Today's Top Stories

  • Chambers propose mass screening with RST to curb COVID-19 spread

    Chambers propose mass screening with RST to curb COVID-19 spread

    The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry today endorsed to President Rodrigo Duterte a resolution from its affiliate chambers in Mindanao urging the ramping up of mass screening of possible COVID-19 cases in the country through the adoption of the Rapid Serologic Test (RST) as a surveillance tool. In its letter to the president coursed through Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea dated today, PCCI President Amb. Benedicto V. Yujuico also requested the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant Emergency Use Authority to the application for registration of verifiable suppliers of RST kits, and to set up “PCR Sub-National Reference Laboratories” in all regions of Mindanao.  “We urgently need to check the health of our communities and this is only possible using mass testing in the field. Having statistics of sick patients in the hospital is just too late,” said Ma. Teresa R. Alegrio, PCCI area vice president for Mindanao. “We need to know actual cases in the field even before they become symptomatic or no longer symptomatic (unknowingly healed) to make targeted decisions before they even get to hospitals,” she added. PCCI is advocating the immediate rollout of the mass screening program using RST by local government units in partnership with national agencies, Philippine Red Cross and other NGOs starting with all PUIs awaiting access to PCR testing, all PUMs, vulnerable persons within the vicinity of a cluster of Covid-19 outbreak, and among front liners in the hospital and in the field. Persons who test positive from RST mass screening should also be required to undergo priority confirmatory testing by PCR. The chambers are also requesting the Food and Drug Administration Philippines (FDA) to grant Emergency Use Authority to approve the applications for registration of verifiable suppliers of RST Kits that already underwent the registration process with their respective FDAs in their country of origin. Not the least, PCCI also supports the call of many LGUs and regional bodies to set up  sub-national reference labs in all regions of Mindanao in addition to the four already being set up in the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, the Baguio General Hospital & Medical Center in Benguet, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. The Western Visayas Medical Center and the Bicol Public Health Laboratory are also being prepared for testing. In addition to the University of the Philippines - National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH), five private hospitals are also being assessed by the DOH and the World Health Organization as possible extension laboratories.  These are the molecular biology laboratories of St. Luke’s Medical Center - Global City, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, St. Luke’s Medical Center - Quezon City and Chinese General Hospital. Indonesian Experience A week ago, Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered the rollout of rapid tests for COVID-19 across the country in a bid to accelerate detection of the disease. Rapid tests are easier to perform than regular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and can detect COVID-19 cases quicker. Since rapid tests like the RST only require blood serum as a sample, these can be conducted by most health laboratories across the country enabling mass testing in COVID-19 hit areas to be performed quickly. It is easier to implement than the regular tests like PCR, which must be performed in level two biosafety laboratories, since they involved the sampling of nasal fluids or larynx substances which contain the virus as main specimens. Since rapid tests are easier to perform, Indonesia expects more people to be tested and sent to hospitals if found positive. To anticipate a rise in confirmed cases, Jokowi called for hospitals to set up health protocols for handling those who had performed the test. PCR too slow to determine virus spread Although PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is a tried and tested method to confirm COVID-19 infection in PUIs and PUMs, it does not give a true picture of the spread of the infection in a community due to the length of time it takes to confirm a test, now worsened by the backlog at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) due to the sheer volume of samples, the shortage of testing kits to meet the demand, and the extended time to send samples to RITM due to the lockdown of the national transport network. RITM is the sole testing facility in the country at present since the four additional regional centers are not yet ready to conduct tests. Indirect Method “RST is an excellent tool to check the presence of antibodies naturally produced by the human body as a defense mechanism to fight the presence of a destructive foreign body, e.g. the SARS-CoV2 /COVID-19 virus,” said Roderico Bioco, PCCI-X Regional Governor. “It is an indirect method of detecting the presence of the virus (the infection), unlike the PCR test which detects the actual virus itself.” “Each has innate limitations, serve different functions, but should be used together to complement each other in combating the global pandemic,” Bioco noted. Bioco said needs a better surveillance tool that is affordable, reasonably accurate and reliable, easily deployable in the field with minimal technical skill (no need special laboratory with HVAC and negative room pressure, etc), and safer (no need to transport live virus samples). It is also important to note that our field operatives and front liners know that they have fair access to the testing themselves to boost their morale, he added. “Furthermore, we can map out (geo tag) the existence of the spread of the virus using GIS (geospatial information system) and updating the GIS database is faster using RST,” Biaco stressed. “This is critical in planning and executing decisions in the field. We need to analyze faster patterns and trends the virus spreading in the community to make proactive policies and timely decisions.” RST vs. PCR explained In the early stage of infection( first 5-6 days), a true positive person may be tested negative by RST (false negative) because his body may not yet have produced enough antibodies that can be detected by RST. RST is not the proper tool to monitor the ongoing infection, that is the role of PCR, he explained. On the other hand, science journals are saying that the infection starts in the lungs and the virus may not still be present in nasal tracts or sputum 1-5 days after exposure for the PCR test to detect possibly yielding a false negative also. PCR also cannot detect the virus if the person has already completely healed from the disease. How RST buys time The IgM and IgG antibodies that are specific to the COVID-19 virus may take around 5-6 days after exposure for the body to produce enough antibodies detectable by RST. At that point, the infected person may start showing symptoms. Most healthy persons are expected to show mild reaction to the virus and may even be asymptomatic, but his immune system already produces antibodies combating the virus. Upon successfully fighting the virus, the infected person gets rid of the virus in his system, but the antibodies may remain in his body for several days. In this event, PCR test can no longer determine the presence of the virus nor diagnose if the person went through the infection in the first place in the absence of prior testing. However, in this case, RST can determine with a high degree of accuracy a past infection of the person from COVID-19. “This is a critical function of RST not doable by PCR. RST is an excellent tool to diagnose the general health of the community, while PCR for the individual patient,” Bioco said. In the event of intercepting by RST a healthy person that went through the disease undetected, we have the opportunity to conduct contact retracing, isolate, contain and mitigate and stop the cluster from breaking out (that otherwise PCR screening alone cannot do). Reports also claim that most of the transmission of the virus is by asymptomatic persons. Thus, it is important to cast a wider net to catch the virus, and do it fast.   

    March 27, 2020

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  • How South Korea tamed COVID-19

    How South Korea tamed COVID-19

    After one of the world’s largest initial outbreaks outside China, South Korea has managed to bring daily new cases into relative decline without imposing draconian nationwide lockdown measures. Comparing Italy to South Korea shows how dramatic the differences can be. On March 1, Italy had only 1,701 cases and 41 deaths, while South Korea had 3,736 cases and 21 deaths. Three weeks later, on March 22, Italy’s caseload had exploded to 59,138, with 5,476 deaths, while South Korea’s total caseload had merely doubled to 8,897, with 104 deaths. https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/23/coronavirus-pandemic-south-korea-italy-mass-testing-covid19-will-keep-spreading/ The key to South Korea’s success has been speed and an early push toward mass testing, rigorous contact tracing, and mandatory quarantine for anyone near a carrier of the virus.  The country, with a population of 51 million, tests more than 20,000 people a day at more than 600 testing sites nationwide, while integrating apps that not only track individuals if they have tested positive, but also warn them if they might have been exposed to a known case. From a peak of 909 cases in February 29, South Korea has seen a decline of its COVID-19 cases since March 11 to as low as 74-76 daily. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/how-south-korea-flattened-its-coronavirus-curve-n1167376 South Korea flattened the curve for new cases by ramping up its testing capacity to the current 20,000 people a day at 633 sites,  including drive-thru centers and even phone booths. Those tested can receive their results in less than 24 hours, and so far over 327,000 of South Korea’s 51-million population have been tested since January 21st. "Acting fast was the most important decision South Korea made," said Hwang Seung-Sik, a professor at Seoul National University's Graduate School of Public Health. By early February, the first test had been approved. Active collaboration among central and regional government officials and medical staff took place before cases began piling up. Early testing meant early detection of infections where a relatively larger proportion of patients showed either no symptoms or very mild ones, according to Hwang. South Korean leaders have amped up efficiency for overwhelmed hospitals by digitally monitoring lower-risk patients under quarantine, as well as keeping close tabs on visiting travelers who are required to enter their symptoms into an app. Sites like Corona Map generate real-time updates about where current patients are located and inform proactive Koreans focused on protecting themselves. According to a survey conducted last month by Seoul National University's Graduate School of Public Health, 78.5 percent of respondents agreed that they would sacrifice the protection of their privacy rights to help prevent a national epidemic. Now, hand sanitizer bottles are placed in front of nearly every entrance and elevator for public use. And of the 1,000 people who took part in a study by Seoul National University, 97.6 percent responded that they at least sometimes wear a mask when they are outside, 63.6 percent of who said they always wear one. According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 80 percent of COVID-19 cases can be categorized as mass infections. A call center in southwestern Seoul was at the center of a local outbreak this month that generated more than 156 infections. About 90 cases were traced to a Zumba class. South Korea has already started new testing on all arrivals from Europe, according to local news reports, preparing for a "second wave" of imported clusters. Even those who test negative are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.(with reports from foreignpolicy.com & NBCNews)

    March 27, 2020

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  • The Power of Purpose: A Salute to our Frontliners

    The Power of Purpose: A Salute to our Frontliners

    As our society fights with the profound implications of Covid-19, corporations must step up and help support the government in taking action.   As the number of confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases rises every day in the Philippines, hundreds of front-liners such as doctors, nurses, and janitors are working together to save lives and stop the spread of the virus. Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC) through its Primavera Sales Office expressed support the front-liners of Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) last March 20 & 24, 2020. "Every front-liner working with these patients is potentially putting their health at risk, and we feel it is our duty to support  and thank them, in any which way. A simple meal is a good expression of gratitude ," said Frances Mae Galvez, IDC - Brand Manager. IDC shared a simple appreciation by giving hearty lunch meals for the health workers of NMMC. A simple gesture that the company hopes to lift the spirits of our brave front-liners. NMMC served as the Region’s most advanced medical center and served as the front line in Northern Mindanao’s fight against Covid-19. So every time you think about breaking the restricted movement order, think about our exhausted medical teams. And think that a single case can lead to a few thousand in less than a month.  The medical teams on the frontlines of this war against this virus are our lifesaving defense. Let’s not make their work any harder, because they are the only line we have. ---------STAY SAFE KAGAY-ANONS---------

    March 25, 2020

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  • Globe turns over P14M in cash donation to PGH for purchase of medical supplies and personal protective equipment

    Globe turns over P14M in cash donation to PGH for purchase of medical supplies and personal protective equipment

    Globe successfully raised and turned over P14M to the PGH Medical Foundation, Inc. (PGH-MFI). The amount was gathered through the joint efforts of loyal Globe customers who donated over P9M via their Rewards points, and the company’s initial pledge of P5M in cash donation. This is part of the telco’s comprehensive efforts in providing immediate aid to medical frontliners at PGH, which is now a designated exclusive COVID-19 hospital by the Department of Health (DOH). The funds were utilized by PGH-MFI to purchase much-needed test kits, alcohol, and complete sets of personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as surgical masks, face shields, and surgical gowns. Globe also turned over 50 mobile phones preloaded with unlimited calls and texts to all networks valid for 30 days to serve the communication needs of healthcare workers and frontliners at PGH. “We are overwhelmed with gratitude to all customers who stand together with us in our ongoing fight against the pandemic,” said Ernest Cu, President and CEO at Globe. “We also hope that this can show our kababayans that in times like these, doing simple acts of kindness even within the safety of our homes can truly make a difference.” Last March 5, Globe also donated P5M worth of surgical masks to the Philippine Red Cross. Further, it has provided free unli internet connection via its GoWiFi services since March 13 to 68 public and private hospitals across the country. Mobile and broadband customers are also encouraged to stay updated on the developments on COVID-19 with access to the official sites of DOH, NDRRMC and PIA free of data charges. Download the Globe Rewards app to donate to PGH Medical Foundation and other partner medical institutions. Learn more about how you can help in the fight against COVID-19 via https://www.facebook.com/globeph/.

    March 25, 2020

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Holcim cement production to use more waste as fuel

March 24, 2020

Corporate

By: , HOLCIM Philippines, Inc. is increasing the use of waste materials as alternative fuel in cement production, the listed cement manufacturer said on Monday.      In a statement, the company said it was committing to increase its consumption of the coal alternative in its operations to help lower costs.      The move means that the company will boost its co-processing operations of alternative fuels and raw materials through waste management unit Geocycle.      “Aside from its business benefits, our Geocycle unit enables us to further contribute to Philippine development in a sustainable manner,” Holcim Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer John Stull was quoted as saying in the statement.      “Through our co-processing operations, we are able to lower our carbon footprint and help ease the waste management challenges of the country while producing an essential building material for development,” he added.      Holcim Philippines reported using more than 170,000 tons of waste materials last year as alternative fuel and raw material for its production. This translated to 38 days of avoiding coal in cement production, and therefore, lower carbon emissions from the company’s operations.      The process works by using segregated wastes from local governments near Holcim Philippines’ plants in Luzon and Mindanao. The waste is pre-processed to become fuel that will be used in cement production.      “In co-processing, qualified waste materials (are) pre-processed as alternative fuel and fed into the high-temperature kilns along with other raw materials to produce cement. This process transform wastes to alternative fuel and converts them into energy for cement production,” it said.      “The technology is recognized globally and is approved by the Philippine authorities due to its proven advantages in environmental and safety performance,” it added.      Holcim Philippines has plants in La Union, Bulacan, Batangas, Misamis Oriental and Davao. Its earnings last year rose 41% to P3.59 billion due to its efforts to increase efficiencies and lower costs.      The company is in the process of being acquired by listed conglomerate San Miguel Corp. The $2.15-billion deal is being reviewed by the Philippine Competition Commission.

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Jollibee sets P1-B emergency fund for employees amid Covid-19

March 24, 2020

Corporate

By: , JOLLIBEE Foods Corporation (JFC) has allocated an emergency response fund amounting to P1 billion to provide its employees with the needed financial support to cope with the enhanced community quarantine being implemented in the whole of Luzon due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.      “This public health crisis challenges us as a company and as a nation in ways we’ve never seen before,” JFC chairman and founder Tony Tan Caktiong said in a statement Thursday.      The employee package covers all work teams of Jollibee Group’s offices, stores, commissaries, and logistics centers, including the senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) assigned to stores under the joint employment program with local government units.        The assistance will also be extended to JFC's partner employers in the stores and other sites to provide financial support to their respective employees during this time.       “In these times, we know how people are worrying about their safety and how to take care of their families. We want to help lessen their worries and we are setting up this fund to help them through this difficult time. We are moved by how different individuals and sectors are taking action to help one another and we are one with them in supporting the government as we fight Covid together. We will overcome these challenges together,” Tan Caktiong said.      With this emergency fund, employees will continue to receive their full month’s salary for the March 15 to April 15 period. They will also receive their 13th month pay by April 30.       Affected employees can also convert their leave credits in advance and may file for personal leaves when necessary until the situation normalizes.      In a letter to employees, JFC chief executive officer Ernesto Tanmantiong said “we know that this is a very unsettling time for everyone, but let me assure you that we are doing all we can in JFC to help you and your families and our customers during this period.”       Tan Caktiong earlier said JFC is donating P100 million worth of food from its brands to healthcare workers and on-ground checkpoint personnel who are at the frontlines in the fight against Covid-19. (PR)

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DTI sets limit in buying food, non-food products

March 24, 2020

Corporate

By: , THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued a Memorandum Circular (MC) on Thursday setting a limit in buying food and non-food products to avoid hoarding and panic buying amid the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.       The MC No. 20-07 also aims to prevent unreasonable price increases in basic goods as well as products intended for health protection such as face masks, medical devices, alcohol, sanitizers, and disinfectants.      Retailers shall limit the selling of the following food products per transaction:      •    5 pieces per type per brand for locally produced instant noodles;      •    5 cans per type per brand for regular size and 3 cans per type per brand for big size for locally produced canned sardines;      •    5 cans per type per brand for small size and 2 cans per type per brand other than small size for canned regular milk;      •    2 bundles per brand for powdered milk in sachet;      •    2 bundles per brand of instant coffee in sachet; and      •    10 small bottles, 8 medium bottles, 5 large bottles, and 2 extra-large bottles of any brand of mineral water      For non-food products, consumers can only buy the following per transaction:      •    2 pieces for 70 percent solution antiseptic or disinfectant alcohol, regardless of volume;      •    2 pieces for hand sanitizer, regardless of size;      •    2 pieces for disinfecting liquids, regardless of size;      •    5 bars for bath soap if individually sold and 1 pack if sold as pack;      •    10 pieces for toilet paper if sold per roll and 1 pack if sold as pack; and      •    5 pieces for any type of surgical and N95 face masks      Retailers are directed to post notices about the allowed quantity of goods to be sold to customers per transaction, the MC stated.      According to the MC, violators may face penalties “prescribed under relevant ordinances issued by local government units, and if circumstances warrant, charges and penalties under the Price Act and Consumer Act will be applied”.      Under the Price Act, hoarding is punishable with a fine ranging from P5,000 to P2 million and imprisonment not less than five years but not more than 15 years. (PNA)

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Sharp better solutions for a better life 2

December 4, 2019

Corporate

By: , With the continuous evolution of technology and the significant role it plays in the everyday lives of people, Sharp Philippines Corporation (SPC) continues to introduce products that aim to incorporate ease and convenience into the Filipino household. SPC’s products are categorized into four sections, or what they refer to as Solutions – that seek to address the needs of consumers. These are: Entertainment Solution, Clean & Comfort Solution, Health & Beauty Solution and Business Solution. Products highlighted last November 28, 2019 at The Madison Events Place complement those that were launched earlier in July. Though SHARP’s global direction is to bring in the latest products with 8K and AIoT technology, the company also devotes its resources in coming up with items packed with technologies that enables efficiency, provides comfort and promotes good health.  The audience was treated to a visual display as well as live demonstrations conducted by their corresponding Product Specialists, showcasing the features and capability of the items.   Entertainment Solution Having introduced the AQUOS 8K LED TV for the Filipino market last July, SHARP now presents its Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) series of Full HD and 4K HDR Android Televisions. Eligible Android TVs are Google Assistant ready, enabling users to interact with their devices and perform tasks such as playing music/videos, searching for the latest news among others, all hands-free. The new line of Android TVs comes with features such as Comfort Mode, a special AV Mode that reduces 50% of blue light. It also has an Advanced Bluetooth version, which allows users to connect the television to their external Bluetooth speakers.  Have your own personal cinematic sound system with the AQUOS Sound Partner AN-SX7A. It is compatible with a wide variety of devices and is extremely portable; resting comfortably on ones shoulders. The Acoustic Vibration System provides powerful sound and heavy bass, ensuring an immersive audio-visual experience that is perfect for when you are playing video games or enjoying the latest shows on Netflix.  Clean & Comfort  Solution      Personal hygiene is an important aspect in a Filipino’s life. Apart from ensuring the cleanliness of our own being, we want this to be reflected in our homes as well; a place considered as a sanctuary for individuals and families alike.      SPC has your well-being in mind; that is why they develop products that help achieve and maintain a fresh, comfortable environment. These are: Washing Machines, Ractive Air Vacuum Cleaner, Mite Catcher, Air-conditioner with AIoT J-Tech Inverter Technology and Air Purifier/Cleaner equipped with SHARP’s original Plasmacluster Ion Technology.      The application or use of these products are not only limited to homes, as they can also be utilized in venues such as offices, schools, hospitals and other establishments with high population densities; sure to benefit its occupants.  Health & Beauty  Solution      We try to keep ourselves healthy through proper exercise and appropriate diet. This also reflects on the food that we consume and how it is cooked. With SHARP’s Healsio Hotcook, healthy cooking is made possible as the natural moisture and original flavor from ingredients together with its nutritional values are retained, compared to conventional cooking. Dishes are hassle-free; with automatic control and various cooking programs depending on your menu, just place all the necessary ingredients and wait until it is finished. Voila! Your meal is now ready to be served.      Looking good is also tantamount to feeling good. When we exert even the littlest effort in fixing ourselves up, be it reporting to work every day or attending an event, we feel much more confident in facing the world. Beauty appliances for women, such as the Hair Dryer, Hair Iron and Curling Ion with Plasmacluster feature lessens dirt and prevents hair damage. The Scalp Massager on the other hand, reduces dry scalp and keeps our hair healthy. Business Solution      Understanding the needs of businesses, SHARP also has dedicated products that cater to the corporate sector through their dynamic displays that project clear and beautiful images for application as digital signages or for business meetings via the internet.      SHARP has also acquired and further developed the Dynabook Laptop, designed for business professionals and workplace environments. Combining their technologies (displays, sensors etc.) with that of Toshiba, they seek to produce market-leading computers and other devices. The Dynabook features a thin design with long-lasting battery and is rated with MIL-STD-810G for utmost durability.        Committed to quality and innovation, SHARP will continue to develop products that will bring Better Solutions for a Better Life to consumers.

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DOF won’t withdraw pending ‘sin’ tax bill

November 25, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , THE Department of Finance (DOF) will not withdraw its proposal seeking to increase “sin” taxes on alternative tobacco products despite President Duterte’s pronouncement banning the public use and importation of vapes and electronic cigarettes.      Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that legislative deliberation on proposed higher excise taxes on e-cigarettes and vape products should continue in the Senate as they await the President’s executive order (EO)on the ban.      “We are awaiting the EO on this matter from the Office of the President. In the meantime, we urge the legislature to pass the measure that is pending their approval,” Dominguez told reporters in a mobile phone message late Wednesday when asked if the DOF will still push for higher taxes on e-cigarettes and vapes.      President Duterte recently directed authorities to ban the use of vapes and e-cigarettes in public as well as their importation, saying “it is toxic, and government has the power to issue measures to protect public health and public interest.”      Last week, the Department of Health (DOH) reported the first case of e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI) in Visayas.      In recent months, a spike in the number of cases of EVALI has also been seen in the United States, with over 2,000 cases reported, and 39 people having lost their lives.      Earlier, both the DOF and DOH said that it was better to regulate the use of vapes and e-cigarettes in the country than imposing a blanket ban on these products.      According to the health and finance departments, a total ban may just force vapes and e-cigarettes onto the black market, where the products would be harder to control by the government.      President Duterte had endorsed higher taxes on alternative cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, or Senate Bill No. 1074, as his urgent measure that needs to be passed by Congress before yearend and implemented beginning January 2020.      In his letter to the Senate leadership, President Duterte sought the swift passage of the bill “to address the urgent need to generate additional revenue to support the effective implementation of the Universal Health Care Act and to further protect the right to health of the people.”      SB-1074 aims to align the tax rate of heated tobacco and vape with traditional cigarettes at P45 beginning next year, P50 in 2021, P55 in 2022, and P60 in 2023, with five percent annual increases onwards.      The proposed bill also covers alcoholic beverages, which once passed into law will increase the tax on distilled spirits from P23.5 to P90 per proof liter with a 20 percent ad valorem tax beginning next year.      Meanwhile, fermented liquors and alcopops would be taxed at P45 per liter, up from P25.4. Finally, a specific tax of P600 would be imposed on sparkling wines, while a specific tax of P43 would be imposed on still and carbonated wines beginning 2020.      The DOF expects SB-1074 to raise at least P47.9 billion in incremental revenue for its first year of implementation.

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BPI targets 20% growth in sustainable loans in 2020

November 22, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , THE Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is targeting a 20% growth in its sustainable loan portfolio by next year.      On the sidelines of a company event on Friday evening, BPI President and CEO Cezar P. Consing said the bank is looking to grow its sustainable loan book, which currently accounts for 10% of the total loan portfolio.      “What we’re trying is to improve our ratio… 10% of our loan book is sustainable and our renewable to non-renewable (ratio) is 50-50%, more or less. That 10% has to grow and the 50-50 has to overtime swing in favor of renewables but this takes time,” Mr. Consing told reporters.      BPI Head of Corporate Credit Junie Veloso said that the Ayala-led bank is targeting to increase its P130-billion sustainable financing portfolio by 20% next year.      “For the renewable energy and sustainable portfolio, it’s P100-P150 billion. Our target is to grow that by 20% next year. This is a long-term vision. Moving forward, we want to become more sustainable by pushing for sustainable financing,” Mr. Veloso said on the sidelines of the bank’s Sustainable Development Finance launch on Friday.      The bank’s Sustainable Energy Finance (SEF) portfolio has cumulative availed loans of over P130 billion as of June, majority of which or 63% are classified as renewable energy, while the remaining fall under energy efficiency (21%) and climate resilience (16%), according to Jo Ann B. Eala, head of sustainable development finance at BPI.      “We have a total of 330 projects funded already, almost half of that goes to energy efficiency, which refers to projects that bring down electricity consumption. You bring down electricity consumption and increase efficiency first, before you go to the sexier renewables,” Ms. Eala said during the same event.      However, Mr. Veloso said the bank’s funding has always been available but there is a lack of eligible projects.      “Our problem is less our desire to grow it but the availability of financeable projects. Capacity (of renewables) are smaller as compared to fossils like coal plants which are much bigger. Hopefully we can find those small ones so we can hit our growth target… Typically, when we say renewables, malaki na ang 50 megawatts for a single project (50 megawatts is relatively big),” he explained.      “Remember, we can only lend to projects that are there, the projects have to be there. If not, there’s nothing that we can do. It takes a while to develop them to the point that they are financeable,” Mr. Consing said.      While the bank is boosting its support to renewable energy, BPI Head of Corporate Banking John C. Syquia said that the bank is also pushing for energy conservation, arguing that “even if it were clean energy, you also want to use less of it”.      In September, the lender raised $300 million in ASEAN green bonds, a drawdown from it medium-term note (MTN) program to finance eligible projects under its Green Finance Framework.      BPI’s Green Finance Framework was launched in June, providing guidelines for any green bonds or loans issued by the bank, including the evaluation and selection of eligible projects, management of proceeds, and reporting, among others.      The Ayala-led bank’s net income stood at P22.03 billion in the first nine months of the year, 29.5% higher than the P17.01 billion posted a year ago.

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Bangko Sentral readies new reforms for 2020

November 22, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is set to implement two new regulations targeted to further protect banks’ operational risks by 2020.      In her speech during the Chamber of Thrift Banks (CTB) membership meeting in Makati City Tuesday, BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said they are scheduled to implement by June next year the supervisory assessment framework or SAFr in lieu of the CAMELS rating.      CAMELS is an international rating system that checks on banks’ capital adequacy, management capability, earnings, liquidity, and sensitivity.      Fonacier said SAFr will have a four-point rating on banks’ overall health, with 4 as the highest and 1 as the lowest, unlike CAMELS’ 5 ratings.      “It features an assessment that is business model-centric that will shape the BSP’s supervisory intervention and influence, the frequency of examination,” she said.      Fonacier said they have conducted a parallel run with a major bank for SAFr implementation, but the results of the comparison with CAMELS are still being finalized.      She explained SAFr is forward-looking assessment while CAMELS’ is historical thus, there are some developments after the assessment period that are not incorporated vis-à-vis the bank’s ratings.      In an interview by journalists after the event, Fonacier said banks should be able to properly assess the risks and prepare for these because this is part of risk management.      “This is reputation risk management, meaning they should be very conscious of what are the potential threats to the reputation of the bank,” she said.      Fonacier further said SAFr is a holistic assessment of a bank’s overall health since it also checks on the various kinds of risks that banks face.      Under this system, which has yet to be approved by the Monetary Board (MB), an assessment will be made every two years, unlike CAMELS that is done annually.      The BSP is set to implement in the second quarter next year the risk-based pricing framework that will weigh “risks associated with lending and financing are adequately compensated.”      “Borrowers with lower risk profile should be charged with lower interest rates and vice versa,” she said.      Fonacier said they have released a draft circular on the system, which industry players and some small banks said maybe “tedious” to implement. (PNA)

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DBP installs ATMs in underbanked Palawan towns

November 4, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , In support of the national government’s efforts to promote greater financial inclusion, state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) recently installed offsite automated teller machines (ATMs) in the underbanked municipalities of Quezon and Narra in Palawan, a top official said.      President and chief executive officer of DBP, Emmanuel Herbosa, said in a news release issued on Wednesday that the installation of the ATMs mirrors the bank’s commitment to promote financial inclusion, especially in underbanked and unserved areas of the country.      “These newly-installed ATMs will provide 24/7 electronic banking services to nearly 200,000 residents of the municipalities of Quezon and Narra, Palawan and the neighboring unbanked town of Rizal,” hesaid.      While classified as first-class municipalities, both Narra and Quezon, Palawan are underbanked with only two rural banks operating in these areas.      These towns are also more than two hours away from the provincial capital, Puerto Princesa City. (PR)

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Food rationing starts in Davao City

March 25, 2020

Economy

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

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Go hits irresponsible media accusations

March 25, 2020

Economy

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

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PH Saves Billions with NGCP's Financing Grid Expansion

November 22, 2019

Economy

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

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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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Abundance in Space and Versatility - All-New Suzuki XL7

March 23, 2020

Motoring

By: , The XL7 is Suzuki’s most dapper SUV yet with its bold face and front fenders with garnish that creates a bold and robust exterior styling. On the inside, the XL7 is just as impressive with its dynamic interior with flexible seating arrangements where even passengers at the third row get to enjoy wide leg room. With a 199L maximum luggage capacity, groceries, travel bags, camping equipment, and other adventure essentials won’t be a nuisance at any cost.      The All New XL7 boosts its performance with a K15B engine, allowing for a desirable speed to and from every destination. The XL7 delivers an output power of 103hp/6,000 rpm and torque at 138N-m/4,400rpm that will surely make road trips and even city driving a breeze.      Advanced and sleek convenient features are available as well for the All-New XL7. These features include rear parking sensor and rear parking camera to ensure safety in every drive, advanced multi-information LCD display that will make viewing current conditions of the vehicle easy, automatic aircon controls and keyless push start function. A 10-inch infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto makes for an entertaining and comfortable passenger experience, not to mention ventilated cup holders to add on to daily convenience.      With its 7-seater capacity, safety is not compromised as it comes with dual airbags backed up by Anti-lock Brake Sytem (ABS) with Electric Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP), to make the whole driving experience more secured.      The XL7 is equipped with a new generation HEARTECT platform that will make for an optimum driving experience when driving, turning, and stopping due to weight reduction. This technology will also allow for a quiet drive due to improved NVH performance. With the new generation HEARTECT platform, cabin and luggage area are maximized with the increased available space. The HEARTECT platform effectively disperses energy during collision for better safety and gives the XL7 high maneuverability by its greater front wheel turning radius.      The All New XL7 is priced at an SRP of Php1,068,000.00 and comes in desirable colorways with new additions, Brave Khaki and Snow White both in pearl finish, while Magma Gray and Sunrise Orange in metallic finish.

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Suzuki Philippines maintains growth in Q3 and introduces New Vitara

November 4, 2019

Motoring

By: , Consistent with its strong performance for the first two quarters of the year, pioneer compact car distributor Suzuki Philippines (SPH) finishes the third quarter with positive growth yet again, enabling the company to post 19 percent sales growth for the first nine months of the year over the same period in 2018.      The continued sales increase is the result of the brand’s strategic marketing efforts, which emphasize numerous promotions and interactive events and are aimed at boosting product visibility. SPH hopes to ride on this strong market and brand momentum to further strengthen its position in the market through the remaining months of 2019.      “Suzuki’s current standing in the Philippine automotive industry is a significant milestone for the brand. After securing the 4th spot in the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) ranking – the highest rank in the brand’s history – and climbing to the 5th spot in the local automotive industry roster last quarter, we at Suzuki Philippines can definitely say that 2019 has been a monumental year for the brand,” shared SPH Director and General Manager for Automobile Division Keiichi Suzuki.      “These back-to-back achievements further fuel our drive to deliver on the brand’s promise of quality driving experience with every Suzuki vehicle,” he added. Top sales drivers: Ertiga, Swift, Celerio      The Ertiga, Swift and Celerio continue to excite and stimulate the market as Suzuki’s best-selling vehicles. The three award-winning models combined accounted for 56 percent of total sales from January to September this year.      The well-loved family vehicle Ertiga still dominates the Suzuki auto sales chart with a 34 percent share. This 7-seater vehicle fortified its position as the top-favorite Suzuki vehicle with the release of the Ertiga Black interior version, which drove sales up even further.      Aside from its fuel efficiency and spacious interior that complement the body’s elegance and modern style, the Ertiga demonstrates good engine performance that is powerful and cost-efficient, making it an ideal vehicle for practical Filipino families.      Swift kept its position as the second top-selling Suzuki model with an 11.4 percent share of total sales. This hatchback remains the millennials’ top choice among Suzuki vehicles. With its sleek and stylish design that is very recognizable on the road, millennials can definitely identify with this fun and compact Suzuki hatchback.     Accounting for 11 percent share of sales, the Celerio ranks third among Suzuki’s top-selling vehicles. This hatchback, known for its space and roomy dimension, can accommodate up to 254-liters worth of cargo with an uncompromised 5-seater capacity. Alongside its remarkable fuel efficiency that ups the ante for its category.  SPH debuts New Vitara to Philippine driving arena      Another vehicle from Suzuki Philippines that stunned the market this year and won the 2019-2020 Auto Focus Media’s Choice Awards’ Compact SUV of the Year: Best Value for Money award is the Suzuki Vitara. Committed to continue its legacy and stand firm to its promise to provide value-packed and affordable products to more Filipinos, Suzuki proudly debuts the improved and upgraded New Vitara. This CBU Unit from Magyar Suzuki Corporation (MSC HUNGARY) is available in GL+, 6 speed Automatic Transmission and GLX, 6 speed Automatic Transmission variants.       Suzuki has made several improvements and upgrades in both the exterior and interior of the New Vitara. It is now equipped with newly designed grills, lower bumpers and new rear combination lamps, all of which create an expressive exterior. The new stylish suede front and rear seats, cluster meter and premium-feel cabin create a comfortable yet stylish interior vibe.      “The New Vitara will surely appeal to car enthusiasts looking for an improved version of the classic Suzuki vehicle. It is our pleasure to bring another modified Suzuki vehicle to the Philippines. The New Vitara will certainly deliver an exceptional driving experience to Filipinos – the Suzuki way,” shared Keiichi Suzuki.      For more information about Suzuki Philippines and its automobiles, please visit www.suzuki.com.ph and like them on www.facebook.com/SuzukiAutoPH.

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Toyota Fortuner Gets Updated with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

October 7, 2019

Motoring

By: , Top automotive manufacturer Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) updates the infotainment system of its best-selling midsize SUV, the Toyota Fortuner. Starting this September, all six (6) variants of the Toyota Fortuner will now have the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mobile compatibility features pre-installed.      Aside from this software upgrade, the head unit’s hardware also receives significant changes such as a new dedicated SD card slot for multimedia, 6.75-inch total screen size, and 512 MB of RAM with 8GB of ROM (both previously at 256MB). The updated Toyota Fortuner is now available in all 70 Toyota dealerships nationwide.      “Toyota listens to the demands of the local market, and we are always on the lookout when it comes to adapting technologies that make driving easier, safer, and more enjoyable for everyone,” said TMP First Vice President Ms. Cristina Arevalo. “Equipping the Fortuner with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is something our customers will surely appreciate.”      Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both smartphone mirroring services that allow drivers to focus on the road with quality-of-life features such as GPS navigation, music playback, and managing texts and calls, all through the vehicle’s built-in display.      Their common goal is to minimize driving distractions by making it easy for drivers to control these factors by using voice commands, touchscreen panels, and traditional knobs or buttons in their car’s infotainment setup.      “We’re confident that this much-anticipated set of software and hardware improvements will make the Toyota Fortuner even more appealing to its target market,” she added.      Year-to-date, the Toyota Fortuner already sold a total of 12,519 units, again cementing its status as the SUV of choice among Filipinos. Next to Metro Manila, Toyota Fortuner sales in terms of volume are strongest in Calabarzon (Region IV) and Central Luzon (Region III) areas.      For the latest Toyota news and information, visit TMP’s official website at www.toyota.com.ph and follow the official Facebook page at www.fb.com/ToyotaMotorPhilippines. To know more about the updated Fortuner, please go to any of Toyota’s 70 dealerships nationwide.

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Suzuki Introduces Two New Workhorses for the Filipino Entrepreneur: the All-new Carry and the Dzire GA

October 7, 2019

Motoring

By: , Suzuki Philippines Inc. (SPH), the country’s pioneer subcompact car distributor, introduces its newest breed of workhorse vehicle, the all-new Suzuki Carry.      Designed to meet the needs of commercial businesses, the all-new Carry is packed with upgraded features and a lightweight yet fuel-efficient engine, making it a tough and reliable partner to drive every Filipino business owners to success.      “Filipinos are a hard-working people. The all-new Suzuki Carry is engineered to match the level of dedication Filipinos put into their businesses. We designed this new workhorse vehicle to deliver any business requirements with efficiency and power to do more. With the all-new Suzuki Carry, we extend the Suzuki Way of Life! to small and medium enterprises and be a part of their journey to success,” Suzuki Philippines Director and Automobile Division General Manager Keiichi Suzuki shares.      Succeeding the Suzuki Super Carry, which bagged the 2016 Best Commercial Utility Vehicle by Car Awards Group, Inc., the all-new Carry amps performance with a stronger and fuel-efficient K15B 1.5-liter engine, providing more power to carry out every task in any road conditions with ease. This upgrade delivers more output power at 96hp/5,600rpm and torque at 135N.m/4,400rpm over the entire range, giving business owners the confidence to deliver on their business commitments.      The all-new Carry stays true to its nature as a reliable and functional workhorse with its exterior design exuding simplicity, durability and a good sense of balance. It has a wider and longer body with access to side gates opening from all sides, making loading and unloading cargo of any size and shape easier. The new truck is also packed with 22-rope hooks to secure any cargo during transit.      Supported with a bed 365mm longer and 75mm wider than its predecessor, the all-new Carry boasts a greater loading capacity of 940kg with better weight distribution when fully loaded. Its cabin space now features a more spacious design to ensure a more comfortable seating position with ample distance between the hip point and the center of the accelerator pedal. Aside from the added storage in the dashboard and the cabin, the shift lever is now situated on the dashboard to provide extra legroom for an optimum driving experience.      The all-new Suzuki Carry can be converted and modified to suit any business needs. It can be used as a utility van, cargo truck, or pick-up truck with the same reliability and functionality expected of a trusted workhorse.      The All–New Carry price starts at:      • 509,000 – Carry truck      • 576,000 – Carry Cargo Van      • 614,000 – Carry Utility Van      Alongside the all-new Carry and to support Filipinos’ diverse business and transport requirements, SPH also introduces the latest variant of its signature compact sedan – the new Suzuki Dzire GA.      SPH hopes to provide Filipino commuters with additional ride-sharing options with the all-new Suzuki Dzire GA. Suzuki’s signature sedan gets a fresher look with easy-to-handle compact dimensions and expanded storage capacity, making it an ideal addition to a taxi fleet business. The all-new Dzire GA features a more compact K12M engine under its hood with increased fuel efficiency. Its interior and engine performance are guaranteed to givecomplete comfort for all the passengers traversing the busy streets of the metro.      Added in their Dzire vehicle list Suzuki Dzire GA price starts at:      • 549, 900 – Dzire GA 1.2L – Manual Transmission

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