Today's Top Stories

  • Solane brings Kitchen Hero Chef's Edition to Kumbira Masters 2019

    Solane brings Kitchen Hero Chef's Edition to Kumbira Masters 2019

    SOLANE - one of the leading LPG solutions brand - is taking its grandest culinary competition to Mindanao as it kicks off a series of regional cook-offs for the Solane Kitchen Hero Chefs Edition, the first ever cooking competition that aims to discover the next big name in the culinary world.      "Mindanao is home to some of the country's culinary treasures and the most talented chefs in the country," said Isla LPG Corp. CEO Ruben Domingo. "Through the Solane Kitchen Hero competition, we aim to recognize these chefs who are vital in bringing Filipino cuisine to the world stage. At the same time, we are on a quest to explore and highlight Filipino specialties that are unique to our provinces."      For this one of a kind cook-off, participants must be Filipino professional chefs with at least three years of kitchen experience gained locally or abroad and must be currently employed in a hotel, restaurant or any food service establishment.      It was based on the following criteria: 50 percent featured ingredients and 50 percent originality and creativity.      The culinary creations were judged by renowned chef and Solane Kitchen Hero ambassador Chef Sau del Rosario and competition director Nancy Reyes-Lumen.      Winners will compete in the grand finals on September 7, 2019 at Eastwood City, Manila. Photo by Mark Francisco

    August 16, 2019

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  • BIMP-wide Kumbira underway

    BIMP-wide Kumbira underway

    KUMBIRA Masters – the 2019 edition of the longest running culinary event in the Philippines – kicked off last Wednesday at Limketkai Atrium in Cagayan de Oro City for a three-day spectacle of cooking contests, seminars and sponsors’ roadshows.      The highlights of the event this year are a Kumbira Chef Master, Bar Master and Latte Art competitons, Solane Kitchen Hero Chef’s Edition regional elimination, Del Monte set menu competition, Master Class by chef experts and Kumbira judges and an exhibit on food products, equipment supplies and utensils, educational and employment leads throughout the duration of the show.      Initiated by the Cagayan de Oro Hotel and Restaurant Association (COHARA) since 1996, Kumbira has been a staple fiesta event of Cagayan de Oro City every August visited not just by Kagay-anons but by gourmands all over the country.      COHARA intends to elevate the Kumbira edition this year by highlighting it as a BIMP food baskets event – meaning cuisine from neighboring Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia are featured. Participating chefs are Chef Datu Shariff Pendatun of Indonesia and Chef Tatung Sarthou II of Malaysia.      Kumbira aims to showcase the best culinary creations of the region while incorporating the latest culinary trends.

    August 16, 2019

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  • TMP Inaugurates New P1-billion Press Line

    TMP Inaugurates New P1-billion Press Line

    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.

    August 16, 2019

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  • China eyed as biggest market of local durian

    China eyed as biggest market of local durian

    DAVAO City – China will soon become the top export destination of durian from Davao Region, Davao Durian Industry Association Council (DIADC) president Larry Miculob said.      Miculob said in an interview at the opening of the Kadayawan’s Durian Festival at the SM Lanang Premier on Friday evening that three Chinese buyers, one of them an owner of a convenience store with 1,800 outlets, have reached out to the local growers to supply them with huge volumes of durian fruit.      He said the Chinese buyers are willing to import as much as the local growers can produce but added the region remains incapable of producing huge volumes if the fruit.      According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the region produced 59,027 metric tons of durian in 2018, higher by 14% compared to 51,818 MT produced in 2017.      Davao is exporting small volume of durian to Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, Miculob said.      He added the council hopes to ship out at least half of the region’s production to stabilize the prices of the durian in the local market, particularly during its peak season every third quarter of the year, when the supply goes up and prices are down.      He said local farmers would earn more when prices are stable.      Different varieties of durian are sold at the festival, which will run until September 9, such as Arancillo, D101, Puyat, Monthong and Chanee. Prices range from P50 to P80 a kilo but customers can also avail of the durian buffet at P180.      Duokon Tang, deputy Chinese consul general, said durian is a popular fruit among Chinese in the Southern part of China.      “They like durian very much, and personally I feel durian here in Mindanao is very special because it just tastes delicious, it has a less spongy taste like those in other countries in Southeast Asia,” he said.      He said they are already working on the import procedures.  He said the process would take time but assured, “we are working fast on it.”      Miculob said he hopes the Chinese government will include durian as one of the crops that can be directly exported to China from the Philippines, as it only allows direct shipment of mangos, pineapples, bananas and coconuts.      Local growers can expect more fruits and agricultural products to be shipped to China, following the closer strategic trade relations between the two countries pursued by Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Rodrigo R. Duterte.      Last month, Davao-based Eng Seng Food Products shipped 48 tons, which is equivalent to 36,000 pieces of aromatic coconuts to Guangzhou and Xiamen in China, after the Philippines complied with export protocol allowing entry of the coconuts from Mindanao and Leyte province.      Duterte witnessed the contract signing between the local company and its counterpart China Artex Corporation Fujian Company during the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing last April for a  one-year exportation of 64.5 million MT of young coconuts.      Eng Seng Food Products President John Tan said this development could give opportunity to Filipino farmers as there is huge demand in China for the aromatic variety.

    August 12, 2019

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Auto sales sustain uptrend in July

August 16, 2019

Corporate

By: , MOTOR vehicle sales continued inching up with 205,945 units sold as of July or a modest 3.16 percent increase against 199,628 units sold in the same period last year boosting confidence that the domestic motor vehicle industry would be able to exceed last year’s sales by the end of this year.      A joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) showed encouraging growth indicators.      Notably, the report showed Suzuki Philippines, Inc. now placing fourth largest from fifth place last month in terms of sales with 13,119 units or 18.3 percent growth from 11,086 units last year. Suzuki now accounts for 6.37 percent market share among 25 members of CAMPI and TMA.      Among the positive indicators was the July sales which posted a double-digit growth of 13.5 percent with 31,810 units from 28,038 units recorded in the same period a year ago. On a month-on-month basis, sales performance is slower by measly 0.4 percent against 31,950 units recorded in the previous month.      CAMPI President Rommel R. Gutierrez expressed optimism the industry would finally exceed last year’s sales, which floundered following the imposition of higher taxes under the TRAIN Law.      “We are optimistic that if we are able to sustain this growth trend, we will be able to exceed our sales performance of last year,” said Gutierrez.      He noted of positive factors such as continued and strong sales campaigns and stable supply of units have outweighed the unfavorable effects of the off-peak season to the overall sales growth. Historically, July is also considered as one of the lean months of the industry.      Of the overall seven-month sales, commercial vehicle sales grew 5.5 percent to 144,130 units from 136,669 units while the passenger car segment was still in the negative 1.8 percent to 61,815 units from 62,959 units last year.      Industry leader Toyota Motor Philippines still continued with a runaway market share of 42.28 percent to 87,574 units from 84,401 units in the same period last year.      Mitsubishi Motors Philippines followed with 19.4 percent market share with 35,977 units sold from 38,827 units last. Nissan Philippines, Inc. cemented its hold on the third spot with 53.6 percent growth in sales to 24,711 units from 16,091 units.      Completing the top five is Ford Motor Company Philippines, Inc. with 13,095 units, but a 10.8 percent decline from the same period last year of 14,685 units last year.

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Primavera Residences: Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (edge) Certified Building

August 12, 2019

Corporate

By: , Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) is an innovation of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a sister organization of World Bank. EDGE certification is an online platform, a green building standard and a certification system active to over 150 countries worldwide.      In its push to create high-quality, sustainable buildings in emerging cities in the Philippines, Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC) has built the mid-raise twin-tower Primavera Residences in uptown Cagayan de Oro, northern Mindanao. In 2015 Primavera Residences has been certified by EDGE.      Primavera Residences is a mixed-use development, completed in 2014, serves as IDC’s flagship project in the Philippines. The characteristic design of the building which has been awarded as Best Mixed-use Development in the Philippines by Asia Pacific-Property Awards, is the results of the integration of renewable energy features – passive for saving and active for generating power – with architecture.      This integration begins during the conceptualization process and is then developed into the design, construction, and building maintenance. The process is created using performance-based design strategies that make use of parametric and generative architectural software which analyze the existing data of natural weather conditions of the site location, optimizing the use of natural elements to shape the design of the building—the same “thinking model” used by nature.      The building, in fact, can be considered not just as a sheer construction but as a living organism and this is made possible through the application of the best principles of passive house technology: shadow control, wind cooling, indirect light exposition maximization and shape performance.       The south facades are designed in a way to use the building components, floors, slabs, cantilevers and balconies as shading devices for windows or terraces which are dimensioned appropriately to minimize the overheating and glare effect with a reduction of up to 80% than conventional residences.       The internal vertical atrium, found in the towers, is an efficient natural ventilation system that integrates the vertical and horizontal distribution of air throughout the buildings, contributing to the passive cooling of units by using a natural chimney effect.       The building is also harnessing solar energy from 72 photovoltaic panels installed on the building roof top, covering approximately 120 sqm. and producing around 1200 kWh per month. These renewable energy sources together with the use of a smart greed, allows to effectively manage the buildings’ power supply, thus reducing electricity consumption.       Thanks to the implementation of the above mentioned green passive strategies in the design and construction of Primavera Residences, the Predicted Savings evaluated by EDGE application have been estimated around 33% of energy savings, around 37% of water savings and around 32% Less Embodied Energy in Materials.      IDC has recently communicated with EDGE to continue to develop its future green projects with the support of the EDGE application considering highly effective the results achieved through the use of a software that helps the designers and developers not only to identify the most cost-effective ways to build green but finding also solutions to reach the minimum standard of 20% less resource intensity in energy, water and embodied energy in materials.      Through EDGE certification, Primavera Residences has been recognized as a landmark in sustainable development showing how it is possible to develop in the Philippines elegant and efficient green buildings, accessible to the growing middle-class which is fueling economic growth with strong consumer demand.

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Cebu Pacific launches Clark-Narita, Bacolod, Iloilo flights

August 12, 2019

Corporate

By: , CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga  -- Cebu Pacific, led by its president Lance Gokongwei, launched on Friday its three newest destinations from Clark International Airport (CRK) - Bacolod, Iloilo, and Narita, Japan.      In his speech during the launching event held at the Marriot Hotel here,  Gokongwei said Cebu Pacific is the first Philippine carrier to mount direct flights between Clark and Tokyo, via Narita.      He noted that with the expansion of its route network in the Clark hub, Cebu Pacific will become the largest carrier in Clark in terms of capacity by end-2019, capturing 28 percent of the total number of seats offered by all carriers operating here.      Flights from Clark to Bacolod and Iloilo run daily,  while direct service to and from Narita is scheduled four times weekly --Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.      Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, for his part, said the three inaugural flights “is a game changer in so far as Clark is concerned”.      “Cebu Pacific, like other airlines, give the riding public the freedom of choice ,” Tugade said, adding that the Duterte administration is committed to provide mobility and connectivity.      “This exercise precisely adheres and gives meaning to that commitment of having mobility and connectivity because now in Clark, you connect Clark to Iloilo, Bacolod and Narita, Japan. Happening all for the first time and happening all with the complement of Cebu Pacific,” he added.       Cebu Pacific earlier announced that it would begin flying daily between Clark and Puerto Princesa City in Palawan by the fourth quarter of 2019.      Gokongwei said four new routes will boost Cebu Pacific’s total capacity in Clark by 40 percent in 2019 alone, following a 75-percent increase in 2018 with the launch of direct commercial air service to and from Davao and Panglao, Bohol, as well as additional frequency for the Clark-Macau route.      “We have been operating flights in and out of Clark since 2006. The opening of these new routes is a testament of how committed we are to continuously develop this hub. We are not only establishing seamless inter-island connections, but also opening up North Luzon to more potential entrepreneurs, both local and foreign, furthering tourism, trade, and investment opportunities in Clark and its surrounding areas,” he said.      Cebu Pacific flies to four other domestic destinations --Cebu, Caticlan, Tagbilaran, Davao; and three other international destinations, Singapore, Macau and Hong Kong, to and from Clark.      “As we aim to fly 200 million passengers by 2020 and 300 million by 2022, trust that we have been and will always keep our customers at the heart of the business. Rest assured, we will continue to cater to the growing travel demand by enabling more Juans to travel conveniently and affordably through our year-round low fares,” Gokongwei added.      The airline expects to receive over 60 aircrafts in the next eight years, guaranteeing even greater growth in and out of the Philippines.       Aside from Clark, Cebu Pacific operates flights out of six other strategically placed hubs in the Philippines, namely Manila, Kalibo, Iloilo, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Davao.      Cebu Pacific  operates over 2,000 weekly flights across 37 domestic and 26 international destinations. (PNA)

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Philex completes feasibility study on Silangan project

August 5, 2019

Corporate

By: , PHILEX Mining Corporation on Thursday said the definitive feasibility study for the first phase of the Silangan Project is finally complete.      The Silangan mine is a large-scale, high-grade copper-gold development, with a number of greenfield and brownfield components, located in Surigao del Norte, Mindanao.      Its tenements are composed of three deposits -- Boyongan, Bayugo and Kalayaan, with the latter being held by the company through a joint-venture with Manila Mining Corporation.      Silangan has been branded as one of three big-ticket mining projects seen to propel the Philippines as a major regional copper producer.      Based on the development timeline, the Silangan Project will be developed in phases. The Boyongan deposit, which is planned as the maiden phase, will be fully developed within 2.5 years and is expected to commence commercial production by the second half of 2022.      The first phase of the Boyongan deposit has an initial estimated mine life of 22 years. For this initial stage, Silangan is expected to yield high grade mineable ore grades of 0.63 percent for copper and 1.20 grams per tonne of gold.      The second phase, which will be comprised of the Bayugo deposit, is scheduled to undergo preliminary feasibility study for underground sub-level cave mining within the year.      Bayugo is expected to be mine-ready as early as the fifth year from the start of Boyongan’s commercial operations. The remaining substantial mineral resource and inventory including Kalayaan and the remnants of Boyongan will be subjected to future studies.      In terms of methodology, Philex said it will be adopting underground sub-level cave mining for ore extraction which will feature a state-of-the-art milling facility that will utilize modern convention technologies for ore processing.      “We are thrilled with the outcome of the study which reaffirms the immense potential and magnitude of the project.      Over the next few months, we will be focusing our efforts on raising equity and financing for mine development,” said Eulalio B. Austin Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Philex Mining Corporation, in a statement.      The mining firm is set to earmark around USD750 million for the development of the Boyongan ore body.      For its fund-raising exercise, Philex has appointed reputable financial institutions J.P. Morgan for equity investment and Mizuho for project financing.      It has also engaged international law firm White & Case and Philippine law firm Sycip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan as legal consultants.      Meanwhile, Philex Board of Directors reported a net income of PHP391 million for the first half of 2019 while core net loss narrowed to PHP19 million or almost break- even.      For the second quarter alone, the company registered a core net income of PHP93 million, marking a sharp rebound after a challenging start.      Total tonnes milled was at 3.805 million from 4.388 million in the first half of 2018. Metal production was slowed down by programmed maintenance and other unscheduled repair works of aging mining equipment as well as uncontrollable power interruptions that resulted in lesser operating days.      Consequently, gold and copper production were at 23,675 ounces and 12.007 million pounds versus previous year’s haul of 34,583 ounces and 14.149 million pounds, respectively.      Gross revenues recorded at PHP3.365 billion from PHP4.646 billion while smelting charges decreased to PHP276 million from PHP377 million for the first half of 2018. Net revenues stood at PHP3.089 billion from PHP4.269 billion for the first half of 2018.      Average realized prices for gold and copper were at USD1,316 per ounce and USD2.75 per pound against USD1,314 per ounce and USD3.11 per pound year-on-year.      Following a core operating loss in the first quarter, Philex has swung back to profitability in the subsequent period after realizing the impact of improved operational efficiencies and cost containment measures that were carried out in the first three months of 2019.      As a result, metal output increased by 8 percent to 1.973 million tonnes for the second quarter of 2019 from 1.832 million tonnes for the first quarter of 2019.      Gold and copper production came in at 13,182 ounces and 6.280 million pounds for the second quarter of 2019 compared to 10,493 ounces and 5.727 million pounds for the first quarter of 2019, respectively.      Philex is optimistic that global interest for mineral products will stay robust in the long- term with consistent growth from Asia particularly from China, led by its power and infrastructure sectors.      Also, notable advancements in electric vehicle technology and renewable energy will also serve as demand catalysts to drive usage for copper materials.      On the domestic front, Silangan is envisioned as a key economic and social contributor for the development of Mindanao in particular and for the country in general, through substantial tax payments and the creation of more than 3,000 new jobs in Mindanao, where the project is located, to be supported by an expansive corporate social responsibility agenda. (PNA)

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Economists forecast at least 25 bps cut in BSP rates

August 12, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , ECONOMISTS are expecting at least a 25 basis point cut in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) key rates on Thursday on the back of slower inflation in July 2019.      The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday reported that rate of price increases decelerated anew to 2.4 percent, reminiscent of the July 2017 figure, from last June’s 2.7 percent, thanks to the lower annual rate registered by the heavily-weighted food index.      Average inflation to date is 3.3 percent while inflation rate in July 2018 is higher at 5.7 percent.      Also, core inflation, which excludes volatiles food and oil items registered slower rate of 3.2 percent from month-ago’s 3.3 percent, resulting to an average of 3.6 percent to date.      Standard Chartered Bank Asia economist Chidu Narayanan, in a report, said the slowdown of domestic inflation rate provides the BSP’s policy-making Monetary Board (MB) a leeway to slash the central bank’s key policy rates when it meets on Thursday, August 8.      “Today’s lower inflation, combined with a likely lower Q2 GDP growth of 5.9 percent, may cause BSP to deliver a 25bps rate cut when it meets on Thursday. We expect another 50bps from BSP this year, following the likely 25bps cut later this week,” he said.       The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is scheduled to report the domestic economy’s second quarter performance, as measured by gross domestic product (GPD), on Thursday.      In the first three months this year, the domestic economy posted a slowdown to 5.6 percent from quarter-ago’s 6.3 percent, which economic managers pointed to the impact of the delay in the approval of this year’s national budget.      Authorities said the government was not able to spend as programmed because spending was hampered by the limitations under the re-enacted budget.      Economic managers, however, assured the public that a spending catch-up plan has been put in place to lift government spending and, in turn, help boost domestic growth.      With regards to the inflation rate, Narayanan forecasts this to fall below two percent in August to September and this, he said, is seen to bring average inflation this year to about 2.7 percent.      “A combination of lower food prices, lower oil prices, and a high base effect will help contain inflation,” he said.      The slowdown in inflation rate, which peaked at 6.7 percent in September and October last year, was the driving force behind the 25 basis points reduction the BSP rates last May.      The MB also boosted domestic liquidity through the total of 200 basis points slash in major banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR) from May to July this year. Authorities said a 100 basis points cut in RRR releases about P90 billion into the system.      Despite these cuts, Narayanan said “monetary conditions in the Philippines continue to remain tight.”      He said the bank’s Monetary Conditions Index (MCI) for the Philippines “indicates conditions are still at their tightest in three years on a stronger REER (real effective exchange rate), higher real interest rates and softer credit growth.”      “The likely further drop in inflation below 2 percent is likely to cause conditions to tighten much further,” he added.      Relatively, ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa, in a report, said deceleration of inflation last July increased expectations for a rate cut on Thursday, especially following the cut in the Federal Reserve’s key rates last week.      He cited Philippine monetary officials’ statement that they remain data-dependent vis-à-vis their policy decisions but also noted that BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno has hinted of additional 50 basis rate cut for the remaining months of the year after last May’s reduction.      “We believe we will see at least a 25 bps rate cut (with door open for 50 bps) all the more given that 2Q GDP is likely to settle below the six percent handle,” he added.      ANZ Research, in its report, said effects of elevated inflation rate last year along with weaker demand pressures may result in the decline of inflation below two percent in the next few months.      “Today’s data support the view that inflation remains on a clear downtrend and so we expect the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to cut its policy rate by 25bps at its meeting this Thursday,” it added.      Also, UnionBank chief economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion, in his report, said the inflation outturn last July is a big factor in the possible cut in the BSP’s key rates this week. “This, however, will also depend on Q2 output results,” he said, projecting second quarter GDP to be around 5.9 percent. (PNA)

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Landbank eyes 15% annual growth for agricultural loans

August 12, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , OFFICIALS of state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) are targeting to grow agriculture-focused loans by 15 percent annually to help about three million farmers by the end of the Duterte administration in 2022.      Landbank President and CEO Cecilia Borromeo said they target agriculture loans to reach P265 billion by 2020, up from the P231.25 billion target this year, wherein they target to help one million farmers.      “It’s a consistent growth so by 2022, the portfolio of the bank to the agriculture sector will reached P350 billion and we should be able to assist at least three million farmers by then,” she said.      This, as President Rodrigo Duterte directed Landbank officials to extend more aid to farmers since this is among the bank’s mandate.      Borromeo said they currently have 44 lending centers around the country and they aim to increase this to 50 centers by 2020.      She explained that the bank’s Board of Directors has approved the opening of new lending centers in Lanao del Norte, Quirino Province and in Antique.      She stressed that the bank is very compliant with the Agri-Agra law, with 27 percent of the total loans amounting to P222 billion currently allocated to the agriculture sector.      “We will, at the very least, maintain that share in the agriculture sector. It can be more depending on the economy,” she said.      Under Agri-Agra law, banks are required to allocate 10 percent of their funds for agrarian reform credit (Agra) and 15 percent for other agricultural credit (Agri).      The Landbank chief added that “if there will be a slowdown in other sectors, then the share of the agriculture sectors will increase.”      In the first half of the year, the bank extended P744.5 billion worth of loans to the priority sector, about 93.1 percent of total loans.      Loans extended to small farmers amounted to 42.31 billion, while P14 billion was extended to small fishers and their associations.      Loans extended for the support of the agriculture and fisheries sector totaled to P177.32 billion while loans that support the national government’s priority programs, including infrastructure projects, reached P524.86 billion. (PNA)

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Economists forecast at least 25 bps cut in BSP rates

August 9, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , ECONOMISTS are expecting at least a 25 basis point cut in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) key rates on Thursday on the back of slower inflation in July 2019.      The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday reported that rate of price increases decelerated anew to 2.4 percent, reminiscent of the July 2017 figure, from last June’s 2.7 percent, thanks to the lower annual rate registered by the heavily-weighted food index.      Average inflation to date is 3.3 percent while inflation rate in July 2018 is higher at 5.7 percent.      Also, core inflation, which excludes volatiles food and oil items registered slower rate of 3.2 percent from month-ago’s 3.3 percent, resulting to an average of 3.6 percent to date.      Standard Chartered Bank Asia economist Chidu Narayanan, in a report, said the slowdown of domestic inflation rate provides the BSP’s policy-making Monetary Board (MB) a leeway to slash the central bank’s key policy rates when it meets on Thursday, August 8.      “Today’s lower inflation, combined with a likely lower Q2 GDP growth of 5.9 percent, may cause BSP to deliver a 25bps rate cut when it meets on Thursday. We expect another 50bps from BSP this year, following the likely 25bps cut later this week,” he said.       The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) is scheduled to report the domestic economy’s second quarter performance, as measured by gross domestic product (GPD), on Thursday.      In the first three months this year, the domestic economy posted a slowdown to 5.6 percent from quarter-ago’s 6.3 percent, which economic managers pointed to the impact of the delay in the approval of this year’s national budget.      Authorities said the government was not able to spend as programmed because spending was hampered by the limitations under the re-enacted budget.      Economic managers, however, assured the public that a spending catch-up plan has been put in place to lift government spending and, in turn, help boost domestic growth.      With regards to the inflation rate, Narayanan forecasts this to fall below two percent in August to September and this, he said, is seen to bring average inflation this year to about 2.7 percent.      “A combination of lower food prices, lower oil prices, and a high base effect will help contain inflation,” he said.      The slowdown in inflation rate, which peaked at 6.7 percent in September and October last year, was the driving force behind the 25 basis points reduction the BSP rates last May.      The MB also boosted domestic liquidity through the total of 200 basis points slash in major banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR) from May to July this year.      Authorities said a 100 basis points cut in RRR releases about PHP90 billion into the system.      Despite these cuts, Narayanan said “monetary conditions in the Philippines continue to remain tight.”      He said the bank’s Monetary Conditions Index (MCI) for the Philippines “indicates conditions are still at their tightest in three years on a stronger REER (real effective exchange rate), higher real interest rates and softer credit growth.”      “The likely further drop in inflation below 2 percent is likely to cause conditions to tighten much further,” he added.      Relatively, ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa, in a report, said deceleration of inflation last July increased expectations for a rate cut on Thursday, especially following the cut in the Federal Reserve’s key rates last week.      He cited Philippine monetary officials’ statement that they remain data-dependent vis-à-vis their policy decisions but also noted that BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno has hinted of additional 50 basis rate cut for the remaining months of the year after last May’s reduction.      “We believe we will see at least a 25 bps rate cut (with door open for 50 bps) all the more given that 2Q GDP is likely to settle below the six percent handle,” he added.      ANZ Research, in its report, said effects of elevated inflation rate last year along with weaker demand pressures may result in the decline of inflation below two percent in the next few months.      “Today’s data support the view that inflation remains on a clear downtrend and so we expect the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to cut its policy rate by 25bps at its meeting this Thursday,” it added.      Also, UnionBank chief economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion, in his report, said the inflation outturn last July is a big factor in the possible cut in the BSP’s key rates this week.      “This, however, will also depend on Q2 output results,” he said, projecting second quarter GDP to be around 5.9 percent. (PNA)

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SSS sickness benefits climb

August 9, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , THE SOCIAL Security System’s (SSS) disbursements of sickness benefits reached P984.42 million in the first four months, higher than the P875.42 million released in the same period in 2018.      In a statement on Sunday, the state pension fund said it saw a P109-million year-on-year climb in sickness benefit disbursements in the January-April period.      Meanwhile, the number of beneficiaries of sickness benefit in the four months ended April climbed to 155,856 members from the 145,370 beneficiaries recorded in the same period in 2018.      SSS released P913.88 million in sickness benefits under the social security program between January and April, up 9.5% from P834.22 million disbursed in the same period in 2018.      Some P70.54 million was also paid out for sickness benefits for work-related sickness and injuries under the Employee’s Compensation Program, 71.3% higher than P41.19 million released year-on-year.      “A qualified member under the sickness benefit program receives a daily cash allowance for the number of days he is unable to work due to sickness or injury,” SSS said.      To qualify for sickness benefit, a member must have been unable to work due to an illness for at least four days, whether confined at home or in a hospital. The member must have at least three monthly contributions within the 12-month period before the semester of illness.      A member can receive a maximum of 120 days in sickness benefit in one calendar year. If the member is still not capable of working after this period, the worker must report to the SSS to determine qualification for disability benefit.      “SSS aims to provide meaningful social protection to its members through the benefits that we provide and the programs that we continuously develop,” SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said in the statement.      “We hope that our members view the contribution rate increase as bigger savings for their future, especially in times of need,” she added.

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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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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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Toyota Hilux Continues to Lead Philippine Pickup Segment

August 5, 2019

Motoring

By: , Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) closes the first half of 2019 topping key market categories including the pickup segment, having sold a total of 10,554 units of its long-running top seller Toyota Hilux.      Based on sales figures from January to June this year, the Hilux bested its competitors in the pickup segment, gaining 35% increase in sales versus the first half of 2018 numbers, illustrating the growing demand for Commercial Vehicles (CV).      Toyota Hilux sales are highest in Metro Manila with 4,261 units sold year-to-date, followed by Region III with 1,219 units sold year-to-date in the Central Luzon area.      “Hilux is synonymous with Toyota. The model has been in our lineup for more than five decades, and proves itself time and again to be the prime example of Toyota’s strength as a manufacturer,” said TMP Vice President for Marketing Elijah Marcial.      “Through the years, the Hilux garnered a global reputation for its sturdiness. Its overall utility as a pickup truck, combined with high ground clearance and excellent towing power, makes for a reliable daily hauler for business and family use,” she added.      The Toyota Hilux is currently offered in 12 variants across all dealerships nationwide. Price starts at PHP 829,000.      TMP remains to be the top automotive manufacturer and distributor in the country with a total of 73,454 units sold nationwide in the first half of 2019. For the month of June 2019, TMP sold 14,568 units, a 27.8% increase from June 2018’s numbers. Toyota’s top five best-selling models from January to June 2019 are as follows: Vios, Hilux, Innova, Fortuner, and Wigo.

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Hino Leads PUV Modernization Forum at Biggest Gathering of PH Transport Cooperatives

August 5, 2019

Motoring

By: , Hino Motors Philippines (HMP), one of the pioneer supporters of the government’s Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program, shares insights on modernizing the country’s transport system and its efforts as a modern jeepney provider at the 4th Transport Cooperative National Congress held during Philbus and Truck 2019.      The congress, which caps off the three-day expo happening at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, serves as a platform to further discuss the PUVM program. It gathers together suppliers, transport cooperatives, drivers, related government agencies and other stakeholders.      The leading exhibition of the movers and shakers in the transportation and commercial vehicles industry, Philbus and Truck 2019 encourages modern jeepney manufacturers nationwide to support the government’s call for a better transportation system in the country.      Senator Win Gatchalian expressed his optimism about the implementation and impact of the PUVM program during this talk. He noted how modernizing the Philippine transport system can lower the health risks of both commuters and drivers, normalize driver work hours, increase the drivers’ guaranteed take-home pay and reduce overall travel time by about 20 percent.      Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III echoes the same, highlighting that the PUVM program will not only ensure safer and more convenient public transport but will also provide employment opportunities. One of the things he stressed is the importance of the standardization and consolidation aspects of the program. According to him, the regulation, monitoring and engagement of transport operators will result in a more efficient system.      This month officially marks the second year of Hino as a local provider of modern jeepney units. In addition to being an exclusive distributor of premium trucks and buses, Hino has expanded into modern jeepneys, manufacturing one of the first batches of PUV units in compliance with the requirements set by the Bureau of Philippine Standards. This first set of PUV units from Hino incorporates a speed limiter, safety features, GPS, CCTV, dashboard-mounted camera and Beep card system to offer both driver and passengers a more comfortable and safer riding experience. HMP Chairman Vicente Mills, Jr. shares, “We at Hino stay committed to our promise of total support by bringing modern jeepneys closer to the Filipino people. We have been working hard in our plant to address the growing need for modern PUV units. Our modern jeepneys guarantee the same quality that Hino is known for worldwide. We take pride as the only local truck and bus one-stop shop that not only provides commercial vehicles but also assembles chassis and engine using our body-building capabilities.”

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