Very big’ improvement in telco services by 2020: Rio

July 31, 2019

DEPARTMENT of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. on Tuesday said Filipinos will feel a big improvement in telecommunications (telco) services nationwide come 2020.      “Our program for 2020 is that before the end of next year, our people will feel a very big improvement in our telecommunications services nationwide,” Rio said during ‘The Presser’ of the Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) attended by key clusters of the executive branch at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) building in Quezon City.      The DICT official said the improvements in telco services will stem from a high-speed internet infrastructure to be built in partnership with Facebook and Dito Telecommunity Corporation (Dito), the country's third major telco player.      “The most significant statement of the President during his SONA yesterday was that the selection process for the third telco, there is no corruption that was involved. And he was so serious in this statement, he even swore over the tomb of his father. The first time the President did that in a SONA,” Rio said.      Aside from faster internet services at home, the high-speed internet infrastructure project with Facebook will help provide Filipinos with better free Wi-Fi in public places and better e-government services.      “We will have then a very big bandwidth to be coming from Facebook. Two terabits per second that we can now use for free Wi-Fi and for our e-government to give basic services, online services, to our people even in the remotest area of our country,” Rio said.      “This is actually a program that is instructed by the President on the DICT,” he added.      On November 15, 2017, officials of from the DICT, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and EDGE (Facebook) signed a landing party agreement for a high-speed internet infrastructure project called the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure that would produce an “ultra-high-speed information highway” connection in the country.      On July 8, 2019, Mislatel Consortium, now Dito Telecommunity, was awarded a permit to operate as the Philippines’ third telco provider by President Duterte in a ceremony at the Malacañang Palace. (PNA)

DMCI Homes launches QC project to meet rising demand

July 26, 2019

Premier Quadruple A developer DMCI Homes has launched Cameron Residences to add to its growing portfolio in the country’s biggest city in terms of population.      "Quezon City more than ever is shaping up to be a real estate hotspot with the government's aggressive infrastructure push in the area. We hope to help address the increasing demand by launching more projects in the city in the coming months," assistant vice president for project development Dennis Yap said in a statement on Tuesday.      Stretched out along Mapalad Street, Roosevelt Avenue, Quezon City, the Modern Tropical-themed development is a few minutes from the Skyway extension project, which is on its way to completion.      With this new development, going from Cameron Residences to Makati will soon take just 30 minutes --a big leap from the current two-hour travel from Quezon City to the country’s financial capital.      Also anticipated to contribute ease to daily commute is the Metro Manila Subway Project which reportedly has seven stations in Quezon City -- Mindanao Avenue, Tandang Sora, North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, East Avenue, Anonas, and Katipunan.      Likewise, the MRT-7 railway system, which will take passengers from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan to North Avenue, Quezon City is another significant infrastructure project that will promote convenient travel in the area.      Restaurants, leisure zones, shopping malls, hospitals, universities, government institutions, and business districts located near the area make the 45-level residential tower an ideal investment for end-users, upgraders, and investors looking for living spaces in the heart of Quezon City.      “We will aim to maximize the property’s excellent proximity to future infrastructure projects to create a working resident’s haven in Northern Metro Manila,” Yap said.      Known for its resort-inspired condominium communities, DMCI Homes intended the single-tower development to give residents a good balance of exquisite living spaces and areas for fun and leisure.      Included in the outdoor amenities are the following: garden area, lap and leisure pools, kiddie pool, kids’ play area, gazebo and sky promenade.      Indoor amenities, meanwhile, include snack bars, game area, lounge area, fitness gym, sky lounge. Facilities such as eight high-speed elevators, laundry station, convenience store, water refilling station, and mailroom are also provided for the convenience of the residents. (PR)

Cebu Pacific interested in Cebu-Mati flights

July 22, 2019

MATI City — Budget airline Cebu Pacific is interested in launching flights between Cebu and Mati City once the latter’s airport opens for commercial operations, according to Mati Mayor Michelle N. Rabat.      “Cebu Pacific ang nakakita ng (has seen the) potential ng ating (of our) Mati as a tourist destination,” she told the media on Thursday, noting that the carrier has expressed intent to serve the Cebu-Mati route.      Negotiations over land ownership issues on the airport’s site has started, said the mayor, whose clan is among those involved in the talks.      “We have yet to settle the issue of the land where the airport is built. I don’t want it to sound biased but it is owned by the Rabat-Rocamora, our families,” said Ms. Rabat, adding that “some documents” have gone missing.      The airport was built in the early 1980s under then Davao Oriental governor Francisco G. Rabat, the incumbent mayor’s father.      “We will try to settle that, to pacify the families (and tell them that there is a) commitment that eventually bibilhin yan (it will be paid for), but for now, allow us to develop so we can open it,” Ms. Rabat said.      She further explained that the national government, specifically the Department of Transportation, could not step in for rehabilitation if they do not have the pertinent documents on the project.      One of the main improvement works needed is an expansion of the existing 1,625-meter runway to accommodate bigger aircraft.      A P200-million fund from the national budget, through the Department of Tourism, has already been allocated for the runway.      Ms. Rabat said they are aiming to reach a settlement within the year, with support from the Davao Oriental provincial government.      “Hopefully we will be able to hit the target,at nakatutok din ang gobernador dito sa project na ito (the governor is also focusing on this project),” she said.      Gov. Nelson L. Dayanghirang earlier said the airport’s opening is one of his priorities to boost, not just tourism but the overall investment climate in the province.      “Both the provincial and the (Mati) city government believe that the reopening of the airport will bring more opportunities for the growth,” said Mr. Dayanghirang said earlier this month.      Davao Oriental’s popular tourist destinations include the Dahican Beach in Mati, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mt. Hamiguitan, and Aliwagwag Falls, among others.      Mr. Dayanghirang said the provincial government is also working on the construction of an inland resort as well as an 800-person capacity convention center.

Converge to bring fixed broadband to the Visayas, Mindanao by 2021

July 10, 2019

CONVERGE ICT Solutions, Inc. said its fixed broadband service may arrive in the Visayas and Mindanao regions by 2021 as it aims to start within the year the buildout of its fiber backbone outside Luzon.      In a media roundtable interview in Pasig City Thursday, the fiber broadband provider said it is currently evaluating bid submissions from submarine cable companies to expand its fiber reach in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.      “Siguro ’yung VisMin is not going to happen in the next 24 months. Kasi it takes about 24 months to build eh (Maybe going to VisMin won’t happen in the next 24 months because it takes about 24 months to build),” Converge Chief Operating Officer Jesus C. Romero said.      “We’ll start that hopefully soon. Then after that, we can operate,” he added.      Mr. Romero said the company is now waiting for the “best and final offer” of about three foreign bidders that will build its interisland fiber network in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.      “The bidders have to give their best and final offer. After those are submitted, we will have to choose which one. After we choose, then we award, then we start to mobilize,” he said, adding the completion of this process “has to be” within the year.      Converge currently has its fiber laid out in most of Luzon, covering almost all of Metro Manila and continuously expanding to Bicol and Benguet.      Earlier reports revealed that the company, owned by Pampanga-based businessman Dennis Anthony H. Uy, has secured a $250.4-million equity funding from United States-based private equity firm Warburg Pincus.      While Mr. Romero did not confirm the deal, he said Converge is always seeking to find funding for its expansion plans. These include the backbone rollout and acquisition of transmission and last mile equipment to make its services available to more areas across the country.      “The company has always said we’re looking for ways to fund expansion,” he said. “When you look at (the company’s) potential spending to fuel growth, you have cash flow, you can avail of debt, or you can try to raise money from equity infusion.”      Mr. Romero said the company is continually focusing on its fixed fiber broadband and doesn’t plan to tap the mobile telecommunications market as it sees a huge potential in the “underserved market” of the broadband segment.      “I think ’yang mobile, pagdating ng third mobile player, market share grab na lang ’yan eh (I think for mobile, when the third player arrives, it will all be market share grabbing)… Maganda rin na doon ka na lang sa (It’s better to be in the business of) something that’s growing, something that’s underserved, rather than trying to kill each other on a mature market,” he said.      Converge said last year it is pricing its expansion at $1.8 billion in the next five years, which will cover extending its broadband network to Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Allianz Sees Continuous Growth in Insurance Market in PH, Rest of Asia

July 6, 2019

While insurance penetration (premiums as a percentage of GDP) fell by 5.4% in Asia (ex-cluding Japan), the Philippines along with Vietnam, Laos, Sri Lanka, and India registered double-digit growths. This is according to the Allianz Global Insurance Report prepared by Allianz Research. Allianz Research is projecting a 9.4% growth per annum over the next decade in Asia, ex-cluding Japan. Around 60% additional premiums are expected to be generated in the re-gion. In the Philippines, a market growth of 12.3% is foreseen (13.5 in life and 8.3 in p&c).  “Allianz’ strong performance in the Philippines reflects the country’s economic growth and strong macroeconomic fundamentals, and we are looking to leverage on the continuous ex-pansion of economic activity in the country,” said Alexander Grenz, newly appointed presi-dent and chief executive officer of Allianz PNB Life. Premiums in the Philippines grew by 17.7% in 2018, way above the regional average. In fact, 2018 marked the best year since 2013. Life insurance, which accounts for more than 70% of the premium pool (without health), had a growth rate of 20.4%. It grew almost twice as fast as property-casualty (+11.1%).  For 2019, Allianz Research foresees a slowdown to around 10% premium growth, still well above regional or global averages. It noted that the Philippines’ insurance market has still plenty of room to grow: Premiums per capita stood at Php3,000.00 in 2018 (at par with neighboring Indonesia), penetration at 1.9%; it is, for example, already 3.7% in China. In-surance premiums in property-casualty and life are expected to grow by 14% this year and 12.3% over the next decade. Allianz PNB Life is still the fastest-growing life insurance company in the Philippines, ac-cording to the report of the Insurance Commission. Its premium income grew by 69% in 2018 and its annualized premium income for 2018 stood at a historic high. Grenz, who previously served as the chief operating officer of Allianz PNB Life, said that as today’s business environment goes through rapid changes, the company is hands-on to build a more diverse business model. “We all know how fast-paced the insurance industry is; the pressure and expectations are high from all sides ‐ our customers, our investors, our regulators, and among ourselves. Late last year, for instance, we have seen changes in reserve requirements for banks to ad-dress the spike in inflation. This resulted in liquidity shortage in the Bancassurance indus-try. Even though we are still performing better compared to our competitors, we definitely need to catch up in the second half of the year,” Grenz said. Grenz has more than 15 years of experience in global Insurance and Asset Management. He has a multinational track record in the areas of Finance, Insurance and Asset Manage-ment and has held various executive positions for Allianz in different countries. As he heads Allianz PNB Life, Grenz said he plans to focus on simplifying insurance for the customers. “Simplification of insurance will be our priority. We will simplify the language of insurance to make it understandable to more customers and make it easy to access with the superior technology Allianz can provide,” he explained.  Grenz is, likewise, moving to tap Allianz’s global investment fund managers from PIMCO and Allianz Global Investments (AGI) to provide superior technical solutions and investment strategies.  “Our goal is to have a well-defined output that should create value for our customers. It’s the customers’ perception, which counts and defines our success. With PIMCO and AGI, cus-tomers are assured they have access to superior product solutions and technical advise,” he said. Furthermore, Grenz is steering the company toward a digital future. Recently, the company opened its Allianz Digital Studio, which will pioneer the next-generation of innovation and solutions and make the delivery of insurance products and services faster and more effi-cient for both its internal and external customers.  “Our digital and customer-centric initiatives in the pipeline are geared toward enhancing the Allianz customer experience and differentiate us in the market,” he concluded. # About Allianz in Asia Asia is one of the core growth regions for Allianz, characterized by a rich diversity of cul-tures, languages and customs. Allianz has been present in the region since 1910, when it first provided fire and marine insurance in the coastal cities of China. Today, Allianz is ac-tive in 14 markets in the region, offering its core businesses of property and casualty insur-ance, life, protection and health solutions, as well as asset management. With its more than 32,000 staff, Allianz serves the needs of over 18 million customers in the region across mul-tiple distribution channels and digital platforms.   About Allianz The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with more than 92 million retail and corporate customers. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 673 billion euros on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage more than 1.4 trillion euros of third-party assets.  Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business pro-cesses and investment decisions, we hold the leading position for insurers in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2018, over 142,000 employees in more than 80 countries achieved total revenues of 131 billion euros and an operating profit of 11.5 billion euros for the group. These assessments are, as always, subject to the disclaimer provided below.   Cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements The statements contained herein may include prospects, statements of future expectations and other forward-looking statements that are based on management's current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results, per-formance or events may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. Such deviations may arise due to, without limitation, (i) changes of the general economic conditions and competitive situation, particularly in the Allianz Group's core business and core markets, (ii) performance of financial markets (particularly market volatility, liquidity and credit events), (iii) frequency and severity of insured loss events, including from nat-ural catastrophes, and the development of loss expenses, (iv) mortality and morbidity levels and trends, (v) persistency levels, (vi) particularly in the banking business, the ex-tent of credit defaults, (vii) interest rate levels, (viii) currency exchange rates including the EUR/USD  exchange rate, (ix) changes in laws and regulations, including tax regula-tions, (x) the impact of acquisitions, including related integration issues, and reorganiza-tion measures, and (xi) general competitive factors, in each case on a local, regional, na-tional and/or global basis. Many of these factors may be more likely to occur, or more pronounced, as a result of terrorist activities and their consequences.   No duty to update The company assumes no obligation to update any information or forward-looking state-ment contained herein, save for any information required to be disclosed by law.   Privacy Note Allianz SE is committed to protecting your personal data. Find out more in our Privacy Statement.  

DICT to issue permits for new cell sites within 3 mos

July 1, 2019

THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) targets to issue permits to tower building companies in three months or less to green light the construction of new cell sites.      "Our target is that we will have all the permits by two months or three months. We will really be more efficient in coming up with towers faster,” DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said in a press conference on Thursday.      Rio said a task force was created to establish a one-stop shop that will process the issuance of permits to the tower providers.      The task force is composed of agencies related with the release of the permits such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Health, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), among others.      The DICT has signed a memorandum of agreement with ISOC Infrastructures Inc. and Malaysia-based edotco Group Sdn Bhd to expedite the process of securing permits for the common towers that will be shared to telcos to further improve the delivery of communication services in the country.      "The MOA binds the DICT to facilitate getting of permits for the common tower to set up," Rio said.      Globe Telecom recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ISOC and edotco to build 150 cell sites in the Calabarzon Region.      According to the MOU, ISOC and edotco will build and co-own the towers, which will be leased by Globe. These may eventually be leased out to other telcos such as PLDT Inc. and Mislatel.      The DICT expects the initial set of common towers to be constructed within the next five months.      “Maybe, the initial timeline for the first 150 towers, is from today to maybe two to three months for permits, then another two months for construction, maybe five months,”      A total of 2,500 sites were identified by the DICT as the location for the cell towers.      The department aims to build at least 50,000 cell towers within the next seven to 10 years through partnerships among the telcos and the tower providers. (PNA)


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