business

CDA probes Sarangani coop over investment operations

June 24, 2019

GENERAL Santos City -- The Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) is set to issue a "show cause order" against a credit cooperative based in Sarangani province over questions on its investment operations. Aminoden Elias, CDA-Soccsksargen regional director, said Thursday they are currently processing the issuance of the order to Alabel Maasim Credit Cooperative (Alamcco) for violating its own Articles of Cooperation and Bylaws (ACBL) and Republic Act 9520 or the Philippine Cooperative Code. He said the move was in line with the ongoing investigation by the CDA central office into Alamcco's solicitation and acceptance of deposits or investments from non-members at a monthly interest rate of 35 percent.  "This is to let them (Alamcco officials) explain, as a matter of due process, why (the cooperative) should not be dissolved," Elias said in an interview with a local television station. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had issued an advisory, warning the public against Alamcco's investment operations at "a promised interest rate that is too high to sustain their claims that every member will receive as long as the cooperative operates". SEC said the cooperative is "not allowed to offer, solicit, sell or distribute any investment/securities from the public as the same requires a secondary license for such activity". Agents from the National Bureau of Investigation "visited" last week the offices of Alamcco here, in Koronadal City and Alabel, Sarangani in line with the crackdown ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte against the rampant "pyramiding" investment activities. Citing their investigation, Elias said Alamcco violated the provisions of its ACBL for soliciting and accepting investments in the form of deposits from non-members. He said the cooperative, which was registered in December 2018, was only allowed to recruit members from this city and Sarangani province based on its specified area of operations. But Alamcco has opened various offices in Soccsksargen that it uses to recruit members for its investment scheme, he said. Under Alamcco's ACBL, he said its recruits should undergo pre-membership education seminars before they are admitted as regular members. Elias said the new members should subscribe by paying a minimum required shared capital based on the authorized capital of the cooperative. As a credit cooperative, he said it is only allowed to promote and undertake savings and credit services to its regular members. He said Alamcco officers were aware of such provisions since they were the ones who crafted its ACBL and these were discussed to them by the agency during the pre-registration seminar. The official said the cooperative was previously informed of such violation through an advisory issued by its central office last May 31 and the cease and desist order (CDO) dated June 7. "The CDO mainly stops Alamcco from receiving deposits and investments from non-members but its other authorized activities may still continue," Elias said. Lawyer Umar Genita, Alamcco legal counsel, said the cooperative is currently complying with the CDO issued by CDA. He said their officers have also considered lowering the interest rate of its investment scheme to 20 percent to ensure that it will be sustainable. In the wake of the controversy, some of members of the cooperative have already signified to withdraw their deposits but the processing remains pending. "We are not running away from our obligations. We will comply with what is agreed and return whatever amount deposited by the members," Genita assured. (PNA)

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OCD-10 urges LGUs to be ready for disasters

June 24, 2019

MAMBAJAO, Camiguin – To ensure the safety of residents during earthquakes, the local government units must see to it that they are prepared for any disaster that might occur in their area, the Office of Civil Defense-10 (OCD-10) said. Aside from regular earthquake drills that would remind people how to react in case there is a tremor, OCD-10 regional director Rosauro Arnel Gonzales Jr. said the LGUs must also put in place disaster management mechanism, most especially in the training and deployment of responders and procurement of equipment. He said residents might have already been trained on the basic duck-hold-cover move, but to save lives, the local officials must also be equipped to handle disaster response.“The community might tell us that, ‘we are ready,’ but how secure is the government in responding to disasters, especially if there are people affected or there are casualties?” Gonzales told the participants of the regional level of the National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) held at Mambajao town, Camiguin Thursday afternoon, June 20. “In this drill, we’d like to showcase the various responses of the government, from the local chief executives up to the barangay, and the different agencies who provided the necessary responders,” he said. During the drill, different scenarios resulting from an earthquake were being played out by both actual responders such as the provincial and municipal disaster risk reduction and management personnel, Bureau of Fire Protection firefighters and the Department of Health medical staff to community members acting as displaced residents and victims of tsunami, fire, and collapsed buildings. Mambajao mayor and Camiguin governor-elect Jurdin Jesus Romualdo said he sees the need for an exercise like the NSED to constantly raise the people’s awareness since the island-province, which had its share of volcanic eruptions in the past decades, is prone to floods, landslides, earthquakes, and tsunamis.  The eruptions that caused earthquake and other calamities in Camiguin occurred in 1871 to 1875 and in 1948 to 1951. Romualdo also recalled how in 2001 Typhoon Nanang devastated the province causing a massive landslide in Barangay Hubangon, Mahinog town that left 64 villagers dead and 117 more missing. He said the typhoon isolated the island for about two weeks as government agencies and even the Armed Forces and the National Police responders could not land at Camiguin due to bad weather. “We were on our own and the heavy rains, inclement weather made it difficult for help to come,” he added. He said it was local government’s initiative that the people’s cooperation that Camiguin was able to withstand the calamity that struck them. Romualdo described Typhoon Nanang as “the worst crisis that we had in Camiguin in recent history.” He said Camiguin should be ready for any eventuality at all times, and in fact, the local government has published a handbook on disaster management that will guide the Camiguingnons in the event of calamities. Col. Surki Sereñas, police regional spokesperson who was also one of the NSED evaluators, said the simulation was very organized with responders acting quickly to tend to the affected persons. Based on the OCD-10 data, about 3,000 persons participated in the regional NSED held in this province, many of them students, community members, and local government workers.

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Qatar Airways starts direct Doha-Davao-Doha flights

June 21, 2019

QATAR Airways has touched down for the first time in Davao on Wednesday, making Mindanao’s largest city its third gateway in the country and serving direct weekly return services (Doha-Davao-Doha) for the growing number of passengers in this region. The first Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Davao, Philippines, touched down at Davao International Airport, where it was welcomed with a celebratory water cannon salute. Qatar Airways flight QR936 departed Hamad International Airport (HIA) on Tuesday, 18 June at 02.45 and landed in Davao at 17:20 local time. The Ambassador of the Philippines to the State of Qatar, H.E. Alan Timbayan, was joined by Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Asia Pacific, Marwan Koleilat on board Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight to Davao. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, H.E. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways is very proud to extend its reach into the Philippines by launching our third gateway into this beautiful country. The inclusion of Davao into our global network further demonstrates our commitment to the Far East region, a highly important market for Qatar Airways. With 50 weekly passenger flights to and from the Philippines, we take great pride in our role of enabling trade and connecting international businesses.” At present, Qatar Airways flies to Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport. The national carrier of the state of Qatar was also looking at resuming its Doha-Cebu-Doha direct service, which was suspended in 2012 after 7 years of serving the country’s second largest city. Commenting on the new route launch, Davao International Airport Manager, Engr. Rex A. Obcena, said: “Davao International Airport is the main airport serving Davao City and Davao Region in the Philippines. It is the busiest airport on the island of Mindanao and one of the busiest in the Philippines. We look forward to welcoming all passengers on Qatar Airways’ weekly return flights.” With numerous beaches and resorts, Davao City, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, is a coastal commercial center near Mount Apo, the country’s highest peak. Davao City is the largest city outside of Manila and the fourth largest in the Philippines in terms of population, with over 1.4 million residents. The airline will operate its Davao service once a week with a Boeing 787-8 aircraft, featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class. Passengers will be able to enjoy the airline’s superior entertainment system, Oryx One, offering a wide variety of entertainment options. Qatar Airways flight QR936 departs Doha 02:45hrs and arrives Davao 20.50hrs. The Davao-Doha QR936 return flight departs Davao 22:20hrs and arrives Doha 03:15hrs. The Philippines is an important air freight market for Qatar Airways, with the carrier’s cargo arm offering a weekly capacity of 350 tons each way on the Doha-Manila-Doha route and 70 tons on the Doha-Clark-Doha route. With the introduction of flights from Doha to Davao on the Doha-Clark-Davao-Doha route effective 18 June, exporters in Davao will be offered direct connection to destinations in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas via Doha. A multiple-award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Business Class’ by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organization Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Business Class Seat’, ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, and ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge’. Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of more than 250 aircraft via its hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA) to more than 160 destinations worldwide. In addition to its service to Davao, Qatar Airways has launched an array of exciting new destinations recently, including Mombasa, Kenya; Izmir, Turkey and Malta to name just a few. The airline will add a number of new destinations to its extensive route network in the second half of 2019, including Lisbon, Portugal; Mogadishu, Somalia and Langkawi, Malaysia. Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar, is also celebrating more than 20 years of Going Places Together with travellers across its more than 160 business and leisure destinations on board a modern fleet of more than 250 aircraft. The world’s fastest-growing airline will add a number of exciting new destinations to its growing network this year, including Lisbon, Portugal; Malta; Rabat, Morocco; Langkawi, Malaysia; Davao, Philippines; Izmir, Turkey; and Mogadishu, Somalia. A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Business Class’ by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organization Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge’ and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qatar Airways has been awarded the coveted “Skytrax Airline of the Year” title, which is recognized as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, four times.

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PH, Indonesia hold economic and investment summit, agreed to intensify investment

June 21, 2019

JAKARTA - The 1st Philippines-Indonesia Economic and Investment Summit was convened on 18 June 2019 in Westin Jakarta Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia, as part of the year-long celebration of the 70thyear of Philippines-Indonesia bilateral relations.   Ambassador Leehiong Tan Wee opened the Summit and said that the “summit could not be more timely, as the Philippines and Indonesia are both poised as the new emerging economies in the region posting some of the world's fastest economic growth”.   On other hand, Mr. Antonio B. Capati, Chairman of Philippine Business Club Indonesia (PBCI) expressed that it is about time that Philippines and Indonesia enhance its economic ties in order to optimize opportunities in the ASEAN region and overall relations. Capati also stressed that “the historic 1st Philippines-Indonesia Economic & Investment Summit is a testament to our alliance and friendship”.   Governor Marjorie O. Ramos-Samaniego of the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) made a keynote presentation on why the Philippines remain Asia’s bright spot, while Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat of the Department of Tourism presented investment opportunities in PH tourism industry as well as updates on the efforts of the current administration on sustainable tourism. On the other hand, Secretary Raul Lambino, CEO and Administrator of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) pitched on the opportunities in Cagayan region and provided updates on why CEZA is poised to become the fintech and new crypto valley of Asia.   In closing, Commercial Attaché Jeremiah C. Reyes of PTIC Jakarta shared that “while trade and business relations have flourished between Philippines and Indonesia, there is still plenty of room and an abundant number of avenues that both countries can tap. The Summit is not just a celebration of endearing friendship, but also the identification of potential areas that we can partner and collaborate.”   Several B2B agreements and partnerships were also signed during the Summit which include digital tourism, travel and tours, investment promotion, agriculture, e-commerce, and financial technology.   Attended by potential investors, decision makers, policy groups, and business associations from both countries, the 1st Philippines-Indonesia Economic and Investment Summit was organized by the Philippine Business Club Indonesia, in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Jakarta, Embassy of the Philippines, and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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Mindanao’s youth IP leaders vow support for EO 70

June 19, 2019

YOUNG indigenous peoples (IP) leaders from across Mindanao threw their support behind the implementation of the Duterte Administration’s “Whole-Of-Nation” Approach under Executive Order No. 70 creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC). The more than 200 participants to the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples’ Youth Assembly committed to helping the national government implement the initiative which primarily aims to address the decades-long communist rebellion in the country. “We, the representatives of this assembly, declare our full and unequivocal support to the national government’s Whole-Of-Nation Approach, which is a centerpiece of the Duterte Administration’s Peace and Development Agenda,” the delegates said in a resolution passed on June 15. “We believe that this approach is the best solution to the communist insurgency that has ravaged our communities, and provide us, the youth, the opportunity to work hand in hand with the government to achieve this goal.” They pledged not to be used and abused by the communist insurgents, and will utilize our voices to speak out and convince members of our communities not to support the organization’s distorted ideology,” the resolution added. President Rodrigo Duterte has formed NTF ELCAC to work out a mechanism to help end the decades-old communist insurgency, and institutionalize a “whole-of-nation approach” in attaining an “inclusive and sustainable peace." The Whole-Of-Nation Approach mandates all concerned agencies of government to work in a holistic and integrated manner to deliver much-needed services to underdeveloped, conflict-affected communities. Through its Sectoral Unification, Capacity Building and Empowerment Cluster with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) as a member, the NTF-ELCAC has started to engage various peace stakeholders to jumpstart the process. The approach will utilize localized peace engagements wherein local government units and other community members situated in conflict-affected areas will take the lead in providing solutions to best resolve the nation’s insurgency problem. In the same resolution, the youth leaders also urged President Duterte to declare the full implementation of RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Acts (IPRA) as part of the national government’s policy agenda in his upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA). “Through this declaration, we envision the IPRA’s full implementation to significantly impact on the lives of our indigenous peoples, specifically by allowing us to completely enjoy the four bundle of rights as stated in the IPRA,” the resolution said. According to Dante Tumanding, political officer of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Youth Organization (MIPYO), they can contribute a lot to the Whole-Of-Nation approach. “We are the frontlines and are the first ones affected whenever there is armed conflict in our communities,” Tumanding said. This is the reason, Tumanding said, why the conduct of the peace assembly, organized by OPAPP in collaboration with MIPYO, is both timely and relevant. “We wanted to equip our youth IP leaders across Mindanao with the skills and knowledge they will need to support the implementation of EO 70,” he said. (OPAPRU PR) 

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AboitizPower geothermal unit earns ISO certification for Asset Management

June 13, 2019

AboitizPower subsidiary AP Renewables, Inc. (APRI) earned its Asset Management System certification with zero non-conformance, covering the widely recognized and adopted ISO 55001:2014 standard. The certification audit, which was recently conducted by DQS Certification Philippines Inc., covered both APRI’s Tiwi and MakBan geothermal power plants in Albay and on the border of Laguna and Batangas provinces, respectively. APRI President and Chief Operating Officer Alexander B. Coo said that the certification is a reflection of the company’s continuous efforts to optimize the life cycle of its electricity generating assets. “The Asset Management System ensures that we are able to balance costs, opportunities, and risks related to our assets to achieve our organizational objectives,” Coo added. During the awarding of the certificates last June 10, DQS Philippines Managing Director Romeo Zamora revealed a secret behind APRI's success and gave kudos to APRI employees for this feat. He said, “If not for the teamwork and support of all the employees of APRI, the certification could have not materialized.” APRI is also certified for the Integrated Management System that includes the 2015 version of ISO 9001 (Quality) and ISO 14001 (Environment), and the 2007 version of OSHAS 18001 (Health and Safety). The company is one of the leading producers of clean and renewable energy in the Philippines, generating baseload power from its geothermal facilities.  

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