Today's Top Stories

  • ‘Boracay of the South' reopens for business

    ‘Boracay of the South' reopens for business

    KORONADAL City — Mindanao’s “version of Boracay,” the coastal town of Glan in Sarangani province, has started accepting guests from within and outside Region 12 (Soccsksargen), Glan Mayor Vivien Yap said.      Visitors need to book first with the resorts so they will be allowed entry to the town famous for its fine white sand beaches in Gumasa district, among others.      “Guests shall stay within the resort they’re accommodated as we don’t allow beach hopping,” she said.      A bucolic town at least an hour’s ride away from General Santos City, Glan is considered the top tourism destination in Sarangani and is marketed as the “Boracay of the South.”      For tourists from within Soccsksargen, they need to present the DVY Cares quick response code that can be accessed at www.glan.ph and the booking confirmation slip from the resort they will be staying in.      For those from other regions, they need to present medical certificates aside from these two requirements.      Yap reminded visitors to always observe proper health protocols such as hand washing or sanitizing, wearing of face mask and social distancing to avoid spreading the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19).      She said resorts are allowed to accommodate only 50 percent of their capacity in line with the directive of the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases .      Glan hosts the annual Sarangani Bay Festival, or simply SarBay Fest for locals, the biggest beach party in Mindanao launched in 2006.      The SarBay Fest has become the ultimate summer beach party scene in Mindanao, attracting thousands of visitors. Night-long music by popular bands and water sports-related activities are among the main features of the festival.      In 2016, SarBay Fest organizers recorded 150,000 tourists who joined the event.      Last year, the festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.      The event was also suspended in 2017 due to security concerns following the siege staged by Islamic State-aligned militants in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.      Glan has over two dozen beach resorts catering to different budget needs. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

    March 8, 2021

    READ MORE
  • Army hospital frontliners in CDO vaccinated vs COVID-19

    Army hospital frontliners in CDO vaccinated vs COVID-19

    A HUNDRED medical front liners at the  Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Barangay Patag here were vaccinated Friday afternoon with CoronaVac, a vaccine against COVID-19 manufactured by China’s Sinovac Biotech.      Elsewhere in the city, inoculation also started on Friday for the 1,400 medical front liners at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), the main regional referral center for COVID-19 cases.      The Army 4th Infantry Division received 300 doses of CoronaVac,  a small part of the initial batch of 600,000 doses donated the country by China. China’s donation, which arrived in the Philippines on February 28, specifies 100,000 doses are a gift of the Chinese military to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.      Army spokesperson Major Rodulfo Cordero said the medical front liners vaccinated on Friday would get their second or last dose on April 4 also at the station hospital.      Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he has secured 90,000 doses of anti-COVID 19 vaccines for the 130,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines and its 60,000 paramilitary personnel nationwide.      Lorenzana said this would be shipped to all Army divisions, battalions and forward military camps including Kalayaan Island, which has 50 Philippine Marines at its station.      “Vaccination is mandatory for all soldiers and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he told reporters here on Friday.      But Lorenzana said soldiers and personnel who do not want to be vaccinated with the Chinese-made vaccine will have to pay for the vaccine of their choice. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)

    March 8, 2021

    READ MORE
  • Andanar: Normin poverty incidence drops to 17.3% with ELCAC

    Andanar: Normin poverty incidence drops to 17.3% with ELCAC

    Prioritizing conflict-affected and poverty-stricken areas, Communications Sec. and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS)-10 Martin Andanar said the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC)-10 marked a substantial reduction of poverty rate in the region from 32.3 percent among families in 2015 to 17.3 percent in 2018.      “The coming together of stakeholders, and the transformation into peaceful and productive communities were made possible with the implementation of CAPDev (Convergence Areas for Peace and Development), our enabling umbrella program that has been institutionalized at all levels of governance,” Andanar said during the Joint NTF-ELCAC and RTF-ELCAC-10 Meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, March 5.       The secretary also highlighted the Barangay Development Program, which he cites as a way to revisit and reorient one’s self on who and where the enemies operate; and recognize the fundamental tenets of good governance, citizen participation, and synchronized action by all sectors, not in combat, but in conviction to achieve the marching order of the President.       For his part, National Security Adviser Sec. Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. thanked the secretaries, LGU officials and national agencies as they continued to manifest their commitment to end the local communist armed conflict.       He said the government is very proud of the Regional Task Force Region 10 under Andanar for accomplishing a lot for the region.       "We start this to collectively battle the pandemic, to ensure peace and safety for our people in northern Mindanao and Mindanao as a whole," Esperon said.       Assuring Esperon of the continued support for the President’s goal on ending local communist armed conflict, Andanar said, “The work continues and must be pursued with greater commitment and passion as the deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte to ELCAC is by 2022, meaning less than two years from now or to be exact around 480 calendar days.” (RTP/PIA10)

    March 8, 2021

    READ MORE
  • Cebu Landmasters set to launch its flagship economic housing brand to four more VisMin cities in 2021

    Cebu Landmasters set to launch its flagship economic housing brand to four more VisMin cities in 2021

    Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) recently announced the 2021 rollout of its flagship economic housing brand Casa Mira to four more key cities in the Visayas-Mindanao region as the response to the massive demand for safe and secure value housing heightened by the pandemic.      A study from Leechiu Property Consultants disclosed that by 2022, housing backlog is estimated to reach 6.8 million housing units, 44% of which is from the economic segment catered by the Casa Mira brand.      CLI chief executive officer Jose Soberano III observed that the housing backlog in the Visayas Mindanao region became very apparent in 2020 as infections from COVID-19 surged highlighting a need for economic housing in secure and well-planned communities.      He said: “Many new residential seekers met that need by purchasing Casa Mira homes. As demand in other parts of the region continues to be largely unmet, we’ve made it our mission to roll out more Casa Mira projects in more VisMin cities to fill that gap.”      Ten Casa Mira communities with a development cost of P10.24 billion and a total of over 10,000 housing units are currently in five VisMin locations: Cebu, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo and Sibulan, Negros Oriental.      New developments will be launched in Dumaguete this month and in other key cities in VisMin in the next few months particularly in Ormoc, Puerto Princesa and Davao City.      At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Vismin residents purchased in record numbers CLI’s Casa Mira housing units priced from Php 1.6 M. They altogether accounted for 69% of CLI’s reservation sales of P14.23 billion, the firm’s highest to date. This robust sales figure indicates the level of revenue CLI will be recording in the future of which Casa Mira has always been a significant contributor with 30% share.      “We believe that an expansive mood and lessons learned from the pandemic–where homes in well-planned communities provided a safe haven–will drive Casa Mira forward for the balance of the year,” says Soberano.      Through Casa Mira, CLI has maintained the largest residential market share in Visayas and Mindanao by upgrading the lifestyle of its residents with generous community amenities usually packaged with higher-priced developments. Thus, Casa Mira townhouses with floor areas from 40 sqm. to 62 sqm. or residential condominium units with floor areas from 20 sqm. to 36 sqm. are perceived to offer great value.      Casa Mira communities also offer more value to the buyers by providing more open spaces and more amenities such as a clubhouse with multi-purpose halls, chapel, swimming pool, basketball court and children’s playground. Casa Mira is also envisioned to be a complete community with retail spaces inside the subdivisions where residents can purchase their basic necessities.      Casa Mira homes have been warmly received in every city, even in Dumaguete where it was recently launched. Casa Mira Home Dumaguete offers a gated and well-planned community located near a transport hub, schools and churches; and has 586 townhouse units a short walk away from a community clubhouse, swimming pool, multi-purpose court, and play area.      As much as 60% of the development’s 6.1 hectares in phase 1 has been earmarked as open space allowing residents breathing and leisure space. Moreover, the community is protected by a 24-hour security system and enjoys professional property management services offered by a CLI affiliate.      “We envision each Casa Mira project to provide the most ideal community for the average Filipino Family. It’s a place where families can grow and live their best lives,” explained Soberano.      Casa Mira projects have won various awards. Casa Mira South in Cebu was named Best Housing Development in the province by PropertyGuru Philippines Property Awards 2018. The same development was named as the Best House of the Year in the Visayas and Mindanao during the Outlook Awards 2018 by Lamudi. In 2019, Lamudi named Casa Mira Towers in Labangon as the Best Affordable Condo of the Year.      The brand’s rapid expansion from its first developments in Cebu, to Negros Oriental, to Cagayan de Oro and Bacolod in the past seven years attests to its ability to meet its promise “to give more to the Filipino family.”      With the rapid development of CLI, the stockholders of the company have approved the 123% stock dividends during the special stockholders’ meeting. The purpose is to strengthen the capital base of the listed company that now has more than P50 billion total assets, and to prepare the firm for any significant equity raising opportunities. The aforementioned stock dividends will be sourced from the increase in authorized capital stock of CLI upon approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    March 8, 2021

    READ MORE

Cebu Landmasters set to launch its flagship economic housing brand to four more VisMin cities in 2021

March 8, 2021

Corporate

By: , Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) recently announced the 2021 rollout of its flagship economic housing brand Casa Mira to four more key cities in the Visayas-Mindanao region as the response to the massive demand for safe and secure value housing heightened by the pandemic.      A study from Leechiu Property Consultants disclosed that by 2022, housing backlog is estimated to reach 6.8 million housing units, 44% of which is from the economic segment catered by the Casa Mira brand.      CLI chief executive officer Jose Soberano III observed that the housing backlog in the Visayas Mindanao region became very apparent in 2020 as infections from COVID-19 surged highlighting a need for economic housing in secure and well-planned communities.      He said: “Many new residential seekers met that need by purchasing Casa Mira homes. As demand in other parts of the region continues to be largely unmet, we’ve made it our mission to roll out more Casa Mira projects in more VisMin cities to fill that gap.”      Ten Casa Mira communities with a development cost of P10.24 billion and a total of over 10,000 housing units are currently in five VisMin locations: Cebu, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo and Sibulan, Negros Oriental.      New developments will be launched in Dumaguete this month and in other key cities in VisMin in the next few months particularly in Ormoc, Puerto Princesa and Davao City.      At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Vismin residents purchased in record numbers CLI’s Casa Mira housing units priced from Php 1.6 M. They altogether accounted for 69% of CLI’s reservation sales of P14.23 billion, the firm’s highest to date. This robust sales figure indicates the level of revenue CLI will be recording in the future of which Casa Mira has always been a significant contributor with 30% share.      “We believe that an expansive mood and lessons learned from the pandemic–where homes in well-planned communities provided a safe haven–will drive Casa Mira forward for the balance of the year,” says Soberano.      Through Casa Mira, CLI has maintained the largest residential market share in Visayas and Mindanao by upgrading the lifestyle of its residents with generous community amenities usually packaged with higher-priced developments. Thus, Casa Mira townhouses with floor areas from 40 sqm. to 62 sqm. or residential condominium units with floor areas from 20 sqm. to 36 sqm. are perceived to offer great value.      Casa Mira communities also offer more value to the buyers by providing more open spaces and more amenities such as a clubhouse with multi-purpose halls, chapel, swimming pool, basketball court and children’s playground. Casa Mira is also envisioned to be a complete community with retail spaces inside the subdivisions where residents can purchase their basic necessities.      Casa Mira homes have been warmly received in every city, even in Dumaguete where it was recently launched. Casa Mira Home Dumaguete offers a gated and well-planned community located near a transport hub, schools and churches; and has 586 townhouse units a short walk away from a community clubhouse, swimming pool, multi-purpose court, and play area.      As much as 60% of the development’s 6.1 hectares in phase 1 has been earmarked as open space allowing residents breathing and leisure space. Moreover, the community is protected by a 24-hour security system and enjoys professional property management services offered by a CLI affiliate.      “We envision each Casa Mira project to provide the most ideal community for the average Filipino Family. It’s a place where families can grow and live their best lives,” explained Soberano.      Casa Mira projects have won various awards. Casa Mira South in Cebu was named Best Housing Development in the province by PropertyGuru Philippines Property Awards 2018. The same development was named as the Best House of the Year in the Visayas and Mindanao during the Outlook Awards 2018 by Lamudi. In 2019, Lamudi named Casa Mira Towers in Labangon as the Best Affordable Condo of the Year.      The brand’s rapid expansion from its first developments in Cebu, to Negros Oriental, to Cagayan de Oro and Bacolod in the past seven years attests to its ability to meet its promise “to give more to the Filipino family.”      With the rapid development of CLI, the stockholders of the company have approved the 123% stock dividends during the special stockholders’ meeting. The purpose is to strengthen the capital base of the listed company that now has more than P50 billion total assets, and to prepare the firm for any significant equity raising opportunities. The aforementioned stock dividends will be sourced from the increase in authorized capital stock of CLI upon approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

read more

Economist eyes further improvement of PH manufacturing sector

March 8, 2021

Corporate

By: , FURTHER reopening of the domestic economy and easing of quarantine level to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) nationwide in the coming months are expected to further lift the manufacturing sector.      This, after Markit’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the Philippines remains steady at 52.5 in the second month this year.      In a report, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort said the latest PMI is the highest in more than two years or since December 2018, and a reversal of the 49.2 print in December 2020.      “(It is) a pleasant surprise since it is slightly higher/better vs.52.3 a year ago or in February 2020 or shortly before the Covid-19 lockdowns/pandemic; a leading indicator that could suggest further pick up in business/economic activities for the second straight month of 2021 as sustained even after the Christmas season in December 2020,” he said.      A PMI index of above 50 indicates expansion while an index of below 50 means contraction.      Ricafort said the possible easing of the quarantine level in the remaining areas under GCQ, like the National Capital Region (NCR), will result in “higher capacity for many businesses/industries, which may lead further pick up in manufacturing activities as well.”      Citing news reports, he said a shift to MGCQ will only be allowed if the supply of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines has reached 2 million and rollout continues.      On Monday, the government launched its inoculation program using part of the 600,000 doses of Sinovac-produced CoronaVac, which were donated by China.      Among those that were given the vaccine are UP-PGH Director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, Dr. Edsel Salvaña, Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at UP-National Institutes of Health; and Covid-19 testing czar Vince Dizon.      “Further reduction in new Covid-19 cases could be helped further by the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in the coming months of 2021, as well any further confirmation on the effectiveness of existing Covid-19 vaccines to control the new variants/strains that are more contagious, would help improve sentiment on economy, thereby allowing more businesses and people to work and also support more economic activities that result to increased spending/consumption, which also help fundamentally boost manufacturing activities,” Ricafort added. (PNA)

read more

Cebu Pacific taps local banks for P16-B loan

March 8, 2021

Corporate

By: , CEBU Air, Inc., operator of budget carrier Cebu Pacific, on Friday said its board approved a P16-billio, ten-year loan from local banks.      In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Friday, the company said that its board of directors approved the loan from state banks Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines, in partnership with private banks.      The private banks include Asia United Bank Corporation, Bank of the Philippines Islands, Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company, and Union Bank of the Philippines.      The loan will be used to fund the firm’s capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes.      “The loan will also provide a cushion against unexpected working capital requirements that may stem from fuel price and foreign exchange rate volatility,” Cebu Air said.      The commercial airline industry was hit hard by the pandemic. Cebu Pacific currently operates less than a quarter of its pre-pandemic network at 32 domestic destinations as it runs half of its 73 aircraft.      The budget carrier said that it sustained severe revenue declines during the pandemic, but its net debt-to-equity ratio was still at 2.34x as of the end of September.      “Cebu Pacific remains focused on its business transformation to reduce its unit cost so as to continue to offer affordable flights,” Cebu Air President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Y. Gokongwei said.      The company swung to a net loss of P14.69 billion for the first nine months of 2020 from the P6.77-billion profit in the same period a year earlier.      The fundraising adds to the company’s convertible preferred shares offering, where it plans to raise around P12.5 billion, Cebu Pacific Director for Financial Analytics and Investor Relations Trina E. Asuncion said on Wednesday.

read more

Emperador’s global presence continues to expand across North America, Europe and China

October 28, 2020

Corporate

By: , MANILA, Philippines - Emperador Inc. – the world’s largest brandy company owning the iconic Emperador Brandy and Fundador Spanish Brandy de Jerez – continues its aggressive growth across North America and Europe during the first nine months of the year even as the global pandemic adversely hit most countries in these continents.       Fundador, Tres Cepas, and Emperador brands have been growing consistently, particularly in the United States, Canada, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Greater China. In Spain, brands owned and produced under Grupo Emperador España S.A. continue to dominate the brandy market with 40% market share.      Fundador has been particularly showing spectacular performance even in North America. In the United States alone, Fundador achieved 23% growth during the first nine months of the year. In Canada, sales have also tripled during the first nine months as Fundador Light has been made available in Alberta, Canada as a new expression this year. The new Fundador Double Light was also rolled out across the US.       Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, Fundador grew 185% during the first nine months, while in Italy, it recorded 15% growth during the same period. Emperador’s brandy performance, on the other hand, achieved 8% growth in Mexico during this period.      “We are glad that the company was able to deliver solid performance in the first nine months of 2020 on the strength of its international business that we have developed in the past five years.  The highest international growth comes from China, which is expected to more than double from last year, which will be driven by the premium single malt brands and brandy.  We are confident that this will pave the way for further growth in the future for Emperador,” says Glenn Manlapaz, chief executive officer, Emperador International.      As international sales of its brandy and whisky products in various markets around the world, Emperador recorded 11% growth in its net income to P5.9-billion during the first nine months of the year while third quarter earnings achieved 26% record growth to P2.5-billion as overseas demand for its products surged amid the global pandemic.       “The success of our international expansion boosted company earnings, bringing stability and growth at a time when the Philippines wrestles with the impact of the coronavirus.  Emperador’s global business saw double-digit growth as it adapted well to new consumption trends,” says Winston Co, president, Emperador Inc.      Emperador Inc., which owns Emperador Distillers, Inc., Scotch whisky maker Whyte and Mackay Group, and Bodegas Fundador in Spain, has brandy and whisky brands that are available in more than 100 countries around the world.

read more

Finance chief sees '20 deficit to be around P1-T

May 15, 2020

Banking & Finance

By: , GOVERNMENT expenditures for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is expected to increase the budget deficit to around PHP1 trillion this 2020.     This was disclosed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III Wednesday but assured the public that the government was in a good financial position even before the pandemic hit.     The inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) has set a 3.2-percent budget deficit cap for this year amounting to PHP677.6 billion.     Dominguez said there are lots of numbers that economic managers are currently looking at, but cited “the first number you have to figure out (is) what exactly is going to be our deficit for the year.”     “And our estimate is about a trillion pesos, around a trillion,” he said.     Dominguez said the government’s four-pillar Covid-19 response is being funded by the tax collections, the dividends from government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), and loans, among others.     He said that although collections of taxes have been delayed due to postponement of filing of income tax returns (ITR) and other related documents because of the quarantine period, the government will still be able to collect these.     He added the government was able to receive record-high PHP120 billion dividends from GOCCs, and this will be a plus for the Covid-19 response program.     The government has signed several loan agreements with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB), among others.     These include the loan pact with ADB that allows the Duterte government to access up to USD1.5 billion in budgetary support for Covid-19 programs and the USD100-million loan from the WB.     Dominguez said they are also in discussions with the governments of Japan, Korea, China, and France for “project-based bilateral financing.”     He declined to give specifics on where the government’s Covid-19 response financing currently is since they are still awaiting the reports until end-April, but vowed to disclose this once the data is available.     “We are exactly where we want to be,” he added.     Meanwhile, Dominguez said Finance officials “are willing to look” at the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA) that Senators plan to pass to help companies recover from the economic impact of the global pandemic.     CITIRA is part of the government’s tax reform program that aims to correct the country’s tax system.     Dominguez earlier said Senate Bill No. 1357, or the CITIRA, targets to make incentives given to companies more targeted, which will allow the country to be more competitive in the region.     If this bill is approved this year, the special tax rate on gross income will be increased immediately this year from the present five percent to eight percent then to nine percent next year, and to 10 percent by 2022.     On Wednesday, Dominguez said they are “willing to look at it (CITIRA) and most likely cut it further more quickly than originally planned.” (PNA)

read more

PH banking system resilient vs. impact of health crisis

May 15, 2020

Banking & Finance

By: , REFORMS instituted in the past serve as buffers for the Philippine banking system vis-à-vis the impact of the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno said.     In a briefing aired over the central bank’s Facebook page Thursday, Diokno said the domestic banking system and the Philippine economy in general is facing the pandemic “from a position of strength.”     He said the domestic financial system is the country’s first line of defense against the pandemic, and the banking industry is up for this task since it remains adequately capitalized with total banking assets accounting for 81.7 percent of the financial system’s resources as of last February.     “Reforms have been put in place to maintain sufficient buffers in times of crisis and ensure business continuity to serve financial consumers and to keep the economy going,” he said.     The sector’s overall loan quality “was satisfactory”, with a non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of 2.1 percent, he said.     Deposits remain the banks’ main funding source with a share of 85.2 percent of the total.     Capital adequacy ratio (CAR), a gauge of banks’ financial strength, of universal and commercial banks (U/KBs), stood at 15.4 percent on a solo basis, and 16 percent on consolidated basis as of end-2019.     These are higher than BSP’s 10-percent minimum threshold and Bank of International Settlements’ (BIS) 8-percent minimum requirement.     Total portfolio grew by 10.2 percent year-on-year as of last February.     “I believe the banking system is now benefiting from prudential reforms carried out during the last 20 years. Moving forward, the BSP will continue to pursue proactive measures aimed at further strengthening the banking system,” Diokno said. (PNA)

read more

Bank lending expands faster in March

May 15, 2020

Banking & Finance

By: , OUTSTANDING LOANS disbursed by universal and commercial banks rose by 12.9% in March, faster than the downward-revised 12% pace in February, according to data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).     Inclusive of reverse repurchase agreements, lending rose by 14%, quicker than the upward-revised 11.3% logged in the prior month.     Data showed the rise in production loans, which made up 87.6% of the total credit, continued to be the main driver of growth. Lending to the sector grew quicker at a pace of 12% from the 9.4% seen in February.     The sustained increase in production loans is attributable to an increase in credit for real estate activities (21.8%); information and communication (20.8%); financial and insurance activities (17.2%); wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (6.8%); and electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning supply (7.7%).     Other sectors also saw rise in loans except for manufacturing (-0.4%) and mining and quarrying (-5.3%), the BSP said.     On the other hand, growth of loans disbursed for households eased to 22.9% from the upward-revised 37.7% logged in February. This was mainly due to the slower expansion in credit card and motor vehicle loans during the month.     UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. Chief Economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion attributed the pickup in lending to the market’s reaction after the easing moves done by the central bank since 2019.     “Since last year, we know that the BSP has been on an easing stance. RRP (reverse repurchase rate) cuts were made including other liquidity measures such as the RRR reduction. The market has been responding and liquidity in the market has been ample and growing,” Mr. Asuncion said in an e-mail.     In 2019, the BSP slashed rates by a total of 75 basis points (bps) before opting for a pause. By yearend, the overnight reverse repurchase rate was at four percent while lending and deposit rates were at 4.5% and 3.5%, respectively.     Meanwhile, reserve requirement ratios (RRR) were slashed by a total of 400 bps last year, which reduced the RRR of big banks as well as thrift and rural banks to 14%, four percent, and three percent as of end-2019.     BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno has said monetary policy tends to work with a lag of about three to nine months.     For this year, the BSP has been aggressive as it seeks to curtail the impact of the virus on the economy. It has cut rates by a total of 125 bps thus far which reduced overnight reverse repurchase, deposit and lending rates to record lows of 2.75%, 3.25% and 2.25%, respectively.     The BSP has likewise reduced RRR of universal and commercial banks by another 200 bps to 12%.     In the coming months, the lockdown measures may dent lending growth, according to Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort.     “Bank loans could start to slow down in April and May 2020 and could even potentially contract in Q2 2020 together with the broader economy, depending on how long the lockdown would last,” Mr. Ricafort said.

read more

PCCI asks financial institutions to extend loan maturity for biz

May 12, 2020

Banking & Finance

By: , THE country’s largest business organization, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), is asking banks and other financial institutions to extend loan maturity for enterprises for at least one year for them to be able to recover from the impact of the community quarantine due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.     In a statement Monday, PCCI said the extension should include loans due between March 16, 2020 to December 31, 2020.     PCCI President Benedicto Yujuico said the business group’s members have a growing concern on their “deteriorating cash positions and diminishing ability to avoid massive lay-offs” as most businesses are closed during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that started in mid-March.     “The ECQ has brought substantially all businesses to a sudden and unexpected stop. Many are now facing economic distress, forcing them to resort to drastic cost-cutting, lay-offs, and pay cuts.  Even as the government slowly relaxes the quarantine measures, we expect that the effects of this crisis will continue to be felt and that businesses will continue to struggle through the end of 2020,” Yujuico said.     He added a loan extension for at least a year will go a long way to preserve employment and averting permanent closure of businesses, which are clients and partners of banks and the non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs).     “Without the support of Philippine banks and other NBFIs, many businesses will likely be forced to shut down,” the PCCI chief added.     Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) regions, where a large percentage of businesses are located, have been placed under ECQ for two months. (PNA)

read more

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

April 26, 2020

Economy

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

read more

Food rationing starts in Davao City

March 25, 2020

Economy

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

read more

Go hits irresponsible media accusations

March 25, 2020

Economy

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

read more

PH Saves Billions with NGCP's Financing Grid Expansion

November 22, 2019

Economy

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

read more

Suzuki Introduces New Online Auto Loan Feature

May 18, 2020

Motoring

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

read more

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

May 18, 2020

Motoring

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

read more

VP Robredo Receives Suzuki Motorcycle Service Units for Healthcare Workers

May 2, 2020

Motoring

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

read more

The Ford Ranger: Built To Last During Tough Times

May 2, 2020

Motoring

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

read more

Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Business Week.