Showing posts with label Investment in the Philippines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Investment in the Philippines. Show all posts

FINALLY: LTFRB asks UBER to pay discounted ₱190 Million to lift the remaining 2 weeks Suspension

UBER System Inc., Philippines
Drivers and operators of UBER System Inc., gather and meet outside its main office in Mandaluyong City, August 15 2017, a day after the Land Transportation and Franchising and Regulatory Board suspended its accreditation and operation. Photo: Manila Bulletin 

The LTFRB late Friday night (25th August 2017) announced granting Uber’s appeal to lift the one-month suspension and pay instead a fine to make up for repeatedly violating the regulatory body’s order not to accept new drivers.

Rejecting the suggestion of the Kilusan sa Pagbabago ng Industriya ng Transportasyon (KAPIT) chairman Vigor Mendoza II that UBER should pay ₱6 Billion pesos, LTFRB finally decided a discounted amount that UBER should pay to lift the remaining 2 weeks of suspension.

“The Board thus rule to grant the prayer of respondent (Uber) to lift the suspension imposed in its order of 14 August 2017; in lieu thereof, imposes a fine of ₱190 million Philippine pesos,” the order, signed August 25, 2017, read.

In addition to the fine, Uber was told to remit ₱20 million as assistance to its 36,367 transport vehicle network service (TNVS) operators who were active in the last 28 days before the suspension order was issued. The ride-sharing company should show the LTFRB a certification from its depository bank as proof of its compliance.

 “The lifting of suspension will depend on the payment of fine and remittance of financial assistance,” LTFRB spokesperson Aileen Lizada told reporters in a text message..

Lizada said the ₱190 million fines was based on the average ₱7-10 million Uber earns from its 150,000 ridership per day, multiplied by the remaining days of suspension which was supposed to be effective until  September 14, 2017.

After facing off with LTFRB officials in a dialogue at the Senate, Uber on August 17, 2017 filed an appeal to the LTFRB to revoke its suspension, proposing that it pays a fine of greater amount than the ₱5 million earlier imposed on it for continuing to accept and activate TNVS operators under its platform despite the July 26, 2016 moratorium.

The regulator halted Uber’s operations for a month from Aug. 14, 2017 for disregarding a directive to stop accepting new driver applications.

Uber, which said it did not process those applications, later told the LTFRB it could pay a fine of ₱10 million Philippine pesos to get the suspension lifted.

The Uber freeze has attracted public attention because many Philippine commuters regard the ride hailing app as more reliable and competitive than mainstream transport services (TAXIs).

Grab, Uber and U-hop Philippines Group

Uber recently said it had nearly 67,000 Philippine drivers.

The dispute with the Philippine regulator is the latest setback this year to Uber (USA based firm), a firm valued at more than $60 billion US Dollars.

Its Philippines suspension caused a spike in demand for rival Grab, and long queues near offices and malls and some disgruntlement about reverting to using regular taxis.

Philippine Senator Grace Poe, a prominent advocate for improving transport services, tried to bring Uber and LTFRB officials together to work out a compromise. An executive of Uber apologized for its "misunderstanding".

Poe on Friday said the hefty fine should "make Uber rethink its actions and re-evaluate its strategy in testing the extent of government regulations."

The LTFRB last year suspended applications for ride-share operators, to work out how best to regulate the industry. It said Uber was "irresponsible" for challenging that order.

Cheap Samsung Galaxy S8 plus, Philippines

UBER Asked to pay LTFRB ₱6 Billion to avoid 1-month suspension: Too much

Uber Philippines asked to pay ₱6 Billion to avoid 1-month suspension
Uber Philippines asked to pay ₱6 Billion to avoid 1-month suspension. Photo: Tech Wire Asia

A transport group leader on Wednesday claimed that Transport Network Company (TNC) Uber Systems Inc. should pay a fine of P6 billion—and not ₱10 million as ordered by the government—in place of its one-month suspension.

Kilusan sa Pagbabago ng Industriya ng Transportasyon (KAPIT) chairman Vigor Mendoza II made the suggestion in a hearing before the board members of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Mendoza noted that under the rules, drivers without a 45-day provisional authority (PA), which allows them to accept fares until they are issued a franchise, will have to pay a fine of up to ₱120,000 each if caught.

The lawyer said since Uber has sround 50,000 "colorum" vehicles, or those operating illegally, the company should then pay the government ₱6 billion.

"A ₱ 10-million fine would only mean that Uber is operating 84 colorum vehicles," Mendoza said.

Grab, Uber and U-hop Philippines Group

'Too much'

However, LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada said that it would be "too much" for the board to impose a ₱6-billion fine.

"I believe that is too much. I believe billions would be too much. We do listen, reasonable naman tayo," Lizada told reporters.

She added that Uber's appeal to convert the one-month suspension into a fine will be resolved as soon as possible.

"On the part ng board, considering 'yung urgency ng matter, we will do out best to resolve this the soonest as possible time, para we put to rest already itong issue na ito and we will be able to meet our deadline for September namin na technical working group, what we promised Congress and Senate," she said.

"We will be crafting and revising MCs (Memorandum Circulars) and we will be coming for the number of both TNCs if we see na we will be able to renew the respective accreditation," she added.

Uber, on August 17, asked the LTFRB if it could just pay a ₱10-million fine instead of serving its one-month suspension.

The LTFRB suspended the accreditation of Uber after it continued to accept new drivers into their platform. — MDM/BM, GMA News


First Batch of Qatari & Saudi investors Arrive the Philippines for Palawan, Visayas and Mindanao Million Dollar Projects

Qatari Investment in the Philippines
MOUs worth amounting to US$ 206 million were signed this afternoon between Qatari local companies and the Philippines Economic Zones Authority (PEZA) Photo: Asian Telegraph Qatai

1st batch of investors from Qatar, Mideast visit Philippines

The first batch of investors from Qatar and the Middle East has visited the Philippines to study the locations identified by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) for investments in several sectors.

Peza director general Charito B Plaza posted on her Facebook page that investors from the Middle East “are ready” to invest on agro-industrial economic zones, including a 1,000-hectare area for poultry and vegetable crops.

Other projects, according to Plaza, include the development of five islands in the southern part of the Philippines where investors are planning to build a resort, retirement village, and other tourism destinations.

The first batch of Middle East investors is among the 13 companies that signed letters of intent (LoI) with Peza during Philippine President Rodrigo R Duterte’s state visit to Qatar in April.

Speaking to Gulf Times during Duterte’s Qatar visit, Plaza had said Mindanao would be home to most of the $206mn (P10.3bn) worth of investments Peza signed with Qatari investors. She said the investments are expected to generate 5,870 new jobs in the country.

The investments range from retirement village projects, hotel and tourism ecozones, IT services and digital marketing, ecozone management services, poultry and halal food processing, as well as agro-industrial farming, and hospital and medical tourism economic zones, among others.

Plaza said, “While waiting for the Peza board’s approval of their application, we can already start looking for areas and economic zones where the investors can establish their industries. Vast islands in Palawan, Mindanao, and the Visayas are awaiting development.” According to Plaza, Peza had achieved 64% of its $1bn target from its initiatives in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE, which Duterte visited in April.

“Thanks to the good economic climate and favorable conditions of the Arab investment market, I am confident that Peza can easily exceed its $1bn target earmarked for the Middle East,” she pointed out.

She also said the Philippines would be an ideal distribution hub for Qatar in fields such as defense, manufacturing, and food processing due to its “strategic location” in Asia and the Pacific.

Plaza also emphasized on the need for economic zones with logistics hubs, seaports, and airports, which are under the helm of the Philippines’ Department of Transportation.

“These logistics hubs must have special economic zone services such as warehouses, cold storage, and container yards so that we have abundant facilities to stock goods while waiting for ships to arrive,” Plaza said. She added, “All types of economic zones can be built in the Philippines depending on the potential and the type of land. Agro-industrial, agro-forestry, paper making, aquamarine, eco-tourism, medical tourism, and export manufacturing remain to be the most popular.”

PEZA & Qatari Investors Sign MOUs of US $ 206 m Investments in Philippines Economic Zones

A number of Qatari business community members and their representatives had one to one detailed meeting with Chairman and accompanying members of Philippines Economic Zone Authority today.

On the sideline of President Duterte visit to Qatar, a number of MOUs worth amounting to US$ 206 million were signed this afternoon between Qatari local companies and the Philippines Economic Zones Authority (PEZA).

Ramon M. Lopez, Secretary (Minister) Department of Trade & Industry of Philippines was also present on the occasion and witnessed the MOU ceremony. On behalf of PEZA, Brig. Gen. Charito Booc Plaza, Director General PEZA signed the MOUs.

PEZA local representatives Joseph Rivera, Greg Loayon and Adel Sa’adeh assisted in organising the signing ceremony.

Philippines Trade minister and PEZA authorities are part of official delegation of President Rodrigo Duterte, who is on his official visit to State of Qatar.

Read more at Gulf Times and Asian Telegraph Qatar

Philippines Rejects EU $278 Million USD Remote Control Fund Loan Grant

Philippines rejected EUROPEAN UNION $278 Million USD Remote Control Fund Loan Grant
Philippines rejected EUROPEAN UNION $278 Million USD Remote Control Fund Loan Grant for 2017

Philippines Rejects European grants

The Philippines will no longer accept grants from the European Union, the EU delegation to Manila said Thursday, following repeated tirades from President Rodrigo Duterte over its criticism of his deadly drug war.

"The Philippine government has informed us that they (will) no longer accept new EU grants," the delegation said in a brief statement.

The decision will affect grants worth 250 million euros ($278 million), according to Franz Jessen, the EU's ambassador to Manila.

Philippine government officials did not immediately comment, with the finance department saying a statement would be issued later on Thursday.

Duterte, 72, has repeatedly criticised European lawmakers and the EU for condemning his drug war, which has claimed thousands of lives and led to warnings from critics of a crime against humanity.

In comments last year, he used vulgar language and raised his middle finger in a response to a European parliament statement expressing concern over the killings.

The German government also expressed concern after Duterte last year drew parallels between his drug war and Nazi Germany leader Adolf Hitler's Holocaust.

"Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there are three million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I'd be happy to slaughter them," Duterte said, underestimating the number of people killed in the Holocaust.

Duterte later apologised for the Hitler reference but said he was "emphatic" about wanting to kill addicts.

Duterte easily won presidential elections last year after promising to end crime by killing tens of thousands of drug traffickers and addicts.

Police have reported killing about 2,700 people since Duterte took office at the end of June and immediately launched his war on drugs.

Unknown assailants have killed more than 1,800 others, while about 5,700 other violent deaths are under investigation, according to police data.

Partly in response to American criticism of the drug war, Duterte has also loosened the Philippines' ties with traditional ally the United States.

He has instead embraced China, which has supported his drug war and sought to deepen economic ties by providing billions of dollars worth of investments and aid to the Philippines.

Duterte, a self-described socialist, has also forged warmer relations with Russia, and will travel to Moscow next week to meet President Vladimir Putin.

Read more at Sources: AP & SBS  

DuterteNomics Unveiled First Subway in The Philippines, Completion of 4 railways in 2022 New Airports, Seaports, Railways, Roads & Bridges

Slide presented at the "Dutertenomics" forum on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 where President Rodrigo Duterte's top officials introduced planned construction projects. DOTr/Released

DuterteNomics blueprint unveiled the build, build, and build for the “golden age of infrastructure,” in the Philippines.

  • ₱227 Billion - First Subway in the Philippines for Quezon City to Taguig City a 25 kilometer underground railway system to finished year 2024
  • ₱225-million PNR North Rail systems, 100-kilometer Tutuban - Clark to be completed in 2021
  • ₱55.478-Billion – First Mindanao Railway (Circumferential) project, a 2,000 kilometer railway to finished 2021
  • PNR South Rail that would connect Manila with Calamba and Los Baños in Laguna, and the Bicol region to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2021
  • Manila International Airport – Quezon City – Clark International Airport Bullet train system interconnecting the first Subway in QC to finished before 2021
  • ₱23.3 billion North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway connector road, which starts from C3 Road in Caloocan through Manila, crossing Espana towards PUP, Sta. Mesa connecting Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3.
  • The completion of the SLEX-NLEX connector road, projected to take place in 2020, is expected to reduce vehicle congestion along EDSA, C5 Road and other major thoroughfares, and cut the travel time between NLEX and SLEX to 15-20 minutes from more than an hour.

First Metro subway's first phase to link Quezon City, Taguig

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said at a forum on Tuesday that the subway system, pegged at an initial ₱227 million for the central section, will pass Mandaluyong City and Pasig City.

The transport system, the first subway project the country will undertake, is foreseen to accommodate around 300,000 commuters daily, Tugade said.

The proposed subway stems from an ongoing Japan International Cooperation Agency's feasibility study, which will be subject to the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte and his officials. The study is expected to be completed in July this year.

The Japanese agency's proposal aiming to ease road congestion includes an expansion of the subway to start from San Jose del Monte in Bulacan to Dasmariñas City in Cavite to be completed by 2024.

Economic, Development  Blueprint

President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers made the announcements at an event hosted by the Department of Finance and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) at the Conrad Hotel, Pasay City.

According to the PCOO, DuterteNomics includes the current administration's main governance and fiscal policies, comprehensive big-ticket infrastructure programs and upgraded social services targeted to accelerate growth. The economic and development blueprint also aims to transform the Philippines into a "high middle-income economy" by 2022.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the economic and development plan is anchored on the 10-point socioeconomic agenda of the Duterte administration that focuses on "the production of a progressive tax reform package and measures designed to bring about increased competitiveness, accelerated infrastructure spending, and improved social amelioration and development programs."

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, in a keynote speech, said the Philippines had trailed behind other countries with good economy, but stressed that it is about time to rebuild the country’s competitiveness by pushing for programs such as tax reform package and infrastructure projects. "An investment-led growth pattern creates job and opens more economic opportunities for our people," he said. "We must build a truly inclusive economy. To do so, our economy should be investment-led, creating new jobs and opening opportunities for all." 

Dominguez said the government is also looking forward to what has been called a "demographic sweet spot," as the populations of some of the more mature economies in Asia begin to age. He said that the administration has to invest in the Filipino youth.

Ongoing projects are being implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that are either locally funded, with Official Development Assistance (ODA), or through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects, the following: 

  1. Mandaluyong Main Drainage Project (Phase II)
  2. Central Luzon Link Expressway, Phase I,
  3. Tarlac-Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija; Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Measures in the Low Lying Areas of Pampanga Bay
  4. Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (Binalonan-Rosario Section)
  5. Flood Risk Management Project (FRIMP) in Cagayan de Oro River
  6. Sen. Gil Puyat Ave.-Paseo De Roxas / Makati Ave. Vehicle Underpass Project
  7. Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Center Link Road Project
  8. UP-Miriam-Ateneo Viaduct along C-5/ Katipunan
  9. Metro Manila Priority Bridges Seismic Improvement Project (Guadalupe Bridge and Lambingan Bridge
  10. Widening/Improvement of Gen. Luis St.-Kaybiga-Polo-Novaliches
  11. Cavite-Laguna Expressway
  12. NLEX-SLEX Connector Road
  13. Metro Manila Interchange Construction Project VI
  14. Davao City By-Pass Construction Project (South Section (Road) and Center Section (Tunnel)
  15. Panguil Bay Bridge, and Phase 1 of the Metro Manila Flood Management Project

PPP awarded projects
  1. Integrated Transport System (ITS) Project
  2. South Terminal
  3. Integrated Transport System (ITS) Project
  4. Southwest Terminal
  5. LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension and Operations and Maintenance
  6. Contactless Automatic Fare Collection System
  7. Mactan Cebu International Airport Project
  8. MRT Line 7

PPP projects that are either undergoing or about to undergo bidding
  1. The Development, Operations and Maintenance of Bacolod-Silay, Davao, Iloilo, Laguindingan and New Bohol (Panglao) Airports;
  2. LRT Line 2 Operations and Maintenance;
  3. Road Transport Information Technology Infrastructure (Phase II);
  4. LRT Line 6;
  5. Philippine National Railways – South Line (previously, the North-South Railway Project – South Line);
  6. NAIA Development

The DOTr, through a combination of ODA and PPP, is implementing and developing a total of 23 rail projects which will greatly expand the country’s rail system from the current 77 kilometers to over 1,750 Km.

The 10 ongoing rail projects includes the following:
  1. PNR North (Manila-Malolos),
  2. PNR South Commuter PPP Project (Manila-Los Banos),
  3. PNR South Long Haul PPP Project (Los Banos-Legaspi,Matnog,Batangas Port),
  4. Line 1 Cavite Extension PPP Project (Baclaran-Niog),
  5. Automated Fare Collection System PPP Project (Beep Card),
  6. Line 2 O&M PPP Project,
  7. Line 2 East Extension (Santolan-Masinag),
  8. Line 2 West Extension (Recto-Pier 4),
  9. Line 6 PPP Project (Niog-Dasmarinas),
  10. Line 7 PPP Project (San Jose Del Monte-North EDSA).

Rail projects are being developed by DOTr
  1. Mindanao Railway (Circumferential),
  2. Cebu Railway (5 lines),
  3. Panay Railway,
  4. Line 4 (Taytay-Manila) PPP Project,
  5. Line 5 (Pasay-Makati-Taguig) PPP Project,
  6. Line 8 (Quezon City-Manila) PPP Project,
  7. PNR North Phase 2 (Malolos-Clark),
  8. Mega Manila Subway Project,
  9. Subic-Clark Railway

DOTr 3 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems:
  1. Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
  2. The Quezon Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
  3. The Central Corridor (EDSA) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

Other DPWH projects:
  1. Panay-Guimaras-Negros Link Project
  2. EDSA-Taft Flyover
  3. Central Luzon Link Expressway, Phase II
  4. Cabanatuan-San Jose, Nueva Ecija
  5. Flood Protection Works in the Marikina River including Retarding Basin
  6. Dalton Pass East Alignment Alternative Road Project


The government is spending 5.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2017 to finance the building, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said. This will be raised to 7.1 percent by 2022.

This is higher than the 2.6 percent annual average of the past six administrations in the last 50 years, he said.

“In the decades when we neglected our infrastructure, we lost out on competitiveness,” Dominguez said.

“This is the time to move decisively. Fortunately we have a leader capable of much audacity.”

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the government under Duterte would spend P8.4 trillion for infrastructure.

A government portal ( was also launched to help the public guard the infrastructure projects against corruption.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the website would be regularly updated to reflect the progress of every project.

China, Japan, Korea, Russia compete for $2 Billion Nuclear Plant, LNG Philippines Gas project

Russia Floating Nuclear Power Plant Technology
Russia Floating Nuclear Power Plant Technology. illustration:

China, Japan compete for $2bn Philippine gas project

China and Japan are competing for a $2-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the Philippines, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told the Nikkei Asian Review.

Over 20 companies from eight countries have proposed partnerships with state-owned Philippine National Oil Corp. for an LNG receiving terminal at the southern part of Luzon Island. Cusi said his team is still reviewing funding and technology options.

"We are talking to China [and] Japan," he said. "We are looking at which can offer the best in terms of funding. It's too early to say who is more advanced -- there are so many things to look into."

Countries that offer the best financing options usually pick their own domestic contractors. Cusi said Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, and a number of Chinese state-owned and private companies have shown interest.

Cusi is vice chairman of President Rodrigo Duterte's PDP-Laban party. He has traveled to Beijing and Tokyo this year to solicit energy investments for the Philippines, which runs into alerts and price spikes for electricity whenever the country's lone LNG facility undergoes maintenance.

Cusi said he plans to travel to South Korea and Russia, and does not favor any particular power-generating technology. He said Malampaya, the only source of natural gas in the Philippines, is expected to be exhausted by 2024. The gas field operated by a consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell provides 40-45% of Luzon island's power requirements. Luzon accounts for two-thirds of gross domestic product in the Philippines.

The proposed terminal could import LNG from other countries while alternate Philippine resources are being developed. These include gas fields in the South China Sea in dispute with China. The terminal's plant will initially generate around 200 megawatts, but can expand to 800MW. Cusi hopes to find an investor this year.

Duterte is targeting total household electrification before he leaves office in 2022. As of December, over 90% of households had access to energy. Cusi also said he is studying the possibility of activating a $2 billion nuclear power plant on the Bataan peninsula. The project, initiated under President Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s but never activated, is located near an earthquake fault line.

Sulu Province of Southern Philippines could have the first ever operating 100 MW Nuclear Power Plant this year according to the report (see here) - Nikkei Asian Review

Philippines to Build First Operational 100 Megawatt Nuclear Power Plant in Sulu this Year

Modern Nuclear Power Plant Diagraml
Modern Nuclear Power Plant Diagram

Department of Energy considering Sulu as site for nuclear plant this year

Sulu Archipelago in western Mindanao is non-typhoon and non-earthquake prone areas with almost Zero fault line an is among the areas being eyed for a modular nuclear power plant as the Department of Energy (DOE) targets to complete a nuclear energy program within the year.

The Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization (NEPIO) is currently studying the nuclear program of the country and has scheduled scientific visits and capacitating programs to come up with a national policy, Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos said.

“Within this year, we will come up with a comprehensive report. Of course it will be presented to the Office of the President,” Marcos said.

NEPIO was created by the DOE to unify the conduct of various studies and research on nuclear energy development in the country.

It was designed to work in three phases, starting with a comprehensive study on the overview of the country’s energy needs which will lead to forming a policy decision on nuclear.

Phase 2 calls for the preparatory work for the construction of a nuclear power plant while Phase 3 pertains to the activities to implement the said power facility.

The study is expected to undergo a long process to iron out every detail for the country’s nuclear program, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.

“What makes it longer is process because of course, a due process for everybody…So we have to go through the process every step of it. Unlike when you have a country that is willing or a host province that would be willing to do it, then the process will be faster,” he said.

Cusi said there is still a lot of opposition to  the operation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), which has been mothballed since the 1980s.

$2.3 Billion USD Dollar Mothballed Nuclear Power Plant in Bataan
$2.3 Billion USD Dollar Mothballed Nuclear Power Plant in Bataan. Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power plant, completed but never fueled, on Bataan Peninsula, 100 kilometers west of Manila in the Philippines. It is located on a 3.57 square kilometre government reservation at Napot Point in Morong, Bataan. 

“We are going in to the process of resolving all the concerns that are being raised against it,” he said.

Sulu province has been very aggressive in pitching to host a nuclear power facility, Marcos said.

“They usually visit the secretary and proposing that they will be hosting a SMR, a small modular reactor, so they can finally have stable, secured, predictable and reasonably priced electricity in the region,” Marcos said.

Since it’s modular, it can have a capacity of 100 megawatts (MW) at most, the DOE undersecretary said.

Putting up a nuclear modular reactor in other provinces is also part of the study.

“As long as the provinces are willing. That’s why were forming a national policy… Once it is in place, and there is a host province, we can do it,” Cusi said.

If materialized, Sulu, Mindanao could be the first province in the Philippines to have the operational nuclear powerplant after the mothballed Nuclear Powerplant in Morong, Bataan in Northern Luzon.

Western countries are promoting the Nuclear Power Plant as clean, cheapest and safest renewable source of energy.

Smartphone boom driving jump in digital payments in the Philippines

A motorist pays toll at the North Luzon Expressway with a PayMaya-issued card. PayMaya offers a smartphone app that allows users to create a "virtual" credit card, without needing a bank account.PHOTO: PAYMAYA

In the Philippines, cash is still king.

Just one in 10 Filipinos transact online via their bank accounts, although half the nation's population of 102 million are already using the internet.

Out of 2.5 billion bank payments worth US$74 billion (S$105 billion) each month, only 1 per cent, or about US$740 million, are electronic and most payments involve small amounts. This equates to roughly US$60 a month for the 11 million people who make online payments via their bank accounts. The vast majority of bank transactions, by value, are still by cash or cheque.

"It's more 'cashlite' than 'cashless' in the Philippines," said Ms Nick Wilwayco, head of communications at e-commerce firm PayMaya.

A boom in mobile phone use, though, could soon change things.

The Philippines is the fastest-growing smartphone market in South-east Asia. There are currently 40 million Filipinos with smartphones and that number is forecast to hit 90 million by 2021.

"Filipinos are more adept at mobile. It is easier for them to discover and to use it," said Ms Wilwayco.

Using Apple, Android and Facebook apps, as well as "digital wallets", mobile phone users can open credit and debit accounts that they can use to transact online, without needing a bank account or even an internet access; just the SIM card.

Voyager Innovations, a unit of telco Smart Communications, currently has over 11 million customers using its smartphone apps to pay for internet and in-store purchases, transfer money, and even secure loans. They declined to give exact growth figures, only saying they were in the "triple-digits".

For Ms Geraldine Rodriguez, 47, a freelance writer, going cashless has meant convenience and peace of mind, even though only a fraction of her daily transactions are online.

She pays about 1,650 pesos (S$46) worth of phone and internet bills each month online via her bank account, and uses a prepaid card when taking the MRT. Most of her bills she still has to pay at a centralised payment centre, though.

With less cash on her, there is less anxiety that she may get mugged or her wallet snatched.

"Is it convenient? Very," said Ms Rodriguez.

Banks have long been a hurdle to greater take-up of online payments. Only three in five Filipinos have bank accounts and among these are the 11 million who pay their bills, order takeout and buy plane tickets, gadgets, clothes, and fashion accessories online, using their ATM, credit and debit cards.

Many still worry about security and privacy.

In a report released in July last year (2016), internet security firm Trend Micro said the Philippines is the third most affected country when it comes to online banking fraud.

Which is why smartphone apps have proved so appealing because it frees up people from having to use bank accounts to make payments or indeed even having a bank account. by StraitsTimes

Wilcon to raise ₱7 Billion Php in Philippines’ 1st IPO this year

Wilcon Depot San Pablo
Wilcon Depot San Pablo. Photo: Inquirer

WILCON Depot, Inc. is raising ₱7 billion in the first initial public offering (IPO) this year after pricing the deal at the low end of its target range.

In a statement released on Friday, First Metro Investment Corp. (FMIC) Executive Vice-President Justino Juan R. Ocampo said the IPO price of the home improvement and construction supplies retailer was set at ₱5.05 per share, giving the company a market capitalization of more than ₱20 billion after listing.

“We convinced Mr. Belo to price at lower end to ensure discount to comparables and give upside to investors,” BDO Capital & Investment Corp. President Eduardo V. Francisco said in a separate mobile phone message, referring to Wilcon Chairman William T. Belo.

Wilson had earlier set a price range of ₱5-₱5.68 apiece.

The offering was more than three times oversubscribed on the back of strong demand from “quality” institutional investors and offshore investors attracted to the strong prospects of the country’s construction and housing industry, FMIC said.

“The success of Wilcon’s IPO demonstrates the investment community’s continued confidence in the Philippine retail market. As disposable income of Filipinos increases, a lot more people are now buying houses or improving their existing homes,” Mr. Belo said in the same statement.

Proceeds from the IPO will be used to bankroll store network expansion, debt retirement and general corporate purposes, according to Wilcon’s prospectus.

Since opening its first store in 1977, Wilcon has transformed itself into a one-stop shop for construction supply and home improvement. It has 37 depots and small format stores across the country, 17 of which are in Metro Manila, 16 more in Luzon, 2 in Visayas, and 2 in Mindanao, with over 2,000 employees.

Wilcon is banking on the continued expansion of its store network to sustain double-digit growth in sales and earnings. In the first nine months of 2016, it booked a 10% year-on-year increase in net sales to ₱11.73 billion and netted 50% more or ₱483 million.

Wilcon kicks off the domestic tranche of the maiden share sale on March 20, with its debut on the Main Board of the Philippine Stock Exchange slated on March 31. The equity offer is selling 34% of its outstanding capital to the public.

FMIC was tapped as the issue manager and bookrunner, with BDO Capital also acting as joint lead underwriter for the IPO. RCBC Capital Corp. and Penta Capital Investment Corp. were mandated as co-lead underwriter and participating underwriter.- Business World Online

Solar Philippines Breakground $150 Million USD Solar Farm in Tarlac

Solar Philippines Breakground 150 Megawatt Solar Farm in Tarlac, Philippines
At the ceremonial groundbreaking of the 150-MW Tarlac solar farm, with the first ‘Made in the Philippines’ panels by Solar Philippines are (from left): Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Solar Philippines president Leandro Leviste, Tarlac Governor Susan Yap and Concepcion Mayor Andy Lacson Photo: PhilSTAR

Solar pioneer starts 150-MW Tarlac solar farm

Solar Philippines has kicked off the construction of its 150-megawatt (MW) solar farm with battery storage here, its largest solar power project to-date, which can provide the province’s requirements in six months time, its top official said yesterday.

The whole solar farm will start operating as a merchant plant in the third quarter of the year, Solar Philippines president Leandro Leviste said during the ceremonial groundbreaking of the project.

“The output of the 150 MW plant that will be operating here by the second half of 2017 will be able to power the entire Tarlac province with cheap renewable energy,” he said.

The company official said this will heed Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s call to put up more merchant power plants – or those generating facilities selling their output to the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) – to further spur competition in the electricity spot market.

“What we want is to make this fast…(because) solar is now cheaper than coal and therefore get this online within 2017. And that’s why even without the contract finally approved by regulators, we’re doing this for most of the plant’s capacity,” Leviste said.

The Concepcion solar farm will comprise close to 450,000 solar panels and over 150 hectares, with room to expand as demand for solar with batteries increases.

Leviste said the cost to put up the solar farm is equivalent to $1 million per megawatt, or roughly $150 million for the entire project.

“With the battery… it can be an additional 20-50 percent of the cost of the project. But we’re not doing all the batteries all at once, it’s going to be phased incrementally,” he said.

Solar Philippines is the developer, investor, contractor and supplier for its projects – a strategy which the company believes is the key to making solar cost-competitive.

“Why do we expect lower price? One is vertical integration, by doing solar panel manufacturing in-house as well as the construction. the development, the financing will definitely lower the cost. Second is the economies of scale,” Leviste said.

Once completed, the power plant will have many firsts in its name - philSTAR

ASIA: China's Yuan Top, 2nd: Philippine Peso - Real effective exchange rate S&P Rating

ASIA: China's Yuan Top, 2nd: Philippine Peso - Real effective exchange rate S&P Rating
China's Yuan and Philippine Peso - leading currencies in the Asia Pacific

China’s yuan strongest real effective exchange rate, PHL peso second

The Chinese currency rose as the strongest in terms of real effective exchange rates among nine Asia-Pacific countries, followed by the Philippines peso, Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings said in a report.

“In terms of real effective exchange rates, another indicator we studied, the Chinese yuan rose 45.0 percent over the past 10 years – the strongest performer in our sample. It was also the strongest performer since the Asian Financial Crisis,” S&P said in “Who’s A Currency Manipulator Now in Asia-Pacific? The Indicators Don’t Point To China.”

"The Philippine peso was second with 29.9 percent,"  the global debt watcher noted.
“The Chinese government has been loosening its control over the Chinese yuan to bring the currency closer to its fundamentals. This might be the reason why the yuan strengthened significantly,” Guian Angelo Dumalagan, market economist at the Land Bank of the Philippines, told GMA News Online.

“As for the Philippines, the country has grown tremendously in the past decade. The proportion of the country's foreign debt declined making the country less affected by external headwinds,” Dumalagan noted.

The Philippines has also accumulated a sizable amount of foreign reserves, giving it added buffer from external risks. “These have contributed to the peso's strength,” the LandBank economist said.
The International Monetary Fund defines real effective exchange rate (REER) as a measure of the value of a currency against a weighted average of several major currencies and adjusted to the effects of inflation.

In its study, S&P examined three external indicators of currency manipulation – REER, current account balances, and official (foreign) reserves – and found that China showed the least evidence of currency manipulation.

Given the reemergence of currency manipulation in the US policy debate, the debt watcher said it examined three external indicators of manipulation over a 10-year period to see how the nine economies stack up.

"The big surprise is that China came in last place, showing the least evidence of currency manipulation," Paul Gruenwald, Asia-Pacific chief economist for S&P Global Ratings, said.

"This result derives from its having a sizable decline in the current account-to-GDP ratio; the strongest real effective exchange rate; and a relatively sharp decline in reserves,” Gruenwald added.

According to S&P, current account balances, the first indicator, have trended downward over the past decade for most of the nine economies, with Malaysia and China showing the largest declines.

"This suggests that the Chinese authorities allowed their currency to adjust more than any other economy in the region," Gruenwald said.

The level of official reserves is the most direct indicator of currency intervention, and a rising level is usually considered as evidence the central bank is in the market intervening to prevent the currency from appreciating.

Taiwan and Thailand, with the two largest reserves, saw their reserves-to-GDP ratios rise most over the past decade, S&P noted.

Two economies saw sharp declines in their reserves-to-GDP ratios over the past decade – Malaysia (-19 percentage points) and China (-12 percentage points), it said. — See more at:  VDS, GMA News

Seven Japanese trading houses investing $3.9b in Philippines

Sumitomo Farming Technology

Seven major Japanese trading houses are looking at investing up to $3.9 billion (198.5 billion) in different industries in the Philippines.

After his recent trip to Tokyo, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) secretary Ramon Lopez disclosed on Monday (March 13) that the Japanese companies who made the commitment (to invest in the country) were Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsui and Co Ltd, Sumitomo Corp, Itochu Corp, Marubeni Corp, Toyota Tsusho, and Sojitz.

Others present in the dialogue were Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Philippine ambassador-designate Jose Laurel — who got together with representatives of Japanese companies with a broad range of business activities.

Lopez noted Marubeni is willing to invest in additional coal power plants worth ₱75 billion over the medium term; Itochu and Sumitomo (through Philippines subsidiaries Dole and Sumifru respectively) willing to invest an additional ₱12.9 billion through 2018 to expand their integrated farming projects in Mindanao; Sumitomo, Sojitz, and Mitsui jointly invested in Coral Bay Nickle Corp and Taganito High Pressure Acid Leaching (THPAL) Nickle Corp in Surigao and Palawan, at a cost of ₱80 billion.

Mitsubishi, Sojitz, Mitsui, and Toyota Tsusho, and, all the seven trading houses are supporting the Philippines’ Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program created in 2015 to attract new investments, stimulate demand and effectively implement industry regulations that will revitalize the Philippine automotive industry, and develop the country as a regional automotive manufacturing hub.

All the Japanese firms also expressed interest in the Philippines’ so called “Golden Age of Infrastructure,” like the railway and subway projects, the Clark Green City project, the Expanded Port and RoRo Building programs, and the Airport Development projects.

The Japanese trading houses were also encouraged to use their expansive business systems to help in planning an efficient set of economic infrastructure, such as farm-to-market roads, bridges, seaports, airports, railways for cargo, passengers and RORO vessels, and service providers.

“The fundamentals are there in terms of a fast-growing economy, a 109-million population base, standing trade agreements, and a young, talented, and dedicated work force,” Lopez said. - Tomas S. Noda III of Deal Street Asia

Philippines to Attract Billion Dollars FDI with Halal Industry Road Map

Halal certified Logo Philippines

Halal food processing to help attract investments from Qatar to Philippines

Developing the halal market, including the agro-industrial and food processing sectors, could further stimulate FDI inflow into the Philippines, particularly Qatari investments, a Qatari entrepreneur has said.

The Philippine government wants to tap opportunities in the halal market, touted as a growing billion-dollar global industry, and is currently building a roadmap for its halal industry.

To do this, the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry is working with other agencies like the Mindanao Development Authority (MDA), National Commission for Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Qatari businessman Farhan al-Sayed lauded the Philippine government’s plans to develop the southern island of Mindanao, which, he said, “has a huge, untapped potential.”

“Halal is a very interesting market… in the case of Malaysia and Indonesia, they are already making billions of dollars from the industry. As their Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) neighbour, the Philippines should also benefit from this.

“And I think Mindanao would be the ideal location to setup these businesses and this is going to help the growth of the region, which is eight times larger than Qatar and it’s going to settle and bring up not just businesses but also peace and order in the area,” al-Sayed told Gulf Times.

Aside from the halal industry, al-Sayed said Mindanao would be “an ideal location” to develop agro-industrial and food processing facilities, which could help attract Qatari investments to the country.
Following his state visit to Brunei Darussalam last year, Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said the trip would benefit the country’s halal industry. He said Brunei has expressed its commitment to help develop Mindanao’s halal industry in the areas of certification and capacity building.

Aside from grooming Mindanao into a production and export hub for halal-certified products, Duterte also underlined the island’s potential as a potential producer of tuna, sardines, banana, coconut, fruits, and poultry and livestock products. In the recently-held ‘Philippine Investments Conference’ in Doha by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza), Mindanao Development Authority (MDA) chief of staff Abdul Alonto also underlined Mindanao’s capability to export processed halal meat.

During the event, Philippine Business Council-Qatar (PBC-Q) chairman Greg Loayon also cited other investment opportunities in the Philippines aside from the halal market.

“Other than economic zones, manufacturing, tourism, furniture export, and healthcare are other investment opportunities that Qatari investors can look into the Philippines both from an outbound and inbound perspective such as Qatari investments in the Philippines or business opportunities in the Philippines that can be brought to Qatar,” he said. - Gulf Times

Malaysian Eyes to Construct 23 Buildings: $2.4 Billion USD For New Federal Government Capital Offices in Clark

Putrajaya Luxury Residence
Putrajaya Luxury Residence.

AlloyMtd eyes RM11bil Philippine ‘Putrajaya’ job

AlloyMtd Group has submitted a bid to build a new administrative centre for the Philippines Government at an estimated project development cost of $2.4 Billion US Dollars.

Located in the city of Clark, approximately 96 kilometres from Manila, the proposed 1,000-hectare Clark Administrative City project will house the executive, legislative and judicial bodies of the Philippines federal government.

It replicates Malaysia’s Putrajaya and will serve as the centralised site for the national government.
Under AlloyMtd’s proposal, the project will consist of 23 buildings encompassing some 273,000 square meters. The estimated project cost will be around US$2.4bil (RM10.62bil).

Speaking to reporters during the inauguration of the Palayan City Government Centre and Central Business Hub in Nueva Ecija province, AlloyMtd president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Azmil Khalid (pic) said the proposal represented a gigantic leap for the company, which has had a substantial presence in the Philippines over the past 11 years.

“We have had success in creating ‘mini Putrajayas’ in the country, or new centralised administrative and business centres to spur growth. But with a project of this magnitude, we can build a ‘real Putrajaya’ for the Philippines government,” he said.

The proposal to relocate and centralise the country’s Government entities has been mooted for a long time.

The consolidation of national Government offices away from the congested Metro Manila city centre will enhance efficiency, while at the same time the new location would also become a new centre of operations in times of natural disasters.

The project would be overseen by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), a Government agency created to manage the conversion of former military bases into income-generating facilities.

AlloyMtd was invited by the BCDA to submit the proposal for the development of the project. A presentation of the master development plan was made to the BCDA chairman and board executives on Feb 2.

Azmil added that funding for the project would likely come from a sukuk issuance in Malaysia.
“We are seeking the backing of the Philippines Government in regards to the sukuk so the terms are more favourable for investors,” he said.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, who was the guest of honour at the Palayan City project inauguration, lauded the proposal as it is wholly supportive of the Malaysian Government’s intention to boost economic and business relationships with its Filipino counterparts.

AlloyMtd has a track record in creating centralised business and administrative centres for local Governments in the country. Its projects include the Calabarzon Regional Government Centre and the ongoing Palayan City project, as well as the Bataan Government Centre.

The Malaysian conglomerate, which has a presence in 16 countries, has an entrenched presence in the Philippines in the infrastructure, institutional facilities and property development segments.

Building on the success of its RM1bil South Luzon Expressway project, the company is preparing for another major undertaking, as it had submitted an unsolicited bid for the Manila Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line 8 project last month.

The project, which was submitted by a consortium comprising AlloyMtd and East-West Rail Corp, spans about nine kilometres of elevated and depressed guideways with 11 stations along the route.
It runs from Quezon City to Lerma St. in Manila and the estimated project cost for the venture is around US$1bil (RM4.4bil).

The proposal is currently under review by the Philippines Department of Transportation and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The MRT project is also the first project proposal from the private sector that was resubmitted to NEDA under the new Duterte administration, Azmil confirmed. - The Star Online

Philippines' hits $7.93 Billion USD Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in 2016

Philippines' hits $7.93 Billion USD Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in 2016
Philippines' hits $7.93 Billion USD Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in 2016

Philippines’ FDI inflow hits record high in 2016

THE PHILIPPINES received a record $7.93 billion in actual foreign direct investment (FDI) last year, as sound macroeconomic fundamentals overshadowed the uncertainties brought about by leadership changes within and outside the country.
The net inflow of foreign direct investments (FDIs) soared 40.7% above the $5.64 billion recorded for 2015, according to preliminary data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Friday.

The yearend result surpassed by 18.4% the $6.7 billion projected by the central bank. The forecast represented a new high in itself.

Intercompany borrowings accounted for more than 65% of last year’s net inflow, as foreign firms placed $5.19 billion -- 68.6% over the $3.08 billion recorded in 2015 -- in debt instruments of Philippine subsidiaries and affiliates.

Equity and investment fund shares accounted for $2.75 billion, a 7.1% increase from the $2.56 billion booked in 2015. Net equity infusion rose 12% to $2.04 billion from $1.82 billion, making up for the 4.9% decrease in reinvestment of earnings to $710 million from $747 million.

In December alone, the net FDI inflow more than doubled to $669 million from the $272 million registered in the comparable 2015 period.

More than half or $415 million of the net inflow in December came from placements in debt instruments. Lending to Philippine subsidiaries or affiliates almost tripled from the $139 million reported a year earlier.

Investments in equity and investment fund shares nearly doubled to $254 million from $133 million. Net equity capital infusion surged 2.7 times to $206 million from $77 million, offsetting the 16.1% drop in reinvestment of earnings to $47 million from $56 million.

Investors from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States and Taiwan made most of the equity infusions largely to financial and insurance; arts, entertainment and recreation; manufacturing; real estate; and construction activities.

“FDI inflows remained robust, supported by strong investors’ confidence in the country’s solid macroeconomic fundamentals,” the BSP noted in a statement accompanying the data.


In separate e-mail interviews, economists noted how the growth story of the domestic economy cancelled out concerns over possible changes in policy direction both in the Philippines and its major trading partner, the US.

“It is clear that the Philippine economic growth story is intact despite all the uncertainties of US policies and the continuous noise of domestic politics,” Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion, chief economist of the Union Bank of the Philippines, noted in an e-mailed correspondence.

Mr. Asuncion had expected net FDIs to the Philippines to grow slower and reach at least $7 billion toward the yearend.

“This significant growth, I believe, is on the back of solid macroeconomic fundamentals for the past 18 years or 72 quarters. This clearly means that the Philippines’ growth story is no fluke. Foreign investors recognize this observation with the 40.7% FDI growth for 2016,” Mr. Asuncion said.

Guian Angelo S. Dumalagan, market economist at Land Bank of the Philippines, cited the bright prospects for the Philippine economy as well.

“Last year, FDI inflows were affected by the country’s political transition and the US presidential election. These factors, however, were not enough to overshadow the country’s strong economic prospects,” Mr. Dumalagan said.

Foreign investors have nevertheless raised concerns over inefficient government bureaucracy, inadequate supply of infrastructure, corruption and tax regulations last year, another economist noted, citing The Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017 of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

“I also cite infrastructure as one of the most compelling reasons why it’s difficult to commit to investing in the Philippines,” the economist said.

“Imagine setting up a manufacturing plant here only to find out we have one of the most expensive and unreliable electricity, highways are bogged down in traffic, airports have only 1.5 runways and flooding is a problem in the region’s worst port system,” the economist added.

The economist further noted the retreat of the Philippines by 10 notches in the Global Competitiveness Index, ranking 57th out of 138 economies covered in the report released by the WEF three months after President Rodrigo R. Duterte took office in end-June 2016.

“Investors now have a stark concern about the level of institutions in the country going forward. This moves hand in hand with the upholding of the rule of law, which can get foreign players a little bit concerned,” the economist said.

Landbank’s Mr. Dumalagan, however, expects the Philippines to continue registering net FDI inflows this year on the sustained strength of the domestic economy along with the improving economic conditions abroad.

“Japan and the US, two of the country’s major sources of FDIs, are expected to show stronger growth this year, suggesting potentially ample investable funds from these economic giants despite possibly lesser monetary accommodation from the Bank of Japan and the US Federal Reserve,” Mr. Dumalagan said.

“The protectionist stance of the new US administration, however, poses a risk, as it could potentially reduce the amount of capital inflows from the US.”

FDIs in the Philippines, by Reuters’ reckoning, are minuscule compared with that in regional peers due to poor infrastructure, high power costs and foreign ownership restrictions in key industries. - Business World Online

Philippine Export Rose Up 22.5% to $5.1 Billion USD - Fastest in 3 Years

Electronics Philippine Export Rose Up 22.5% to $5.1 Billion USD - Fastest in 3 Years
Electronics Export in the Philippines Rose up 22.5% January to $5.1 Billion US Dollars

Exports from the Philippines grew at their fastest clip in three years in January as shipments of electronics took off.

Exports rose at their quickest pace in three years in January on demand for technology goods and commodities, while continuing strong imports underlined a buoyant domestic economy.

The Southeast Asian economy is one of the fastest growing in the world and strengthening global trade could complement robust domestic consumption as President Rodrigo Duterte's government aims to sustain annual growth above 7 percent during his six-year term.

Exports in January rose 22.5 percent from a year earlier, gaining for a second month in a row, while imports jumped 9.1 percent, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed on Friday.

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Country’s exports jumped 22.5 per cent year on year to $5.1bn in January, coming in above a median forecast from economists compiled by Bloomberg of 10.5 per cent growth.

Shipments of electronics, the country’s top export accounting for 46.1 per cent of total export revenue in January, increased 10.4 per cent year on year to $2.4bn.

Japan remained the Philippines’s largest export destination accounting for 17.3 per cent of total exports or $887.7m with the US its second largest market accounting for $847m.

Imports rose 9.1 percent year on year to $7.4bn, which was slightly below economists’ median estimate of a 10 per cent increase.

This resulted in the trade deficit of$2.3bn, coming in below estimates of $2.9bn and improving on the $2.56bn deficit in December.

Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank, said the spike in exports was largely in line with the strength in shipments elsewhere in Asia.

"There is a confluence of low-base effect and also seasonal uptick that went into the end of last year," he said.

Eight of the country's top 10 export products rose in January, with electronics up 10.4 percent from a year earlier. Electronics remained the country's No. 1 export, accounting for 46.1 percent of total revenue in January.

The country's biggest imports for the month were electronics, mineral fuels, transport equipment, industrial machinery, and iron and steel.

Exports to the country's top trading partners such as the United States and China increased 21.2 percent and 23.6 percent, respectively, in January from a year earlier. Shipments to Japan, the biggest export market, fell 6.6 percent.

While the Philippine economy is largely driven by domestic consumption, Varathan said it would also be buffeted by any change in external trends.

"We want to see how trade negotiations between the U.S. and China pan out and the corresponding knock-on effect that you'll see in Asia," Varathan said. With reports from Financial Times and Reuters 

President Duterte at the Ground Breaking of ₱27 billion Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway in Cebu Philippines

Ground Breaking of ₱27 billion Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway in Cebu Philippines
Ground Breaking of Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway

Around 300 officials in Central Visayas joined with  President Rodrigo Duterte in the groundbreaking ceremony for the ₱27 billion Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway.

The event will take place in Cordova town at 3 p.m. but prior to that, Duterte will hop on a chopper to inspect from the air the site in Cebu City where the other end of the bridge will land.

Jonjie Gonzales, chief of staff of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino, said Dino will join the President during the aerial inspection.

During the groundbreaking, Secretary Adelino Sitoy, the Presidential Adviser on Legislative Matters, will deliver the welcome message, which will be followed by speeches from Cebu City Mayor Tomas and Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of the Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corporation.

From Cordova, Duterte will proceed to Waterfront Mactan Airport Hotel and Casino to induct the new officers of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry at 5 p.m. The President is expected to speak at the gathering.

He is scheduled to fly to Davao after the event.
Meanwhile, Pangilinan together with Rodrigo Franco, president of MPTDC, Osmeña, Cordova Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy-Cho and former Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy are expected to media briefing on the bridge at Radisson Blu in Cebu City.

Pilipog Bridge
(Pilipog is a binisaya term which means "small kind")

Because the groundbreaking ceremony is just a few meters away from the Pilipog Bridge in Cordova, the bridge will be closed to all vehicles from 12 noon until 4:30 p.m., said the Cordova Response Emergency And Traffic Enforcement (CREATE).

The bridge connects Cordova and Lapu-Lapu City.

All vehicles from Lapu-Lapu City can travel up to the Tacan market area in Babag 2 while those coming from Cordova town proper can travel to the corner of Barangay Ibabao.

Motorists going to and from Cordova are advised to take the Gabi Bridge in going to and from Lapu-Lapu City.

New Route

Spanning eight kilometers, CCLEX will connect Cordova to Cebu City and will serve as an alternate route in going to and from the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

Being a toll bridge facility to be built under a private-public partnership (PPP) scheme, the project will enable the LGUs of Cebu City and Cordova to provide its constituents badly needed infrastructure with private sector funding.

The MPTDC, through its subsidiary, the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation will design, build and operate the bridge.

MPTDC is one of the Philippines’ investment holding companies with proven track record in designing, constructing, financing, and operating toll facilities and expressways.

It currently operates some of the countries’ major expressways such as the North Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and Manila Cavite Toll Expressway, paving the way for faster and more efficient movement of transportation, goods and services in central areas of the Philippines. (FREEMAN)

Where to Stay in Cebu?

Book the cheapest to the most elegant hotel in cebu in a very affordable prices. 

US-Asean Business Council upbeat on Philippine Economic Prospects

In Photo: Members of the US-Asean Business Council (US-ABC) hosted a roundtable for Trade Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado on February 22 in Washington, D.C.
In Photo: Members of the US-Asean Business Council (US-ABC) hosted a roundtable for Trade Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado on February 22 in Washington, D.C.Photo: Business Mirror

‘FOR the first time in three years, the Philippines made it to the worldwide list of top 20 investment destinations of multinational enterprises,” Trade Undersecretary for Industry Promotion Group Nora K. Terrado told participants in a roundtable organized by the US-Asean Business Council (US-ABC) on February 22 in Washington, D.C.

Terrado said with the country’s 6.8-percent GDP growth in 2016, the Philippines continues to be one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, exhibiting resilience amid external shocks.

This message highlighted Terrado’s presentation about the country’s improving global competitiveness ranking.

Terrado discussed the current administration’s 10-point socio-economic agenda, which aims to sustain improvements in the Philippine investment climate, support rural development, and further enhance the country’s infrastructure, human capital and social-protection programs.

“The whole government is tasked to continue to improve the ease of doing business in the Philippines,” Terrado said.

As chair for Asean 2017 Summit, the Philippines is poised to highlight the region’s strengths by engaging the international business community, foreign governments and investors through the Asean Business and Investment Program (Abip).

As chairman for the Asean Committee on Business and Investment Promotion, Terrado urged the US-ABC and its members to participate in the business activities to be held in the Philippines, focusing on themes, such as regulatory coherence, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), women and youth entrepreneurship, and innovation.

Marc Mealy, vice president for policy of the US-ABC, expressed positive feedback after the dialogue with Terrado.

“With the Philippines serving as the current Asean chairman and having one of the highest GDP growth rates in Asia, the representatives from the 13 American multinational companies who participated were keen to receive the undersecretary’s update on current business trends in the Philippines and the economic priorities of the Duterte administration,” Mealy said. “The Council looks forward to conducting our 2017 senior executives business mission to the Philippines later this year.”

The US-ABC members that participated in the dialogue were Coca-Cola, Fluor, Citi and Philip Morris, among others. - BUSINESS MIRROR

1 BTC - USD Hits 1,120 and Continue Rising for the coming USA SEC ETF Decision March 11

Bitcoin hit 1,120 USD. Source: Blockchain

Friday, February 24, 2017 11:30 PM UTC +8GMT

BTC/USD hit an all-time high of 1220 level on Friday and is currently trading at 1209 levels at the time of writing (Bitstamp).

Philippine Peso - BTC Exchange rates : ₱60,277.64 exchange rate:  Buy: ₱60,737 PHP | Sell: ₱58,875 PHP

Buybitcoin  rate:  Buy: ₱61,581 PHP | Sell: ₱58,529 PHP

The recent upswing is possibly being driven by the upcoming decision on bitcoin ETF by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Traders seem to be largely bullish on the bitcoin ETF getting the approval, CoinDesk reported. The SEC has until March 11,2017 to approve or disapprove the ETF.

According to Bloomberg, President Trump’s policy uncertainties might be the reason behind the recent rally. It explains that investors are looking to hedge against potential global uncertainty in the wake of President Trump’s policies and are speculating relaxation of digital currency regulations under his leadership.

On the upside, the pair will now run into resistance at 1245 (127.2% retracement of 1139.89 and 751.34) and a break above would see it testing 1280 (113% extension of 751.34 and 12.20)/1347.

Momentum studies remain bullish. Any dips could be taken as an opportunity to go long. However, caution is advised as RSI and stochs are in the overbought zone.

On the flipside, support is seen at 1200 (psychological) any violation would drag it to 1140 (trend line joining 941.81 and 1074.69)/ 1115 (5-DMA). A break below 5-DMA could see further weakness in the pair.

STEP 1: 

You must download the App below and register. This app would serve as your wallet to store your collected bitcoins.

You must have a bitcoin wallet and bitcoin address through blockhain or at  You may download the App below to begin.

STEP 2: 
FOR Follow the steps 1 to 3 to get the Bitcoin address and save this as you need this address.


In order for you to have a new Bitcoin address using the , You must follow the 3 steps above as shown in the screen captured photo. 3DkAZ2o2pypqs7KgZq5LbtEQEhgovg9iy8 is a sample of a bitcoin address.

Note: would ask you to download aswell the Google Authenticator as the second security verification to make sure that you are the owner logging into the account. Every time that the app would ask for verification, you must open the Google Authenticator as it would display a new code. Such code would change everytime you make a new transaction.

FOR if you could not find the button that would provide a new bitcoin address then proceed to  blockhain, register and get your new Bitcoin address.

STEP 3: 

With your bitcoin in your wallet, now you could start trading  at live trading platform by joining the fast and easy simpleFX Bitcoin trading platform.  . It is risky but if you want to take the risk and know how to see the trend up and down then you could make your $100 USD into $1,000 USD in just a day. The platform will provide you educational video tutorial if you are a n00b in currency and stocks trading.

Current exchange rate for 1 BTC to USD is $1,1888 or check Google echange rate for updates

Automakers boosting output in the Philippines -Nikkei

Mitsubishi Motors' new pressing plant under construction in the Philippines. Photo: Nikkei Asian Review 

Automakers boosting output in the Philippines

Mitsubishi Motors, Toyota taking advantage of government incentives
The Philippines' auto manufacturing sector is kicking into higher gear as Japan's Mitsubishi Motors prepares to launch a new production line on Friday. An underdeveloped local supply network, however, still detracts from the country's appeal.

The Mitsubishi example

Located in Laguna Province south of the capital Manila, the Mitsubishi plant currently assembles two vehicle models, one of which is the L300 service van. Daily production is 50 units combined. The additional assembly line will add Mirage subcompacts to its repertoire, with a goal of producing 30,000 units a year.
The Japanese automaker is also spending roughly 10 billion yen ($88.1 million) to construct an on-site pressing plant. The facility is due to start up as early as the end of the year. There, Mitsubishi will fabricate roofs, engine hoods, trunks and other large parts that are currently being imported from Thailand. The main plant will eventually procure 50% of its parts locally.

"The steel sheet [for the Mirage] is significantly thinner than the type used for pre-existing vehicle models, which will require advance technological capabilities," explained Yosuke Nishi, first vice president of Mitsubishi Motors Philippines.

Mitsubishi also recognized about 30 outside parts makers as tier-one suppliers. Several, such as Denso, which has manufacturing operations in the Philippines, are fellow Japanese companies. Roughly 10 are local firms, including Manly Plastics and Valerie Products Manufacturing.

The Mitsubishi operation is even attracting other Japanese parts manufacturers to the Philippines. Shizuoka Prefecture-based Usui has established a new production site at a rented warehouse. There, three technicians will perform final bending work on components shipped from Japan.

Subsidizing growth

Last year, the Philippine auto market expanded 25% to 402,461 vehicles -- or quadruple the sales tally of a decade ago. However, imports made up the bulk of that growth, with the share of domestically made autos declining to 26%. In 2010, six members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including the Philippines, all but eliminated reciprocal import tariffs. That opened up the Philippines to a flood of finished vehicles from Thailand and other places.

Looking to erase the resulting trade deficit and boost employment, the Philippines last year rolled out a 27 billion peso ($540 million) government incentive scheme aimed at automakers that build plants onshore. Mitsubishi's two Mirage models and Toyota Motor's Vios sedan have made the cut for the program, which requires a specific level of local procurement.

Toyota assembles the Vios and the Innova minivan in the Philippines, and it will begin manufacturing the new Vios model covered by the incentives in mid-2018. The Japanese car manufacturer is also installing large pressing equipment to make auto body parts in-country instead of importing them from Thailand. In addition, the automaker will procure more parts locally, such as center consoles.

Cost handicaps

But unlike in Thailand, where automakers can procure core components like engines, the number of parts that can be made in the Philippines is limited. It costs roughly 1.7 million yen to produce one vehicle here, a nearly 200,000 yen premium over Thailand, according to the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry. Expenses associated with imported components account for 49% of the total. That ratio is only 7% in Thailand.

Currently, it is more affordable to import finished cars, even when considering transport and labor costs. Mitsubishi and Toyota have committed to onshore production because the cost savings from expanding local procurement, and the roughly 100,000 yen per vehicle in government subsidies, will offset the handicap.

"We are starting to have prospects for Philippine production to cost less" than imports, said Satoru Suzuki, president of Toyota Motor Philippines.

A model for the rest?

Vietnam, another latecomer to auto manufacturing, could learn from the Philippines. As a member of the ASEAN Economic Community, Vietnam's tariffs are due to be abolished next year. That would likely open the floodgates for vehicles assembled in Thailand and other places.

But the Philippines could also turn out to be a cautionary tale. Ford Motor shuttered its production plant in the country, for one. In addition, one condition for receiving government incentives is production of 200,000 vehicles within six years. Over 30,000 units of the Vios were sold last year, but reaching the threshold with Mirages will be no easy task considering that the model's sales were only about 20,000 units. Mitsubishi will expand its network of dealerships from 48 to 70 by 2020.

Furthermore, the government plans to raise taxes on new vehicle starting in 2018, a potential headwind for sales. - JUN ENDO, Nikkei staff writer +Nikkei Asian Review 
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