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Car sales recover in March

April 17, 2019

SALES of car manufacturers bounced back in March, recording a double-digit growth year-on-year, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) reported on Monday.     CAMPI sales increased by 14 percent last month to 32,173 units from 28,216 units sold in March 2018.     “The double-digit growth during the month of March compared to the same month last year is a strong indication that the automotive industry is well on its way to recovery. We are optimistic that this trend will be sustained in the coming months,” CAMPI President Rommel Gutierrez said.     The 32.8-percent improvement in sales of commercial vehicle segment supported the overall sales in March, offsetting the 15.7 percent decrement in passenger cars’ sales.     Passenger car segment sold a total of 9,214 units in March, still lower than the 10,925 unit sales in the same month in 2018.     But month-on-month sales of this segment already improved by 8.77 percent from 8,471 units sold in February this year.     On the other hand, commercial vehicle sales accelerated to 22,959 units last month from 17,291 units a year ago.     Light commercial vehicles sold 18,793 units last month, up by 54.4 percent from 12,171 units in March 2018.     Asian Utility Vehicle (AUV) sales, however, declined by 29.4 percent, to 2,753 units this year from 3,899 units last year.     Among truck sub-segments, only trucks and buses category four recorded a decrease in sales, down by 36.4 percent, while the category three and light trucks were both up by 24 percent.     The double-digit growth in March has narrowed the sales decline for the first quarter of 2019.     Total CAMPI sales from January to March this year slipped by 0.8 percent to 85,388 units from 86,037 units in the same period last year.     Passenger cars sold a total of 26,172 units in Q1 2019, down by 9.5 percent from 28,907 units in Q1 2018.     Commercial vehicle sales went up by 3.7 percent to 59,216 units this year from 57,130 units in the same period of the previous year.     Market leaders in the Philippines for Q1 2018 were Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Honda, and Ford. (PNA)

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PAL issues travel advisory this Holy Week

April 17, 2019

DUE to a huge volume of passengers and heavy traffic around Ninony Aquino International Airport (NAIA)’s four terminals this Holy Week, Philippine Airlines (PAL) yesterday advised travelers to the provinces and out of the country between April 15-21, 2019 to allocate more time in going to the airport.     Passengers bound for domestic destinations should arrive at the airport at least 2.5 hours before their flight while those bound for international destinations must be at the airport at least 3.5 hours before their flight, according to the PAL advisory.     They should also check their updated flight status and terminal assignment before heading to the airport.     For this, they could visit www.philippineairlines.com/#PALflightstatus, or they could click the Flight Status Tab in the PAL website. They can also call (02) 855-8888 then press 2 for Arrival and Departure Information.     The flight information from Flight Status Tab is available two days before and until two days after the flight departure.     Passengers can also check-in via the PAL website, www.philippineairlines.com, or through myPALapp within 24 hours to one hour before your flight.     Those going abroad should ensure that their passports are at least 6 months valid from date of travel and that they have the required visa and other travel documents. Those traveling within the country should bring a valid government IDs, company, or school IDs.

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DOF cites efficiency rise in gov't projects

April 17, 2019

THE overall efficiency of Philippine government projects has increased due to stringent evaluation, transparent procurement and implementation-ready requirement.     In an economic bulletin penned by Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran, the Department of Finance (DOF) said rise of the government's investments came with improved rates of return.     Citing Department of Budget and Management (DBM) data, Beltran said share of government investments on gross domestic product (GDP) has risen from 2.58 percent in 2011 to 5.40 percent in 2018.     In 2018, investments of the national government amounted to P940.4 billion, nearly four times the P250.1 billion in 2011.     Using regression analysis on 2010 to 2018 data, Beltran said "NG investment has been very efficient, with rates of return exceeding borrowing costs, currently at 5.9 percent p.a. based on the 25-year Treasury bond rate."     He attributed this improvement to stringent evaluation of projects by the 7-man Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) that include representatives from the DOF, DBM, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), office of the Executive Secretary, Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).     Other factors are the transparent bidding process wherein terms of reference are published in the Philippine Government E-Procurement System (Philgeps), requirements that projects are implementation-ready before the DBM provides an allocation and includes it in the proposed national budget and that these projects should have been implemented in the past.     "Investment expansion has been the driving force of the economy in recent years---pushing up the country’s competitiveness and making up for previous decades of underinvestment," the bulletin said. (PNA)

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Remittances grow 3% to $4.78 B in 2 months

April 17, 2019

CASH remittances sent by overseas Filipinos amounted to $4.78 billion in the first two months of 2019, up by three percent year-on-year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.     Cash remittances, which are remittances transferred via formal banking channels and easily captured by the BSP, for the month of February alone rose by 1.5 percent year-on-year to $2.30 billion.     According to the BSP, the increase in remittances from both land-based and sea-based workers, which rose by one percent and 10.5 percent, respectively, stood at $3.73 billion and $1.06 billion.     “By country source, the US registered the highest share of overall remittances for the period at 35.5 percent,” said the BSP. Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Canada, Qatar, Hong Kong, and Germany were also top sources of remittances. The combined remittances from these countries accounted for 77.3 percent of total cash remittances for January to February, the BSP noted.     As for personal remittances, for the first two months, this reached $5.30 billion, up 2.3 percent year-on-year.     For February only, personal remittances went up by 1.2 percent to $2.56 billion.     Personal remittances from sea-based and land-based workers with work contracts of less than one year rose by 8.5 percent to $570 million in February, said the BSP.     “This compensated for the 0.43 percent decline in the personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more, to $1.93 billion from $1.94 billion,” it added. Personal remittances was first reported in 2012 and are the sum of net compensation of employees, personal transfers and capital transfers between households.     Last year, cash remittances rose by 3.1 percent to $28.94 billion from 2017, while personal remittances went up by three percent to $32.21 billion.

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BPI says services back to normal

April 17, 2019

BANK of the Philippine Islands (BPI) said all its banking services are now available after several channels were rendered inaccessible following a systems upgrade.     In a Facebook post Friday, the Ayala-controlled bank announced that all financial transactions are available as normal.     However, it warned its customers of slower access to its online and mobile platforms due to the surge of users.     “We expect usage traffic and access to normalize within the course of the day.”     On Thursday, BPI said its banking platforms “encountered some issues,” making them “temporarily unavailable or (with) limited services.” On the other hand, BPI branches operated yesterday in “a limited capacity.”     The accessibility issues stemmed from a three-day systems upgrade conducted by the bank from April 5-7.     During the downtime, banking services like automated teller machines, deposit machines as well as debit and prepaid card services, among others were unavailable.     Various BPI branches were opened during the weekend to accommodate the transaction backlog.     On Thursday, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said it is aware of the post-migration challenges encountered by BPI after the recent upgrade of its core banking system.     “The BSP team has been closely coordinating with BPI to ensure that their remediation efforts are on track to restore service levels to their clients,” the central bank said in a tweet.     BPI posted a net profit of P23.08 billion in 2018, up 3% from a year earlier.

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Cimatu hails BOC for seizure of tarantula shipment

April 17, 2019

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has commended the Bureau of Customs (BOC)on the successful interception of over 700 live venomous tarantulas at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport earlier this week.     “The BOC agents and personnel who discovered the shipment should give themselves a pat on the back for stopping the illegal trade of these wildlife species,” Cimatu said.     The tarantulas, with a combined estimated value of P310,000, were concealed in gift-wrapped boxes for oatmeal, cookies and tea shipped from Poland. The interception also led to the arrest of two suspects, one of them is the consignee of the shipment.     Cimatu hailed the seizure of 757 tarantulas and apprehension of the suspects as “another victory in the fight against illegal wildlife trade.”     He also vowed that there will be no letup in the crackdown against poachers and wildlife traffickers.     “We will never get tired of rescuing wildlife and put their tormentors before the bar of justice so as to teach people a lesson that wildlife species are not commodities for trade,” Cimatu said.     The suspects and the tarantula shipment were turned over to the Philippine Operations Group on Ivory and Illegal Wildlife Trade, or simply Task Force POGI, which is composed of wildlife enforcers from various agencies, including the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police.     BMB senior ecosystems management specialist Rogelio Demellentes Jr. said the two suspects who claimed the shipment at NAIA’s Central Mail Exchange Center have already been charged for violating Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources and Protection Act, which defines and penalizes illegal wildlife trade.     Under the law, unlawful trading, possession and transport of wildlife species are punishable by a jail term of up two years and a fine of not more than P200,000.     Demellentes said the task force will coordinate with the Polish government for the possible return of the trantula shipment to its country of origin.     In the meantime, the tarantulas are placed under quarantine and observation, and will be under the custody of the BMB pending resolution of the case.

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