara said barangay chairpersons distributing the ration cards are monitored by team leaders consisting of the members of the City Council to ensure that the rationing is properly implemented, as well as to manage the issues in the barangays.      The mayor also called on members of the private sector that are providing relief goods to coordinate with Task Force Davao to avoid crowding or worse, chaos.      "We are prohibiting the private sector from giving relief goods directly to the people because this will cause chaos; this will be disorganized, and this will cause people to gather around," she said.      “Rest assured that your donations will reach the people. We do this to avoid mass gathering,” Duterte added. (PNA)

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Go hits irresponsible media accusations

March 25, 2020

Economy

By: , SENATOR BONG GO, in a message yesterday, lashed out at some print media outfits for coming out with a story that criticized his visit to Butuan City last March 14. The news report, he said, was very irresponsible.        “Sa aking pagbisita po sa Butuan City noong March 14, nais ko pong klaruhin muli ang mga pangyayari:       - Totoo na dumaan ako sa isang Evacuation Center para dalawin ang mga nasunugan, magbigay ng tulong, pakinggan ang kanilang mga hinaing, maghanap ng solusyon sa kanilang pang araw-araw na mga problema, at mag-iwan ng ngiti sa oras ng kanilang pagdadalamhati.       - WALANG MASS GATHERING NA SADYANG INORGANISA. Evacuation Center po ang pinuntahan ko. Doon na po sila pansamantalang nakatira bago pa ako dumating. Hindi ko sila sinadya na itipon sa lugar na iyon.       - Sa kooperasyon ng mga pulis at pati na rin ng mga evacuees, ipinaliwanag ko na kahit gusto ko man sila yakapin, kamayan, kamustahin, at lapitan, sinigurado ko na kaming galing Maynila ay NAKA-DISTANSYA sa mga taga Butuan City para rin po sa kaligtasan ng lahat kahit na wala naman kaming sakit. May barriers pa nga pong inilagay.       - Sinigurado ko po na ang tulong at serbisyong ibinigay namin ay sa pamamaraan na HINDI MAKAKASAMA sa kanilang kalusugan at mananatiling ligtas sila sa anumang karamdaman.       - Pinayuhan ko rin ang local officials at national agencies na MADALIIN ANG PAGBIGAY NG TULONG lalo na ng tirahan sa mga nawalan ng bahay dahil paano naman po sila susunod sa “Social Distancing measures” kung wala naman silang ibang matitirhan kundi doon sa evacuation center na kumpol-kumpol sila.       Para sa inyong kaalaman, March 9 nangyari ang sunog sa Butuan City. 444 na pamilya o 2,292 na indibidwal ang apektado at humingi ng tulong sa atin. March 12, nagpa-test kami ni Pangulong Duterte para malaman kung infected kami ng COVID-19. March 13 lumabas ang resulta at sinabing negatibo kami sa sakit at pwede kaming magserbisyo sa publiko. March 15 naman magiging epektibo ang “Community Quarantine” sa Metro Manila base sa inanunsyo ng Pangulo noong March 12 sa kanyang presscon.       Dahil dito, nagdesisyon ako na pumuntang Butuan City ng March 14 — isang araw matapos sinabing negatibo ako sa COVID-19, at isang araw bago ipagbawal ang paglipad mula Maynila — para magpadala ng sarili kong tulong sa mga nasunugan.       Hindi ko matiis na hindi tumulong sa kapwa. Ipinangako ko ito sa taumbayan na kahit saan man, basta kaya ng oras at katawan ko, pupuntahan ko kayo. Hindi ko po makakaya na ipagpaliban o ipagkait sa kanila ang tulong na kanilang hinihingi mula sa atin.       Nagpapasalamat po ako sa mga iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno na sumaklolo sa hinaing ng mga biktima ng sunog at pati na rin sa mga LGUs na nagbigay rin ng tulong. Napaka-importante po ang pagtutulungan ng national government at mga LGUs sa panahon ng sakuna. Isa po ito sa aking prayoridad bilang isang Senador at public servant.       Nagpapasalamat rin ako sa mga artista na sumama sa akin at kusang nagsakripisyo para pasayahin ang ating mga kababayang nangangailangan. Sila Robin Padilla, Philip Salvador, at Victor Neri ay tumugon sa tawag dahil alam nila na sa kanilang sariling paraan ay nabigyan nila ng saya at pag-asa ang kanilang kapwa. Si Robin, tumakas pa ng bahay para iparamdam ang kanyang pagmamalasakit.       Sa mga bumabatikos, tumulong nalang sana kayo. Hindi po nakakain ang inyong batikos. Hindi rin iyan nakakatulong sa mga naghihirap. Dumadagdag rin lang kayo sa problema. Puro dada, wala namang nagawa.       Wala po kaming ibang interes kundi tumulong at alagaan ang kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino. Hindi po kami takot mamatay. As always, I will continue to serve and I will die serving the Filipino people.      Now more than ever, we, as elected officials should do everything we can to be of service to the Filipino people. The government as a whole should still do its job in a manner that will not put the health of others at risk. Hindi pwedeng ipagpaliban ang tulong sa kapwa Pilipino, tuloy-tuloy dapat ang serbisyo.

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PH Saves Billions with NGCP's Financing Grid Expansion

November 22, 2019

Economy

By: , As it strives to become the strongest power grid in Southeast Asia, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has so far invested P151 billion in the Philippines’s aging transmission system. A total of 5,626 transmission structures, 2,472 circuit-kilometers of transmission lines, 18 new substations, 63 upgraded substations, and an additional 15,634 MVA of transformer capacity has been installed in the past 10 years.      Being the country’s sole transmission service provider, NGCP lays the highways where reliable and sustainable power flows from generating plants to distribution utilities, industries, businesses, and households. Tasked with operating, maintaining, and expanding the power grid, NGCP is dedicated to improving the country’s transmission network. Better power transmission for the nation      The company completed 109 projects which include the Lumban-Bay 230kV Transmission Line Project which provided maximum dispatch of power plants from South Luzon to the Load Center; San Esteban – Laoag 230kV Transmission Line Project which accommodated the renewal energy power plants in Northern Luzon; Luzon Voltage Improvement Projects which provided additional MegaVolt Ampere Reactive (MVAR) capacity to improve power quality; Bataan Grid Reinforcement Project which accommodated a 600MW Coal Power Plant in Bataan;  Santiago-Tuguegarao 230kV Transmission line project, ensuring a more reliable and better quality of power transmission services for power consumers in Isabela, Cagayan, Kalinga, Apayao; and the Typhoon Nina Rehabilitation Project which upgraded the wind rating of transmission towers in Bicol region to withstand super typhoon winds of up to 300 kph.      In Mindanao, the company completed, among others, the Balo-i-Villanueva (Kirahon)-Maramag-Bunawan 230kV Transmission Line, the first 230kV transmission line in the region that connects the northern and southern Mindanao; the Aurora-Polanco 138kV Transmission Line which improved the reliability and power quality in Zamboanga del Norte; the Matanao-Culaman (Malita) 230kV Line which accommodated a new generating capacity in the Davao Occidental; the General Santos-Tacurong 138kV Transmission Line which catered the load growth and provided reliable transmission facility in SOCCSKSARGEN region; the Matanao-General Santos 138kV Line which provided N-1 to the existing line; and various substations such as Toril Substation and Opol Substation.            For the Visayas, NGCP energized the submarine portion of the Cebu-Negros-Panay 230kV Backbone Stage 1 which provided an additional transfer capacity between Negros and Panay; the Ormoc-Babatngon 138kV Transmission Line, reinforcing power transmission delivery in the Leyte and Samar provinces; the Southern Panay 138kV Backbone which addressed the load growth in the Panay area; the Calong-Calong-Toledo-Colon-Cebu 138kV Transmission Line, constructed to provide N-1 provision to the existing 138kV transmission corridor in Cebu; and the Bohol 138kV Backbone Line which provided a more stable and reliable transmission network in Bohol. More in the pipeline      NGCP’s Transmission Development Plan (TDP) details these priority projects to improve transmission backbones and alternative transmission corridors, and to develop resiliency policies for power transmission facilities.      The company is set to complete more projects in the coming years, among which are: the 500kV Substation Projects (Taguig and Marilao) and 230kV Substation Projects (Pasay, Navotas, and Antipolo) to cater to the load growth of Metro Manila; the Cebu – Bohol 230kV Interconnection Project to accommodate the load growth and provide reliability of Bohol Island; the Nabas-Caticlan-Boracay Interconnection Project to accommodate the load growth and provide reliability of the Boracay Island; the Visayas Voltage Improvement Project to improve the power quality in Visayas; the Mindanao 230kV backbone project to upgrade the region’s transmission capacity and secure the reliability of power transmission services throughout the island; the Mindanao Substation Upgrading Project to increase the substation capacity and improve power quality; and the Kabacan 138kV Substation Project which will contribute to power reliability in South Western Mindanao area.      An estimated total investment worth P463 billion is programmed for the next ten years. Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection      NGCP is on-track to complete the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP), considered as the largest energy infrastructure in the history of the country.       “We are dedicated to completing the MVIP by December 2020 not only because we committed this, but also because interconnection among the three main grids is long overdue. The interconnection of Visayas and Mindanao was first proposed by government in 1984; but it was private entity NGCP which brought the government’s decades old plan from the feasibility stage to the implementation and completion stage,” stated NGCP.      “Our projects, which will be worth PhP188 billion by end of 2019, and those in the pipeline, are meticulously planned by our engineers and updated year after year with careful consideration for the needs of every single area in the country,” NGCP noted.      NGCP is a Filipino-led, privately owned company in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid, led by majority shareholders Henry Sy, Jr. and Robert Coyiuto, Jr.

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Suzuki Introduces New Online Auto Loan Feature

May 18, 2020

Motoring

By: , Suzuki Philippines Inc. (SPH), the pioneer compact car distributor in the country, brings good news to its avid customers and to those looking into purchasing their own automobile with the new Auto Loan feature found on their official website. With this new addition to one of its many available services, getting a new car is now a few clicks away!      SPH just launched a new feature on their website allowing customers to be able to apply for auto loans online. In partnership with banks including Bank of Commerce, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Chinabank Savings, East West Bank, Maybank, PS Bank, RCBC, Robinsons Bank, UCPB, and Yulon Finance, the Auto Loan Feature directs customers to their preferred bank’s website page dedicated for auto loans. Once accomplished by interested patrons, their bank of choice will be able to review and grant them the loans if eligible as they are in operation.      This new online service presented by Suzuki Philippines is an effort to provide ways to serve its customers by being reachable amid the current situation in the country brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to launch the online Auto Loan service with the help of dependable financial institutions is rooted from the realization that during this time of uncertainty, consumers are longing for a sense of security and reliability, more than just the product itself. SPH believes that their vehicles across different segments may provide this longing by staying committed in championing the Suzuki Way of Life! to the Filipino people and relentlessly finding solutions especially when people are now more than ever, highly concerned about where to tunnel their investments that will prove to be beneficiary to them even after these challenging times.

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Kawasaki Joins the Fight Against Covid-19 by Producing Medical Face Shields for Donation

May 18, 2020

Motoring

By: , Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) has begun manufacturing medical face shields and gowns at our Kobe and Harima factories, and has been donating them to medical facilities since the 20th of April.     Up to 500 medical face shields can be made per day using the transparent pattern film used for steel processing, and up to 1,400 medical gowns can be produced per day based on the guidelines by Osaka University Hospital. We have been donating the supplies to Kawasaki Hospital (Kobe City) since 20th April, and plan to supply to other prefectural hospitals as well through the Hyogo Prefecture Hospital Bureau.     KHI would like to express their appreciation for the medical staff who have been devoting themselves on the frontlines. By utilizing their design, production and quality control techniques to efficiently produce medical face shields and gowns for donation to medical institutions, they hope to contribute to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.     KHI also reaches out to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. They sincerely hope that those currently suffering from the virus will recover quickly, and that the spread of COVID-19 will end as soon as possible.

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VP Robredo Receives Suzuki Motorcycle Service Units for Healthcare Workers

May 2, 2020

Motoring

By: , Suzuki Philippines, Inc. - one of the country's top motorcycle manufacturers shares help to those fighting the COVID19 battle at the front - the nurses and medical personnel by lending motorcycles as their transport service. This is in partnership with the Office of the Vice President's (OVP) Angat Buhay Program which is a flagship anti-poverty campaign relying on private partnerships in implementing its activities seeking to help people from the marginalized sector and recently to support our frontliners in the fight against COVID19. The units were turned over and received by Vice President Leni Robredo herself on April 23, 2020.  Suzuki lends 10 units of the Raider J Crossover to serve Angat Buhay's Free Dorm for Healthcare Workers hospitals' staff. Two of these - the Teacher's Village Dorm and Holy Family School in Maginhawa; will benefit from this initiative from Suzuki. Tenants of these dorms are working at East Avenue Medical Center, Philippine Children's Medical Center, Philippine Lung Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute and Philippine Heart Center. The Raider J Crossover is Suzuki's latest bike launched in February and the brand believes that it is the fitting ride for the frontliners, it is efficient and economical. More than that, since social distancing is a top priority nowadays, a solo ride on a motorcycle now provides one of the best means of transportation. "We are one with the whole nation in this fight against COVID19. We hope that these motorcycles help our frontliners in their commute to their respective medical facilities efficiently and safely. We will heal and overcome this together as one team Suzuki," Mr. Akira Utsumi said in a statement. "Thank you so much Suzuki Philippines for lending these units to us. These motorcycles will go a long way in helping our medical dormers," said Vice President Leni Robredo.  

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The Ford Ranger: Built To Last During Tough Times

May 2, 2020

Motoring

By: , MANILA, Philippines, 28 April 2020 – In times of uncertainties during natural calamities and pandemic crises, Filipinos are known for their resilience, strength and unwavering toughness even in the most trying times, rising above all odds and challenges.     This is why pickup trucks such as the Ford Ranger have become a popular choice among Filipinos who look for a tough and reliable vehicle for their needs. Built purposeful, the Ford Ranger has a durable design, proven performance, and segment-leading technologies to help get the job done.      Time-tested utilitarian characteristics give the Ford Ranger the ultimate edge as your daily workhorse. Its generous cargo space tied with 1.3 tons maximum payload capacity and impressive 800mm water wading capability with 230mm high ground clearance enable you to carry numerous back-breaking loads while effortlessly carving through obstacles both on and off-road. It features a Tailgate Lift Assist that makes lifting and lowering the tailgate easier when loading and unloading cargo.      A truck bed full of supplies and equipment demands a tremendous amount of power to effectively reach its destination. The Ford Ranger is equipped with the 2.0L Bi-Turbo Diesel engine capable of generating 213PS and 500Nm of torque coupled with 10-speed automatic transmission, delivering more than enough power to move heavy loads while remaining exceptionally fuel-efficient.     The Ford Ranger is also packed with advanced features to ensure maximum safety and convenience for drivers and passengers on-board. With the Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, pedestrians and vehicles near you are detected and alerts you with an audible and visual warning. The Ford Ranger also features Active Park Assist and rearview camera and sensors to ease your worries away during parking.     Enhanced Ranger lineup      At the start of the year, Ford Philippines introduced a series of enhancements to its entire Ford Ranger lineup to give customers more value in their pickup truck without any price increase.     The Ford Ranger XLS and XLT variants now come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability. Perfect for customers with workhorse and utility needs, the Ranger XLS and XLT variants are equipped with a selection of features that combine powerful performance with work-ready capability.     Meanwhile, Ranger Wildtrak 4x2 variants now have a new wheel design and LED headlamps. The Wildtrak 4x4 also has a new wheel design and LED headlamps with the addition of a high-mount USB feature to support various dashcam models. The Ranger Wildtrak combines iconic Ranger design qualities, powerful performance, and advanced technologies to suit work and play needs.      Finally, the Ranger Raptor now comes with a camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping aid, high-mount USB, and LED headlamps, enhancing the Raptor’s driver-assist technologies that make it a high-performance but safe and reliable pickup truck.     The new Ford Ranger FX4 is the latest addition to the Ranger portfolio, boasting of a bold design inside out and features that help widen the appeal of the Ranger among customers seeking for a versatile and capable pickup truck.       To know more about the Ford Ranger, visit www.ford.com.ph/trucks/ranger.

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Normin hosts leveling session to deepen understanding on GAD

April 21, 2021

Local

By: , CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY--To heighten awareness and reinforce knowledge on gender and development, the Regional Gender and Development Committee (RGADC)-10, a special committee under the Regional Development Council (RDC)-10, held a leveling session, April 6-8, through video conferencing.      “This leveling session is part of the continuing effort of the RGADC-10, in partnership with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), to equip members with a deeper knowledge and understanding of gender and development, which is included in our work plan for the first semester 2021,” said Dr. Jesus Antonio G. Derijie, DVM, president of the Central Mindanao University and the newly-installed RGADC-10 Chairperson.      Derije furthered that through the active participation of members in virtual lectures, sharing, and workshops/case study analysis, the attendees are expected to gain worthwhile, meaningful, and useful experiences for cascading to their respective agencies/institutions with the goal of advancing the gender and development agenda.      The series of lectures include GAD and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) as a review of key concepts. It also underscored the history of efforts to alleviate the plight of women and the mainstreaming of GAD. Gender analysis and gender tools, such as the harmonized GAD guidelines on project implementation and management, and monitoring and evaluation Checklist were also incorporated through workshops and case study analysis sessions.      The lecture concluded with the topic GAD planning and budgeting, as well as, the preparation of GAD accomplishment reports of RLAs and LGUs based on the latest issuances of the PCW. Members of the PCW National Pool of GAD Resource Persons, together with PCW senior staff members, served as speakers/resource persons during the leveling session.      The Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710) mandates all government offices, including government-owned and controlled corporations and LGUs to adopt gender mainstreaming as a strategy for implementing the law and attaining its objectives of women empowerment and gender-fair society.       It also mandates planning, budgeting, monitoring, and evaluation for gender and development; the creation and/or strengthening of gender and development focal points; and the generation and maintenance of gender statistics and sex-disaggregated databases to aid in planning, programming, policy formulation, and monitoring and evaluation.       Members of the RGADC-10 from regional line agencies (RLAs), local government units (LGUs), academe, and private sector attended the said session. (NEDA10/PIA10)

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Ample power supply assured in Maguindanao during Ramadan

April 19, 2021

Local

By: , COTABATO City - Officials of the Maguindanao Electric Cooperative (Magelco) on Friday assured constituents of the province of a steady power supply for Ramadan.      “No power outages will be experienced as Muslims need it most as they perform Ramadan fasting-related activities,” said Ashary Maongco, Magelco general manager.      Fasting for the annual observance of Ramadan started April 13 and is expected to end on May 11.      Maongco made the assurance after the completion of a major project that improved energy distribution to three adjoining towns of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Upi, and Datu Blah Sinsuat, all in Maguindanao.      On Thursday, the power firm switched on the Capiton-Nuro, Upi 13.2-kilovolt (kV) distribution lines that will stabilize power supplies to the three municipalities.      On the same day, Magelco has started the construction of the 5-megavolt amperes (MVA) power substation dedicated to Upi and Datu Blah towns to prevent recurring power outages.      “This will further improve power supply connections in these areas,” Maongco said, adding power distribution will only be hampered if there are disruptions beyond the cooperative’s control.      He noted that the new distribution lines were an undertaking of Magelco and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.      “Magelco replaced the existing undersized cable wires constructed in the 1970s,” Maongco said.      He said the increasing demand for energy in Datu Blah Sinsuat town prompted Magelco to install three-phase lines to supply power to its business establishments, especially ice plants.      “The conversion needs huge amount from the self-funded rehabilitation of the coop through its good materials management program,” he said.      Magelco is also fast-tracking another milestone project that will be energized this month involving the 50-footer concrete pole 13.2 kV distribution lines from Sultan Kudarat town’s 10MVA power substation in Barangay Simuay to Barangay Sarmiento and Polloc Port, both in Parang town. (PNA)

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