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Economist cites factors for PH’s ratings upgrade

May 2, 2019

THE upgrade of the Philippines’ investment grade credit rating to ‘BBB+’ with Stable outlook may be an indication that investments will be a regular major growth driver of the economy.     This was pointed out by ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa after S&P upgraded its ratings for the domestic economy on Tuesday due to continued robust expansion, healthy external position and sustainable public finances.     “The string of six percent plus growth was likely considered as the Philippines enjoys a demographic dividend but also looks to evolve into a new investment driven growth narrative,” Mapa said in a research note.     “Government officials must look to safeguard this growth momentum going forward,” he said.     In the last quarter of 2018, growth, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), expanded by 6.3 percent, driven by construction, trade and repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles, personal and household goods; and other services. For the whole of 2018, the GDP grew by 6.2 percent.     Among the major economic sectors, Industry registered the fastest growth at 6.9 percent and was followed by Services, 6.3 percent, and Agriculture, 1.7 percent.     The government is committed to increase investments in infrastructure to sustain, and even increase the current rate of economic growth and to entice more investors.     Mapa said that aside from strong growth of investments, the ratings upgrade may also be due to S&P’s readings on the country’s external position, which he said is “as favorable with its more than adequate level of gross international reserves and the proverbial ‘aces up our sleeves’ in (overseas Filipino) remittances and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) receipts.”     He said remittances and BPO receipts have been the primary sources of the country’s foreign currency reserves.     “The upgrade limits the reliance on interest rate differentials to bolster the Philippine peso as foreign flows are seen to continue even with less attractive carry trade opportunities,” he added. (PNA)

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NorthMin sustains economic momentum

May 1, 2019

NORTHERN Mindanao has maintained its status as one of the fastest-growing regions in the country with a growth of 7.0 percent last year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority-10 (PSA-10).     A PSA-10 report released over the weekend also showed a significant drop in poverty in the region in 2017.     PSA-10 described the region’s economy as “robust” and that it has surpassed the country’s 6.2 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.     This acceleration, the PSA-10 said, was faster than the recorded economic growth of 5.8 percent in 2017, and was driven by the industry and services sectors.     PSA-10 officer-in-charge Janeth Aves said the region’s economic performance “is also higher than the national average growth of 6.2 percent GDP.”     The services sector maintains the highest share with 44.1 percent, which grew by 8.9 percent, followed by industry with 35.6 percent growing by 8.8 percent, and agriculture with 20.3 percent.     The top contributors to the growth in services were trade and repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles, personal and household goods, transportation, storage, and communication.     National Economic Development Authority-10 (NEDA-10) Director Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño said in a media briefing Friday that the region still has an ample room to grow, with election-related spending and investments as possible growth drivers.     She said the region’s growth is well within the agency’s target of 5.5 to 7.1 percent and seen as the highest since 2006. (PNA)

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Over 10,000 jobs up for grab on Labor’s Day

May 1, 2019

MORE than 10,000 job opportunities are up for grabs in the 2019 Labor Day Jobs and Business Fair, May 1.     Lawyer Joffrey Suyao, regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Northern Mindanao, said they are expecting about 100 employers and a minimum of 10,000 job vacancies for both local and overseas employment.     As of April 16, around 60 employers have confirmed to join the job fair at Limketkai Mall Atrium. From such, 37 are private companies for local employment and 21 are Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) licensed overseas recruitment agencies.     Around 1,554 job opportunities from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) are also available.     Pre-registration has started April 1 and will run until April 26 at the Public Employment Service Office of Cagayan de Oro City Hall.     Director Suyao advised job seekers to be in their business attire and to bring their resume, application, and other important documents during the job fair.

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Region 12’s economy expected to perk up in coming months

May 1, 2019

GENERAL Santos City -- Economic activities in Region 12 are seen to further perk up in the coming months, with the projected entry of more major investments and developments.     Noel Quiratman, assistant regional director of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-Region 12, said Monday a number of big-ticket projects from the government and the private sector are lined up in the region this year, and expected to further boost the area’s economy.     He said these are concentrated in the region’s key cities – General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan – and the “emerging new urban areas” such as Midsayap and Kabacan towns in North Cotabato, Alabel and Glan in Sarangani, Surallah and Polomolok in South Cotabato, and Lebak and Isulan in Sultan Kudarat.     “Economic activities and performance of the region will continue to improve in 2019 with more projected investments in real estate, retail industry, commercial banking, fast food chain and other service-oriented industries,” he said in a report.     These will be complemented by the continuing road expansions and construction of vital infrastructure under the national government’s flagship “Build, Build, Build” program, Quiratman pointed out.     Such projection was in response to the reported slight slowdown in the region’s economic performance in 2018 based on the area’s Gross Regional Domestic Product.     A report released last week by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the region’s economic growth declined to 6.9 percent from the previous 8.3 percent mainly due to the sluggish performance of the agriculture and fishing sectors.     Quiratman said agricultural production might suffer another setback this year due to the impact of the El Nino Phenomenon but it could be offset by the expansions in the trade services and construction sectors.     Among the ongoing major construction projects is the P959-million rehabilitation of the city international airport, which is due for completion in two years.     He said the project will improve the region’s connectivity to other major areas of the country and “hopefully to areas abroad.”     These will be complemented by other support projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Transportation, he said.     Quiratman said they expect these initiatives to “directly contribute to increasing investments, enhance economic opportunities and provide jobs in the region.”     He said the other projects that are considered of “regional significance” are the Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project-Phase 2 and the Kabulnan 2 Multipurpose Irrigation Project in the provinces of North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.     This year, Quiratman said the initial works are slated to begin for the development of the Soccsksargen General Hospital and the South Cotabato State College in Surallah, South Cotabato.     “The people of Region 12 will have better access to health care and education services, and opportunities that will ultimately develop their full potential to compete globally,” he added. (MindaNews)

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More than 300T tourist arrivals in MisOr town

May 1, 2019

INITAO, Misamis Oriental -- The local government unit of Initao has reached a total of 325,029 tourists who visited its tourist destinations in 2018.     This is based on the data gathered from its resorts and tourist establishments.     Of the total arrivals, there are at least 318,677 local tourists and 6,352 foreign nationals recorded.     According to its Tourism Office, Initao has a promising tourism industry.     “Statistics is important to measure how effective and how well we preserve the beauty of our environment thereby attracting more visitors and tourists,” the Tourism Office said.     It said this also helps them in designing marketing strategies and attract more investors to improve and develop its tourism industry and provide additional income to its constituents in the municipality.     Aside from the sprawling seascape, the Initao-Libertad protected landscape and seascape preserves the last remaining stand of old-growth forests in Misamis Oriental. It is home to century-old trees consisting of Talisay gubat, molave, narra and teak, which serves as a habitat for some rare bird species. (jmor/PIA)     Initao is not only known for its beautiful and white beaches, it also has swimming pools for summer getaways.     From protected forests to water adventures, Initao is one place to watch out for in the province of Misamis Oriental. Lasang adventure     Lasang adventure, a 57-hectare natural forest with diverse flora and fauna located within the Initao-Libertad Protected Landscape and Seascape, offers attractions and activities spanning from split-nose bats, caves, spelunking, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and diving from the high steep rock surface down to the sea water.     It also offers facilities for overnight stays.     The protected area features a variety of different corals that dominate the underwater and a wide variety of fish can be found making home amidst it.     Tourists interested in a snorkeling safari can camp or rent cottages located at the park. Resorts and adventures     Aside from the natural wonders found in Initao, the municipality also boasts of comfortable accommodations.     For one, there’s Minkay Restobar and Beach Resort at Midway White Beach. One can have a relaxing time with family, friends, and loved ones while traversing the stretch of white and warm sand and the glistening surface of the beach water.     Also located in Midway, is Kinason Restaurant and Resort is another ideal for family gathering and a good location with friends and with a loved one.     Moonbay White Beach Resort is also there to accommodate visitors of Initao from a white sand beach to a mix of affordable room accommodations.     Other go-to resorts and outdoor swimming spots in Initao are Hapitanan Beach Resort, Mastersons Reef Resort, Isidro’s Beach, Blu Sands Beach Resort, Don Arc Beach Resort, Coral Resort Estates, Kawayan Cliff Resort, Sea Breeze, Duthai Spring Resort, and SJ Tellights Moutain Resort, among others. Agritourism     Aside from their vegetable and coco products, Buhian Diversified Farm also offer trainings on capacity building on organic livestock production and management, coconut product processing, and farm tours. (Buhian Diversified Farm)     Buhian Diversified Farm and Kitchenette at Brgy. Poblacion is another must-visit place in the municipality which houses a 1.4-hectare wide land area of natural and organic farming.     Livestock farming of farm animals such as duck, chicken, and pig can also be explored.      There is also Mkians Agri Tourism site where tourists can relax while enjoying an array of agricultural products and foods. (eor/PIA)

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7,000 jobs up for grab in GenSan Labor Day fair

May 1, 2019

GENERAL Santos City -- Job seekers in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) can take their chances from around 7,000 job opportunities, including more than 3,600 overseas, during the Labor Day job fair slated here Wednesday.     Sisinio Cano, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 12 director, said Monday the job fair is among the biggest employment and livelihood generation activities lined up in the region this year.     Cano said over 3,600 vacancies for overseas employment and 3,300 for local placements are expected in the job fair, to be held at the KCC Mall Convention Center.     Based on data posted as of Monday morning at the agency's registration website (www.dole12tnk.org), at least 37 local companies and business establishments have already signified to join the annual activity. These include fishing companies, factories, retail stores, shopping malls, hotels, construction firms, restaurant and fast food outlets, cooperatives, a college, hospital, call center, consulting firm and swine producer.     The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Region 12 even listed vacancies for five permanent positions. Most of the available jobs are for service crew, office personnel as well as production, construction and field workers.     For overseas employment, the agency has enlisted five manpower agencies, with vacancies from 20 companies and establishments. The job vacancies are for nurses, merchandisers, accountants, storekeepers, engineers, mechanics, teachers and various skilled workers for deployment in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Germany, Japan, and Qatar.     "We're focusing more on opportunities for skilled workers and not much on domestic or household service workers due to numerous problems with that these past years," Cano said in an interview over television program Magandang Umaga South Central Mindanao.      Aside from the job fair, the DOLE-12 official said they have lined up a number of activities and services in line with the “Trabaho, Negosyo at Kabuhayan” or TNK strategy through their partner-agencies and institutions.     He said DOLE-12 will release around PHP4 million worth of livelihood packages to poor and marginalized workers from parts of the region.     Cano said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority will hold skills demonstrations and services like free haircut, massage, manicure, pedicure, and hair rebond.     The Department of Trade and Industry will also host advocacy and learning sessions on entrepreneurial skills through its Negosyo Center.     Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Investigation, Social Security System, Pag-Ibig Fund and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. will offer pre-employment services for job seekers and other concerned residents. (PNA)

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