Showing posts with label Philippines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philippines. Show all posts

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

Global Research Pointed: USA, Loida Lewis and Liberal party behind the ISIS attack in the Philippines

 Global Research Pointed: USA, Loida Lewis and Liberal party behind the ISIS attack in the Philippines
GlobalReaseach.ca pointed out who are behind the Islamist terrorist attack in Marawi City in Southern Philippines

In the article written by Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago, USA, he pointed that Washington, Loida Lewis and the Liberal Opposition party in the Philippines are behind the IS attack in Marawi a step to oust Duterte

Why is ISIS Operating in the Philippines?

In response to violence allegedly instigated by ISIS in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao, imposed military rule, and threatened to extend it nationwide to defeat the threat.

What’s going on? Why did ISIS begin operating in the Philippines? Weeks after taking office in mid-2016, Duterte blasted Western imperial Middle East policies, saying the Obama administration and Britain “destroyed the (region)…forc(ing) their way into Iraq and kill(ing) Saddam.”

“Look at Iraq now. Look what happened to Libya. Look what happened to Syria.”

He blasted former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for failing to act responsibly against what’s gone on for years – on the phony pretext of humanitarian intervention and democracy building.

He called Obama a “son-of-a-bitch” for his unaccountable actions – no way to make friends in Washington, especially if his geopolitical agenda conflicts with US aims.

Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte meeting with Russian President Putin
Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte meeting with Russian President Putin. Duterte cuts short trip to Russia after declaring martial law in southern Philippines due to Islamist terrorism attack in Marawi City. Photo: Japanese Times

On the day he declared martial law, he met with Vladimir Putin in Moscow for discussions on future military and economic cooperation.

He seeks improved economic and military ties with China. Ahead of visiting Beijing last October, he said

“only China…can help us,” adding:

“All that I would need to do is just to talk and get a firm handshake from the officials and say that we are Filipinos and we are ready to cooperate with you, to help us in building our economy and building our country.”

“If we can have the things you have given to other countries by the way of assistance, we’d also like to be a part of it and to be a part of the greater plans of China about the whole of Asia, particularly Southeast Asia.”

He promised to cool tensions over South China Sea disputes.

“There is no sense fighting over a body of water,” he said.

“We want to talk about friendship (with Beijing). We want to talk about cooperation, and most of all, we want to talk about business. War would lead us to nowhere.”

He announced no further joint military exercises with America, saying he’s open to holding them with China and Russia.

Shifting away from longstanding US ties doesn’t go down well in Washington. Are efforts by ISIS to establish a Philippines foothold part of an anti-Duterte Trump administration or CIA plot independent of his authority?

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Philippine President Rodeigo Roa Duterte meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping cooling down the tension in South China Sea and promised cooperation, progress, peace and stability of the Asian Region.

According to a June 2 Duran.com report, retired Philippine military official Abe Purugganan claims ISIS violence in Mindanao is part of an opposition Liberal Party plan to undermine Duterte and oust him from office – citing information from a party whistleblower.

Below are the comments The Duran posted, saying:

“There is a lot of noises and chatters flooding the cyberspace, you got to use your discernment to filter all these information.”

“LETS PLAY FIRE WITH FIRE,” explaining “(t)hese are the exact words stated by Loida Lewis and her fellow oligarchs on a meeting months ago with Liberal Party members abroad,” adding:

Their plan is to use ISIS or ISIS-connected terrorists to instigate violence and chaos in Mindanao, wanting Duterte’s government destabilized and ousted.

If the information reported is accurate, it explains what’s now going on, likely to worsen, perhaps spread to other parts of the country.

Last week, Duterte said

“if I cannot confront (ISIS terrorists threatening the country), I will resign. “If I am incompetent and incapable of keeping order in this country, let me step down and give the job to somebody else.”

If US dirty hands are behind the ISIS insurgency, he’s got a long struggle ahead, trying to overcome the attack on him and perhaps Philippine sovereignty.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2017

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  

Philippines Making Great Progresses in Health Care for 92% Insurance- WHO

Philippine Health Insurance

Philippine Health Insurance coverage through PhilHealth riseup  to 92% to all Filipinos in 2017

PHILIPPINE HEALTH INSURANCE

The Philippines is chalking up improvements in the health-care sector, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, while pointing out that challenges remain for the country.

Dr Shin Young-soo, Regional Director for the Western Pacific of WHO, said statistics indicate that Filipinos now are living longer lives than before and this is largely due to collaborative efforts of the government, development partners and stakeholders.

“The Philippines has so many health achievements to celebrate: people born today can expect to live for more than 70 years. Innovative taxation schemes have pushed back unhealthy behaviors and tripled the health budget. More than 92 per cent of all Filipinos now benefit from national health insurance,” Dr Shin said.

Health care in the country has grown by leaps and bounds with more people getting access to medical maintenance services. In 1995, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) was established. Its mandate is to provide health insurance coverage to all Filipinos.

As of 2014, 14.7 million families have been enrolled into the system through a full National Government subsidy.

But while the Philippines is making improvements in providing health-care coverage to more Filipinos, challenges remain for the country.

“The Philippines is a fast-growing economy undergoing profound societal transformation. However, with growth and changing lifestyles come challenges of non-communicable diseases,” Dr Shin said,

Health conditions linked to poverty remain. Some 30 per cent of Filipino children are malnourished and around 30 per cent of the population lack regular access to essential medicines.

“While health insurance coverage is high, out-of-pocket payments remain high, accounting for more than half of the country’s total health expenditure,” she said.

Dr Shin said the challenge for the country is how to sustain current achievements in health care will be the “heart of WHO’s work in the country in the next five years.”

WHO and the Philippines Department of Health (DOH) launched the Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS), a mechanism which defines WHO’s strategic framework and aligns it with national health policies and programs.

The focus of the WHO CCS 2017—2022 are five unique strategic priorities that include saving lives by ensuring full access to life-saving interventions, promoting the well-being of people by empowering them to lead healthy lives, protection from disasters and mitigating its effects on peoples’ health, optimization of health architecture and maintaining its integrity and use of platforms for health and support health in all settings, policies and sectors.

“In the coming six years, we look forward to continuing to work together as partners in health [care] for the more than 100 million people of the Philippines and the 1.9 billion people of the Western Pacific Region,” Shin concluded.

UN Rapporteur Agnes Callamard Speeh Makes her Incompetent for Concluding Philippines War on Drug based on hearsay

UN Rapporteur Agnes Callamard Acting as Big Bully in the Philippines

Callamard acting as local Opposition Political Party leader in the Philippines

United Nations Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard’s early Friday Wikipedia information described her as highly paid consultant of the Philippines' opposition “Liberal Party” as she concluded her speeches without proper investigation but just taken the reports that were provided most from the liberal party groups who opposes the war on drugs in the Philippines.

Invited by the government to investigate the issue on EJK last September 2016 but refused to come and instead make a surprise visit to the Philippines to utter her conclusion against the Philippines War on Drugs without conducting a ground investigation to confirm the allegations.

Callarmard surprise visit to the Philippines is acting like a leader of the local political party to destroy the image of Duterte based on hearsays.

Malacanang on Calamard Surprise Visit

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions Agnes Callamard is now in no position to launch an independent study on the spate of drug-related killings in the country after she talked against the war on drugs at a forum in Quezon City, a Malacañang official said on Friday.

Chief presidential legal counsel Sec. Salvador Panelo told reporters Friday that Callamard already made a conclusion based on news reports, some videos, opinions of critics, and hearsays.

“First, how did she know that that’s the way the drug operations are being conducted? What’s the basis?” Panelo said.

“She just cannot come here and read newspaper reports and hear the talks of some critics and watch some videos and make a conclusion that there is something wrong the way this government is doing its job,” he added.

Panelo said that how Callamard arrived at her conclusion was more important than the circumstances of her visit in the Philippines—whether it was on her own or through an invitation.

“What I’m questioning is the basis of her conclusion, which is based on hearsay and some reports coming from whoever and from wherever. It’s not an independent study. It’s not an objective study. It’s just a conclusion on the basis of things that she heard,” Panelo said.

But Panelo indicated that the Philippine government’s invitation to Callamard was already pointless when she already made her mind on the war on drugs.

“Alangan naman pilitin siya kung ayaw niya eh. Not only that, you know, the fact alone that she already made conclusions, I don’t think she would be competent enough or objective enough to undertake any study. She already made a conclusion, on the basis of hearsay and reports and whatever,” Panelo said.

“She was saying she read reports, she saw some videos, and on the basis of that, she made a conclusion that the operation against the drug menace in this country is wrong. How can she make that kind of conclusion when she only read the reports of some people and saw some videos?" he added.

"She has to make an independent probe or investigation on what’s happening in this country. This is precisely why the President invited her to come over. But she never responded to that," Panelo said.

While Callamard earlier said that the terms the Philippine government presented for her visit were against their Code of Conduct, Panelo said it was only fair that President Rodrigo Duterte would be able to question her conclusion.

"What the President just wanted to say after the investigation is, ‘Tell us, what’s the basis of your investigation?’ What’s wrong with asking someone making an investigation, ‘This is our conclusion.’ Then the President, ‘How did you make that conclusion? Who are the people you asked? How did you come about?’" Panelo said.

"I don’t think that’s unfair. That’s a very fair response from someone who has been investigated," he added.

International Court of Justice (ICC) whom claimed to have the authority for extrajudicial killings cases around the world has been labeled as International Caucasian Justice by the African nations for its failure to file cases on Western and European countries that committed thousands extrajudicial killings while acting as superior in issuing verdicts to the African countries as mass murderer in a form of bullying  the small and poor countries.

Several African nations have left and vacated their seats at the United Nations for distrust and integrity issues of the UN for its unfair and selective justice in issuing verdicts.

88 Meters Korean Anti-Submarine Warship Offered to the Philippines for ₱5,000 Pesos Each a real deal?

Korean Pohang-Class Anti-Submarine Warship “Chungju PCC-762” Offered to Philippine Navy
Korean Pohang-Class Anti-Submarine Warship “Chungju PCC-762” Offered to Philippine Navy for $100 USD

88 Meters Korean Anti-Submarine Warship Cheaper than a Smart Phone: Philippines to buy three for ₱5,000 Pesos Each a real deal?

Korean Pohang-Class Anti-Submarine “Chungju PCC-762” which launched on 30th June 1984, commissioned on 1987 and was decommissioned on 27th December 2016 after 29 years of service in protecting Korean waters has been offered to the Philippine Navy by the Korean Government.

South Korea will transfer an ageing Pohang-class anti-submarine warship to the Philippines this year in return for just $US100 (₱ 5,000.00), boosting its capability to patrol vast maritime borders.
The 88.3 meters corvette type warship has a 1,200 tones displacement, speed of 32 knots (59 km/h), and capacity of 95 crews.

It could be fitted with armaments such as 2 x MM-38 Exocet, 1 OTO melara 76 mm/62 compact cannon, 2 x Emerlec 30 mm cannons, 4 x harpoon missiles, 2 x Nobong 40mm/70 twin cannons, 3 x Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes with 6 chung sang Eoes and 12 x mark 9 depth charges.

South Korea, next to USA for being the largest source of Philippine military hardware, from fighter jets, and patrol ships to armored vehicles and army trucks.

USA has provided almost the same armament to the Philippines in 2013 but unlike the Pohang Anti-submarine warship which cost the Philippines only $100 USD, the Hamilton Class cutters from the USA cost the Philippine government a hefty $10 Million US Dollars.

Philippines received ten FA-50 light fighters from Seoul and two more will be delivered next month to complete the 12 aircraft, 18 billion peso deal.

The Philippines has expressed interest to acquire six more similar planes.

"We are hoping to receive the vessel within the year," defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong said of the warship.

"The transfer will be in the form of a donation. We will pay a token $US100, but the corvette will still undergo refurbishment."

He said he has no idea how much the Philippines would need to spend to repair and restore the warship.

Andolong said the Philippines may acquire up to three such warships, which Seoul is replacing with newer and faster vessels.

"This may be an old ship but it will definitely enhance our capability to patrol our waters and perform counter-terrorism measures," he added.

South Korea has donated a lot of military hardware to the Philippines and has expressed gratitude for Manila's role in the 1950-53 Korean War.

Russia Warship in the Philippines for Joint Exercise; Draft for Defense Agreement for Duterte Visit may 25

Dream Meaning OF WEARING BLUE OR PURPLE
Naval Group of Russia's Pacific Fleet Makes Port Call in Philippines' Manila for 4 days- First Joint Excercise

Philippines – Russia First Joint Exercise

Russian Warship arrived in the Philippines on Thursday for joint exercises as part of a drive for new security ties under President Rodrigo Duterte's revamped foreign policy of courting the traditional foes of Manila's top ally, Washington.

The guided-missile cruiser Varyag, accompanied by the fuel tanker ship, Pechenge, are on a four-day goodwill visit to the Philippines, the second port call by Russian warships in three months.

The move is part of what Duterte describes as a pursuit of a constitutionally mandated "independent foreign policy". He has made no secret of his grudge against the United States and has made befriending Russia and China the priority of his diversification drive.

Captain Lued Lincuna, director of the Philippine navy's public affairs, said the Philippines hoped to learn from the Russians during training activities and a demonstration of advanced equipment and weapons systems.

The schedule includes training and sports activities with the flagship vessel of the Russian Pacific fleet, plus a Russian concert in a park.

Video: Naval Group of Russia's Pacific Fleet Makes Port Call in Philippines' Manila for 4 days- First Joint Excercise

Philippines – Russia Defense Agreement

Russian commander Captain Alexsei Ulyanenko said the port call would make a "significant contribution" to strengthening relations and maintaining stability in the region.

Moscow wants to help Manila combat extremism and piracy, stepping up cooperation and training in areas where the Philippines has traditionally worked closely with its former colonial master the United States.

The relationship is expected to develop further next month when Duterte and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin witness the signing of defense agreements in Moscow.

When Duterte met Putin for the first time last year, the Philippine leader spoke at length about what he called U.S. "hypocrisy".

Duterte has instructed his defense minister to look into how the Philippines could acquire modern military equipment from Russia, like drones, night-vision gear, sniper rifles, and even helicopters.

Duterte to visit Russia on May 25

President Rodrigo Duterte will be visiting Russia on May 25.

During his speech at the induction of newly elected officers of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., Duterte said Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command chief Army Major General Oscar Lactao will be joining him.

"So I'm going there with Lactao, May 25," Duterte said. "[Sabi ko sa kanya,] Maganda rin ang mga Russian. Iyon lang man ang puntahan mo. Usap kami ni Putin."

[Translation: I told Lactao, "Russians are also beautiful. At least go with me for that." Putin and I will talk.]

He also reiterated Russia's commitment to helping the Philippines.

"Sabi pa ng Russia [said], "We will have everything you need, just come here,"" he added.

Improved Philippine-Russian relations

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev told CNN Philippines' "The Source" in January that Duterte's visit to Russia is a "milestone" in the ties between the two nations.

"Both the Russian and Philippine side, we need to prepare substantial and solid package of bilateral agreements on cooperation in different fields, and we are now taking necessary efforts," Khovaev said.

He also said Russian companies are willing to explore Philippine markets. He urged Philippine companies to reciprocate and explore the Russian market as well.

"We are ready to cooperate in industries of transport, energy… including the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, telecommunications, agriculture, and many other fields. Both sides have a lot to offer," Khovaev said.

Economic, military agreements in the works

Economic ties between Manila and Moscow are at their infancy.

Russia has not had any foreign direct investment in the Philippines since 1999, central bank data showed.

Russia accounted for $43 million (around ₱2.17 billion) in overseas remittances last year, but it was only 0.2 percent of the total $26.9 billion (around ₱1.35 trillion) sent home by Filipinos from all over the world.

In addition, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said Russia committed to importing up to $2.5 billion (around ₱126 billion) worth of Philippine fruits, grains and vegetables in 2017.

Imports by Russia from the Philippines stand at $46 million (around ₱2.32 billion), according to government trade statistics.

Beyond economic links, the Philippines is also eyeing military cooperation with Russia. Defense officials have said they were looking into possible joint exercises and weapons deals with the Kremlin.

Building trust

In addition, Khovaev said he is optimistic that Filipinos would trust Russia more as the two countries build bridges.

"It's time for Filipinos to discover Russia, and vice-versa… and I have a strong belief, we'll trust each other." he said.

In a non-commissioned survey released by Pulse Asia on January 12, 38 percent of Filipinos trust Russia, while 58 percent do not.

These figures are far behind that of the United States, which has a 76 percent trust rating.

"It's a good result if we take into account so many decades of Hollywood-style Russian propaganda in your country," he said, in apparent reference to prevailing perceptions of Russia as "communist" when it was formerly known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Philippines has long been known as an ally of the U.S., even after it was colonized by the superpower from 1898 to 1946..With reports from Channel News Asia and CNN Philippines

Duterte early lead in “TIME: No. 1 Most Influential Person in the Universe” VOTE NOW! For his Crown

Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte takes early lead in TIME 100 pol Most inflential person in the universe
Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte takes early lead in TIME 100 poll.

The TIME 100— annual list of the most influential people in the world—features a number of leading artists, politicians, lawmakers, scientists and leaders of tech and business. Although TIME's editors will choose the final list of honorees, we want readers to share their choices with us as well.

Did football player Colin Kaepernick or Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins strike you as most influential this year? What about the Women's March co-chairs, Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Bob Bland? Or perhaps Steve Bannon or Kellyanne Conway, close advisers to President Donald Trump?

How about the Philippine' most popular President and  illegal drugs buster Hero "Rodrigo Roa Duterte"? will you cast your vote for him?

Cast your vote below. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. E.T. on April 16, 2017, and the winner of the reader poll will be announced immediately after. This year's official TIME 100 list will be announced April 20.

VOTE HERE!

If you want Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to be crowned as Time 2017 most influential person in the Universe then give him an unrivalled VOTE just him alone. But if you want others to compete his crown then vote the others as well as his challenger. To vote click “YES” for approval and “NO” for disapproval or if you don’t like the candidate to be crowned as most influential person. Click START POOL


Your vote counts! just vote accroding to what your heart's says.

See Who Is Winning the 2017 TIME 100 Poll here 

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

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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 rdancel@sph.com.sg StraitsTimes

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

Former U.N. General Assembly Hits Leni Robredo “IMPEACHABLE ACT”: Betraying Public Trust & Economic Sabotage

U.N. General Assembly Hits Leni Robredo “IMPEACHABLE ACT”
A former delegate to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has assailed Vice President Leni Robredo for “misrepresenting” millions of Filipinos when she addressed the 60th annual meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs via a video message that highlights alleged rights abuses in President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called war on drugs. (Photo: Asian Journal )

Former UNGA delegate hits VP Robredo for ‘misrepresenting’ Filipinos


A former delegate to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has assailed Vice President Leni Robredo for “misrepresenting” millions of Filipinos when she addressed the 60th annual meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs via a video message that highlights alleged rights abuses in President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called war on drugs.

“I am making this urgent appeal on behalf of each and every Filipino grossly misrepresented by our Vice President in the said video message, in reporting to the world what she failed to report to Philippine authorities,” said Michael Francis Acebedo Lopez, a Filipino and a former delegate to the UNGA.

Lopez noted that Vice President Robredo, whose own mandate has been called into question, with the country’s highest electoral tribunal considering the election protest against her win to be sufficient in both form and substance, “wantonly painted an impossibly grim image of the Philippine situation if only to attract international attention and action with unfounded claims and unsubstantiated allegations”.

Assuming there are actual reports received by the Office of the Vice President, Lopez said Robredo “has not only embarrassed our country, she has betrayed the public trust and committed economic sabotage, both punishable under Philippine laws”.

In the video, Robredo references the more than 7,000 people killed since the drug war began on July 1, 2016. The death toll has reportedly increased to 8,000.

“Our people have fought long for our rights and freedoms. We are not about to back down now,” she said.

Robredo also details in her video message other supposed human rights abuses occurring under the present administration — people beaten for requesting search warrants, and police detaining relatives in lieu of absconded drug suspects.

She also questions inconsistent figures on drug addiction reported by President Duterte.

Rather than a problem to be solved with bullets, Robredo said drug abuse “must be regarded as it truly is — a complex public health issue linked intimately with poverty and social inequality”.

In reporting to the world what the Vice President failed to report to Philippine authorities, Lopez said she “has not only embarrassed our country, she has betrayed the public trust and committed economic sabotage, both punishable under Philippine laws”.

“For her to say that ‘our people feel both hopeless and helpless’ is a brazen lie,” he said. “Confidence in the presidency is at an all-time high (while the same cannot be said of the vice president whose approval ratings continue to plummet). As a people, we feel hopeful and empowered like we’ve never felt before.”

“When the Vice President says 7,000 people have been killed in the President’s war on drugs, she fails to mention that this is set against the backdrop of around 700,000 to one million successful arrests and surrenders. So the figure she presents to you is not even 1 percent. And surely with the sheer number of those involved in the illicit drug trade, some police operations see suspects resisting arrest and fighting back and the police having to defend themselves resulting in casualties,” he noted.

“Every war has casualties. It is not a perfect war and I’m certain there have been abuses along the way, and these need to be looked into and those responsible must be brought to justice. But exaggerating things does not help at all.”

In responding to the call of the Vice President, Lopez said the international community “must tread carefully, lest it encroaches on our very sovereignty and our right to self-determination. And as a sovereign state, we have determined to wage an internal war (not a war against another nation) against the evils of drugs, a direction affirmed by our democratic processes when President Duterte, who included the war on drugs as one of his main programs of action, received an overwhelming mandate during the May 2016 Presidential Election. In short, the war on drugs, by extension, has the people’s mandate.”

“Any effort to disturb our democracy and sovereignty as a response to the Vice President’s irresponsible and unfounded claims will subvert the will of the Filipino people and violate our Human Right of Suffrage enshrined in both the Philippine Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 21 of the international covenant),” he stressed.

Lopez reiterated his appeal to members of the UN Body “to disregard the Philippine Vice President’s statement which is, I reiterate, a grave misrepresentation of the prevailing sentiments of our people and a gross perversion of the facts surrounding the war on drugs”.

“To my fellow Filipinos, let us remain vigilant in the face of threats to our democracy by the very people who claim to defend it,” he added. - By Lilybeth G. Ison of  Philippine Canadian Inquirer

Seven Japanese trading houses investing $3.9b in Philippines

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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. Photo:worldarchitecturenews.com

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.

“NO FLUKE”

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

Finance Minister Dominguez III Asks Jack Ma to Remove Faked Tax Stamps from Alibaba

Finance Minister Dominguez III Asks Jack Ma to Remove fake Tax Stamps from Alibaba
Fake BIR Stamps pre-printed by MEIKEI Printing Co., LTD in China for cigarette boxes sold online. The same case as the Mighty Corporation with pre-printed BIR Tax Stamps. Source: https://sc01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1yKS.NXXXXXatXVXXq6xXFXXXl/Customized-OEM-cigar-label.jpg an image stored at Alibaba server aliccdn.com 

Philippines asks Jack Ma to remove fake tax stamps from Alibaba

Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III wrote a letter to Jack Ma, asking the latter to remove fake Philippine tax stamps on the Alibaba website.

“If you go to Alibaba.com, you can see there an item [option] to buy fake Philippine cigarette stamps,” Dominguez said during a tax reform forum in Metro Manila’s Makati City on Friday.

“I wrote a letter to Jack Ma to ask him to remove it from his website because that [online sale] is hurting the Philippine interests,” said Dominguez, adding he has started a campaign telling people not to buy the fake Philippine tax stamps online.

The Philippine government has been investigating Alexander Wong Chu King, president of Mighty Corporation, for allegedly using fake tax stamps worth P1.5 billion (Dh109 million) to avoid paying taxes. It is not yet known if he bought the fake Philippine tax stamps online or he had them printed in Manila.

>Screen captured of zoom image of faked BIR Stamp taxed pre-printed in China. If BIR will examine these stamps would realy turned not exists in their databased because these are pre-printed
Screen captured of zoom image of faked BIR Stamp taxed pre-printed in China. If BIR will examine these stamps would realy turned not exists in their databased because these are pre-printed. Source website address as appeared in the photo. ( https://goo.gl/Pzvw43 )

Dominguez asked Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to “move fast”for the lifting of a temporary restraining order issued by a lower court in Manila on Monday which prevented the Bureau of Customs (BOC) from raiding and inspecting the warehouses of Mighty Corporation.

The TRO would be good for 20 days, from March 3 to 23, 2017.

Packs of cigarettes with fake tax stamps were also seized from Mighty Corp’s container vans in ports in Tacloban City, central Philippines; in a warehouse in Pampanga, central Luzon; and in General Santos and Zamboanga cities in southern Philippines, the BOC said.

Letter of Philippine Finance Minister (Secretary) to Jack Ma regarding the faked BIR Tax Stamps appearing in his Alibaba online store
Letter of Philippine Finance Minister (Secretary) to Jack Ma regarding the faked BIR Tax Stamps appearing in his Alibaba online store

Forged stamps found in King’s warehouse in Pampanga alone could amount to P1 billion in revenue losses for the government, said Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) chief Caesar Dulay.

Earlier, President Rodrigo asked King to double to ₱3 billion its tax liability of ₱1.5 billion in a compromised settlement, adding the money will be used for the repair of two public hospitals in the southern Philippines and one in Metro Manila.

“The taxes that he did not pay, whether intentionally or not, can be settled or compromised. That’s the word [used] in law. The ₱1.5 billion worth of fake tax stamps that he has printed, double that amount [in paying back the government], and I’ll forget to press charges [of tax evasion against him],” explained Duterte, adding, “His [King’s initial] offer to pay ₱1.5 billion, that’s not acceptable for me. He should make it ₱3 billion.”

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, adding that King could also be charged with economic sabotage and bribery, said King sent to Duterte a package with a pile of cash.

On March 7, when Duterte ordered the arrest of King, the latter met with National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre.

Both the BIR and the BOC have started to prepare an air-tight case against King, said Finance Secretary Dominguez. -with sources from Manila Bulletin and the Gulf News

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.

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our T&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights.

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 

Duterte Approved ₱200 Billion National Broadband for “Faster Internet Philippines”

₱200 Billion National Broadband for “Fast Internet Philippines
President Duterte Approved the ₱200 Billion National Broadband for “Fast Internet Philippines”. illustration photo: Techblade.ph 

Cabinet secretary: Duterte approves national broadband program


President Rodrigo Duterte gave the go signal for a national broadband program, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol announced.

The approval came during latest Cabinet meeting, after Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima gave his presentation.

"President Rody Duterte has approved the establishment of a National Government Portal and a National Broadband Plan during the 13th Cabinet Meeting in Malacañang today," Piñol shared on Facebook during the meeting.

Average Internet Speed of the Philippines slightly rise from 1.4Mbps in Q1 2013 to 3.5Mbps in Q1 2016
Average Internet Speed of the Philippines slightly rise from 1.4Mbps in Q1 2013 to 3.5Mbps in Q1 2016. Illustration Photo: Inquirer.net

Piñol quoted Duterte as saying he would like DICT "to develop a national broadband plan to accelerate the deployment of fiber optics cables and wireless technologies to improve internet speed."

Salalima promised last year that 2017 would mark faster Internet for social media-loving Filipinos.

In November, DICT proposed setting up a national broadband network that would primarily cater to rural areas. The project, which could cost as much as P200 billion, was estimated to take three years to complete.

Gov't wants to build ₱200-B national broadband network

It is still unclear if this is the exact plan that Duterte approved.

The Philippines marked one of the lowest Internet speeds in a State of the Internet Report released last year by U.S.-based content delivery network Akamai Technologies Inc.

Top 12 World's fastest Internet, South Korea rank no. 1. Top 12 World's fastest Internet, South Korea rank no. 1. Illustration Photo: businessinsider.com

In the third quarter of 2016, it had an average connection speed of 4.2 Mbps, ranking at 103rd globally. South Korea, which was recorded to have the fastest Internet speed worldwide, averaged 26.3 Mbps. - CNN

Cebu Travel Bullish: 12 % Up - Chinese Tourists Visiting the Islands

Filipinos in South Korea
Paradise Island of Cebu, Central Philippines

More Chinese tourists seen visiting Cebu on better ties

The management of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport is bullish that the volume of Chinese tourists coming in the Philippines via Cebu will continue to increase this year, due to much-improved relations between the two countries.

GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. President Louie B. Ferrer said China has proven to be a significant market for the airport operator, as Chinese tourists now make up 12 percent of the total passenger count at the Cebu air hub from just 8 percent in 2015.  “China is a really an important market for us. Our focus is on China because of the opportunity of the Chinese market,” he said. “We expect a lot from the tourism side, and even businesses.”

Currently, there are two Mainland Chinese airlines flying in and out of Cebu: Xiamen Airlines and Sichuan Airlines.  “China Eastern has also signified its interest,” Ferrer said.

As such, the company is hoping that the Chinese government will set up an embassy in Cebu to further support growth in the Queen City of the South.

“Were also hoping to have visa on arrival for Chinese visitors,” Ferrer said.

GMR-Megawide is targeting to breach the 10-million passenger mark for the airport by the end of 2017. The airport clocked in a 11.5-percent increase in passenger volume to 8.9 million passengers in 2016, from 7.98 million passengers the year prior.  The Filipino-Indian joint venture started operating the airport in Mactan in November 2014, after winning the deal to modernize the existing facility while building a second terminal to support projected growth.

Slated to open in June 2018, Terminal 2 will increase passenger capacity to 12.5 million. The new terminal, spanning 65,500 square meters, will not only lessen congestion but will also offer an exciting and wide-ranging retail environment. The architectural design is inspired by Cebu’s island heritage. - Lorenz S. Marasigan Business Mirror

Where to Stay in Cebu?

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