business

Davao Region posts economic slowdown

April 26, 2019

DAVAO City -- Davao Region’s economy posted an 8.6-percent growth in 2018, a deceleration from the double-digit growth of 10.7 percent in 2017, Philippine Statistics Authority director Ruben D. Abaro, Jr. said on Thursday.     During a news conference on the Gross Regional Domestic Product at the Pinnacle Hotel & Suites, Abaro said despite the slowdown, the region’s economic performance had remained robust, emerging as the second strongest regional economy among the country’s 17 regions and the strongest in Mindanao.     Bicol Region’s output of 8.9  percent is the highest while Caraga’s was the lowest at 3.2 percent.     The region also surpassed the gross domestic product of the country of 6.2% in 2018, Abaro said.     National Economic Development Authority 11 director Maria Lourdes Lim said that although the region’s economic performance missed the target growth of 9.2 percent for 2018, it remains “highly commendable” because “sustaining a high growth rate despite a number of challenges encountered by the region in 2018, such as high inflation is admirable.”     “We are still delighted to report that the Region maintained its rank as the second fastest growing regional economy among the country’s 17 regions, despite commodity supply shortages and severe inflationary pressures, amid soaring global oil prices,” she said.     She said the Davao Region maintained its position as the largest regional economy with a total output of P400.8 billion. Of the three major sectors, she said services contributed 49.3 percent, industry 40.1 percent and agriculture 10.6 percent.     Lim added Davao Region was the biggest contributor among Mindanao’s five regions, channeling 4.4% to the total economic output of the Philippines.     The four other regions in the island are Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.     “These results show the Region’s strong standing among its peers, validate its role as the prime economic, financial and commercial hub in Mindanao, and amplify its vast potentials as the primary growth center in the southern Philippines,” she said.     Abaro said the services sector grew from 6.9 percent in 2017 to 8.1 percent in 2018.     Under this sector, the trade and repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles, personal and household goods sub-sector grew by 7.4 percent, slowing down from 8.7 percent in 2017; real estate, renting and business activities from 6.7 percent to 6.4 percent; transport, storage, and communication rose to 8.1 percent in 2018 from 7.2 percent in 2017; financial intermediation increased to 10.4 percent in 2018 from 6.2 percent in 2017; public administration and defense/ compulsory social security nearly doubled from 6.5 percent in 2017 to 12.9 percent in 2018, and other services rose to 8.3 percent from 3.8 percent in 2017.     Lim said among the reasons for the expansion of the services sector was “buoyed by the strong export performance of the region” and “government expenditures on public services, including social protection and security and defense were higher in 2018 due to the current administration’s priority on peace, public order and security programs, social welfare and protection programs.”     The overall regional performance of agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing sector last year registered a positive growth of 2.9 percent from 1.7 percent in 2017, owing to the 3.5-percent growth in the agriculture and fishery sub-sector.     However, the output of the sub-sector would have been bigger if it had not been pulled down by the decline in the output of the fishery sector to -7 percent in 2018 from -3.5 percent in 2017.     The industry sector also decelerated to 10.9 percent last year from 19 percent in 2017. Among its four sub-sectors, only the growth registered in electricity, gas, and water supply of 18.1 percent had surpassed the 2017 growth of 3.8 percent. Construction’s growth decelerated from 37.9 percent in 2017 to 18.1 percent in 2018; mining and quarrying from 18.2 percent to 8.3 percent; and manufacturing from 11.4 percent to 6.4 percent.

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No MM water quota reduction yet

March 29, 2019

MANILA -- Metro Manila may still receive its full share of water heading into April and May – the warmest months in this area -- amid the drought-driving El Niño phenomenon's continuing onslaught.    National Water Resources Board (NWRB) executive director, Dr. Sevillo David Jr., said they will retain the prevailing above-normal allocation of Angat Dam water for Metro Manila until the rainy season's expected onset this June.     "I think that dam can continue providing (the same) water (allocation)," David said.    Retaining Angat's March 2019 water allocation of 48 cubic meters per second (cms) will help meet Metro Manila's water needs, he said.    He noted that Angat's prevailing allocation is higher than the 46 cms NWRB normally allocates for Metro Manila this time of the year.    Data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) show that Angat Dam's reserve is dipping further as it continues to supply water to Metro Manila, as well as for irrigation.    Angat's 6 a.m. water level reached 196.70 meters on Friday, according to PAGASA hydrologist Richard Orendain.     "That dam can still very well provide Metro Manila with water up to June at 48 cms," he said on the sidelines of a forum in Quezon City.     Orendain said Angat Dam will supply less water for irrigation as harvest time in April nears.     Angat will not release irrigation water until May when land preparation activities begin for the next cropping season, he continued.     "Water saved while Angat is not irrigating can be used for Metro Manila," he noted.      Despite the El Niño, he said some rainfall can already be expected by May.      That means there's opportunity for Angat Dam's reserve to increase again so it can continue supplying Metro Manila after June, he said.    PAGASA is urging Angat Dam water users to practice water conservation so its water would be available for a longer period.     Ensuring longer availability is important as PAGASA said there may be a slight delay in the onset of this year's rainy season due to the El Niño.     The rainy season normally commences either late May or early June, noted PAGASA. (PNA)

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Globe Telecom guides schools on how to thrive in a digital environment at EduTech 2019

March 29, 2019

With the goal of helping Filipinos build a better life through learning opportunities, Globe Telecom joined the biggest education conference of the year where company experts shared knowledge on how schools can thrive and remain safe in a digital environment.    In her talk about 21st Century Learning at Edutech 2019, Grace Anduiza, Globe myBusiness head for Business Development and Service Delivery, underscored the need for institutions, teachers, and students to embrace digitalization in order to be future ready.   “Schools need to harmonize the learning environment with the digital world and create a more interactive experience for the current generation of students who prefer to do everything on mobile devices. At the same time, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is not only a powerful tool which helps students develop a global mindset and make them globally competitive but it also allows school administrators to manage resources more efficiently as well as streamline operations to reduce cost,” she said.   For instance, through centralized information that are kept securely online, administrators may access the school’s data whenever they need to, create reports and forms on the go, and speed up manual and time-consuming processes.    To promote digital learning and encourage collaboration among tech-savvy students, schools may also provide fast and reliable Internet connection campus-wide, affordable devices, and productivity tools that will allow students to create, share and edit files in real time.    Teachers, on the other hand, may innovate learning methods to improve student’s learning experience, customize their own teaching content by branding their courses and personalizing interface and lessons, and even allow students to submit homework and projects online.     Meanwhile, Miguel Bermundo, Head for Globe Citizenship, said that the company continues to promote 21st century learning through the Global Filipino Schools (GFS) Program which empowers public schools with ICT-trained teachers, new gadgets, and critical infrastructure to uplift the state of the country’s education and brighten the future of Filipino students.    As of end 2018, the program has expanded to all 17 Philippine regions, reaching 218 public schools and benefitting 331,241  students and 11,666 teachers.       Bermundo also imparted lessons on responsible digital citizenship which is necessary to ensure the online safety of students.       “With digitalization, Globe also sees the importance to educate the Filipino youth on the responsible use of technology, be it through gadgets, website browsing and interacting with social media platforms,” he said.    Through its Digital Thumbprint Program, Globe, offers four workshop modules for students in private and public high schools nationwide, namely: Digital Insight - provides activities for students to help discern proper online behavior; Digital Impact - tackles issues on technology’s impact on students’ social activities; Digital Discernment - teaches students to become critical thinkers when using the internet; and Digital Ambition - equips students with skills on how to use technology to help them achieve life goals.       Also at the EduTech event, Globe set up booths for participants to experience how various Globe myBusiness products and solutions can address the different needs of the schools.   To learn more about digital solutions for education, please visit:  https://mybusiness.globe.com.ph/education/

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USTP Innovation Summit hosts Power & Energy Forum

March 29, 2019

The University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) will host a forum on power and energy today, March 29, 2019 at Cinema 2, SM Downtown Premier as part of USTP Innovation Summit.    “To all who have joined us in the power sector advocacies in the past two decades: “ How to improve the Power Industry in Mindanao--to attain a Clean, Affordable and Renewable Energy”, you are cordially invited to attend the forum at SM Downtown Premier Cinema tomorrow Friday at 9:00AM CDO City,” said Clint Django Pacana, USTP Presidential Assistant for Mindanao Affairs (PAMA). “Speakers from MORESCO1, MCPC, IPSEc, CEED, USTP Power Institute, SeoulTech-South Korea, and others will be there..”     Among the topics to be presented during the forum dubbed “Parallel Session 1: Energy, Industry and Emerging Technology Sector” are “Technology Innovation in Sustaining the Campaign for Energy Sufficiency” by Atty Avril de Torres, Center for Energy, Environment and Development; “Power Sector Innovation in Techno-Park Development” with Prof. Yong Ko, Adjunct Professor, Seoul Tech; and “Solar Pump” with Engr. David A. Tauli, President, Mindanao Coalition of Power Consumers.     The presentations will be followed by a round table discussion with Engr. Juvel Ubay-Ubay, General Manager of  MORESCO 1;  Engr. Casimero Borbon, ULRIC Solar Power Enterprises Corp.; and Atty Dionel O. Albina, as moderator.     The previous day’s session was highlighted by a Fireside Chat on “Creating an Innovation Mindset and Ecosystem” with Engr. Diosdado P. Banatao, Jr., venture capitalist from Silicon Valley and President, Philippine Development Foundation.     Banatao  is a Filipino-American entrepreneur and engineer working in the high-tech industry,credited with having developed the first 10-Mbit Ethernet CMOS with silicon coupler data-link control and trans receiver chip, the first system logic chip set for the PC-XT and the PC-AT,  and the local bus concept and the first Windows Graphics accelerator chip for personal computers.  A three-time start-up veteran, he co-founded Mostron, Chips and Technologies,  and S3 Graphics.     The USTP Innovation Summit with the theme “#USTPinnovation: The Game Changer for Sustainable Northern Mindanao”, aims to gain insights from key players in the innovation ecosystem and enable participants to widen their perspectives of the regional development plan, opportunities for innovation ecosystem, roadmap of technology business incubation in the Philippines, establishment of regional inclusive innovation center, technology of solar thermal in agri-food application, investment priorities in Northern Mindanao, and creating an innovative mindset and ecosystem,     The Summit will gather researching academics and students from various institutions, entrepreneurs, investors, industry senior executives, business development and other technical service providers all over Northern Mindanao in which some of them will speak on real insights into exploring current opportunities and challenges of leading technologies.    The Summit also allows faculty, students, and startup talents particularly from the USTP-CDO Digital Incubation Hub to showcase their research and extension service outputs as well as products and services.    Three parallel sessions will be held to accommodate three sectors: Power and Energy, Information and Communication Technology, and Food Innovation.     During the pitching completion, some local startup talents will pitch their technological and innovative ideas through research innovations, software development, multimedia creations and computer graphics during the parallel sessions.     Another highlight of the event is the signing of Memorandum of Agreement between USTP and potential industry partners. (with a report from Ismael N. Talili, USTP)

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Workers point to contractualization for SWS-DOLE discrepancy on unemployment

November 14, 2018

In its recent survey for the 3rd quarter of 2018, the SWS said that 22% or 9.8 million Filipinos are unemployed. The labor department countered this by citing the official data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which peg the unemployment rate at 5.4%, covering some 2.3 million, in its July 2018 Labor Force Survey.   Informal Economy   “The stark difference between public perception and the official unemployment statistics shows that the unemployed and underemployed millions and our government statisticians have different definitions of ‘unemployment’, said BMP Chair Leody de Guzman.   “To the PSA and the DOLE, the ranks of the employed include those who are working in the precarious informal sector. Those who are out-of-work but are not looking for work are also not counted as unemployed," he added.      “The SWS survey reflects the problem of underemployment. To the workers and the poor, and rightly so, those who are making ends meet through odd and irregular side-jobs – including informal street vendors and street food peddlers - are not truly employed. But are regarded as employed by the PSA and DOLE, partly because these agencies want to turn a blind eye to government’s incapacity to provide full employment to the Filipino people,” de Guzman noted.   “The official definition of employment, which excludes those who are not looking for work by removing them in the category of ‘labor force’, is flawed. A sizeable chunk of the unemployed are not looking for work, not because they are lazy and useless. They would not bother themselves with the costly expenses of finding work only to land in lowly-paid contractual work, if ever they are absorbed by the formal economy,” he explained.    Contractualization, Flexible Work Schemes   De Guzman said the crux of the matter is the changing definition of the term ‘employed’, not only in the Philippines but also in global governing bodies such as the International Labor Organization (ILO). This redefinition transpired in the late 1990s as governments subscribed to the policy of flexibilization of labor by transnational monopoly corporations.   “Gone are the days when employment meant having regular jobs with regular pay, as employers shifted to schemes for cheap and docile labor,” de Guzman, the lone senatorial candidate of the labor sector, running under Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) stressed    Rather than deny the problem of underemployment, which is truly unemployed in perception of the public, the BMP leader asserted that the Duterte administration deliver on its promise to end contractualization. “The workers have not forgotten the campaign promise of ‘contractualization must stop’ by then candidate Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 elections."   BMP claims that Duterte could have easily prohibited all forms of labor contracting, a power that is accorded to the DOLE Secretary by Article 106 of the Labor Code – an alter-ego of the chief executive for labor affairs.   “Duterte could simply issue an executive order for the prohibition of this patently anti-labor work scheme. But he would not deliver on his promises, because there is no honesty to the words of this pro-capitalist compulsive liar,” the veteran labor leader concluded. (30)

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Never Stop Learning: How Mr. John Stays Ahead of the Curve, Even at 92.

October 30, 2018

Fourteen years after the University of San Carlos bestowed an honorary doctorate in Business and Enterprise Development on John L. Gokongwei Jr., the Cebu-based institution has  again honored JG Summit Holdings’ founder and chairman emeritus.    University officials led by USC President Fr. Dionisio Miranda, SVD, and USC Alumni Association Chairman Ronald Po presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. John at the first Grand Reunion for Alumni Champions of the University of San Carlos held on October 18, 2018, at the Summit Galleria Cebu hotel, .   What a life it's been for Mr. John, now 92 years old!    His arc has been described as a twist on the classic rags to riches tale, as Mr. John began his life born to privilege.    However, a variety of circumstances pushed his family to lose everything, forcing the then-13-year old John Gokongwei, Jr. to rely on his wits, intelligence, hard work, and perseverance to pull himself and his family out of despair, molding him into the man that he is today.   After the university presented Mr. John with the Lifetime Achievement Award, given “For a lifetime, fully lived, of invaluable contributions that addressed the needs of local, national, regional, and global communities, and for having deeply touched, empowered, and transformed the lives of others through a legacy of entrepreneurship and education,” a commissioned portrait of Mr. John was unveiled. Then, it was time for the man of the hour to speak.        Addressing school officials, fellow alumni, close friends and family members, Mr. John began his brief yet inspiring acceptance speech by showing his deep appreciation for his hometown and his alma mater.  “I flew this morning on the airline I named after the city I love, Cebu Pacific. I went to school here at the University of San Carlos for my primary and high school. I was valedictorian in grade school and I was number one in high school and because of that, I received free tuition in school. I thank the school for that,” he said with gratitude.   Displaying his still sharp memory, Mr. John then shared a recollection from his younger academic years, back when the school was still known as Colegio de San Carlos, drawing chuckles from the crowd.    I especially remember Fr. Smith, who was the disciplinarian, because one day he caught me running in front of his office, and I had to stand in the corner for one hour,” said Mr John, providing a rare glimpse of his mischievous side.   Mirroring his own life, the speech then grew serious.    “When I was 13 years old, my father died, leaving me to take care of my mother, my brother and my sister. At the time, my youngest brother James was only nine months old. I took care of them all because the family has always been my priority,” he said.    As life’s twists forced him to drop out of school, Mr John honed his entrepreneurial skills, first by selling peanuts from his backyard, then by becoming a peddler at the market. Along the way, he also developed his legendary toughness and resilience.    “It was here in Cebu that I earned my first few pesos. I always used to wake up before dawn to ride my bicycle to the public market many kilometers away. I set up a little table in the market to sell spools of thread, bars of soap, and candles,” he said. “I earned about 20 pesos a day by working longer and harder than everyone else, but it didn’t matter because I really loved my work. I loved being an entrepreneur.”   Using himself as an example, he proved that it’s never too late to learn and that you are never too old to be working—as long as you have the passion for it.    “Today, I am 92 years old. I still wake up early and I still love what I am doing. I still know everything that is going on in my company,” said Mr John. “I still love to learn and I’m always reading books, and now, online stories in this digital age. I always tell my children, my grandchildren, and my colleagues: Love your work, Work hard at it. Love your family. Love your country, never stop learning, and always look back and be grateful to where you came from.”   From a precocious, intelligent child to one of Asia’s most admired businessmen, it’s a lifetime achievement definitely worth celebrating.   SPEECH OF JOHN GOKONGWEI, JR. AT UNIVERSITY OF SAN CARLOS, CEBU. OCTOBER 17, 2018 FR. DIONISIO MIRANAD, DR. JESUS ALCORDO   "It’s always special to be back here in Cebu, my hometown. And it is extra special to be here at my Alma Mater, University of San Carlos. I flew here this morning on the airline I named after this city I love, Cebu Pacific. I went to school here at the University of San Carlos for my primary school and my high school. I was valedictorian in grade school, and I was number one in my class in high school. Because of that, I received free tuition at school. I remember Fr. GRIES who taught us English Literature, and Mr. Quibilan, the principal. I especially remember Fr. Smith, who was the disciplinarian, because one day he caught me running in front of his office, and I had to stand in the corner for one hour. When I was 13 years old, my father died, leaving me to take care of my mother, my four brothers, and my sister. At the time, my youngest brother, James, was only nine months old. I took care of them all. Because the family has always been my priority. It was here in Cebu that I first earned my first few pesos. I used to wake up way before dawn to ride my bicycle to the public market many kilometers away. I set up a little table at the market to sell spools of thread, bars of soap, and candles. I earned about twenty pesos a day by working longer and harder than everybody else. But it didn’t matter since I really loved my work. I loved being an ENTREPRENEUR. And so all through the years, I stayed as an entrepreneur, loving what I did and working hard. And always learning from the school of life. Years later, when I was married to my lovely wife Bia, and had six children of my own, I finally had the means to go back to school. I went to De La Salle University to get my MBA. It took me four years since I was a working student. When I got my diploma it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Then I went to Harvard in 1972 for 14 weeks to take the advance management program. Today, I am 92 years old. I still wake up early and I still love to do what I’m doing. I still know everything what is going on in my company. I still love to learn and am always reading books, and now, online stories in this new digital age. I always tell my children, my grandchildren, and my colleagues: Love your work. Work hard for it. Love your family. Love your country. Never stop learning. And always look back and be grateful to where you came from. Thank you, University of San Carlos, for being a large part of who I am today. Thank you for this lifetime achievement award."

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