business

SMC donates 85,000 liters more of fuel to shuttle front-liners

May 2, 2020

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) marked Labor Day yesterday with a fresh donation of 85,000 liters of free fuel for government’s Libreng Sakay programs, which provide free transportation to thousands of medical front liners and workers reporting to hospitals throughout Metro Manila.     The donation, which consists of 40,000 liters of fuel for the Metro Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) free shuttle program and another P45,000 liters for the Department of Transportation’s (DoTR) parallel program, were provided by San Miguel subsidiaries SMC Infrastructure and Petron Corporation.     Worth an estimated P2.8 million, the fuel donation is the second such grant that the two SMC businesses have given recently to benefit medical front liners fighting the Covid-19 global pandemic. All in all, the company has given a total of 170,000 liters, worth P5.8 million, for the shuttle services.     “This is our simple way of honoring our brave and selfless medical workers on Labor Day. We want to continue honoring them by helping provide them this convenient, safe, and free means of transportation when they go on duty. Yes, it is a small thing, especially considering the risk they take and the sacrifices they make every day. But we are hoping it will at least make a little difference to them knowing that their government and donors like us, continue to support them in any way we can,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.     Apart from fuel, SMC Infrastructure also waives toll fees for medical front liners at toll roads it operates, namely the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR), South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), the Skyway System, NAIA Expressway (NAIAX), and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).     While recognizing that efficient transportation is a must for doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners at this time, the bulk of SMC’s efforts to help medical workers is focused on providing them with life-saving equipment and much-needed COVID-19 testing machines.     Recently, SMC donated five sets of Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Covid-19 testing machines and High-Throughput Automated Nucleic Acid Extraction machines, that effectively doubles government’s testing capacity, with an additional 11,000 tests per day.     It has also distributed over 54,000 sets of medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPEs) to over 100 hospitals and another 10,000 PPEs manufactured by local garments exporters, to the Philippine General Hospital.     It has also thus far donated over 1.1 million liters of disinfecting 70% ethyl alcohol to hospitals, LGUs, and other vital institutions, made at its reconfigured liquor facilities under Ginebra San Miguel Inc.

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Bangko Sentral sees April 2020 inflation rate at 1.9% to 2.7%

May 2, 2020

DECLINE of oil prices in the international market is expected to decelerate further Philippines’ inflation rate, with the April 2020 figure seen to stay within 1.9 percent to 2.7 percent range.      In a Viber message to journalists Thursday, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno said “the progressive fall in inflation will continue.”     “The collapse in oil prices is expected to moderate inflationary pressure coming from higher prices of rice and other food items, along with upward adjustment in electricity rates in (the) Meralco-serviced area,” he said.     With these factors, Diokno said monetary officials will closely monitor developments vis-à-vis the BSP’s policy stance.     “Looking ahead, BSP will remain watchful of economic and financial developments here and abroad to ensure that monetary policy settings remain consistent with price stability conducive to a balanced and sustainable economic growth,” he added.     Inflation rate last March slowed to 2.5 percent from month-ago's 2.7 percent, bringing the average in the first quarter to 2.7 percent.       Except for a one-month uptick in May 2019 when inflation rate rose to 3.2 percent from month-ago’s 3 percent, domestic inflation rate sustained its slowdown after peaking at 6.7 percent in September and October 2018 caused by supply side factors.     Monetary officials expect inflation to continue to slow in the coming months partly because of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in most parts of the country being implemented to arrest the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).     The government’s inflation target from 2020 to 2022 has been set between 2 to 4 percent.     BSP’s policy-making Monetary Board (MB), during its rate setting meet last March 19, forecast inflation to average at 2.2 percent this year, and 2.4 percent next year.     During its meeting last March 26, the Board adopted a 1.75 to 3.75-percent forecast range for inflation rate this year from 2 to 4 percent previously.     Principals of the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) approved through an Ad Referendum the same projections during their meeting last March 27.     Diokno, in a message to journalists Thursday, said the government’s inflation target is subject to quarterly review and decisions by the DBCC through inputs from the BSP.     He said the central bank forecasts monthly inflation rate through assessment of various international and domestic factors like oil prices, commodity prices, foreign exchange rate, transport fees, utility rates, and minimum wages. (PNA)  

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PH posts highest-ever foreign reserves of $89B in March

May 2, 2020

THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Thursday reported the country’s highest foreign currency reserves amounting to $88.995 billion as of March 2020.      Data released by the central bank showed that the latest gross international reserves (GIR) figure is only preliminary, but this is already higher than the $88.187 billion as of last February.     In a statement, BSP’s Department of Economic Statistics (DES) said the final end of March GIR will be published as soon as the data becomes available.     “In terms of the final data on GIR, the highest level recorded was as of end-February at $88.2 billion,” it said.     GIR refers to all foreign assets that are available and controlled by the central bank to finance payment imbalances or manage the magnitude of such imbalances.     The BSP’s GIR target this year is $86 billion.     The BSP said the latest foreign reserves level of the country is enough to cover 7.9 months’ worth of imports of goods and services and payments of primary income, higher than the international standard of three months’ worth of cover.     It traced the rise in the GIR level to gains from the central bank’s foreign exchange operations and income from investments overseas, and the national government’s foreign currency deposits with the central bank.     It, however, said these inflows are partly countered by the national government payments of its foreign currency-denominated loans.     During the same month, the country’s net international reserves (NIR), which is the difference between the GIR and total short-term liabilities, increased to $88.99 billion in March from the previous month’s $88.18 billion. (PNA)  

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BSP eases credit weight of banks’ MSME loans

May 2, 2020

THE CENTRAL BANK will ease the weight of loans extended by banks to small businesses until end-2021 to free up capital which can be used for lending amid the pandemic.     In Memorandum No. M-2020-034 signed April 28, BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said banks’ exposure to qualified micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) will only be assigned a credit risk weight of 50%, down from 75% previously.     “The foregoing provisions shall apply until Dec. 31, 2021,” Mr. Diokno said.     Under the Basel III Risk-Based Capital Adequacy Framework and the Basel 1.5 Risk-Based Capital Adequacy Framework, these loans include MSME exposures that meet the criteria of a qualified MSME portfolio as well as current MSME exposures that do not qualify as a highly diversified MSME portfolio.     “This move will free up some portion of banks’ capital which they can use for lending. This will also incentivize banks to lend to the MSME sector,” BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier said in a text message.     “[This] would further encourage banks to book more MSME loans with less worries about effects on capitalization in view of relatively higher credit risks involved in lending to smaller companies,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said in an e-mail.     The move follows the BSP’s move to include lenders’ credit to MSMEs in computing banks’ compliance with reserve requirements. This is also effective until the end of 2021.     Republic Act No. 9501 or the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) requires banks to allot 8% of their total loanable funds as credit to micro and small enterprises.     On the other hand, two percent should be set aside for medium-sized businesses as the central bank seeks to boost credit to the sector which they can use for production and expansion.     Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that MSMEs totaled almost one million in 2018, accounting for 99.52% of businesses. These MSMEs generate 63% of the country’s total employment and are mostly engaged in wholesale and retail trade as well as repair of motor vehicles and motorcycle industries. MSMEs are seen to be among those hardest hit as the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak continues to disrupt economic activity.  

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VP Robredo Receives Suzuki Motorcycle Service Units for Healthcare Workers

May 2, 2020

Suzuki Philippines, Inc. - one of the country's top motorcycle manufacturers shares help to those fighting the COVID19 battle at the front - the nurses and medical personnel by lending motorcycles as their transport service. This is in partnership with the Office of the Vice President's (OVP) Angat Buhay Program which is a flagship anti-poverty campaign relying on private partnerships in implementing its activities seeking to help people from the marginalized sector and recently to support our frontliners in the fight against COVID19. The units were turned over and received by Vice President Leni Robredo herself on April 23, 2020.  Suzuki lends 10 units of the Raider J Crossover to serve Angat Buhay's Free Dorm for Healthcare Workers hospitals' staff. Two of these - the Teacher's Village Dorm and Holy Family School in Maginhawa; will benefit from this initiative from Suzuki. Tenants of these dorms are working at East Avenue Medical Center, Philippine Children's Medical Center, Philippine Lung Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute and Philippine Heart Center. The Raider J Crossover is Suzuki's latest bike launched in February and the brand believes that it is the fitting ride for the frontliners, it is efficient and economical. More than that, since social distancing is a top priority nowadays, a solo ride on a motorcycle now provides one of the best means of transportation. "We are one with the whole nation in this fight against COVID19. We hope that these motorcycles help our frontliners in their commute to their respective medical facilities efficiently and safely. We will heal and overcome this together as one team Suzuki," Mr. Akira Utsumi said in a statement. "Thank you so much Suzuki Philippines for lending these units to us. These motorcycles will go a long way in helping our medical dormers," said Vice President Leni Robredo.  

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The Ford Ranger: Built To Last During Tough Times

May 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines, 28 April 2020 – In times of uncertainties during natural calamities and pandemic crises, Filipinos are known for their resilience, strength and unwavering toughness even in the most trying times, rising above all odds and challenges.     This is why pickup trucks such as the Ford Ranger have become a popular choice among Filipinos who look for a tough and reliable vehicle for their needs. Built purposeful, the Ford Ranger has a durable design, proven performance, and segment-leading technologies to help get the job done.      Time-tested utilitarian characteristics give the Ford Ranger the ultimate edge as your daily workhorse. Its generous cargo space tied with 1.3 tons maximum payload capacity and impressive 800mm water wading capability with 230mm high ground clearance enable you to carry numerous back-breaking loads while effortlessly carving through obstacles both on and off-road. It features a Tailgate Lift Assist that makes lifting and lowering the tailgate easier when loading and unloading cargo.      A truck bed full of supplies and equipment demands a tremendous amount of power to effectively reach its destination. The Ford Ranger is equipped with the 2.0L Bi-Turbo Diesel engine capable of generating 213PS and 500Nm of torque coupled with 10-speed automatic transmission, delivering more than enough power to move heavy loads while remaining exceptionally fuel-efficient.     The Ford Ranger is also packed with advanced features to ensure maximum safety and convenience for drivers and passengers on-board. With the Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, pedestrians and vehicles near you are detected and alerts you with an audible and visual warning. The Ford Ranger also features Active Park Assist and rearview camera and sensors to ease your worries away during parking.     Enhanced Ranger lineup      At the start of the year, Ford Philippines introduced a series of enhancements to its entire Ford Ranger lineup to give customers more value in their pickup truck without any price increase.     The Ford Ranger XLS and XLT variants now come with a new 8-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Capability. Perfect for customers with workhorse and utility needs, the Ranger XLS and XLT variants are equipped with a selection of features that combine powerful performance with work-ready capability.     Meanwhile, Ranger Wildtrak 4x2 variants now have a new wheel design and LED headlamps. The Wildtrak 4x4 also has a new wheel design and LED headlamps with the addition of a high-mount USB feature to support various dashcam models. The Ranger Wildtrak combines iconic Ranger design qualities, powerful performance, and advanced technologies to suit work and play needs.      Finally, the Ranger Raptor now comes with a camera-based Autonomous Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping aid, high-mount USB, and LED headlamps, enhancing the Raptor’s driver-assist technologies that make it a high-performance but safe and reliable pickup truck.     The new Ford Ranger FX4 is the latest addition to the Ranger portfolio, boasting of a bold design inside out and features that help widen the appeal of the Ranger among customers seeking for a versatile and capable pickup truck.       To know more about the Ford Ranger, visit www.ford.com.ph/trucks/ranger.

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