business

Globe extends free unlimited WiFi to more LGUs and hospitals nationwide

May 4, 2020

With the extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and other high risk provinces to May 15, Globe is extending its free unlimited Internet via GoWiFi, in government designated quarantine areas, residence areas and more hospitals for the benefit of medical frontliners and patients. Free unlimited GoWiFi will be available in the following locations until further notice: DOH quarantine areas World Trade Center, Pasay City Philsports Arena/Ultra Quezon Memorial Circle Rizal Memorial Stadium Additional quarantine area Francisco Felix Memorial National High School Residence areas for frontliners Quarto Residences - Manila My Rainbow Place - Quezon City Victory Fort - BGC St. Mary's College Amoranto Sports Complex Immaculate Heart of Mary College Santa Isabel College Additional hospitals Metro Manila Fe Del Mundo Medical Center Jose N. Rodriguez Hospital Las Pinas Hospital Ospital ng Sampaloc  Philippine Tuberculosis Society Inc. - Quezon Institute San Lazaro Hospital  VRP Hospital World Citi Medical Center  “There is no greater time than today when Globe can share its mission of doing good for the public and express its solidarity in supporting the government’s call to ensure the health and safety of everyone. As endeavors to flatten the curve have escalated, connectivity in quarantine areas and more hospitals are more critical than ever. By offering free and unlimited connectivity, we hope to boost the unflagging service and commitment of our medical frontliners and government employees,” said Janis Racpan, Director for Digital Solutions Group at Globe. GoWiFi services have been available since March 13 in select medical institutions and supermarkets nationwide as support to healthcare frontliners and communities affected by the pandemic. Free unli WiFi can also be accessed at NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3 for the duration of the extended ECQ. Globe also recently deployed Cell Site on Wheels (COW) in two designated COVID-19 quarantine areas at Rizal Memorial Stadium (RMS) in Manila and at the Philippine International Commercial Complex (PICC) Forum in Pasay City. With this installation, medical staff and patients accommodated at the RMS and PICC Forum will have the capability to remain connected and be updated on the latest government efforts against the pandemic. To stay updated on the latest COVID-19 developments, Globe mobile and broadband customers are given free access to the official websites of the Department of Health (DOH) and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). For more information, visit https://www.globe.com.ph/gowifi.html.

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AboitizPower net income down in Q1 this year

May 2, 2020

ABOITIZ Power Corp. recorded lower net income in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year.      In a statement Thursday, AboitizPower said its net income reached P2.1 billion in January to March from P3.6 billion recorded in the same months in 2019.     The company attributed the decline to lower earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA); higher income taxes for its Therma South and GNPower Mariveles power plants following the expiration of the tax perks of these two facilities; and additional interest payment from the parent bond and loan that were taken up late last year.     Outages in Therma South and GNPower Mariveles and lower selling prices also affected the firm’s performance in the first three months of the year.     “With the additional capacities in our portfolio, we have fortified our bench and have further strengthened governance across different parts of the business,” AboitizPower President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Rubio said.     In the first quarter of 2020, total capacity sold of its generation business increased to 3,445 megawatts from 2,974 MW sold in January to March 2019.     EBITDA from the firm’s generation and retail supply business reached P7.4 billion in January to March, a decline from P8.6 billion recorded in the same period last year.     AboitizPower’s EBITDA from its distribution business, on the other hand, went up to P2.1 billion from P1.9 billion.     The company said energy consumption from both residential and commercial users increased in the first quarter, as well as the higher number of customers from the industrial segment.     Energy sales of AboitizPower’s distribution unit increased to 1,429 gigawatt-hours in January to March this year from 1,343 GWh sold in the same period last year. (PNA)  

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SanMig starts selling farmers’ produce in Petron stations

May 2, 2020

SAN Miguel Corporation (SMC) is leveraging the extensive service station network of its fuel subsidiary, Petron Corporation, to further boost food accessibility throughout the country.      To date, 30 stations have been utilized for the company’s efforts to bring food products closer to communities and provide people a safe, convenient, alternative way to buy essential goods during the quarantine. It is looking to mobilize 60 more stations.      It has also started identifying key stations in Metro Manila that will sell farmers’ produce such as fruits and vegetables under the Department of Agriculture’s “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” rolling market program.      The company is looking to utilize as many stations to bring more produce to more communities.      “Petron’s major stations will become a lifeline for farmers in the province struggling to find a way to sell their fresh farm harvest. With this program, we are able to help them sustain their livelihood in this time of crisis. At the same time, we’re also making available fresh fruits and vegetables to people in Metro Manila to complement the products we offer,” SMC president and COO Ramon Ang said in a statement Thursday.     Ang said food accessibility was also an issue the company worked to address early into the Covid-19 crisis.      “With physical distancing and business restrictions, many Filipinos have had to line up for hours at supermarkets and public markets to get food supplies. While it’s a necessary activity, it also increases the risk to people’s health,” he added.      Thirty Petron stations now serve as sites for the SMC Logistics reefer van-cum-rolling stores San Miguel deployed throughout Metro Manila.      The food trucks come loaded with frozen poultry products, fresh and processed meats, and ready-to-eat goods.      The initiative is an expansion of San Miguel Foods Inc.’s Manukang Bayan rolling store concept. Stations located in Pasig, Paranaque, Quezon City, Caloocan, Taytay, Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, Marikina, Pasay, Taguig, Manila, Las Pinas, and Makati, are among those that host the reefer van rolling stores.    These rolling stores are also now in the Visayas starting with five Petron stations in Bacolod and Negros Occidental.    Meanwhile, six Petron Treats convenience stores now serve as pick-up points for products ordered via SMC’s new online ordering system, order.sanmiguelfoods.com.    The system further minimizes time spent in queues or outside homes as it lets customers order products under the company’s roster of brands, and later pick them up and pay for them at select Treats stores.   Participating branches include Treats Commonwealth, Diego Silang Katipunan, Santolan in Pasig, J. P. Rizal in Marikina, and Litex Road in Quezon City. SMC is looking to add 50 more stations. (PR)  

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Alsons’ P1-B debt papers rated above average

May 2, 2020

THE Alcantaras’ Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc. (ACR) on Thursday said it had been given an above-average credit rating for the latest tranche of the P2.5-billion commercial papers it registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018.     In a stock exchange disclosure, the listed firm said it had received a PRS (Philippine Rating Services Corp.) A plus rating and a stable outlook for the second tranche of its commercial papers amounting to P1 billion.     The credit rating meant that the company has an above-average capacity to meet its financial commitments.     Among factors cited by PhilRatings as basis for the rating were “the positive growth prospects for Mindanao which will bring about an increasing demand for power” and the company’s “ability to establish joint ventures with strong partners for particular projects.”     The stable outlook, on the other hand, meant that the rating is likely to be maintained or to remain unchanged in the next 12 months.     Meanwhile, ACR sees no major delay in the projected start of the commercial operations of its two on-going power plant projects in Mindanao.     One of these is the 14.5-megawatts (MW) hydroelectric power plant at the Siguil River basin in Maasim, Sarangani province, which is expected to begin commercial operations in 2022. The other one is the 105-MW San Ramon Power, Inc. baseload coal-fired power plant in Zamboanga City, which is slated to commence operations in 2023. “Even with the current quarantine, we do not foresee a major delay in the targeted commencement of operations for our Siguil and SRPI projects,” ACR Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Tirso G. Santillan, Jr. said in a statement.  

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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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