Today's Top Stories

  • Holcim to help UN Habitat, TESDA in Marawi rebuild project

    Holcim to help UN Habitat, TESDA in Marawi rebuild project

    Leading cement maker Holcim Philippines, Inc. will support a project by the United Nations Human Settlement Program (UN Habitat) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to build new homes for 1,500 families displaced by the conflict in Marawi.       Holcim Vice President for Communications Cara Ramirez shared during the 7th Annual Asia-Pacific Housing Forum organized by Habitat for HumanityPhilippines on July 31 that the company is set to fund masonry training for 300 beneficiaries.      UN Habitat will be responsible for recruiting the beneficiaries from among the residents of identified resettlement sites and coordinating logistics for the project. The TESDA, through its Regional Training Center inIliganCity, will administer the masonry course and certify as skilled workers those who pass.      Ramirez said the partnership with UN Habitat and TESDA is in line with the company’s corporate citizenship campaign, Holcim Helps, which tailors capacity-building support based on the needs of beneficiaries so programs are more sustainable and have a lasting positive impact.      “Holcim Helps focuses our efforts on education, livelihood, and infrastructure programs, which are designed in collaboration with our communities so we can identify the programs that are relevant to them and answers their needs,” she added.       Ramirez shared that Holcim Philippines had extended similar support to communities displaced by a natural calamity such as survivors of Typhoon Pablo in Compostella Valley in 2012 or vulnerable to one as the case of people living near the company’s Davao plant.       The support for masonry trainings were implemented through Holcim’s flagship Galing Mason program, which equips beneficiaries with skills that allow them to contribute to the rebuilding of their homes and provides them options for livelihood.       Ramirez shared these as part of her talk on the company’s efforts to contribute to addressing the deficit of quality shelters in the country.       She noted aside from providing quality cement to ensure the durability and quality of shelters being built, Holcim Philippines has also developed new products for specific applications that contribute to improving quality and reducing cost of construction.      “For example, local developers have grown to embrace masonry cement, which is better for finishing applications and more affordable than general purpose cement. While cement only accounts for roughly 10% of building costs, the savings from using the right cement can still help developers manage costs while also delivering quality shelters for their customers,” she said.      A biennial conference organized by Habitat for Humanity Philippines, the Asia-Pacific Housing Forumgathers both public and private stakeholders engaged in finding solutions for inadequate shelter issues and promoting affordable housing as a driver of economic growth. For this year’s forum, the newly formed Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development wasthe content partner.

    September 16, 2019

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  • Strengthening Business Sector-Academe-Government Collaboration Thru Orobest Innovation Program

    Strengthening Business Sector-Academe-Government Collaboration Thru Orobest Innovation Program

    CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The Optimizing Regional Opportunities for Business Excellence through Science, Technology, and Innovation (OROBEST) is a regional program that enhances industry productivity and competitiveness through the generation and adoption of scientifically-developed technologies.        This program is a pilot endeavor of the Oro Chamber in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-X), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-X), USAID – Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE), and the academic institutions in Region 10.        According to Dr. Irene Floro, president of the Oro Chamber, “We have this innovation program in order to serve the technology innovation needs of the business establishments in our locality. We are tapping our local universities in the region that has the capacity to provide these answers through their research departments and technology centers..”      After its successful launching last July 11, OROBEST Program Team conducted technology needs assessment with the small and micro-enterprises within the region as well as inventory of commercial and potential technologies from the academe.      “At the moment, we are currently reaching out and prioritizing the small and micro enterprises who may have the needs to improve their technologies,” Queritess Queja, Executive Director of the Oro Chamber said.      Last September 10, a Consultation with the Business Sector and Academic Institutions was held at Limketkai Luxe Hotel which identified the challenges of these sectors in terms of collaboration. The consultation also determined how these sectors can further strengthen their partnerships towards technology development and innovation.       With the positive results of the Consultation among these sectors, the Oro chamber- OROBEST program will again hold a series of activities on September 18-20, 2019, such as, Innovation Talk, Ideation and Project Design Workshops.

    September 16, 2019

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  • Haven within a Township: Pueblo de Oro Urban Rainforest Protects CDO’s Biodiversity

    Haven within a Township: Pueblo de Oro Urban Rainforest Protects CDO’s Biodiversity

    TREES mater to all of us. Trees provide shade, mitigate floods, absorb carbon dioxide, filter air pollution, and provide habitats for birds, mammals and other plants. The rich biodiversity within a rainforest is also incredibly important to the well-being of humans and of the planet. In an effort to preserve the existing flora and fauna in its 400-hectare Township in Cagayan de Oro, Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation (PDO) signed in 2005 a memorandum of agreement for the first Urban Rainforest in the Philippines with the ICCP Group Foundation, Inc., the Bukidnon local government, and the Department of Natural Resources (DENR). Pueblo de Oro started by planting more endemic plant seedlings, or “wildlings”, sourced from the rainforests of Mt. Kitanglad and other nearby mountains in Bukidnon. By propagating them in areas such as the ridges and knoll of the Urban Rainforest, native animal species were encouraged to build their nests and thrive.      In the years since the project kicked off, PDO has sought and joined forces with other partners and agencies in its efforts to preserve the Urban Rainforest to welcome and nurture the species that settled in the Township.      The Pueblo de Oro Urban Rainforest is a 40-hectare rainforest in the heart of Cagayan de Oro’s growth area, abundant with different plants animals. “Having a township wherein trees are abundant is not just for aesthetic purposes, but also benefits the species living within the area,” said PDO President Prim Nolido.      “And for our residential projects, the trees also reduce the urban heat island effect through evaporative cooling and reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches parking lots, houses and other open areas,” he added. Preserving biodiversity      The grasslands and creeks in the forest are home to numerous species of animals – from small insects to beautiful flights of birds. There are at least 20 species of birds that can be found within the Township. They have been seen taking flight over the combination of grasslands and woodlands in the area, including different breeds of Kingfishers and the Grass Owls, which are decreasing in number because of their loss of home.      These are among the flora and fauna that the Pueblo de Oro Urban Rainforest has been protecting and preserving for more than 14 years. “It is a reality that our wildlife is affected by the loss of its natural habitats. PDO has made it its mission to protect these endemic species and eventually be able to multiply them,” explained Nolido.      The Brahminy Kite, for example, has been spotted in the Township, especially on the fairways of the golf course near the lakes. These brown and white raptors nest in tall trees on wooded slopes. They are also spotted taking thermals – or rising hot air – found in ridges in Hillsborough Pointe, Philamlife Village, and Golden Glow Village. This hot air gives the kites lift on their wings and allows them to glide for long periods. Community involvement The Company’s employees and the community play a part in the continuous effort to develop the rainforest through regular tree planting activities. Thousands of seedlings have been planted since the launch of the urban rainforest and it continues on until this day.      More recently, PDO employees were joined by the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, represented by members of the Laudato Si and Faith and Light communities, parishioners from the St. Francis Xavier Chaplaincy of Pueblo de Oro who have heeded Pope Francis’ call to “Care for Our Common Home”.      Cacao seedlings distributed by Cagayan de Oro’s Agricultural Office were planted during the activity, which also aims to establish an instructional and pilot nursery, products of which would be dispersed to constituent farmers.      To underscore the efforts of its employees and most especially of the communities in the Township, PDO’s Community Relations Unit assists in the preparation of their project proposals for their livelihood projects. This follows the principle that preservation and expansion can only be done if the communities have viable and sustainable livelihood. Watershed protection      Coupled with the efforts of PDO to preserve and nurture the urban rainforest, the protection of watersheds is also a part of their commitment to the care of the environment. Protecting the watersheds promotes sustainable agriculture, ecological security and water resource preservation.      Giant bamboo and mahogany seedlings were planted by employees along the Calaanan Creek to help protect the soil in the Iponan Watershed, of which it is a part, and prevent it from washing downstream. Maintaining a forest cover as well as following environmentallyenhancing practices leads to a sustainable watershed.      People often think of ‘land-based’ climate solutions or nature as being something that’s far removed from the urbanism that more than half of the population lives in. But forests can be the unseen heroes of natural climate solutions where green spaces provide health and community benefits as well as shelter us from the full effect and impacts of climate change.

    September 16, 2019

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  • Northern Mindanao Volunteers recognized as CDD Champions

    Northern Mindanao Volunteers recognized as CDD Champions

    COMMUNITY volunteers from the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, and Bukidnon have represented the region in the 3rd National Community Volunteers’ Congress held last August 13 in Butuan City.       The Northern Mindanao delegation comprised of nine community volunteers, representing their respective Barangay Sub-Project Management Committees (BSPMC), from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) National Community-Driven Development Program (NCDDP).       Mary Ann Patalinghog representing the community ofBarangay Kilangit, Gitagum, Misamis Oriental; Suzette Mosende of Barangay Taparak, Alubijid, Misamis Oriental; and Mariela Galendez of Barangay San Jose, Medina, Misamis Oriental are awarded in the Improved Local Governance category.       “Dako kayo ang akong kalipay nga kami nga taga-Taparak nahimong usa sa mga awardee sa Bayani Ka Awards, dili namo ni makab-ot nga pasidungog kung wala ang suporta sa among lokal nga pangagamhanan, sa DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS na staff, barangay officials ug kauban namong mga boluntaryo” says Mosende.       Florentino Amores from Barangay Aromahon, Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental was awarded in the Elderly category which recognizes communities who value the elderly sector with equal opportunities. Florentino is 63 years old, and a pastor.       “Nagpasalamat ako sa Ginoo sa mga kaayuhan ug kalamboan nga nahatag sa DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS sa among barangay, nga sa kadugay sa panahon kami nangandoy og proyekto nga makahatag og tingusbawan sa among barangay ug sa mga lumulupyo niini, ug karon natubag na gyud,” Amores.       Barangay Aromahon in Laguindingan was recipient to four community sub-projects through DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS. These are: Day Care Center, 1 unit school building with two classrooms, concreting of 0.350 kilometer farm-to-market road, and a continuation of the 0.300 kilometer farm-to-market road. These community sub-projects span from 2015 to 2019 implementation of the program.       Mohammad Shiek Pandapatan ofBarangay Pacalundo, Baloi, Lanao del Norte was awarded in the Sustained Community Volunteers’ Group. Mohammad is also now part of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority Parliament under the Office of the Member of the Parliament Said Shiek as a Chief of Staff (EA VI). Mohammad volunteered and was selected as the BSPMC chairperson of Pacalundo from 2015 – 2018.       Mohammad has encouraged everyone to boost the call for CDD institutionalization. “Suportahan po natin ang institusyonalisasyon ng Community-Driven Development approach ng DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS. Suportahan po natin ang pagsasabatas nito, malaki at maliliit po na problema sa ating mga kumunidad ay nasolusyonan na ng CDD approach.”      Arlene Misiona of Barangay Lower Sagadan, Baroy, Lanao del Norte; and Josephine Oracion of Barangay Maribojoc, Tudela, Misamis Occidental represent their communities and are awarded in the Gender and Development category.       Roger Mutia representing the community ofBarangay Ospital, Aloran, Misamis Occidental was awarded in the Environmental Protection category. The Labo creek, which stretches out to the Aloran River overflows and endangers the lives of the community members – despite not being prioritized for two cycle implementations, the community never lost hope of their dream. The community sub-project of the Barangay Ospital is the Construction of 40 Linear Meter Flood Control Structure is now completed which is funded through the DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS amounting to P1,350,572.00 with P116,00.00 local counterpart from the barangay development fund of Ospital. Roger Mutia was recently elected as a Barangay Councilor and holds the committee chairmanship of environment and infrastructure.       Joselito Tumanod representing the community ofBarangay New Eden, Pangantucan, Bukidnon has received the Indigenous Peoples’ Welfare category.       Oracion, Galendez, and Tumanod were also recently elected as barangay councilors in their respective communities.       The Bayani Ka Awards and National Community Volunteers Congress is an activity that recognizes the efforts and valuable contributions of community volunteers who have been implementing sub-projects through the Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach.       The activity is an annual event of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS to celebrate the success of community-driven development which is implemented across 827 municipalities nationwide.      This year’s theme is “Padayon, Kalahi-CIDSS!,”which boosts the clamor to institutionalize the CDD strategy in DSWD programs and in the local development process of municipalities.      The event was participated by more than 250 community volunteers, local chief executives, and barangay officials from 14 regions nationwide.      Kalahi-CIDSS is one of poverty alleviation programs of DSWD stipulated in the Magna Carta of the Poor. It uses the CDD approach in empowering communities that provides the opportunity for participation by giving them control over decisions and resources. Through CDD, sub-projects target the immediate needs of the communities and community members have larger stake in their own development.                 To date, there are 604,048 community volunteers who worked together to complete the 26,828 community sub-projects nationwide.

    September 16, 2019

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Holcim to help UN Habitat, TESDA in Marawi rebuild project

September 16, 2019

Corporate

By: , Leading cement maker Holcim Philippines, Inc. will support a project by the United Nations Human Settlement Program (UN Habitat) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to build new homes for 1,500 families displaced by the conflict in Marawi.       Holcim Vice President for Communications Cara Ramirez shared during the 7th Annual Asia-Pacific Housing Forum organized by Habitat for HumanityPhilippines on July 31 that the company is set to fund masonry training for 300 beneficiaries.      UN Habitat will be responsible for recruiting the beneficiaries from among the residents of identified resettlement sites and coordinating logistics for the project. The TESDA, through its Regional Training Center inIliganCity, will administer the masonry course and certify as skilled workers those who pass.      Ramirez said the partnership with UN Habitat and TESDA is in line with the company’s corporate citizenship campaign, Holcim Helps, which tailors capacity-building support based on the needs of beneficiaries so programs are more sustainable and have a lasting positive impact.      “Holcim Helps focuses our efforts on education, livelihood, and infrastructure programs, which are designed in collaboration with our communities so we can identify the programs that are relevant to them and answers their needs,” she added.       Ramirez shared that Holcim Philippines had extended similar support to communities displaced by a natural calamity such as survivors of Typhoon Pablo in Compostella Valley in 2012 or vulnerable to one as the case of people living near the company’s Davao plant.       The support for masonry trainings were implemented through Holcim’s flagship Galing Mason program, which equips beneficiaries with skills that allow them to contribute to the rebuilding of their homes and provides them options for livelihood.       Ramirez shared these as part of her talk on the company’s efforts to contribute to addressing the deficit of quality shelters in the country.       She noted aside from providing quality cement to ensure the durability and quality of shelters being built, Holcim Philippines has also developed new products for specific applications that contribute to improving quality and reducing cost of construction.      “For example, local developers have grown to embrace masonry cement, which is better for finishing applications and more affordable than general purpose cement. While cement only accounts for roughly 10% of building costs, the savings from using the right cement can still help developers manage costs while also delivering quality shelters for their customers,” she said.      A biennial conference organized by Habitat for Humanity Philippines, the Asia-Pacific Housing Forumgathers both public and private stakeholders engaged in finding solutions for inadequate shelter issues and promoting affordable housing as a driver of economic growth. For this year’s forum, the newly formed Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development wasthe content partner.

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AirAsia PHL names new chairman

September 4, 2019

Corporate

By: , ORGANIZATIONAL changes continue for Philippines AirAsia, Inc. as the budget carrier announced over the weekend the appointment of corporate lawyer Joseph Omar A. Castillo as the new chairman of the board.      “We’re delighted to welcome Atty. Castillo as Chairman of the Board during this period of exciting growth for AirAsia,” AirAsia Group Executive Chairman Datuk Kamarudin said in a statement.      “Atty. Castillo brings a wealth of experience and strategic vision to the airline business, and we are confident that the company will continue to thrive under his leadership,” he added.      Mr. Castillo is replacing Marianne B. Hontiveros who held the post since 2014. Ms. Hontiveros was also chief executive officer and part owner of AirAsia Philippines.      The appointment of Mr. Castillo took effect yesterday. He joined the AirAsia Philippines board of directors earlier this year, and previously worked at private law firm Puyat, Jacinto & Santos (PJS) Law, where he led its transport and business process outsourcing practices and focused on labor relations, contract support, immigration and corporate fraud.      Prior to joining PJS Law, Mr. Castillo was part of Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz (ACCRA) Law Offices and the Baker McKenzie law firm. He was also vice-president for Downstream Operations of the PNOC-Exploration Corp. from 2011 to 2013.      He earned his law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1997 and his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the same university in 1993.      AirAsia Philippines also appointed a new chief executive officer, Ricardo “Ricky” P. Isla, replacing Dexter M. Comendador. Mr. Comendador was appointed chief operating officer.      Last June, the carrier likewise announced a change in ownership with the transfer of majority shares to businessman Michael L. Romero’s F&S Holdings, Inc., which now owns 44.4% of AirAsia Philippines.      Ms. Hontiveros and Zest-O Corp. Founder Alfredo M. Yao sold each of their 15.7% shares in the airline to F&S Holdings, leaving the remaining owners Antonio “Tony Boy” Conjuangco with 15.7% shares and Malaysia AirAsia International Ltd. with 39.9%.      AirAsia Philippines posted a profit of P593.07 million in the second quarter, surging 777% from last year due to a growth in passenger volume and ancillary revenues. It is aiming to swing to profit by yearend with a revenue target of P30 billion.      The budget carrier is also planning to launch an initial public offering before the end of the year.

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DoubleDragon on track to have 100 malls by 2021

September 4, 2019

Corporate

By: , DOUBLEDRAGON Properties Corp. said it is on track to have 100 malls under its portfolio by 2021, as it moves to secure all lots for the projects within the year.      “We’re still on target to have 100 malls by 2021…We have almost secured all lots, hopefully by end of this year, we’ll secure them,” DoubleDragon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edgar J. Sia II told reporters after the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Pasay on Friday.      Mr. Sia noted that only the construction of the malls will be completed by then, with operations to start soon after since they may experience delays with tenants.      The listed property developer is set to end the year with 51 malls, from its current network of 39.      “We’ll end this year with 51. So we’ll have to open 12 more. We build the same thing all the time, so it’s faster,” Mr. Sia said.      DoubleDragon’s mall business carries the CityMall brand, which is primarily located in second and third tier cities in the provinces. This aims to meet the demand for malls in provincial areas, while also avoiding competition from more mature players in key cities in the country.      CityMall is 66% owned by DoubleDragon. The remaining 34% is owned by Sy-led SM Investments Corp., which by itself is the country’s largest mall operator with 72 malls in the country and seven in China.      The company is counting on its commercial mall business to help boost recurring revenues by 2021, alongside its three other segments namely office leasing, industrial warehouses, and hotels.      It aims to have 1.2 million square meters (sq.m.)of leasable space across the four segments by 2020, around double its current 603,000 sq.m. This further supports its goal of hitting P10.8 billion in recurring revenues by 2021, after which the company will start declaring cash dividends worth about 30% of their net income to shareholders      This year alone, Mr. Sia said they expect to generate P4 billion in recurring revenues, and is seen to rise to P5.4 billion by 2020.      With more than one million sq.m. of leasable area under its portfolio by next year, the company is also eyeing to place its assets under a real estate investment trust (REIT) once regulators come out with the final rules.      “In the meantime, we’re just building more and maturing out leasable space. If the rules get delayed, the effect of that is we will just be able to raise higher amounts. But as soon as it’s ready, and it looks okay, we will go,” Mr. Sia said.      The company earlier said it wants to raise up to P15 billion from a REIT offering in early 2020, while its entire portfolio could potentially raise up to P59.4 billion      DoubleDragon’s net income attributable to the parent jumped 104% to P1.52 billion in the first half of 2019, after gross revenues surged 54% to P5.59 billion.

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Globe myBusiness expands reach, inks agreements with LuzViMin Business Partners

August 30, 2019

Corporate

By: , Globe myBusiness, the micro, small, and medium-size enterprise arm of Globe, expands its reach in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao as it signs separate partnership deals with 17 telecom resellers.      The retailers will now serve as accredited partners of Globe myBusiness and will act as the brand’s representative in various areas in the country where the Globe Store is not present. They will carry the different business solutions being offered by Globe myBusiness to MSMEs.      “We would like to celebrate our partnership with these resellers which we believe is key in further reaching out to MSMEs.  Together, we can accomplish great things and help our customers through their digital transformation,” said Cleo Santos, Globe myBusiness Sales Head.      For Luzon, Globe myBusiness partners are  Activ8 Enterprises, Noah Genesis, McBlues Marketing, Systemplus Computer Center, The First Plaza @ Daanghari, Oleron Computer Solutions Center and Ecotech Business Solutions, Inc.  Visayas is represented by  Alphard Marketing Services, 2kg Cable Services,  MVM Online Business Center, DCV Industrial Control Enterprises, G7 Documentation Services and Jab 8 Distribution Inc. while Mindanao partners include Permaheal, Abjanine Business Center Company, Dianne and Tweety Beverages Enterprises, Gwils Dry Goods Store.

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Land Bank to expand banking services in remotest provinces

September 4, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , THE Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) will expand the coverage of its banking services by setting up additional satellite centers and deployment of mobile tellers in remotest and depressed provinces nationwide.      In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, LBP First Vice President for Strategic Planning Elcid Pangilinan said the bank has approved in principle the opening of over 250 banking outlets in an effort to strengthen and improve the financial infusion for un-banked areas.      The bank has targeted to complete the project in the next five years aimed at improving the urgent need for financial infusion in areas not being reached by the LBP.      Pangilinan explained the deployment of mobile tellers was in line with bank’s objective of educating people, specifically the farmers and fisherfolk in far-flung provinces, to appreciate the value of the bank.      He noted that majority of those in the farm and fisheries sector have not been exposed or introduced in rightful way of depositing and withdrawing their hard-earned money.      Citing the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas report, Pangilinan said there are about 533 unbanked provinces and municipalities and "it is our aim to reach out to these places and serve the people."      Of the approved over 250 places deprived of the banking services, the LBP branches will be set up in the northern part of Luzon, Visayas in its eastern part, and in western part of Mindanao.      While he did not divulge the amount which the bank will infuse in the two projects, Pangilinan assured that it has sufficient money to carry out its commitment, noting that LBP has been named as top four in terms of assets and deposits.      Pangilinan was one of the official representatives to the two-day meet on Reducing Disaster Risks Towards a Resilient Agricultural Sector hosted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Studies (SEARCA) here from Aug. 29 to 30, 2019. (Lulu R. Principe/PNA)

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Diokno vows another rate slash for 2019

August 30, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said yesterday there will be another 25 basis points (bps) cut in the benchmark policy rates by the end of the year, completing a 75 bps interest rates reduction for 2019.      Diokno said he could not say as yet which would come first, the policy rate cut or the reduction in banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR). He reiterated that both actions are “live issues” and could come at any time.      “There’s another 25 bps (before the end of the year),” Diokno told a forum organized by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines on Tuesday. He cited the global monetary easing actions and continued benign inflation as factors for the impending cut.      Diokno said they will again reduce the RRR this year, on top of the 200 bps RRR cut they implemented in tranches in May, June and July. He however said that it may not be as much as another 200 bps cut, equivalent to P190 billion in fresh liquidity.      “We have another RRR cut this year but maybe not 200 bps (it could be) 150 bps,” said Diokno. When asked if like before, the policy cut will happen prior the RRR cut, he said – “we don’t know yet (because) it’s a live issue. It could be before the late September (Monetary Board) policy meeting. It could be after … we will just look at the data.”      The Monetary Board’s next monetary policy meeting is September 26. It will have two more after, on November 26 and December 12, for a total of eight policy meetings for 2019.      “As we are all aware, the specter of slowing global economic growth looms larger than ever on the horizon as protectionist policies and geopolitical tensions continue to dominate the global growth narrative,” Diokno told forum participants. “Greater global economic uncertainty may lead to higher risk aversion as international investors turn to safe-haven assets, resulting in volatility in our domestic financial markets. When this happens, this could have adverse consequences on our price and financial stability objectives, and ultimately on the country’s growth momentum.”      Since global growth risks may “further escalate” because of the US-China trade conflict, Diokno said that in response, “central banks around the world, including the Philippines, have responded by easing their respective policy rates to stimulate their domestic economies. In fact, some central banks have surprised the markets by reducing their rates by more than what was expected. This indicates that the global monetary policy easing cycle could gather momentum and last longer and deeper than previously anticipated.”      The BSP policy rate was reduced by 25 bps last May 9 and by another 25 bps last August 8 for a total of 50 bps. During its last policy meeting, the BSP further slashed its inflation forecast for 2019 to 2.6 percent from 2.7 percent, while the 2020 and 2021 estimate was 2.9 percent, still within the two-four percent government inflation target.      Diokno has said that third quarter inflation average will drop below two percent due to base effects. He is also hoping that the last quarter’s inflation average could be “much lower” than what their flow charts show because of lower global oil prices      Inflation rate averaged at 3.8 percent in the first quarter 2019 before falling to three percent in the second quarter. With the latest July inflation of 2.4 percent, the year-to-date inflation averaged at 3.3 percent.      Diokno said the decision to reduce interest rates last May 9 came from its assessment that price pressures have continued to ease and that inflation expectations have also moderated further.      The main factors that contributed to the BSP’s benign inflation outlook and the revision of the forecasts came from the continuing relaxation of food price pressures.      Last year, the BSP raised interest rates by 175 bps to curb high inflation at the time, because of higher oil and rice prices. Inflation peaked at 6.7 percent in September and October.

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BSP cuts TDF offering for next week

August 30, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will offer lower volume during the term deposit facility (TDF) auction on August 28.      In an advisory, the central bank said a total of P80 billion will be offered next week, lower than the P100 billion this week.      Specifically, the seven- and 14-day facilities will be offered for P20 billion each, while the 28-day offering is P40 billion.      During the auction on Thursday, a day late due to the holiday last Wednesday, the six-day facility was offered for P40 billion but was undersubscribed at P35.82 billion.      Banks also offered low bids for the 13-day facility after they submitted tenders amounting to PP26.055 billion against the P30 billion offering.      On the other hand, there was strong demand for the 27-day TDF after bids reached P41.119 billion, higher than the P30 billion offer.      BSP Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila Jr. attributed this week’s auction results to “appetite for longer-tenored term deposits.”      “At the same time, the results of the auction indicated the banks' preference to hold on to their cash in view of the long weekend and month-end liquidity requirements,” he said.      Dakila, however, noted that the total tenders received across all TDF tenors at about P103 billion were in line with the BSP's liquidity forecast for the week. (PNA)

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SSS benefit, pension disbursements up

August 23, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , THE SOCIAL Security System (SSS) has released benefits and pensions worth P95.71 billion in the first six months to its 3.19 million members, with the bulk going to retirement funds.      In a statement on Tuesday, the state pension fund said it disbursed P55.7 billion worth of retirement benefits to 1.57 million pensioners from January to June, 8.6% higher than the P51.28 billion released in the same period last year.      Payouts for death claims by one million beneficiaries saw an increase of 4.8% to P28.63 billion in the first half from P27.32 billion a year ago.      Disbursements for disability and funeral benefits in the January-June period respectively totalled P3.59 billion, up 7.8% year-on-year, and P2.14 billion, up 9.7%, and went to 208,863 recipients.      Sickness benefits also climbed 14.9% to P1.51 billion in the first semester from the P1.32 billion logged in the same period last year, and went to 235,000 members.      SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said in the statement that the growth in beneficiaries and claims may be attributed to the implementation of the Republic Act (RA) 11220 Expanded Maternity Leave Law in May and RA 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018 signed into law last February.      RA 11220 increased the paid maternity leave to 105 days from 60 days, with an additional 15 days for solo mothers.      Meanwhile, RA 11199 adjusted SSS’ contribution rate to 12% from 11% and the monthly salary credits of its members to a minimum of P2,000 and P20,000 maximum.      “In the first half of 2019 alone, the number of beneficiaries and claims have already posted significant growth since the implementation of new laws and policies of the administration,” Ms. Ignacio said.      Meanwhile, total revenues of the state pension fund increased to P115.53 billion in the first half, up 20.9% from last year’s P95.55 billion, SSS said in the statement.      Broken down, contribution collections and investments and other income stood at P99.08 billion and P16.45 billion, respectively, in the first half, which SSS said climbed due to the higher contribution rate and monthly salary credit.      “Further, our investment and other income bounced back this period driven by strong and favorable market conditions,” Ms. Ignacio added.      SSS’ assets stood at P542.27 billion at end-June, 6% higher than the P511.47 billion booked in the comparable year-ago period.      “With our strong financial performance this semester, we are hoping to further strengthen the fund and ensure the continued service and providing for more and more members in the future until perpetuity,” Ms. Ignacio said.

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DOLE-X accredits 166 PhilJobNet private companies; boosts net job search

August 5, 2019

Economy

By: , CAGAYAN de Oro City--The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-X) through its Cagayan de Oro City Field Office (CDO FO) accredited 166 companies in the private sector during the first half of the year under the PhilJobnet - the official job-search portal of the government.      This move will boost increased job vacancies through net search.      DOLE-X CDO FO Chief Ebba B. Acosta said the realization is in collaboration with various establishments’ human resource development agenda and provision of platforms that would promote effective matching of the available jobs with the right people.       Acosta said the FO made sure that partner companies registered under the Department’s Rule 1020 or the Registration of Establishment shall also join the PhilJobNet. Likewise, the same rule was applied to companies joining the DOLE’s job facilitation program or the Job Fair.      Registration at PhilJobNet is free for both job seekers and employers.  In order for an employer to be accredited, they only need to submit/upload their BIR Registration Certificate (2303), SEC/DTI Registration Certificate, POEA License (for Overseas Recruitment Agency), DOLE License (for Local Recruitment Agency and Department Order No. 174 for Contractors/Subcontractors).      As an accredited establishment, they are free to upload at least ten job posts monthly; top banner for every job post; office location map; report pages; and synced interview calendar.        Premium services like unlimited job posting; email information and SMS/text blast to all registered job seekers; resume search; and priority jobs;  company name display at the topmost page are available for a fee.        PhilJobNet is an internet-based job and applicant matching system which aims to fast track jobseekers’ search job and employers for manpower requirements.  It provides job seekers with a listing of job vacancies posted by accredited government and private employers as well as by local and overseas manpower recruitment.      For mobile services, PhilJobnet application is available at Google Play Store for free. (DOLE10/PIA10)

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PPA inaugurates PH Biggest Port Terminal Bldg in CDO Today

July 15, 2019

Economy

By: Mike Baños, “The construction of this brand new building will greatly strengthen the region as the global gateway to Mindanao. Once we inaugurate this on July 15, we are opening Cagayan De Oro to the nation and to the rest of the world as we pursue progress for our seaports,” said PPA General Manager Jay Santiago in a statement. Santiago said the new P 276.705 million facility would boost opportunities for economic growth and tourism, not only in the city or in the province of Misamis Oriental, but for the entire Northern Mindanao. Through the expansion project, the new PTB can now accommodate up to 3,000 sea passengers daily, triple its previous passenger capacity of 1,000. The only port in the country managed and operated by the Philippine Ports Authority with such a facility, the 18,150.50 sq.m. Passenger Terminal Complex houses three (3) major structures: the 2-Storey Passenger Terminal Building, the ground floor of which has a 1,176 passenger seating-capacity and the second floor of which has a 1,221 passenger-seating capacity; Waiting Area for arriving passengers; and the Security Checkpoint Facility 1 for embarking passengers. The Complex also has a queuing area for Taxis/PUVs; a designated area for ticketing outlets; covered walkways; open spaces for parking with carbon sink areas containing mature trees and some plants. The Passenger Terminal Building contains facilities and GAD amenities for the safety, security, comfort and convenience of the passengers including Security Checkpoint 2 with X- Ray scanner for luggage/baggage, body scanner, CCTVs; Security Office; Office for PTC Personnel; Ballistics and Ammunitions Office; Passenger Boarding Stations; Collector’s Booth; Public Assistance and “Malasakit” Help Desks; Offices for passenger-related agencies such as Tourism, Quarantine, City Tourist Police and Coast Guard; waiting areas; a designated green area with plant boxes; and storage room for equipment and housekeeping, among others. GAD amenities include Play Area for children; Child Care Station for breastfeeding and diaper changing; Ecumenical Prayer Rooms; Special Boarding Lane for Senior Citizens, PWDS, Pregnant Women and Women travelling with children below 2 years old; drinking fountains; separate toilet facilities for PWDs, Female and Male; a Medical Urgent Care Need Room; and Concessionaires Area for food stalls, coffee shops and pasalubong centers, among others. Relatedly, PPA Administrative Order No. 04-2019 which takes effect today, July 15, 2019 grants Exemption from Payment of Passenger Terminal Fee to Embarking Passengers in all PPA Ports, particularly Students, Senior Citizens, Persons with Disability and Selected Uniformed Personnel ie. AFP, PNP and the PCG in active service. PPA have remained steadfast in giving “malasakit” and service to the Filipino people as it celebrated its 45 th Founding Anniversary on July 11, 2019 with the theme “Apatnapu’t limang taon na Malasakit at Serbisyo”. PPA GM Santiago explained that “Malasakit at Serbisyo” will be the mantra of PPA in the next 365 days with the end goal of providing “malasakit” to the Filipino people through improved port services and towards a comfortable travel experience. Besides the new PTB, the PPA will also be inaugurating its new port in Opol, Misamis Oriental and the 6-lane electronic multi-gate system. Together with the ongoing extension of wharf and expansion back- up area, these three projects are part of the Port Management Office for Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro program to beef up its operational capability under its 7 Pillars of Development infrastructure program. Developed in consultation with the Philippine Liners Shipping Association (PLSA), the long- term program is geared towards sustaining the Northern Mindanao’s growth over the following decades. Metro Cagayan de Oro is envisioned to become the Philippines 4 th Metropolitan Center by 2025 along with Manila, Cebu and Davao, based on the National Spatial Strategy proposed network of settlements under the 2017-2025 edition of the Philippine Development Plan, As a Metropolitan Center, Cagayan de Oro would serve as a center of commercial, financial, and administrative activities and a primary international gateway. Beyond the immediate port area, the Port Management Office-Misamis Oriental-Cagayan de Oro will also alleviate road congestion in its entry/exit points through the Opol port zone delineation and development project to address congestion in the West coast highways by handling all incoming cargo from the Western Misamis Oriental and Iligan City. “The development and construction of Opol Port will decongest Cagayan de Oro Port with the diversion of tramping vessels to Luyong Bonbon, Opol, Misamis Oriental, thereby relieving the arterial roads to the port of the truck traffic and the port itself of these types of vessels” said Engr. Samuel Claro P. Fontanilla, PMO MisOr CDO engineering services division manager.   “As part of the seven pillars program to transform the Port of Cagayan de Oro into a purely containerized port, the Port of Opol will serve as the alternate port for domestic tramping vessels to ease berth congestion at the Port of Cagayan de Oro to bring it up to UNCTAD standard,” he added. The P264-million Opol port project will reduce standby time, shifting of vessels and optimize berth utilization at the CDO Port. Relatedly, the 6-Lane, ISPS compliant Electronic Gate Complex through Gate 3 leading to Arcadia Valenzuela Avenue in Lapasan will relieve traffic congestion at Gate No. 2 by providing 6 lane electronic controlled access to port users and eliminate long queues at the entry point. This facility will be fully equipped with CCTV cameras, weigh bridges for cargoes, electronic gates, payment booths. The Electronic Permit System (EPS) and Electronic Payment System (ePayment) will be eventually embedded and complemented by the LTO’s Motor Vehicle Recognition System through the use of the RFID. (as part of system (RFID). Expected to grace the inauguration of the three key facilities is DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade. The DOTr Chief Executive commended the PPA for its efforts in completing the massive port project for the people of Cagayan de Oro. “I am thankful to GM Jay Santiago, and to the men and women of PPA, for realizing the dream of building the biggest Passenger Terminal Building in the country. This is a huge step towards giving the people of Cagayan de Oro a comfortable life through enhanced connectivity, a legacy promised by President Rodrigo Duterte,”Tugade said. “Moreover, it will strengthen the region as the global gateway to Mindanao and gives much impact on our tourism industry where we are able to showcase and afford to both local and foreign tourists the comfort, convenience, accessibility of home, safety and security they deserved in their travel experience,” said Engr. Isidro V. Butaslac, Jr., PMO MisorCDO Port Manager. Since Butaslac assumed the stewardship of PPA’s PMO MisOr CDO in November 2014, they have attained significant milestones, foremost among of which was CDO Port’s recognition as one of the APSN Green Port Award System (GPAS) winners for 2018 among candidate ports from 18 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Butaslac received the Certificate of Recognition, ASPN Green Port Badge, and flag banners from the APEC Port Services Network (APSN) during the annual awarding ceremony held 15 November 2018 in Singapore.   Barely a month later, the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) cited the PMO- MOC as a Best Practice for its environmental protection and conservation during the 2018 Government Best Practice Recognition (GBPR). The PPA Head Office endorsed the PMO MOC’s entry dubbed, “Philippine Ports Authority—Port Management Office of Misamis Oriental/Cagayan de Oro (PMO MOC): Fostering a Green Culture for Port Operations and Management,” highlighted its initiatives for environmental protection, conservation, and sustainability through the employment of technology; issuance and compliance with environmental policies and mandates; and inculcating environmental awareness among port stakeholders. Operationally, the PMO has addressed berthing congestion (already over 100% eight years ago) by segregating berths according to type of cargo of the berthing vessel: Berths 1 to 6 for break bulk; 8,9, and 10 for containerized; and bulk liquids, solids at the end 12 & 13 for deep draft vessels. In addition, the port is undertaking dredging to a uniform depth of 13 meters to meet international standards. As a complement to the berthing classification, the PMO has also proposed for consideration as a high-impact project, the provision of a break bulk receiving facility at area “A” to enhance palletizing operations, ensure and improve safe and healthy working conditions for dockworkers and other port users, and preserve or protect perishable cargoes from environmental hazards and exposure to extreme weather. The project is situated about 200 meters from where Mediterranean type vessels carrying cargoes to be palletized are berthed. Trucks will no longer enter the port area so as not to congest its operational yard and port roads. Security, yard congestion, entry of irrelevant personnel, and safety concerns are expected to be attained since cargo trucks will no longer have to enter the port operational area. On top of segregating the berths, the quay which has never been extended during the last six years until 2015 was extended by another 150 meters, to be eventually lengthened up to 700 meters over the next 20 years. Not the least, the PMO replace its lighting system using solar powered LED lighting to significantly reduce power costs and pilferage of power cable wires.

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OCD-10 urges LGUs to be ready for disasters

June 24, 2019

Economy

By: GERRY LEE GORIT, MAMBAJAO, Camiguin – To ensure the safety of residents during earthquakes, the local government units must see to it that they are prepared for any disaster that might occur in their area, the Office of Civil Defense-10 (OCD-10) said. Aside from regular earthquake drills that would remind people how to react in case there is a tremor, OCD-10 regional director Rosauro Arnel Gonzales Jr. said the LGUs must also put in place disaster management mechanism, most especially in the training and deployment of responders and procurement of equipment. He said residents might have already been trained on the basic duck-hold-cover move, but to save lives, the local officials must also be equipped to handle disaster response.“The community might tell us that, ‘we are ready,’ but how secure is the government in responding to disasters, especially if there are people affected or there are casualties?” Gonzales told the participants of the regional level of the National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) held at Mambajao town, Camiguin Thursday afternoon, June 20. “In this drill, we’d like to showcase the various responses of the government, from the local chief executives up to the barangay, and the different agencies who provided the necessary responders,” he said. During the drill, different scenarios resulting from an earthquake were being played out by both actual responders such as the provincial and municipal disaster risk reduction and management personnel, Bureau of Fire Protection firefighters and the Department of Health medical staff to community members acting as displaced residents and victims of tsunami, fire, and collapsed buildings. Mambajao mayor and Camiguin governor-elect Jurdin Jesus Romualdo said he sees the need for an exercise like the NSED to constantly raise the people’s awareness since the island-province, which had its share of volcanic eruptions in the past decades, is prone to floods, landslides, earthquakes, and tsunamis.  The eruptions that caused earthquake and other calamities in Camiguin occurred in 1871 to 1875 and in 1948 to 1951. Romualdo also recalled how in 2001 Typhoon Nanang devastated the province causing a massive landslide in Barangay Hubangon, Mahinog town that left 64 villagers dead and 117 more missing. He said the typhoon isolated the island for about two weeks as government agencies and even the Armed Forces and the National Police responders could not land at Camiguin due to bad weather. “We were on our own and the heavy rains, inclement weather made it difficult for help to come,” he added. He said it was local government’s initiative that the people’s cooperation that Camiguin was able to withstand the calamity that struck them. Romualdo described Typhoon Nanang as “the worst crisis that we had in Camiguin in recent history.” He said Camiguin should be ready for any eventuality at all times, and in fact, the local government has published a handbook on disaster management that will guide the Camiguingnons in the event of calamities. Col. Surki Sereñas, police regional spokesperson who was also one of the NSED evaluators, said the simulation was very organized with responders acting quickly to tend to the affected persons. Based on the OCD-10 data, about 3,000 persons participated in the regional NSED held in this province, many of them students, community members, and local government workers.

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Mindanao’s youth IP leaders vow support for EO 70

June 19, 2019

Economy

By: , YOUNG indigenous peoples (IP) leaders from across Mindanao threw their support behind the implementation of the Duterte Administration’s “Whole-Of-Nation” Approach under Executive Order No. 70 creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC). The more than 200 participants to the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples’ Youth Assembly committed to helping the national government implement the initiative which primarily aims to address the decades-long communist rebellion in the country. “We, the representatives of this assembly, declare our full and unequivocal support to the national government’s Whole-Of-Nation Approach, which is a centerpiece of the Duterte Administration’s Peace and Development Agenda,” the delegates said in a resolution passed on June 15. “We believe that this approach is the best solution to the communist insurgency that has ravaged our communities, and provide us, the youth, the opportunity to work hand in hand with the government to achieve this goal.” They pledged not to be used and abused by the communist insurgents, and will utilize our voices to speak out and convince members of our communities not to support the organization’s distorted ideology,” the resolution added. President Rodrigo Duterte has formed NTF ELCAC to work out a mechanism to help end the decades-old communist insurgency, and institutionalize a “whole-of-nation approach” in attaining an “inclusive and sustainable peace." The Whole-Of-Nation Approach mandates all concerned agencies of government to work in a holistic and integrated manner to deliver much-needed services to underdeveloped, conflict-affected communities. Through its Sectoral Unification, Capacity Building and Empowerment Cluster with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) as a member, the NTF-ELCAC has started to engage various peace stakeholders to jumpstart the process. The approach will utilize localized peace engagements wherein local government units and other community members situated in conflict-affected areas will take the lead in providing solutions to best resolve the nation’s insurgency problem. In the same resolution, the youth leaders also urged President Duterte to declare the full implementation of RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Acts (IPRA) as part of the national government’s policy agenda in his upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA). “Through this declaration, we envision the IPRA’s full implementation to significantly impact on the lives of our indigenous peoples, specifically by allowing us to completely enjoy the four bundle of rights as stated in the IPRA,” the resolution said. According to Dante Tumanding, political officer of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Youth Organization (MIPYO), they can contribute a lot to the Whole-Of-Nation approach. “We are the frontlines and are the first ones affected whenever there is armed conflict in our communities,” Tumanding said. This is the reason, Tumanding said, why the conduct of the peace assembly, organized by OPAPP in collaboration with MIPYO, is both timely and relevant. “We wanted to equip our youth IP leaders across Mindanao with the skills and knowledge they will need to support the implementation of EO 70,” he said. (OPAPRU PR) 

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Toyota Unveils the All-New Super Grandia

August 26, 2019

Motoring

By: , Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) completes the Hiace lineup this August with the launch of the All New Super Grandia in three new variants: Elite, Leather, and Fabric.      “The Hiace Super Grandia is a preferred van of companies in various industries, and is quite popular as a family vehicle. It has indeed become a symbol of comfort, convenience, and durability,” says TMP President Satoru Suzuki. “We are excited to bring a higher level of luxury and a delightful ride experience that Filipinos truly deserve with the All New Hiace Super Grandia. We expect this model to further elevate the Hiace which currently has a 54.6% share in its segment, year-to-date as of July.”      Precise chrome accents add elegance to the large front grille which merges with the defined bi-beam LED head lamps. The rear chrome garnish mirrors the front design and is also complemented by the distinctive shape of the LED rear combination lamps. The low center of gravity and wide stance is accentuated by the chrome lining that runs along the side to the bottom of the rear bumper.      The Power-sliding Doors (available for the Elite variant) emanates an inviting entrance to the luxurious cabin. Upon entry, the interior illumination sets a relaxing mood which can be adjusted to the passenger’s preference. Illumination can be set to blue, amber, or white for the Elite variant. Passengers enjoy luxurious personal space with the captain seats that occupy the first and second row. Quilted leather 4-way Power Adjust Captain Seats with Ottoman replace the first rear row for the Super Grandia Elite. For all variants of the Super Grandia, bench type space up seats at the farthest row can accommodate up to 4 more passengers. Rear personal reading lamps provide each passenger a greater sense of personal control and convenience, giving them the option of better visibility in their personal space. Automatic climate control ensures passenger comfort all throughout the drive, with Nano-E™ air purifying technology for the Elite variant.      The fuel-efficient 1GD-FTV 2.8 Diesel A/T engine powers the All New Super Grandia, with 2,755cc displacement, 174 horsepower, intercooler system, and EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation). The McPherson Strut suspension provides excellent handling and stability and a 4-Link Coil Spring rear suspension reduces cabin noise, vibration, and harshness, ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride even on long drives.      The Hiace Super Grandia is equipped with advanced safety features, giving peace of mind and confidence for both the driver and passenger. All Super Grandia variants have Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), Vehicle Stability Control with Brake Assist, Hill Start Assist, Clearance and Back Sonars, Back Monitor, 9 SRS airbags (driver, front passenger, driver knee, front side, and curtain shield), and Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) 3-point seatbelts for the driver and all passengers.      The Super Grandia Elite is the first variant in Toyota Motor Philippines’ official vehicle lineup which features Toyota Safety Sense (TSS). TSS incorporates active safety features which identify factors that may cause accidents and aid the driver in eliminating these factors. Features for this variant include the Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and Automatic High Beam (AHB). The Hiace Super Grandia will be available in Toyota dealerships nationwide from today with SRP starting at P 2,420,000.

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Suzuki Moves Up to 4th Place in PH Automotive Brands Ranking

August 26, 2019

Motoring

By: , Suzuki Philippines Inc., the country’s pioneer subcompact car distributor, marks another first as it starts H2 of 2019 with another milestone. For the month of July, SPH grabs the 4th place among top automotive brands for the month-to-date and climbs to the 5th spot for the year-to-date ranking in the industry, the highest in the history of the brand with a 41% sales growth vs last year.      SPH closed the first half of 2019 on a high note, posting 14 percent sales growth over the same period last year. “We started the year on the right foot and strengthened our efforts in Q2 to reach more Filipino customers. Our aggressive and strategic marketing campaigns are key in pushing up our position both in the Philippine automobile industry and CAMPI rankings. These achievements reflect the Filipinos’ growing trust in our brand and the quality Suzuki cars that we provide. We are more driven now more than ever to bring only quality driving experience in every Suzuki ride,” shared SPH Director and General Manager for Automobile Division Keiichi Suzuki.       Committed to giving quality driving experience to every Filipino, SPH continues to assure the market with best-performance vehicles such as the New Ertiga, Swift, Celerio, Dzire and Vitara. These top-selling Suzuki vehicles collectively contributed 77 percent to total H1 2019 sales.       The top-favorite 7-seater family vehicle Ertiga is still the number one best-selling Suzuki vehicle in this year’s lineup with a 34 percent share of sales. The introduction of the new Ertiga Black Interior ramped up sales even further. Its fuel efficiency and spacious interior complement the elegance and modern style, giving the Ertiga a strong edge over its competitors.       Following Ertiga as a top-selling Suzuki vehicle is the hatchback well-loved by millennials. The Suzuki Swift contributed 13 percent to overall sales for the first half of the year.       The Celerio ranks third among Suzuki’s top-selling vehicles with an 11 percent shares of sales. Powered by a three-cylinder 1.0-liter DOHC engine, the hatchback is available with either a five-speed manual transmission or a Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT), making it the first model in its segment to offer CVT. Its compact design surprises with an interior that provides ample space, legroom and storage for stress-free driving.      Spurred by the back-to-back successes in H1 2019 and with consistent marketing efforts, Suzuki Philippines warms up for a much more exciting initiatives for the remaining months of the year. These include the ongoing series of Auto Festival exhibits at SM City General Santos (September 21-22) and SM City Davao (October 26-27).      The brand will continue delivering on its commitment to provide only good-quality vehicles to provide Filipinos with the best driving experience and bring them closer to the Suzuki way of life.

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TMP Inaugurates New P1-billion Press Line

August 16, 2019

Motoring

By: , Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation (TMP) recently inaugurated its new P1-billion high-technology press line, which includes a 1600-ton servo-type press machine with automated sheet feeder and unloader robot. This marks the start of local production for side member panels – TMP’s single largest localization project under the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program.       Side member panels are the largest body shell parts, and require high level of accuracy and quality forming because of its many contact points with other parts of the vehicle body. Investments in servo press technology was necessary to enable localization of side member panels. Compared to mechanical press currently used for metal stamping, servo-type press offers high level of accuracy, better formability and improved repeatability. TMP is the first to utilize this kind of press technology in the local automotive industry.      “Today, we mark another milestone not only for TMP but for the Philippine automotive manufacturing industry as well. We now have the capability to produce the largest body shell part with high productivity, better energy efficiency and lower maintenance costs,” TMP President Satoru Suzuki said during the inaugural ceremony of the press line.      The operationalization of the servo press line beefs up TMP’s in-house parts production capability. The new line has an annual production capacity of 66,000 units and complements TMP’s existing mechanical press line and out-house press parts production. With the localization of side member panels, TMP has achieved 58% localization of total body shell weight for the New Vios, which is more than the CARS requirement of 50%.      Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo graced the inaugural ceremony at TMP’s manufacturing plant. “I’m very happy that after three (3) years, as part of the CARS program, it’s now being produced in the Philippines,” Rodolfo said as he recalled how side member localization was just an aspiration for TMP in 2016. “I’m very happy that you even surpassed the localization target of 50% so that now we are at 58%. That would not have been possible, first, without the partnership between Toyota [in] Japan and of course the Metrobank Group here in the Philippines, and most especially the hard work of the men and women, the staff, the skilled workers, the administrative personnel that we have here, the Filipinos and Japanese who are working under Toyota Motor Philippines,” he added.      TMP also established a P700-million resin injection molding facility in 2017 to support its localization for CARS. This facility has an annual production capacity of 66,000 units and currently produces bumpers and instrument panels for the New Vios.      TMP’s CARS investments already reached P 5.38-billion as of May 2019. Its participating model, the New Vios, remains the best-selling passenger car in the country.

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Reliable Partner on the Road – Suzuki Ciaz

August 12, 2019

Motoring

By: , SPH buckles up for continued strong growth these succeeding months with more targeted marketing strategies. Besides continuous efforts to bring the vehicles closer to the target markets through product displays and test drives, SPH reinforces its presence in the transport scene through active campaigns and promotions, including for those in the transport vehicle service (TNVS) ecosystem.      SPH makes ride sharing a more comfortable experience not just for drivers but for the commuters as well with the Suzuki Ciaz. A reliable partner on the road, the Ciaz runs on a refined K14B engine and has a lightweight and aerodynamic body for enhanced efficiency. Its roomy and ergonomically designed interior ensures a safe and comfortable ride for both the driver and passengers.      Ride sharing continues to be seen as one solution to the traffic situation in the metro. With its combined fuel efficiency, space and comfort, Suzuki’s popular subcompact sedan is sure to bring Filipinos to their destination safely and conveniently, definitely the Suzuki Way of Life!      Sleek multimedia unit and wireless connectivity make for superior entertainment while on the road. Preloaded applications such as Waze help in navigating unfamiliar routes or tracking new areas, providing accurate directions to reach the target destination much faster.      Picking up and driving for passengers with luggage and boxes is not a challenge. Suzuki Ciaz has a roomy cabin luggage capacity of 495 liters, enough to fit bags and boxes for travel or simply transporting from the mall or grocery. Danny Dimaranan, a TNVS driver for years now, can attest to these benefits as he shared, “I got high ratings because of the comfort that the Suzuki Ciaz gives.” Adding to it, “Economy wise, for this kind of job, this is really far from the fuel consumption from the other cars that I have owned before.”

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Homecoming

August 30, 2019

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