business

CDO PH’s 2nd Most Competitive City after Makati

August 7, 2014

  Launched Thursday, 07 August 2014  at the Regional Competitiveness Summit, the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) measures competitiveness at the local government level using 28 indicators grouped into three equally-weighted pillars: Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency, and Infrastructure. Scores on each pillar were combined to form the overall score used to rank cities and municipalities.   Cagayan de Oro also ranked second in infrastructure, fifth in government efficiency, and ninth in economic dynamism.   Makati topped the overall rankings with an overall score of 53.242174, followed by Cagayan de Oro (49.363393), Naga City (49.075166), Davao (47.16761) and Marikina City (45.465443).   Rounding out the top 10 in overall competitiveness were the cities of Iloilo, Cebu, Manila, Valenzuela and Paranaque.   The CMCI 2014 featured a record number of 136 cities and 399 municipalities, up from 122 cities and 163 municipalities in the pilot run in 2013 which was topped by Cagayan de Oro.   For municipalities, Daet (Camarines Norte) was ranked the most competitive overall, followed by General Trias (Cavite) and Kalibo (Aklan).   Awards were also given to the top three cities and municipalities per category. While the National Capital Region swept the Economic Dynamism category with the cities of Parañaque, Makati, and Manila taking the top spots, the Government Efficiency category was dominated by cities outside Metro Manila.   The top cities for Government Efficiency were Naga (Camarines Sur), Iloilo (Iloilo), and Angeles (Pampanga).   For the Infrastructure category, the top cities were Davao (Davao del Sur), Cagayan de Oro (Misamis Oriental), and Marikina.   Among the municipalities, the most competitive for Economic Dynamism were Tanza (Cavite), General Trias (Cavite), and San Pedro (Laguna), all from Region IV-A, CALABARZON.   The most competitive municipalities for Government Efficiency were Kalibo (Aklan), Tupi (South Cotabato), and San Mateo (Isabela). Finally, for Infrastructure, the most competitive municipalities were Daet (Camarines Norte), Rodriguez (Rizal), and Paniqui (Tarlac).   The results highlight the importance of being competitive in several factors, especially those which are closely examined by potential investors. It should be noted that the top three cities and municipalities for overall competitiveness also received at least one award in a category.   In addition to pursuing across-the-board competitiveness, NCC Private Sector Co-Chairman Guillermo M. Luz advised stakeholders at the Regional Competitiveness Summit to work together in building cities and municipalities which are affordable, accessible, socially-acceptable, environmentally-friendly, economically-viable, and climate-resilient. The CMCI was designed to encourage local governments to regularly track data and eventually benchmark performance against other cities in the ASEAN to better manage their regions.   The CMCI was developed by the NCC through the Regional Competitiveness Committees (RCCs) with the assistance of the INVEST Project of USAID. City and municipality data used in the CMCI were voluntarily submitted by the RCCs.   Economic Dynamism scores were based on data on the size and growth of the local economy as measured by business registrations, capital, revenues, and occupancy permits; capacity to generate employment; cost of living; cost of doing business; financial deepening; productivity; and presence of business and professional organizations. Government Efficiency scores were based on data on transparency scores, economic governance scores, local taxes and revenues, local competition-related awards, business registration efficiency, investment promotion, compliance to national directives, security, health, and education. Infrastructure scores were based on data on existing road network, distance from city/municipality center to major ports, Department of Tourism-accredited accommodations, health infrastructure, education infrastructure, basic utilities, infrastructure investments, ICT connection, ATMs, and public transportation.

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Two Energy Giants Break Ground in Misamis Oriental

July 22, 2014

“The Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company (CEPALCO) has contracted MERALCO Industrial Engineering Services Corporation (MIESCOR) to undertake the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) of its 138 kV/69 kV Substation in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental with two (2) 150 MVA power transformers,” said Ms. Marilyn A. Chavez, senior manager, CEPALCO Customer & Community Relations Department.    “The Scope of Work for this component of the EPCC contract includes the detailed design, manufacturing, supply, delivery, erection, installation, system integration and testing and commissioning of the 138/69kV Substation, plus associated telecommunication and protection facilities,” she added.   MIESCOR is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Philippines’ largest electric utility, the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) while CEPALCO is the country’s fourth, and second largest in Mindanao.   Since its incorporation in December 1973, MIESCOR has chalked up an exemplary record of engineering performance backed up by a pool of highly competent technical manpower. The company has amassed a wealth of experience in power generation, transmission and distribution, petrochemical/chemical and industrial plants, water resources, transportation and telecommunication system and building services.      The project is expected to take 427 Calendar days. By June 30, 2014 the substation is expected to be capable of transmitting back-feed power supply and completed by July 31, 2015.   Ms. Chavez said the project was spurred by  CEPALCO’s load growth in the 69 kV and below systems which have substantially increased over the past three years due to recent developments in large industrial and commercial loads.   “Critical to these developments is the assurance that these locators will be provided with adequate and reliable power supply,” she noted.   Currently, majority of the CEPALCO’s residential, commercial and industrial customers in the entire franchise area are being indirectly served by the 69 kV backbone sub -transmission system before they are stepped-down to the medium-voltage (34.5 kV and 13.8 kV) and low-voltage (230 volts) distribution systems.   “The ground breaking for the construction of CEPALCO’s first ever 138 kV substation is another milestone and confirmation of our commitment to meet the growing needs of our valued customers, especially with the remarkable business boom within CEPALCO’s service area,” said Consuelo G. Tion, CEPALCO President and Chief Operating Officer during the ground breaking rites held 22 July 2014 at the project site in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.   “It is with joy and pride that I welcome all of you to this momentous event because I have been a witness to how much CEPALCO has grown over the years, and our accomplishments in terms of continuously improving the quality of our services to customers show how strong and committed we are as a service company,” she added.   “We are proud to be CEPALCO’s partner in its first 138kV substation,” said Engr. Angelito D. Bermudo, MIESCOR President and CEO, “However, we are convinced Mindanao has a vast potential beyond this initial engagement and we look forward to undertake more projects in this region soon.”   Aside from the new substation, MIESCOR is also building the Tagoloan-Balingasag 138kV sub-transmission line for Minergy Coal Corporation, another wholly-owned affiliate of CEPALCO.   The sub-transmission line will interconnect the 110MW coal fired power plant of Minergy Coal in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental to the distribution system of CEPALCO. Rated at 138 kV and configured as a double-circuit in steel pole structures, the 37-km line will be constructed using 785 MCM ACSR conductors with 3/8 inch diameter Optical Fiber Ground Wire (OFGW) as its neutral. Its route will be along the National highway.     Besides the two ancillary projects for Minergy’s coal fired power plant, MIESCOR is also concurrently constructing a new substation for the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in Opol, Misamis Oriental on a four-hectare site along the national highway in Barangay Awang, Opol some 15.5 kilometers west of its Carmen substation.   NGCP said in an earlier statement the planned Opol substation would reinforce the 60-kilometer Lugait-Carmen 69-kilovolt (kV) line constructed in 1966 which has already been experiencing a 90 percent peak load of its rated capacity. The grid operator estimates peak load could reach 103 percent this year hence the urgent need to replace it with the Opol 138-kv line.   “Rapid progress in Misamis Oriental necessitates the construction of a new, strategically-located substation to accommodate customers’ loads and eliminate possible line overloading and voltage problem,” the NGCP said. “With the projected economic progress and load growth, both the line and substation would no longer meet the increasing demand requirements in the next few years.”   The three projects together represent a PhP 2.2-billion investment in the Misamis Oriental towns of Tagoloan, Villanueva, Jasaan and Balingasag in the province’s east coast and Opol in the West.   Mr. Bermudo said the three projects proximity to each other in terms of area and timeline will enable MIESCOR to leverage its strategic advantages for the benefit of its clients, especially its newly acquired state-of-the-art software.   -INDNJC-

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RICE INVENTORIES STABILIZE PRICES IN REGION X

July 15, 2014

According to figures gathered by the DA-10’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD), the average price of regular milled rice rose 20.5 percent for the first six months of 2014 to PhP 37.81 per kilo compared to only PhP 31.38 for the same period last year. The average price for premium rice increased 19.83% over the same period from PhP 40.03/kg. to P47.97/kg.  Well-milled rice also rose 17.47% from PhP 36.64/kg. to P43.04/kg. over the same period.  However, for January to June 2014, the increase recorded was only 2.17% from P37.19 (January) to P38 (June) per kg. for regular milled rice."    “We do monitoring of rice prices twice a week throughout the region,” Ms. Hojas said. “So we don’t really have a big increase in prices for 2014 because we have enough supply. If indeed there is increase in price even with enough supply, somehow, somewhere, some people may be manipulating.”   Speaking in the same forum, Information Officer Celeste Gaabucayan of the National Food Authority Region X said the rise in prices could also be attributed to the milling and other costs traders incurred and inputted into their retail prices.   “When they buy palay at P22 per kilo, traders incur expenses such as milling and labor to convert it into edible rice,” she explained. “In order to break even, they have to price their milled rice at PhP 44/kg. and add two pesos profit margin and that’s how you have PhP 46/kg. retail price for premium rice.”   “Similarly, when NFA buys palay at P17/kg. it has to price at P34/kg. to break even. So when NFA sells it at P32/kg. it is subsidized,” she added. “However, since June 30 NFA outlets were directed to start retailing regular milled rice to marginalized poor at P27/kg. which is also available to better off buyers who want to buy it.”   Gaabucayan said NFA-10 has increased the allocation for NFA outlets in the city up to 100 bags a day to address the situation. The agency has two outlets each in Agora and Puerto, and one each in Cogon and Carmen markets. In addition, it has rolling stores roving the barangays selling NFA rice at PhP 27/kg. for targeted beneficiaries in partnership with DSWD.        The rise in retail prices followed the rise in the average farm gate price of palay which rose to P18.27/kg. for the first quarter of 2014, up from PhP 15.06 over the same period last year.   Figures from the PSA-BAS X presented by NEDA during the forum show palay production for the first quarter increasing 22.79% from 143,179 metric tons (M.T.) to 175,809MT.   As a result, net rice production available for consumption against the clean rice requirement also increased the region’s rice sufficiency level for the 1st quarter to 76.89% compared to only 64.93% over the same period last year, using the same per capita consumption figure of 115.7 kgs. versus the region’s 2014 estimated population of 4,508,166.   The region’s total rice stocks of 2,256,383 bags as of 01 March 2014 as monitored by NFA-X was 91.3 percent higher than the total monitored over the same period last year, and was estimated to last 84 days based on the region’s daily rice consumption of around 26,820 bags.   Prices were apparently also stabilized by the increase in the inflow of rice from outside the region compared to outflows for the 1st quarter of the year.   Rice inflows/outflows monitored by the AMAD showed rice inflows increasing to 5,107.5MT compared to only 3,487.95MT over the same period last year, for a 1,619.55MT increase or 46.4%. Some 96% of rice imports to the region came from Manila and Cebu in 2013, while 92.3% were accounted for by Iloilo in 2014.   On the other hand, rice outflows dropped from 4,326.40MT in 2013 to only 1,279.MT in 2014, a steep 70.4% decrease. Some 2,800MT of the rice outflows (64.7%) in 2013 were shipped to Tacloban for victims of Typhoon Yolanda, while the bulk (94.75%) in the first quarter of 2014 was shipped to Cebu.

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Coop supports Scouting in CDO and Misor

May 2, 2014

Under the terms of the MOA signed last 28 April 2014 at the FICCO Building in Tiano Bros. St., Cagayan de Oro City, FCOF will provide a financial assistance of P135,200 for the “Adopt Boy/Girl Scouts and Scout Units Program in selected schools in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental.   The partner schools are Alubijid National High School, Bugo National High School, Medina National High School, Casinglot National High School, PN Roa National High School, and the Elementary Schools of St. John, San Simon, Sacred Heart Village and Malasag and National High Schools of Balubal, Tagpangi and Indahag.   “The momentous event today brings me wonderful memories all the way back to my boyhood days. I was a boy scout. I remember the very distinguished three-finger salute of the scouts. I remember the scout neckerchief with a carabao emblem-slide that tied the neckerchief around the neck to hang like a handsome necktie. I remember the khaki short pants, the khaki short-sleeved shirt and the long (almost knee-high) socks we wore with black shiny shoes. As a matter of fact, we boy scouts looked and felt really handsome, clean-cut, cool, with a self-confident poise that exuded the scout motto “Be Prepared”! mused Anselmo B. Mercado, chairman of the FCOF Board of Trustees following the signing.   The financial support will cover 320 boys and 200 girls in the partner schools who will join the scouting movement and join scout units in their respective schools.   “The physical appearance was one thing to remember with real pleasure and pride. But the most significant thing for me about scouting was the education and the moral character formation that were methodically designed to inculcate in the young boys (and girls) the love of country, the brotherhood spirit and many human values, such as the readiness and willingness to serve others in need, honesty, politeness, discipline, hard-work, promptness, volunteerism, frugality, etc. – imbuing them in us not only in theory but in practice as well, and to have the joy and fun of doing them, “ Mercado said.   Scouting’s proven track record in building good citizenship values in its members was the main reason why the cooperative movement, particularly the FICCO Outreach Foundation, Inc. (FCOF), has taken a serious interest in supporting the scouting movement, Mr. Mercado said.   “This is why FICCO Foundation, the Boy Scouts Council of Cagayan de Oro, the Girls Scouts Council of Misamis Oriental and our partner-schools, are embarking in this joint undertaking.   This is just the first step. We hope that this program will be an effective initial step that can leap into an expansion of support and activities, a cascading effect that can bring-in other partners and supporters from civil society and government to actively support and promote the scouting movement of the Philippines.”   Local government officials including Misamis Oriental Vice Governor Joey Pelaez (currently the chairman of the Boy Scouts Council  of Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental) and Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno also joined the event, along with Ms Cris Villamil (of the Cooperative Development Authority Region X), a few members of the media, FICCO Board of Directors of FICCO, FCOF Board of Trustees.   “We pray that God will bless our efforts and these two great movements that promote human, community development and nation-building,” Mr. Mercado said.  

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Advocates claim solar PV Plants in Mindanao feasible despite low FiT

May 1, 2013

David A. Tauli, engineering consultant from the Office of Rep. Florencio T. Flores, Jr. (2nd District, Bukidnon) said this is attainable even if the National Renewable Energy Board only set 100MW as the initial installation target for solar PV plants all over the country under the Renewable Energy Law of 2008 (Republic Act  No. 9513).   “The FIT for solar PV approved by the ERC (9.68 pesos/kWh, compared with the 17.95 applied for by the NREB) cannot make any commercial solar PV project viable. No private sector project can be implemented with such a low level of FIT,” Mr. Tauli noted.   Mr. Tauli said solar PV advocates will have to apply to the ERC for higher FIT (more than 15 pesos/kWh) that would make commercial projects viable.   “But we cannot do that under the PNOY government, whose energy officials appear to be hostile to solar PV,” said Mr. Tauli. “For now, the only grid-connected solar PV projects that can get done are those that can obtain subsidies or grants, which will have to come from foreign countries or international agencies because large amounts of grants are required.”   Mr. Tauli recently attended the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) Review and Workshop, held April 18-19, 2013, in Baguio City under the aegis of the National Renewable Energy Board to come up with revised projections of renewable energy projects for private sector investments under RA 9513.   “I believe these are more realistic targets than whatever numbers the NREP Workshop came up with,” he said. “Theirs may be more realistic than my numbers, but also hopeless. I really believe the projections below for solar PV in Mindanao are attainable.”   Mr. Tauli identified the following solar PV projects in Mindanao set for development from 2013-2023: ·         40-MW solar PV project of the Marawi City Government. Total project cost is estimated at PhP 5.25 billion. Private sector investment will be around PhP 3.22 billion, with the balance to be sourced from local LGU equity in the form of a grant from an Arabian government or donor agency in the amount of PhP 2.03 billion. The project will be operated conjunctively with one 40-MW unit of the Agus 1 hydro electric power plant to provide peaking capacity for consumers connected to the Mindanao Grid. The project is designed to be given the FIT of PhP 9.68 PhP/kWh approved by the ERC. Target date of operation is 2016. ·         10-MW embedded solar PV project in General Santos City of the Mindanao State University to be used primarily for applied research by MSU. The 10-MW solar PV plant will be used primarily for applied research by MSU. It is estimated to cost 1.31 billion pesos, with private capital contributing 0.80 billion, and MSU contributing 0.51 billion pesos to be sourced from grants. The project is designed to be given the FIT of 9.68 PhP/kWh approved by the ERC. Target date of operation is 2016. ·         100 MW embedded solar PV power plants in various electric cooperatives and private distribution utilities. This assumes that an increased FIT for solar PV, in the amount of 15.94 pesos per kilowatt-hour, will be approved in 2016, making it financially feasible for the private sector to invest in utility-scale solar PV projects. 100 MW will be installed in Mindanao to partially meet the lack of energy supply to distribution utilities. Target date of operation is 2017. ·         450 MW embedded solar PV power plants in various electric cooperatives and private distribution utilities. It is assumed that grid-parity with diesel power plants will be attained in 2022 by solar PV. If so, solar PV power plants with a total capacity of 450 MW will be installed in Mindanao to replace around 200 MW of diesel power plants that are being operated in that year as base-load power plants.     When the NREB filed on May 2011 with the Energy Regulatory Commission the application for Feed-in Tariff (FiT) rates for various technologies, the proposed FiTs in pesos per kilowatt-hour for the various technologies and the initial installation targets in megawatts were as follows: P10.37/kWh for Wind @ 250MW; P7.00/kWh for Biomass @ 250MW; P17.95/kWh for Solar @ 100MW; P6.15/kWh for Mini Hydro @220MW; and P17.65/kWh for Ocean @10MW.   “Those were realistic targets for each technology under the respective FiTs proposed because the FiTs would enable investors to earn a commercially viable rate of return for the power plants that would be constructed,” Mr. Tauli said. “However, the Energy Regulatory Commission subsequently reduced the recommended Feed In Tariff rate to only P9.68/kWh for solar PV power plants, rendering the installation target immaterial.”   Instead, Mr. Tauli advocates Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) since these would enable government agencies, especially local government units (LGUs), to access low cost ODA funds which would make the solar projects feasible.   “For instance, for the 40-MW solar PV plant in Marawi that we are still pursuing, we will have to get a grant of around two billion pesos. We believe the Arabian countries can make such a grant available for a project in the ARMM,” he said.   Mr. Tauli concedes that because of the need for subsidies it will take some time to put a solar PV project on the ground. While continuing to pursue solar PV projects, he also advocates getting hydro projects implemented by provincial, city and municipal governments.   “After the elections, we will work on getting the Lanao Norte provincial government to implement the Agus 3 hydro (225 MW) and the Bukidnon provincial government to implement the Tagoloan 2 hydro (68 MW), and on other LGUs to implement small hydro projects (10 MW or smaller),” he said.  “This is the only way to getting enough power plants implemented to meet the long-term requirements of Mindanao, while keeping the rates low (four pesos per kWh or less).”   A US-based Filipino company providing renewable energy solutions shares Mr. Tauli’s optimism about solar energy for Mindanao.   “The Department of Energy’s thumbing down solar energy as solution to the power crisis in the southern Philippines is not a hindrance or a barrier in the pursuit of a lasting and ultimately cheaper power sources in Mindanao,” said Engr. Winston Lorenzana Mendoza, chief executive officer of Mendoza Solar, LLC in a media statement.   Mendoza Solar, LLC is an energy company registered in California and Nevada, USA. It provides renewable energy solutions for all types of property owners.   Its Philippine subsidiary, Lim Solar Philippines, promotes portable fuel cell electric systems that address base energy needs, especially for off-grid remote areas. It currently has a solar integration and development projects with De La Salle University, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Camp Aguinaldo, among others.   Another company under the Mendoza Group, the Lorenzana Energy International has solar integration and development projects in Malaysia, Hawaii, Guam, California and Nevada.   “Solar energy as well as other renewable energy sources are very appropriate for Mindanao if we look at the long term and the impact of climate change, which exacerbates natural phenomenon such as typhoons and storms,” Mr. Mendoza said.   For the last several years, Mindanao is now the favorite of natural disasters, whose impacts were exacerbated by climate change-inducing fossil fuels. We can no longer afford to let Mindanao suffer. Solar energy is abundant in the island and it provides clean energy, he noted.   Mendoza said Lim solar can offer electric cooperatives in Mindanao very minimal prices for solar power as well as 100 percent financing for residences and small businesses.   “For Mindanao, I will offer P7.47 per KWh to the electric coop and large megawatt level users and P8.50 to small users. I will also straight finance the residential and small businesses,” he said.

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