business

Aboitiz allots P1.82 B for COVID-19 mitigation efforts

May 12, 2020

THE Aboitiz Group has committed a total of P1.82 billion for COVID-19-related efforts including P388 million in donations for medical frontliners and relief goods for poor families.     The amount includes the P220-million donation from the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation (the Aboitiz family-based foundation) and personal donations in Cebu.     The Aboitiz group also donated P100-million donation to Project Ugnayan led by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation with other major business groups for the distribution of crockery vouchers to urban poor families in Greater Metro Manila.     The group also donated personal protection equipment, thermal scanners, alcohol, folding beds, tents and food packs worth P67.56 million consisting of P50.7 million from Aboitiz Foundation, P4.5 million from Aboitiz business units, P2 million from KINDer, P176,000 from employees for Davao frontliners, and P10.2 million from offline donations via Unionbank transfers.     For its workers, the Aboitiz group has allotted P900 million in financial assistance while its employess have also chipped in P1.3 million for the group’s “no work, no pay” utility and security personnel in the group’s Taguig and Cebu offices.     Aboitiz Power Corporation has also remitted P536 million to its power plant host local government units under Energy Regulation 1-94.     Last April 6, the Energy Department issued Department Circular 2020-004-00080, dictating that ER 1-94 funds received by host communities of power generation companies may now be used in full for efforts towards managing the effects of COVID-19.     This is, to-date, the contribution of AboitizPower to host communities where its power facilities are located.     “As the COVID-19 situation remains uncertain, the Aboitiz Group will continue to deploy assistance nationwide. Simultaneous with ensuring that our team members’ needs are covered, we also focused on our in-kind and monetary donations to communities that need them the most,” said Sabin M. Aboitiz, Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer.     Extending its campaign, the Aboitiz Group has also poured in significant aid efforts in Visayas and Mindanao through the initiative of Aboitiz business units (BUs) based there.

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POGOs, service providers must pay taxes: Dominguez

May 12, 2020

FINANCE Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has reiterated that Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) and their service providers must pay their 2019 tax liabilities before they are allowed to operate.      Aside from paying the POGO franchise tax, Dominguez said: “both service providers and licensees must also remit to the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) all current 2020 withholding tax liabilities.”     In a Viber message to journalists Thursday, he said these businesses “must also execute an understanding to pay the BIR all their arrears.”     “Once these are complied with, the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) will issue a tax clearance to enable them to operate,” he added.     POGO operations were halted along with most businesses after Metro Manila was placed under community quarantine last March 15, which was expanded to an enhanced community quarantine for mainland Luzon on March 17 to arrest the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).     The government is training its eyes on POGOs and their service providers after some have been found to be operating illegally.     The sector is regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), which forecasts the government’s gaming-related revenues from this sector to exceed the P75.54 billion collected last year.     BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa earlier said there are about 60 POGO licensees to date that are “mostly registered with Pagcor.” (PNA)

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PCCI asks financial institutions to extend loan maturity for biz

May 12, 2020

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

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GSIS grants P4B in loan aid to gov’t workers, pensioners

May 12, 2020

THE Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) has released a total of P4.1 billion in loans to some 60,000 government workers and pensioners nationwide as of April 30.      This was reported Monday by Rolando Ledesma Macasaet, president and general manager of the state pension fund.     While most parts of the country are still in enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), GSIS was able to disburse P3.48 billion in various loans (conso-loan, policy loan and pension loan) to a total of 25,198 GSIS members and pensioners nationwide between the period March 27 and April 30.     In addition to these regular loan programs, the state pension fund opened the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) emergency loan program to its 2.1 million members and pensioners last April 13.     “I am very proud to say that in just 17 days, from April 13 to April 30, GSIS has granted PHP664 million in emergency loan to some 33,000 borrowers nationwide,” Macasaet said.     Earlier this month, this loan program was enhanced to make it more responsive to the needs of GSIS members and pensioners.     Under the enhanced program, Macasaet said members who have in-default loan accounts with arrears of more than six months are now allowed to renew their emergency loan.       “We have also reduced the paid premium requirement from six months to only three months,” he said. “However, since this is the first time for GSIS to offer the emergency loan on a national scale, there may be some delays due to systems maintenance activities. I am grateful for the patience and understanding of our stakeholders during this time.”      Considering that systems enhancements are still in progress, members and pensioners whose emergency loans were renewed and granted from April 13 to 30 may renew their loans starting 11 May 2020. (PR)

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PHL banks to see credit losses due to coronavirus pandemic

May 12, 2020

PHILIPPINE BANKS may see loan losses of up to P100 billion in 2020 due to the financial impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to S&P Global Ratings.     “For full year 2020, we estimate credit losses to rise threefold, by P100 billion, equal to 1.3% of banking sector loans,” it said in a report on Wednesday.     This year, banks will witness low single-digit growth, rising bad loans and credit costs and lower profitability as the country could go into recession due to the pandemic, S&P said.     “The effect on individual banks in the coming quarters will be uneven, largely hinging on whether lenders adopt relaxed accounting and provisioning standards,” S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Nikita Anand said.     The report said loan demand may be buoyed by the corporate sector which needs a liquidity boost during this period.     Amid the current situation, the asset quality of banks will be dependent on the performance of the corporate sector as it accounts for 82% of their total loan portfolio.     “Large conglomerates with their strong business profiles, diversified revenue streams and solid liquidity buffers will likely come through the challenging operating conditions intact,” S&P said.     “Micro, small, and midsize enterprises (7% of the banking sector’s books) and leveraged corporates may face challenges,” it added.     S&P also flagged that lenders’ exposure to sectors like hotels and catering (2% of bank lending), wholesale and retail trade (12%), transportation (3%) and manufacturing (10%) will be particularly high risk. Credit cards and unsecured personal loans from the retail segment are also likely to see higher default rates, it added.     “Secured retail loans such as mortgages and auto loans will not likely be in the first wave of nonperforming assets, but will see some stress as unemployment rises,” S&P said.     The firm noted that the country’s local banks are equipped with “good financial buffers and are entering the crisis “from a position of strength,” thanks to a 14% Tier 1 industry ratio and higher loan loss provisioning, which is seen to help mitigate rising risks in their operating environment.     The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has already implemented an array of regulatory relief measures for the banking industry amid this crisis, including the staggered booking of allowance for credit losses, ditching penalties on legal reserve deficiencies and expanding the single borrower’s limit, among others.     Earlier this week, the central bank has also allowed banks to tap the excess capital from their Basel-III mandated buffers to mitigate the impact of the situation on their operations.

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Globe, DepEd to tackle “new normal” in high education learning

May 8, 2020

In the past few months, educational institutions—especially higher education systems—have shown their capacity to quickly adapt to learning challenges in the midst of a health crisis. Although the shift towards online learning was made at short notice, it has accelerated new forms of pedagogy and digital initiatives from the government in the form of new e-learning tools. Educators and families have embraced technology to foster learning and productivity while staying #SafeAtHome. However, questions still remain: how to meet higher education learning gaps during the COVID-19 crisis, and how to apply these momentary solutions to improve resilience in higher education in the years ahead. To answer these questions, Globe myBusiness is teaming up again with the Department of Education (DepEd) for the third installment of their E-skwela webinar series to discuss the current state of higher education in the Philippines and how this particular situation is changing the landscape of higher education in the country. The webinar will be held on May 8, Friday at 10AM via Zoom. E-skwela is intended for higher education professionals, faculty members, administrators, policy makers and parents to help them understand the value of connectivity and technology to higher education. Moreover, the series also aims to position interactive, experiential, collaborative and reflective learning, to maximize remote learning at this time. Joining this Friday's discussion are a diverse panel of educational experts and thought leaders: Dr. J. Prospero “Popoy” de Vera, Chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED); Dr. Caroline Marian “Doc Carol” S. Enriquez, Board member and President of the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU); Atty. Joseph Noel “Atty Erap“ M. Estrada, Managing Director and Counsel Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA); and Dr. Grace “Gigi” Javier Alfonso, Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Open University. Mark Arthur Payumo Abalos, Education Industry Lead at Globe myBusiness and Learning Technologies Scholar will be returning as a speaker and moderator. Key topics during the webinar include a) potential government policies and plans for higher education, b) school management strategies to support colleges and universities with regard to meeting needs related to learning experiences at the time of COVID-19, c) opportunities in remote learning that leverages on integrating technology for higher education institutions, and e) long-term impact of these teaching practices on the future of education in the country. As the country perseveres to fulfill the promise of 21st century learning, Globe myBusiness extends its support by joining forces with expert authorities from different sectors to share knowledge and expertise for policy-making, innovating teaching models, and in addressing modern issues in education. Register to the webinar for free via glbe.co/eSkwela3. For more information on Globe’s ongoing efforts to make everyone connected, informed and #SafeAtHome, visit https://www.globe.com.ph/stay-safe-at-home.html.

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