Today's Top Stories

  • MSU student shot inside campus still in coma

    MSU student shot inside campus still in coma

    A freshman student at the Mindanao State University (MSU) main campus in Marawi City is still in coma at the Amai Pakpak Medical Center where he was rushed after he was shot at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the commercial center inside campus. Ivan Polinar Almeda of Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, is a freshman at the College of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (CSPEAR) and a badminton varisty player. Reports say Almeda was shot from behind by a still unidentified man. Authorities are still investigating the incident. How the perpetrator managed to bring a gun inside campus has yet to be answered. Marawo City remains, like the rest of Mindanao, under martial law. MSU President Habib Macaayong told MindaNews in a text message at 8:30 p.m. Thursday that Almeda was “in coma, now under medication” at the APMC.  At 1 p.m.. on Friday, Macaayong told MindaNews in a telephone interview that Almeda was still comatose. At 4 p.m., Almeda still lay comatose, he said. “The MSU Security, with the military and police are investigating the case,” said Macaayong, who said he immediately made arrangements with the hospital for the expenses and for Almeda’s family to come to Marawi. Almeda’s mother, Genevieve and a neighbor arrived early Friday morning in Iligan and Macaayong had them brought to the APMC in Marawi immediately. The MSU President told MindaNews he summoned the students who were with Almeda when he was shot and was informed that what has been spreading via social media about an alleged  fight during a game or a ‘love triangle’ issue were not true “We are still awaiting the results of the investigation,” Macaaayong said. On Thursday night, he appealed for calm and sobriety in an advisory addressed to “All University Constituents MSU.” “The dastardly shooting of an innocent freshmen student is an unfortunate but isolated case. We condemn the brutal act in the harshest terms,” he said. “As University President and father, I ask everyone, Muslims and Christians alike, to pray for the victim. I assure you that all security measures are in place and that an investigation is now being conducted with the cooperation of the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the Army,” he said. Macaayong vowed to exhaust all means to “find the perpetrator and make him suffer full force of the law.” Lawyer Ras Mitmug of Marawi, a Member of Parliament in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, condemned the shooting of  Almeda. He urged the school administration and authorities to”fully investigate this incident, to bring the perpetrators to trial and ensure Almeda and his family receive justice.” MSU, he siad, was established “to be the melting pot of the south, a center for people from diverse backgrounds, cultures and faiths.” “We cannot continue to call it so by turning a blind eye to these heinous crimes,” Mitmug, former Eduction Secretary in the defunct Autonomous

    October 18, 2019

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  • Del Rosario: Sectors 1 to 7 of Marawi’s Ground Zero cleared of UXOs

    Del Rosario: Sectors 1 to 7 of Marawi’s Ground Zero cleared of UXOs

     Sectors 1 to 7 in Marawi’s Ground Zero have been cleared of unexploded bombs, while 17 to 18 more bombs have yet to be recovered in Sectors 8 and 9, Housing Secretary and Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) chair Eduardo del Rosario said on Thursday, October 17,  the second anniversary of President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Marawi as having been ”liberated from the terrorist influence.” Del Rosario said the task force’s deadline for clearing UXOs is October 31, two weeks from October 17, and debris clearing on November 30 so rehabilitation work can finally begin by December 1, initially with the construction of the road network with underground cables for electricity, water and telecommunications, the 24 barangay halls with health center and madrasah, and the grand padian (central market). Can TFBM beat the deadline? Del Rosario is confident they can. “We have cleared Sectors 1 to 7 already. We’re now in Sectors 8 and 9 so in those seven sectors we can say bombs were cleared already, he told a press conference Thursday noon in Ground Zero’s Sector 8. But he explained that there are still buildings in Sectors 8 and 9 – the most heavily-bombarded area as it was the last stand of the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group and its allies -- that have to be cleared. “If we do not see any bombs anymore, then we can declare that all sectors where bombs were delivered and did not explode were cleared already. That extends 50 meters from the intended location of the bombs,” he said, adding they have asked the contractor to “conduct one general sweep of the area to ensure we are not missing any portion of the MAA (Main Affected Area)” or Ground Zero. “But there is one gray area that I would like to emphasize,” he said, noting that they are targeting 4,000 buildings for clearing and have completed clearing “2,400 plus” and expect to complete all these, about 2850, by November 30.” He said there remains about 1,000 buildings whose owners did not give consent for demolition. “That is one issue that would be a problem in the future because there is a possibility that in those buildings, there might be bombs but since they do not like it to be touched, that is something that we have to discuss and find out the safety considerations in those about 800 to 1000 buildings,” he said. 21 of 70 recovered At the consultation/dialogue with Marawi’s internally displaced persons (IDPs or bakwits) in mid-March this year, Del Rosario said  the MAA was already 90% cleared as “more than 4,500 explosives were already recovered” but the biggest concern” is the recovery of 49 ammunitions “as big as 500-pounder” general purpose (GP) bombs. He said the 49 GP bombs – 110, 260 and 500 pounds --  are “scattered all over the MAA and that is the reason why we do not like you to go back there for your safety. On May 6, in his presentation to the Cabinet, Del Rosario said a total of 3,973 unexploded ordnance have been retrieved from Ground Zero, along with 816 improvised explosive devices, and 21 of 70 GP bombs. His presentation showed 13 of 16 500-pounder bombs, four of 17 260-pounder and four of 37 110-pounder had been recovered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), leaving 49 more unrecovered. On Thursday, Del Rosario said that during  the recent assessment by the AFP and Eddmari Construction and Trading, the TFBM’s contractor for UXO and debris clearing, “we were  down to 20 last month and two 260 pounders were found just last week and weeks ago. So we are down to about 17 or 18 bombs that we are looking for.” After the press conference, MindaNews asked Del Rosario why he said the remaining bombs were “17 or 18” when Eddmari recovered only eight GP bombs. 29 of 70 recovered The National Housing Authority (NHA) and Eddmari matrix on “GP bomb monitoring” as of October 10 shows 21 of the bombs were recovered by the AFP while eight were recovered by Eddmari for a total of 29 out of 70 unexploded bombs. This leaves 41 more to be recovered. He explained the contractor, with the use of technology, scanned the area for bombs, guided by the grid coordinates from the Philippine Air Force on where they dropped the bombs that were reported not to have exploded. He said the search was extended 50 to 100 meters from the supposed site of explosion but could not find any within 100 meters. “Sinabi nila cleared na ito” (They said this area is cleared). He said the same procedure is being undertaken in Sectors 8 and 9. “Maari kasing sinabi ng Air Force na hindi pumutok pero nagkaroon ng detonation” And meron namang incident na kinukuha nila but it was found out na ang depth na 12 meters hindi na ma-penetrate kasi at the depth of 3 meters tubig na.  Di na makukuha talaga. So ineu-nuetralize na nila yun kahit na hindi mo nakuha physically” (It could be that the Air force said it did not explode but there was actually a detonation. And there are incidents when they tried to retrieve it but it was found out that they could no longer penetrate 12 meters because at three meters deep, it’s already water. You cannot retrieve them anymore. So they will just neutralize that even if they didn’t get that physically), he said. “You cannot get it anymore, like a depth of  15 meters,” he said, adding, “di ka naman magtatayo ng building doon dahil tubig na yung ilalim non” (you are not going to construct a building there because it’s water underneath). He explained that even if they can no longer retrieve the bomb because of its depth, they would tell the lot or building owner “meron dito at depth of 15 meters in this location” (there’s one here in this location, 15 meters deep). “Ganon na ang gagawin.  Pero hindi na (kukunin). Iwasan mo na lang pagka nagpagawa sila ng kung anumang structure” (That is what we will do. Not retrieve it anymore because of the depth. Just find a way to avoid it when you have a structure built,” he told MindaNews. 44 of 70 in Sectors 8, 9 According to the NHA-Eddmari matrix, Eddmari recovered eight bombs: three 500-pounder, two 260-pounder and three 110-pounder. Of the three 500-pounder bombs recovered, one was found in Sector 6 on September 12, one in Sector 7 on the same day and one in Sector 9 on October 10.  Recovery of the three means all 16 500-pounder unexploded bombs have been recovered. Del Rosario said all recovered bombs have been detonated. There was a detonation at 10 a.m. on October 16 of a 260-pound bomb in Sector 8. The matrix also shows that 44 or more than half of the 70 unexploded bombs were dropped in Sectors 8 and 9 -- 24 in Sector 8 and 20 in Sector 9; two in Sector 1, none in Sectors 2 and 3, six in Sector 4, seven in Sector 5, four in Sector 6 and seven in Sector 7. As of October 10, Eddmari recovered one 260-pound bomb in Sector 8 and one 500-pound bomb in Sector 9, both on October 10;  one 260-pound in Sector 2 on July 31; two 110-pound and one 500-pound bomb in Sector 4 and one 500-pound in Sector 5, all on September 12; one 110-pound in Sector 6 on September 27. The TFBM’s deadline to clear UXOs in sectors 8 and 9 is on October31. Del Rosario expects President Duterte to sign an Executive Order “within the month” that would designate NHA, to be the lead agency for the road network project in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways, Local Water Utilities Administration, National Electrification Administration and Department of Information and Communications Technology.

    October 18, 2019

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  • Group asks Mayor Sara to sustain ban on pigs, pork products due to ASF

    Group asks Mayor Sara to sustain ban on pigs, pork products due to ASF

    The Hog Farmers of Davao, Inc. (Hog FADI) has asked City Mayor Sara Duterte to sustain her Executive Order banning the entry of live pigs and pork products in Davao City after Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Año encouraged local government units in Visayas and Mindanao to lift the temporary ban on pork products. Speaking on behalf of Hog FADI, Alvin Teves, said lifting the temporary ban would endanger the local hog industry as the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to affect some parts of Luzon.   The City Government of Davao has temporarily banned the entry of live pigs and pork products following the outbreak of the dreaded AFS in some areas in Luzon, 16 days after the Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of the disease in the country. In an executive order issued last month, the mayor said the temporary ban “applies to all live pigs, pork and pork-related products and by-products, whether fresh, frozen, processed or cooked, including but not limited to frozen boar semen, from the entire island of Luzon and the other ASF-affected areas.” The same measure prohibited the swill feeding to the backyard hog raisers to prevent the spread of the virus to other swine, as the food scraps may contain infected pork meat. Teves said his group is against the lifting of the temporary ban since the government admitted it lacked the facility to test the presence of the ASF in pork products. “Unsay i-protect sa DA sa amoa? Wala (What will the DA do to protect us? None),” he said. Last Tuesday, Teves said the Samahang Industrya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), the umbrella organization of various agricultural groups engaged in farming, fisheries, and livestock, of which Hog FADI is a member,  sent a letter to Secretary, expressing their concerns that lifting the ban “will run counter to the efforts that were put in place by several local government units like Bohol and Cebu in the Visayas and Davao City in Mindanao to protect the local hog industries from the global outbreak of the African Swine Fever.” Teves said checkpoints had been established at all entry and exit points, including airport and seaport, here to inspect the entry of the products so pork products from outside the city will not be brought in. He said Mindanao Visayas remain safe from ASF but added the LGUs have to remain vigilant. He said SINAG members emphasized that “there is no other sector that has incurred more losses because of the ASF outbreak than the hog industry as the processed meat industry is minusculeas compared to the P500 billion hog industry and allied businesses.” According to Teves, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) had confirmed that canned goods seized at the Clark International Airport last June 14 were contaminated with the ASF virus. “In that same month, more than 600 kilos of banned imported pork products from Belgium and another batch from Poland, but originating in Germany were seized by the City Veterinary Office in Cebu. Another shipment containing 4,000 kilos of imported frozen pork from Germany was seized in Sta Maria, in Bulacan last June 30,” he said. 

    October 18, 2019

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  • Group asks Mayor Sara to sustain ban on pigs, pork products due to ASF

    Group asks Mayor Sara to sustain ban on pigs, pork products due to ASF

    The Hog Farmers of Davao, Inc. (Hog FADI) has asked City Mayor Sara Duterte to sustain her Executive Order banning the entry of live pigs and pork products in Davao City after Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Año encouraged local government units in Visayas and Mindanao to lift the temporary ban on pork products. Speaking on behalf of Hog FADI, Alvin Teves, said lifting the temporary ban would endanger the local hog industry as the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to affect some parts of Luzon. The City Government of Davao has temporarily banned the entry of live pigs and pork products following the outbreak of the dreaded AFS in some areas in Luzon, 16 days after the Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of the disease in the country. In an executive order issued last month, the mayor said the temporary ban “applies to all live pigs, pork and pork-related products and by-products, whether fresh, frozen, processed or cooked, including but not limited to frozen boar semen, from the entire island of Luzon and the other ASF-affected areas.” The same measure prohibited the swill feeding to the backyard hog raisers to prevent the spread of the virus to other swine, as the food scraps may contain infected pork meat. Teves said his group is against the lifting of the temporary ban since the government admitted it lacked the facility to test the presence of the ASF in pork products. “Unsay i-protect sa DA sa amoa? Wala (What will the DA do to protect us? None),” he said. Last Tuesday, Teves said the Samahang Industrya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), the umbrella organization of various agricultural groups engaged in farming, fisheries, and livestock, of which Hog FADI is a member,  sent a letter to Secretary, expressing their concerns that lifting the ban “will run counter to the efforts that were put in place by several local government units like Bohol and Cebu in the Visayas and Davao City in Mindanao to protect the local hog industries from the global outbreak of the African Swine Fever.” Teves said checkpoints had been established at all entry and exit points, including airport and seaport, here to inspect the entry of the products so pork products from outside the city will not be brought in. He said Mindanao Visayas remain safe from ASF but added the LGUs have to remain vigilant. He said SINAG members emphasized that “there is no other sector that has incurred more losses because of the ASF outbreak than the hog industry as the processed meat industry is minusculeas compared to the P500 billion hog industry and allied businesses.” According to Teves, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) had confirmed that canned goods seized at the Clark International Airport last June 14 were contaminated with the ASF virus. “In that same month, more than 600 kilos of banned imported pork products from Belgium and another batch from Poland, but originating in Germany were seized by the City Veterinary Office in Cebu. Another shipment containing 4,000 kilos of imported frozen pork from Germany was seized in Sta Maria, in Bulacan last June 30,” he said. 

    October 18, 2019

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IPC Signs MOA with JZGMSAT

October 14, 2019

Motoring

By: , Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) and the Jacobo Z. Gonzales Memorial School of Arts and Trade (JZGMSAT) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) last September.      This was the second MOA signing between IPC and JZGMSAT. The first was on July 3, 2017, wherein IPC donated three mock-up/cutaway engines, and implemented its Diesel Engine Technology Training Program to JZGMSAT students enrolled in the Automotive Servicing course.      In the September 3 MOA signing, IPC turned over two Automotive Lifters, another mock-up Isuzu engine, and five computers. The addition of the Lifters are seen to help the students accomplish their NC3 Automotive Servicing accreditation. After the signing, JZGMSAT trainees performed a demonstration of their servicing skills. Alumni of the JZGMSAT Automotive Servicing course were also on hand to convey their special message during the formal signing ceremonies.      IPC President Hajime Koso remarked during his speech before students and guests at the signing ceremony that, as IPC has remained true to its mantra of being “Your Responsible Partner”, it has always prioritized efforts to contribute “to the progress of society.”      “Without a progressive society, no business will grow. IPC’s goal, then, is to help create a knowledge-sharing culture in the Philippines. That is why, we invest on knowledge. Knowledge inspires innovation. Innovation, on the other hand, is the key to a progressive, healthy economy,” Mr. Koso said.      IPC first trained 12 CALABARZON-TESDA Automotive Trainers on Diesel Engine Technology at the IPC Plant in June 2017, in preparation for the first MOA between IPC and JZGMSAT. The full implementation of the training program for the initial batch of 114 JZGMSAT students was held July 2017 to May 2018.      The training program covered topics such as: Direct and Indirect Fuel Injection; Valve trains; Carbon Dioxide Reduction Technology; Common Rail Fuel Injection, and; Engine Management System.      The new MOA will add the Isuzu PUV Modernized Jeepney Model Product Review to the training program scheduled for 2020. This includes topics on the main features and specifications of the modernized Isuzu PUVs, and a familiarization of their drivetrain and under chassis components.      Under the new MOA, IPC will also provide an opportunity to qualified JZGMSAT students for possible employment in Isuzu dealerships that need technicians. The MOA signing was witnessed by representatives of IPC, JZGMSAT, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Signing the MOA were IPC President Hajime Koso, JZGMSAT Vocational School Administrator III Benito Reyes, and TESDA Regional Director Florencio Sunico, Jr.

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Isuzu Celebrates 5th Year of mu-X with Limited Edition mu-X Boondock

October 14, 2019

Motoring

By: , Five years after its market introduction, Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) hosted a special Grand Family Event to celebrate its best-selling SUV, the Isuzu mu-X.      Held at the Filinvest Tent Alabang, IPC invited some 300 Isuzu vehicles coming from their big car clubs – Team Isuzu Pilipinas, Team Isuzu Car Enthusiast and mu-X Owners Philippines in a whole day of fun and activities like the car club motor show, mini games, parts & accessories display, Isuzu iconic vehicle display and a free concert at the end of the day.      “Introduced in 2014, the Isuzu mu-X became an instant hit to Filipino families nationwide, mainly due to its excellent performance, elegant styling and outstanding comfort – factors that are very important for a family vehicle,” said IPC President Hajime Koso.      During the event, IPC also introduced its latest addition to the mu-X line-up, a limited 5th year anniversary edition, the Isuzu mu-X Boondock. The Isuzu mu-X Boondock is more than just aesthetics, its lift kit suspension and off-road tires are designed for off-roading performance.      The Boondock Edition is based on the popular mu-X 3.0L LS-A. Equipped with upgraded features to increase ride height to 247mm and get that off-road look that the Boondock is known for. Running on the ever reliable 4JJ1-TC Blue Power Engine, the mu-X Boondock can provide 177PS maximum power and 380 N-m maximum torque, that is EURO 4 compliant.      Completing its off-road look, the new Isuzu mu-X Boondock comes with a gray over fender, newly designed front bumper, steel step board with Boondock logo and a fully functional roof rail with cross bar, perfect for family road trips.      “Isuzu mu-X Boondock Limited Edition is truly as special treat to the mid-size SUV market. Coming from the success of the Boondock Series, this variant is a great addition to the mu-X line-up. Which has proven its outstanding performance, impressive design, comfort, safety and over-all reliability as family vehicle in the past five years,” Koso added.      Available in 4×2 automatic transmission, the mu-X Boondock comes exclusively for Havana Brown body color.

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Nissan Cagayan de Oro hosts Patrol Royale night

October 14, 2019

Motoring

By: Text and Photos by MARK FRANCISCO, NISSAN Cagayan de Oro under president Jefferson Rolida brought to Cagayan de Oro last October 11 top executives of Nissan Philippines led by president and managing director Atsushi Najima for the Nissan Patrol Royale night.      The event at Grand Caprice Restaurant was meant to introduce to the public in Cagayan de Oro City and nearby areas the new 2019 Nissan Patrol Royale which is the latest iteration of the Patrol line.      Along this line, exclusive discounts and financing schemes were offered on the day of the event only and to entice the public, a 50” LED smart television set and five action cameras were raffled off to the participants.      Nissan Philippines also brought to the venue the winners of the recently concluded Miss Asia Pacific International 2019 – grand winner Chaiyenne Husiman, first runner-up Eonna Constanza, second runner-up Jessica Cianchino and fourth runner-up Fiorella Cortez Arbenz to spice up the event.      The new 2019 Nissan Patrol Royale is part of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility series.      “We’re using new technologies to transform cars from mere driving machines into partners. Together, the journey is more confident, connected and exciting. It’s a future already taking shape in the Nissan you drive today,” remarked Najima.      The new 2019 Nissan Patrol Royale is made with more power. Dominate your drive with a maximum power of 400 hp/5,800 rpm and a maximum torque of 560 Nm/4,000 rpm.      Control your drive with a seven-speed transmission that can shift to a manual shift mode. Relax inside the luxurious cabin with interior trims and premium leather seats, now with a tan option. Enjoy your ride with the 8” multisource entertainment system equipped with BOSE premium audio and smartphone connectivity.      Using a virtual 360-degree bird’s eye view that provides a full perspective while parking, the onboard cameras give you visual and audible alerts when the system detects movement around your vehicle. In reverse, the display helps you see what’s directly behind you while the overhead view helps with smaller objects that may be hidden below your window. The side is a great help for seeing how close you are to the curb. With a front and overhead view, you know just how far to pull up without going too far. This is Intelligent Mobility at work.      Nissan Cagayan de Oro is located at Elipe Park, Rodolfo N. Pelaez Blvd., this city.

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Suzuki PH Unleashes the All-new Katana

October 14, 2019

Motoring

By: , Suzuki Philippines Inc. (SPH), together with Wheeltek, unveiled the much-awaited all-new Katana during the recently concluded Moto Heritage Weekend 2019.       Forged to perfection and polished to a magnificent radiance. Engineered to provide maximum control and optimum performance. Finely crafted to take riding pleasure to a new level. The Suzuki Katana is destined to create a new legend.      From the sharp lines and highlights defining the length of its body to the rider-friendly performance of its 110kW (150PS) engine, every detail of the Suzuki KATANA speaks of distinctive beauty.      While its design cues pay due homage to the iconic GSX1100S Katana, which stole the hearts of riders around the world in 1981, the Katana is a thoroughly modern machine that is breathtaking to behold and inspiring to ride.      The Japanese katana is beautiful to gaze upon and unbelievably exciting to wield. The epitome of fine craftsmanship, this famed sword combines sophisticated Japanese aesthetics and pure beauty into a sharp design. These characteristics made it the perfect motif for the Suzuki Katana.      The Katana also symbolizes well Suzuki’s uncompromising commitment to craftsmanship. Suzuki’s dedication to creating distinctive beauty includes paying due respect to tradition while at the same time aiming to incorporate the latest advances in styling and technology. Built to delight and polished to perfection, the Suzuki Katana is ready to forge the path to a new era of riding excitement.      Distinctive styling points abound. The LED headlight and LED front position lights accent the sharp lines of the cowling that covers the custom-designed instrument panel. The sleek two-tone seat is comfortable, and the seat strap provides the passenger with a good grip. The tail light features a striking lighting pattern, and the satellite rear fender extending from the swingarm complements the clean, compact and sharp look of the rear. All this is complemented by the Katana’s upswept black muffler.      Japanese swordsmiths devote countless hours to repeatedly forging, hammering, folding and welding raw steel to achieve the right balance needed for the blade to perform optimally. This process is absolutely critical in achieving the desired result.      Fired by the same spirit, Suzuki’s development team tested and tuned each component time and again until they were satisfied the Katana would deliver the optimal balance of power, comfort and control.      At the heart of the Katana’s powerful performance is a custom long-stroke version of the legendary fuel-injected 999cm3 inline-four engine that first proved itself on the 2005-2008 GSX-R1000. Its broad torque output range combines with a new throttle control that delivers this power smoothly. Both the induction roar and exhaust note are tuned to heighten the visceral sense of riding pleasure, while also contributing to performance and combustion efficiency.      Putting this power on the road in a controllable, effective manner is a back-torque-limiting clutch, Suzuki’s three-mode traction control system, and new tires with a tubeless inner structure designed exclusively for the Katana. FUJICO disc brakes with Brembo front brake calipers and an Antilock Brake System (ABS) provide reliable and predictable stopping power.      The all-new Katana is available at an SRP of P 817,000.      Source: www.globalsuzuki.com

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Johndorf unveils latest CDO offering Orchard District

September 27, 2019

Corporate

By: Mark Francisco, ORCHARD District – the latest offering of Johndorf Ventures Corporation in uptown Cagayan de Oro City – was introduced to the public last Thursday (September 26, 2019) via a ceremony at Limketkai Luxe Hotel here. According to president and CEO Richard Lim, Orchard District is branded as a modern integrated township amidst a natural landscape. Encompassing Upper Balulang and Lumbia, Orchard District is in line with the city government’s vision of transforming uptown Cagayan de Oro into another growth area. Surrounded by mango orchards on one side and a ridge overlooking the scenic Cagayan River on the other, the aptly named 43-hectare Orchard District will have multiple residential and community retail options. The first residential development of the project is Videre, a 12-hectare planned subdivision with a choice of single attached or duplex homes. Inside will be a clubhouse with pool, a basketball court and other amenities. During the launch, Mayor Oscar Moreno thanked Johndorf Ventures Corporation for choosing uptown Cagayan de Oro in their latest investment. Moreno said the new growth area will feature a new extensive road network from the northern tip of Bukidnon going all the way to Laguindingan airport. He also praised Johndorf’s resiliency, noting that the company was founded in 1985 when the country was in an era of regional and national instability. From its humble beginnings in Iligan City then, the company has subsequently expanded its operations in other major cities in Mindanao as well as in Cebu City. Today, it is one of the top homegrown developers in Cebu and Northern and Southern Mindanao.

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USTP asks Italpinas help in developing green campus spaces

September 26, 2019

Corporate

By: Mark Francisco,   THE University of Science and Technology of the Philippines (USTP) has inked a partnership with environment realty champions Italpinas Development Corporation to develop environmental-themed curricula as well as consult in transforming their campuses into more green-friendly spaces. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing was inked between Italpinas Development Corporation chairman and CEO Romolo Nati and USTP vice chancellor Consorcio Namoco Jr. last Thursday at the USTP Chancellor’s Office in its Cagayan de Oro City main campus along CM Recto Avenue. Namoco said they are looking forward working with Italpinas in the conduct of seminars and symposia related to green building technologies and sustainable urban development and innovation, participation in the enhancement and reviews of relevant curricular progams and conduct of collaborative projects, among others. In particular, Namoco said they are looking into the possibility pending Ched approval of offering a Master in Sustainable Development and Master in Public Innovation programs there. These programs, he pointed out, will try to lessen the gap between industry and academe. Italpinas will likewise be tapped to enhance the already environment-friendly main campus such as creating a rain catchment there which could be use to water the plants and toilets. The rain catchment would also serve as the university’s response to perennial flooding in the area. Namoco added that they will also be consulting with Italpinas on how to develop their 292-hectare soon to be campus in Alubijid, Misamis Oriental to make it environment friendly. For his part, Nati said they chose USTP as their partner since it is the premier educational institution in the region that is science-centric. “In our ten years of doing business in Cagayan de Oro, we thank the community for welcoming us. That is why we want to give back something to our host community,” he said.

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Laguindingan Airport Expansion PPP proposal expected approved by year end

September 24, 2019

Corporate

By: MIKE BAÑOS, The original proponent of the Public Private Partnership to expand the Laguindingan Airport (IATA: CGY, ICAO: RPMY) expects government to approve its proposal by the end of 2019. “Because of the National Development Authority – Investment Coordinating Council (NEDA-ICC) wanting us to copy the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) contract from Clark, we basically had to start from square one, rewrite the entire contract; we have submitted it to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), they have approved it, and it is now being reviewed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) before submission to NEDA ICC,” said Jose Emmanuel Reverente, VP-Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. (AIC) during a presentation during the 28th Mindanao Business Conference held recently in Iligan City. Aboitiz InfraCapital Vice President for Finance Jose Emmanuel Reverente presents  their vision of the check-in counters for the expanded Laguindingan Airport by 2022 under their P42.7 Bilion unsolicited proposal “Since we have copied the Bohol Panglao Airport proposal that has been approved by NEDA ICC Technical Committee, we are optimistic the revised Laguindingan contract will go through much faster,” he added. “We are very hopeful by the end of this year, the contract can be awarded to us after the Swiss Challenge process.” Last February 26, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) granted AIC original proponent status (OPS) for its unsolicited proposal to upgrade, expand, operate, and maintain the Laguindingan Airport  for a 35-year concession period. Reverente said AIC use the lens of “infrastructure ecosystems” currently acting on the following spaces: airports, passive telecommunications infrastructure (common towers), water and sanitation to drive economic progress and uplift the lives of every Filipino. It is part of the NAIA consortium that aims to improve the NAIA, and Bohol Panglao International Airport. Regional Gateway AIC said the Laguindingan Airport is a strategic entry point into Northern Mindanao which has experienced tremendous growth over the past years and is progressively catching up with the more developed parts of the country. “As a regional airport serving Northern Mindanao and its adjacent regions, CGY/RPMY  has been serving six provinces, two highly urbanized cities and five component cities with an average of two million passengers annually for the last three (3) years,” said Ma. Teresa R. Alegrio, Region X Governor of the Philippine Chamber  of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), which has been instrumental in pushing for the airport’s immediate expansion.  “Laguindingan Airport has become an important logistic network for over 150 medium to large scale industries including four major thermal power plants, the Agus-Pulangi Hydroelectric Complex. 3 industrial parks, and emerging tourism destinations,” Alegrio noted.  “Our proposal to the national government is to run the Laguindingan International Airport including operations, maintenance, rehabilitation, and expansion over a 35 year concession,” Reverente said. “Our plan is to spend initially P4.2 billion pesos to expand the airport; and a total of P43-billion pesos over the concession period half for repairs/capital expenditure and the other half to maintain a high state of readiness of the capital assets,” he added. Immediate Expansion Reverente said the first phase of their plan calls for the immediate expansion of the terminal building. “It is not in our best interests to construct it over a long period of time. We will want to finish it as soon as possible, so we can have that capacity readily available. We prefer to build it in phases. An integrated PPP approach that allows us to build and operate the airport is the right combination so the P43-billion we would like to invest into the expansion  and maintenance,” he said. It’s one thing to build the infrastructure but another thing to maintain its operational readiness over the entire concession period, he stressed. Passenger Traffic Growth When it started operations in 15 June 2013, air passenger traffic at the Cagayan de Oro Lumbia Airport that Laguindingan Airport was designed to replace had already exceeded the 1.6 million design capacity of the new passenger terminal building (PTB). “To put it bluntly, the replacement airport was congested upon opening,” said a former DOTC official involved in its planning. When the passenger traffic exceeded 2 million annual passengers last year, the need for a larger terminal that could accommodate the current and expected passenger volume over the medium term became urgent and critical. On a year-on-year basis alone, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines ( CAAP) figures for the past 10 years show passenger traffic at the Cagayan de Oro Lumbia Airport increasing at an annual rate of 8.7% from 902,133 in 2008 to 2,079,683in 2018 (doubling passenger volume every 8.5 years). The 11% increase in the number of flights from 2017 to 2018 (17,478 aircraft takeoffs and landings) was mainly responsible for the meteoric rise in both passenger and cargo movements.  “We expect passengers to rise from 2 million to almost 12 million over the 35 year concession period,” Reverente said. AIC Vision 2022 In his presentation, Reverente unveiled digital renderings of AIC’s Proposed Master Plan and how the CGY/RPMY airport would look by 2022 after the initial expansion phase. “For the first phase we plan to expand the existing terminal left and right to increase capacity to about 4 million passengers per year.  After initial expansion, passenger boarding bridges will be expanded to 5 from the present 3,” Reverente said. “Even without international flights and larger airplanes, the passenger terminal is not big enough so our first task is to expand the passenger terminal. We believe building the terminal first to accommodate the projected passenger traffic over the short term is the better use of capital at the start. When there are more passengers coming through the airport, then the next step is to extend the runway to accept larger aircraft which normally are required to fly longer distances.” Ultimate master plan will expand airport terminal to be able to accommodate up to 20 aircraft at any given time.  “Pre-departure and arrival areas, includes digital signage so check in counters are flexible and can be expanded or reduced depending on the number of flight departures for any given airline at any given time to expedite check in process.” Runway Extension However, DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade announced last 15 July the proposed extension of the 2.1 kilometer runway to 2.4 or 2.5 kilometers is proceeding as planned. Tugade said the P250-million (M) budget for this project is already included in the 2020 National Expenditure Plan (NEP), which Congress wants approved before the year end. This was part of the Feasibility Study expansion proposal endorsed by the Regional Development Council for Region 10 (RDC-X) and approved by the NEDA Board in 2014. Rising Cargo Traffic The runway extension is also expected to address the recent growth in air cargo traffic which soared 44% from 2017 to 25,366 metric tons (MT) in 2018. Another factor expected to increase cargo traffic is the 105-hectare (ha.) Laguindingan Technopark now being constructed adjacent to the airport as part of Ayala Corporation’s Habini Bay mixed-use development covering Laguidingan and the adjacent municipality of Alubijid. Aboitiz InfraCapital Vice President for Finance Jose Emmanuel Reverente presents a rendering of their vision for the expanded Laguindingan Airport by 2022 under their P42.7 Bilion unsolicited proposal During a previous visit, executives of German logistics giant DB Schenker said such technoparks are expected to “drive massive airfreight” similar to what the Ayala’s Laguna Technopark did in Luzon. “If the runway is already extended, it is even more important for us to expand the passenger terminal. Our plans also include the refurbish and expansion of the cargo terminal. We believe if the airport is run as a commercial enterprise, we will be able to respond much more swiftly to changes in the economic environment without having to go through a multi-year NEDA process,” Reverente noted.   “As a private enterprise, Aboitiz will help market Northern Mindanao as a destination globally to assist marketing efforts of Dept of Tourism , DTI and other government agencies increase passenger and cargo traffic to Laguindingan Airport,” he added. 2020 DOTr Aviation Sector Budget During the recently concluded 28th Mindanao Business Conference, Cabinet Secretary Karlo B. Nograles confirmed DOTr had proposed  funding for the aviation sector amounting in the 2020 budget to P865 million for the development of airports and the upgrading of airport facilities. “Of this figure, P100 million will be allocated for the development of Laguindingan Airport. For the Surigao airport, based on the latest inspection, we believe we will be able to meet the November 2019 completion target for the initial 400-meter repair, and the full 700-meters by February 2020,” he added. DOTr will reportedly utilize the P100 million to start detailed engineering works and much needed repairs on the Laguindingan Airport as part of the P2.9 billion augmentation budget to fund its priority projects, including the development of four airports, the construction of the Pagasa Island port, and the implementation of the public utility vehicle modernization program. The DOTr originally allocated P400-million (M) for the terminal building expansion of the Laguindingan Airport, but this was reduced to P180-M, then again halved to P90-M, before being slashed altogether by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) from the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA). However, the business sector lobbied strongly for the restoration of the reduced budget and the P90-M was eventually restored through a Congressional Initiative by Rep. Juliette Uy (2nd District, Misamis Oriental). Sources at the DOTr said a portion of the P90-M would be used for the Detailed Engineering (DE) of the proposed expanded passenger terminal building. The bidding process for an independent consultant to undertake the DE is now being processed and the contract is expected to be awarded by the latter part of 2019. The balance of the P90-M would used to rehabilitate dilapidated portions of the terminal building such as the comfort rooms. Even if the original P90-M would already be used up, expansion of the PTB would still continue with the proviso the funds used for this purpose would be reimbursed to the national government by the winning bidder for the PPP project to develop and expand the airport faculties. ”While we appreciate the P90M Congressional Initiative Fund restored by Rep. Juliette Uy, this amount is barely enough to refurbish the dilapidated areas including the poorly designed comfort rooms and malfunctioning elevators,” said Engr. Elpidio M. Paras, president of Promote Northmin Inc.  “Government should now fast track the entry of private sector companies to expand and improve all the facilities of Laguindingan so that it can already accommodate direct flights from regional and international destinations, including lengthening the runway to meet wide body jet aircraft,” he added.

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DOTr Allocates P100M for Laguindingan Airport Expansion in 2020 NEP

September 23, 2019

Corporate

By: MIKE BAÑOS, The Department of Transportation has allocated P100 million (M) for the expansion of the Laguindingan Airport ((IATA: CGY, ICAO: RPMY) in Misamis Oriental in the National Expenditure Program (NEP, or Budget) for 2020. This was confirmed by Cabinet Secretary Karlo B. Nograles during the recently concluded 28th Mindanao Business Conference in Iligan City. “For the 2020 budget, the DOTr proposed funding for the aviation sector amounting to P865 million for the development of airports and the upgrading of airport facilities,” Nograles said. “Of this figure, P100 million will be allocated for the development of Laguindingan Airport”. “The Laguindingan Airport Original Proponent Proposal is undergoing NEDA vetting and we believe that this will soon be approved,” he added.  DOTr previously allocated P90-M under its 2019 budget for the procurement of consultancy services for the preparation of detailed engineering and design for the expansion of the passenger terminal building. The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Region X (PCCI-X) and its affiliate chambers and organizations passed a resolution a year ago requesting DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade to prioritize the development and expansion of Laguindingan Airport within the next five years (2019-2023).  “Actually, DOTr’s response was to re-open the proposed expansion project to a Public-Private Partnership (PPP),” said Ma. Teresa R. Alegrio, Region 10 Governor, of the PCCI which spearheaded the resolution.  “Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc. (AIC) has been granted the Original Proponent Status (OPS) by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and the NEDA Investment Coordinating Committee (NEDA- ICC) is currently reviewing the revised proposal including the new budget of P42.7-Billion (B).  Next step is for NEDA Board to finally approve the proposed expansion, then subject it to a Swiss Challenge within 30 days,” she added. The resolution was signed by the chambers of commerce and industry of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Kaamulan (Bukidnon), Ozamiz and Marawi, the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Industries (COCI), Cagayan de Oro Hotels & Restaurants Association (COHARA), Misamis Oriental Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MOFCCII), Cagayan de Oro Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, PhilExport 10, Oro Bankers Association, CDO ICT Council and Cagayan de Oro Travel and Tours Association (COTTA).   Executive Order (EO) 230 (Reorganizing the National Economic and Development Authority) established the inter-agency Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) as one of the committees under the NEDA Board engaged in rationalizing national public investments and expenditures. The PCCI-X resolution noted that the original proposal to improve the capacity and operations of the Laguindingan airport included upgrading the facilities /equipment  to conform to international standards, specifically, the operations and maintenance (O&M) of the Airport along with the expansion of other necessary facilities and support infrastructure. The Laguindingan Public Private Partnership (PPP) Project aims to upgrade the current facilities of the Laguindingan Airport such as expansion of the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB), apron and runway extension, and improvement of existing airport facilities to support safer aircraft operations, increased passenger and cargo traffic, and capacity expansion. Originally, the project was included as one of the five Regional Airports Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Projects of the DOTr and CAAP. However, the NEDA Board approved the proposal of the DOTr  in 2016 to unbundle the five airport projects that were approved by the NEDA Board in 2014 under PPP scheme. The rationale for the proposal is to expedite early completion of PPP selection and awarding. Aboitiz InfraCapital (AIC) submitted to DOTr in 13 August 2018 an unsolicited proposal for the Upgrade, Expansion, Operations, and Maintenance of the Laguindingan Airport. The proposal was submitted to NEDA-ICC Secretariat for review which subsequently required AIC to revise it using the Operating and Maintenance (O&M) contract it awarded for the Clark International Airport. “Because of the NEDA-ICC wanting us to copy the O&M contract from Clark, we basically had to start from square one, rewrite the entire contract; we have submitted it to the CAAP, they have approved it, and it is now being reviewed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) before submission to NEDA ICC,” said Jose Emmanuel Reverente, VP-Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. (AIC) during a presentation during the 28th Mindanao Business Conference held recently in Iligan City. “Since we have copied the Bohol Panglao Airport proposal that has been approved by NEDA ICC Technical Committee, we are optimistic the revised Laguindingan contract will go through much faster,” he added. “We are very hopeful by the end of this year, the contract can be awarded to us after the Swiss Challenge process.” For the 2020 National Expenditure Program (National Budget) CAAP  proposed a budget of P150-M for the extension of the existing airport runway by 300 meters from 2.1 to 2.4 kilometers to comply with requirement for its night rating. However, this has been reduced by DOTr to P100-M as announced by Nograles during the 28th MinBizCon. The scope of the expansion for the Laguindingan Airport would be implemented through the PPP modality in accordance with the approved plan covering the expansion/construction of new passenger terminals, along with all associated infrastructure and facilities as per applicable standards. The scope of works also cover the installation of all the required equipment and associated facilities as per ICAO standards such as the provision of required works with respect to the existing terminal, along with all  associated infrastructure and facilities to handle operations until the development of the new passenger terminal; O&M of the passenger terminals (new and existing) during the entire concession  period; and enhancement/development of airside facilities to meet the enhanced scale of operations at the airport over the required duration; and O&M of all enhanced airside facilities, including, the apron, runway and taxiway.  Earlier,  the NEDA Board approved  in 20 July  2014 the expansion of the Laguindingan airport in three  phases: 2015-2017 (Phase 1) , 2024-2026 (Phase 2) and 2033-2035 ( Phase 3) under a PPP) modality valued at P14 billion (B) to include the development, operation and maintenance of the airport.  On January 24, 2017, an Invitation to Pre-Qualify and Bid for the development and O & M of the Laguindingan Airport was posted in the DOTr, CAAP and PPP center websites. However, on May 22, 2017, DOTr through its General Bid Bulletin 04-2077 addressed to the Pre-Qualification Bids and Awards Committee, advised all prospective bidders that the government had decided instead to pursue the expansion and augmentation of the Laguindingan airport using Official Development Assistance (ODA) or General Appropriations Act ( GAA) funding. But DOTr made another turnaround when it informed the Regional Development Council Region X (RDC X) Council on May 28, 2018, that the O & M would  again be undertaken through PPP. Then in June 2018, CAAP informed RDC-X it had allocated P181.125-million for the expansion of the Passenger terminal building. Despite this, the expansion of the cargo building, runway and other facilities was not specified.  In response, the private sector led by PCCI-10 requested DOTr to prioritize the expansion of the Laguindingan Airport by including in its budget allocation for 2019, the construction of a new passenger terminal and cargo building, enhanced airside facilities, including the apron, runway and taxiway within the next five years.    The resolution also stressed the urgency of fast tracking of a new Operations and Maintenance ( O&M) service contract thru the PPP scheme , even as DOTr and CAAP remain responsible for the air traffic, control and air navigation facilities provisioning and operation.

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CDO gov't to invest in T-bills

October 2, 2019

Money Matters

By: Mark Francisco, THE city government of Cagayan de Oro will be investing in Treasury bills.   During its weekly session last Monday, the City Council approved an ordinance authorizing Mayor Oscar Moreno to invest in Treasury bills in the amount of P20 million.   According to Councilor Edna Dahino who authored the ordinance, the investment will come from unused funds deposited to the city government at Philippine Veterans Bank and Amanah Bank.   Dahino explained that Treasury bills are sound investments because they gain higher interest than bank deposits.   The councilor also cited Department of Finance Order No. 071-2018 authorizing local government units to invest their unused funds in government securities. Treasury bills are short-term fixed income securities issued by the Bureau of Treasury. Investing in Treasury bills is practically risk-free since there is a low probability that the Philippine government will default on its own local currency debt.   Dahino's ordinance is backed by Councilors George Goking and Ian Mark Nacaya.

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Construction, tourism jobs up for grabs in Tesda’s Oro, Iligan events

August 9, 2019

Money Matters

By: Mark Francisco, HUNDREDS of domestic jobs in the construction and tourism industry in Northern Mindanao are up for grabs in two simultaneous job fairs to be spearheaded by the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) on August 25. According to Tesda 10 director Tarhata Mapandi, the twin job fairs dubbed as World Café of Opportunities will be held at Limketkai Event Center (Cagayan de Oro City) and Robinsons Place Iligan. Mapandi said the job fairs are exclusively for alumni of vocational courses only. She said that August 25 was chosen as the date for this year’s event since it is also celebrated as Tech Voc Day. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will participate in the simultaneous events to provide livelihood opportunities while the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will conduct free entrepreneurship trainings. Representatives from the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and Land Bank of the Philippines will also be on hand to provide financial schemes. The World Café of Opportunities was conceptualized in 2018 as Tesda’s strategy to link vocational graduates to employment opportunities both in wage and self-employment in a one-stop shop. On the other hand, Tech Voc Day was timed every August 25 in celebration of Tesda’s annual anniversary. This year, the agency will celebrate its 25th.

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Security Bank Q2-2019 profit up 32% Year-on-Year to Php2.57 billion

August 7, 2019

Money Matters

By: , THE Security Bank Corporation (PSE: SECB) posted Php2.57 billion in net income in the second quarter of 2019, up by 32% versus year-ago level. Total revenues grew 32% year-on-year to Php 7.9 billion. Net interest income from customer loans and deposits sustained its strong trajectory growing by 44% to Php 5.4 billion. This was driven by the continued expansion of retail loans and low-cost deposits. Retail loan growth accelerated to 54% year-on-year while low-cost deposits increased 11%. Retail loans now account for 25% of total loans versus 18% a year ago. Total loans grew 11% year-on-year to Php 427 billion. Total deposits stood at Php 449 billion. On June 28, 2019, the Bank issued Php 18 billion worth of fixed-rate peso corporate bonds with a tenor of 2 years as a cost-efficient funding source alternative to short-term high-cost deposits. Total deposits and peso corporate bonds combined grew 5% year-on-year. Net interest spread on loans and deposits increased to 5.36% in Q2-2019, up 38 basis points quarter-on-quarter and 108 basis points year-on-year. Total net interest income grew by 22% to Php 6.1 billion. Interest income from financial investments grew 7%. Overall, net interest margin increased to 3.59% in Q2-2019, up 18 basis points quarter-on-quarter and 42 basis points year-on-year. Service charges, fees and commissions increased 70% to Php 1 billion. This was driven by loan fees, credit cards, deposit charges and bancassurance. Securities trading gains in Q2-2019 amounted to Php 376 million. Total non-interest income increased by 81% year-on-year to Php 1.7 billion. For the January 1 to June 30, 2019 period, net income was Php 4.95 billion, up 15% from year-ago level. Net interest income from customer loans and deposits increased by 37% or Php 2.7 billion to Php 10.1 billion. Interest income from financial investments was higher by 9% or Php 439 million. Total net interest income grew by 18% to Php 11.8 billion. Service charges, fees and commissions for the six-month period increased by 46% to Php 1.86 billion. Securities trading gains totaled Php 1 billion. Cost-to-income ratio was 53.7% despite a year-on-year operating expense growth (excluding provisions for credit and impairment losses) of 23%. Asset quality remained healthy, with gross non-performing loan (NPL) ratio at 1.1% versus 0.75% a quarter-ago, and lower than industry’s 1.7% as of May 2019. The Bank set aside Php 639 million for provision for credit losses in 1H-2019. NPL reserve cover was 127%. Security Bank continues to be among the country’s best capitalized private domestic universal banks. Common Equity Tier 1 Ratio further increased to 16.8% from 16.5% a quarter-ago. Total Capital Adequacy Ratio likewise strengthened to 19.2% from 19.0%. Return on shareholders’ equity increased to 8.8% from 8.1% in 2018. Shareholders’ capital improved to Php 115 billion, up 7% year-on-year. Total assets increased 8% to Php 777 billion.

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PH 2020 national budget: PHP4.1 trillion

August 6, 2019

Money Matters

By: Azer Parrocha, Philippine News Agency, PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved the proposed national budget for 2020 worth PHP4.1 trillion, Malacañang said on Tuesday (August 6, 2019). Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte approved the proposed 2020 cash-based national budget during the Cabinet meeting that started Monday (August 5) night. The PHP4.1-trillion budget is 12 percent more than this year’s PHP3.7-trillion expenditure program. Last year, Duterte submitted the proposed PHP3.7-trillion national budget for 2019 to Congress, on the same day he delivered his third State of the Nation Address (SONA). However, the government operated on a reenacted budget since January 1 this year after lawmakers failed to pass the bill on time due to a budget impasse in Congress. Duterte finally signed the 2019 budget but vetoed several provisions on April 15, 2019. Malacañang has yet to announce when it will be transmitting the budget proposal to the Congress but has 30 days from his fourth SONA to do so or until August 22. In a statement, Panelo described the budget proposal as one that would “respond to the needs” of majority of Filipinos. “This budget proposal is designed to respond to the needs of the majority of our countrymen longing to be uprooted from the decades of: want of basic necessities, inadequate supply of basic services, lack of infrastructures required to spur economic growth, absence of accountability on government coffers, vexing bureaucratic rigmarole, deprived education and unchanged poverty, and geared to achieve a more peaceful and progressive Philippines where the living standards of Filipinos are raised,” Panelo said. Panelo assured the public that the budget’s biggest slice will be allotted to education, followed by public works, transportation, and health. Moreover, he said the budget will be spent “wisely to reach a state of vibrant economy that will be felt by the citizenry.” The Palace has expressed hope that the 2020 budget would be approved without any delays. (PNA)

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Celebrating Meaningful Banking and Merrier Bonding

October 14, 2019

Billboard

By: , Metrobank holds the 6th Annual Metrobank Golf Tournament for Cebu clients   Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank), in celebration of its strong partnership with Japanese corporate clients, recently held its Annual Golf Tournament at the Cebu Country Club.      In a continuous effort to promote recreational gatherings for the bank’s esteemed partners in the Queen City of the South, Metrobank held the sixth edition of its highly-anticipated and well-attended golf series. The event was made more special as the bank recently launched its latest branding campaign, Meaningful Banking, to reiterate its commitment of delivering not just meaningful service but also delightful experiences.       Staying true to this, Metrobank awarded the grand champion of Class A with luxurious Anantara Hotel and Resorts, Phuket Thailand vacation package.      As one of the leading universal banks in the country, Metrobank has a meaningful partnership with Japanese businesses and key industry players. Particularly in Cebu City, Metrobank strives to fortify and grow its partnerships via its regional Japan Desk, supported by a team of Japanese consultants. The Cebu-based facility, strongly backed by the head office in Manila, further helps their clients to conduct their local operations and expansions with ease. The bank likewise has wide branch and ATM networks in the city.      Cebu is one of the major destinations of direct foreign investors specifically for manufacturing and service oriented companies. Domestic economic activities are expected to grow as it is likely to receive a huge portion of the projected USD1.24 billion investment pledges which could potentially generate 16,000 jobs.       “Anchored on our promise to foster and provide Meaningful Banking, we aim to move, change, and grow together with our Japanese clients here in Cebu. We will support them in every step of the way, as they scale up their businesses. This golf tournament is just one way we demonstrate this commitment outside the usual banking solutions” said Metrobank Corporate Banking Group Head Anthony Ocampo Jr.      Since 1996, Metrobank has been developing alliances with businesses from Japan, including the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Japan Finance Corporation, and 65 other major Japanese financial institutions. In the same year, Metrobank became the first local bank to be granted a license to operate in Tokyo and Osaka by the Ministry of Finance.      This service commitment to customers reflects the bank’s recent citations from The Asian Banker, a prestigious award-giving body for the Asia Pacific region. They lauded the financial company as the Best Managed Bank in the Philippines. Metrobank’s products and services on cash management, trade finance, and foreign exchange were likewise recognized by the same award-giving institution.

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Get ready for a boosted experience with the new SAMSUNG Galaxy A50s

October 12, 2019

Billboard

By: PR, THIS 2019, SAMSUNG ushered in the Era of Live with the A-Series encouraging Gen Z’s love of producing content and sharing it with their friends and followers online.  Now, the tech giant is giving digital natives the chance to boost further their experiences with the arrival of the new Samsung Galaxy A50s.  To provide a more boosted smartphone experience to its users, the Galaxy A50s is equipped with Exynos 9611 that has a clock speed of up to 2.3GHz that allows users to have seamless browsing, streaming, and gaming.  It is also packed with an AI based Game Booster that provides a powerful gaming experience by analyzing the type of game being processed while optimizing the device’s performance.  The Galaxy A50s also employs the Frame Booster that adds virtual images in-between frames to compensate for the dropped images caused by AP performance for a better viewing experience.  Furthermore, it is equipped with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which means they can download as many games as they want and not worry about lags.  The Galaxy A50s is also furnished with an Advanced Multi-camera to beautifully capture live moments, any time of the day.  The 8MP ultra-wide camera with a 123-degree field of vision resembles the human eye and it is also equipped with the Super Steady feature1 that will let content creators shoot smooth, flawless videos, even for action-packed adventures.  The smartphone’s 48MP main lens can record bright and clear photos, even at night.  Lastly, the 1 Only available when shooting with Ultra Wide Camera in Full HD 5MP depth camera adds an artistic touch with its background blur.  Moreover, it is packed with a 32MP front camera with Selfie Focus and Smart Beauty features perfect in enhancing your photos.  Gen Zs can stay online and share their lives all day with the device’s 4,000mAh battery supported by a Fast Charging mechanism capable up to 15W via USB Type-C port.  The Galaxy A50s also highlights a Power Optimization feature so they can record, share, and stream content without having to worry about battery life.  Samsung is also introducing the new Samsung Galaxy A30s which features a triple rear camera, paired with 4,000mAh battery life.  The Samsung Galaxy A50s is priced at Php 18,990, available in Prism Crush Black, Prism Crush White, and Prism Crush Green variants.  Also just launched is the Galaxy A30s priced at Php 12,990.  To complete the A-series line up for Gen. Z this year, Samsung will soon launch additional members that will further drive their passions online at an affordable price with the Galaxy A20s and Galaxy A10s, priced at only P9,990 and P6,990 respectively.  To know more about the Galaxy A50s, visit samsung.com/ph.    

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Foton PH holds biggest truck sale in Mindanao

October 4, 2019

Billboard

By: PR, If you’re looking for a brand new vehicle whether for business or private use, the best time to purchase is on October 9-12, 2019 as FOTON Motor Philippines, Inc. (FMPI) goes down to Cagayan De Oro for the Mindanao leg of their largest truck and van sale, FOTON's Big AtTRUCKtion.  “FOTON’s Big AtTRUCKtion is a ‘a one-stop shop’ that features exclusive cash discounts, easy to avail financing schemes from partner banks, as well as PMS Service bundles to go with your unit purchase,” announced FMPI President Rommel Sytin. Powered by Blue Energy Euro 4, the wide array of product segments which will be put up in the center of attraction are FOTON's fresh line-up of light duty trucks, medium duty trucks, and heavy duty trucks. These trucks will showcase different body configurations built for various purposes such as F-Van, MPV for passengers, Dropside, Dump Truck, Double Cab, Wing Van, and Tractor Head. For micro-, small and medium enterprises, the Gratour series represented by the 8-seater MiniVan and Gratour MT, will also be exhibited and up for grabs. Apart from the commercial vehicles, FOTON’s best-selling passenger vans will also be on display, and on sale—the TransVan, Traveller and Toano vans. What makes FOTON’s Big AtTRUCKtion the biggest sale of the year are the event-exclusive zero downpayment deals, discounted low monthly amortizations, and cash discounts up to a whopping P 300,000. CASH DISCOUNTS For those who will purchase in the event via cash basis, FOTON gives away exclusive cash discounts applicable to both passenger and commercial vehicles. PhP 25,000 will automatically be deducted in every purchase of the Gratour model including the 8-seater MiniVan, MT and TM variants. For those who would like to venture on a transport service business, the 2018 TransVan models is available with a cash discount up to PhP 100,000. For your private family tours, the 16-seater Traveller and 19-seater Traveller XL make a perfect match, and also a perfect deal with a P 70,000 discount. However, if you wish to bring home a more executive VIP van where you can create your own living space even on the road, choose the FOTON Toano van topped with a P 300,000 cash discounts on all variants. Aside from the low downpayment and low monthly deals, the Tornado light duty trucks and Hurricane EST-M medium duty trucks are available with a P 50,000 discount. The ETX-N and EST-M are also available at P 250,000 cash discount, while the biggest savings are applicable to the heavy duty trucks particularly with the EST, ETX and GTL at P 300,000 cash discount. The brand’s solution for PUV modernization program, the F-Jeepney, will also be showcased in the expo. ON-SITE APPROVALS Another major reason to attend this expo is the highest chance of faster vehicle loan applications through its on-site approval activity. Guests just have to choose from the wide variety of SUVs, passenger vans, light duty trucks, medium duty trucks, and heavy duty trucks perfect for their needs and have their application approved on the same day. FOTON’s Big AtTRUCKtion: Cagayan De Oro is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from October 9-12, 2019 at Marcos Bridge corner Kauswagan Highway in CDO. This event will be followed by FOTON’s Big AtTRUCKtion Visayas leg on October 18-19 at SM City Cebu Event Center.  To know more about the FOTON's Big AtTRUCKtion, call 0999-999-9998. You may also visit their website at www.foton.com.ph or www.facebook.com/FOTONPhilippines. 

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Cainta embraces Mag-Pinggang Pinoy® Tayo! Program

September 30, 2019

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By: , Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation (APC) in collaboration with Department of Health (DOH) and Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) formed ties with the Cainta local government to launch the Mag-Pinggang Pinoy® Tayo! 2019 Program.   The ceremonial contract signing held last September 20, 2019 at Cainta Elementary School was graced by former DOH Undersecretary and Mag -Pinggang-Pinoy® Tayo! 2019 Technical Working Group (TWG) Chairman Dr. Ethelyn P. Nieto, Cainta Mayor Johnielle Kieth Nieto, Cainta Vice Mayor Ace Bernardo Servillon, DOH CALABARZON Division Chief Dr. Noel Pasion, FNRI Science Research Specialist II Ms. Jovina B. Sandoval, and APC Group President Tsutomu Nara. The country has been facing decades-long phenomenon called “Double Burden of Malnutrition”, which the World Health Organization (WHO) defined as the “coexistence of undernutrition along with overweight and obesity, or diet-related noncommunicable diseases, within individuals, households and populations, and across the lifecourse.”. In 2018, Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation partnered with government agencies to conduct the pilot run of Mag-Pinggang Pinoy® Tayo! in order to raise awareness and promote the practice of Pinggang Pinoy® in malnutrition hotspots in Quezon City, Kalookan, Malabon and Navotas. This year, the public-private alliance brings the program to Cainta to educate its homemakers on the causes and effects of the Double Burden of Malnutrition and make available practical tips on how to serve Pinggang Pinoy® using Ajinomoto’s delicious, healthy, easy-to-prepare and affordable recipes. Mag-Pinggang Pinoy® Tayo! 2019 Program aims to unite Cainta to adopt Pinggang Pinoy® and promote healthier eating habits to fight Double Burden of Malnutrition.  The program’s TWG, led by Dr. Nieto, has started to convene representatives from the four (4) institutions to develop modules for homemakers, barangay health workers and barangay nutrition scholars based on careful nutrition needs assessment. The education and livelihood programs as well as the improvement evaluation will ensue until year 2020. Cainta Government also expressed their strong commitment to promote the practice of Pinggang Pinoy® in the whole municipality.   APC President Tsutomu Nara conveyed his gratitude to the program’s stakeholders saying, “We all came here today to mark the beautiful changes that will happen in CAINTA! And I thank all of you for showing your commitment. This event is a milestone that aims for a healthier citizenry to fight Double Burden of Malnutrition, not only in Cainta but in the Philippines.”. For updates about Mag-Pinggang Pinoy® Tayo!, visit www.ajinomoto.com.ph and facebook.com/CookmunitybyAjinomotoPH. *** The Ajinomoto Group is a global company with specialties in the business of food and amino acids, guided by our leading-edge bioscience and fine chemical technologies. Based on the corporate message “Eat Well, Live Well.”, we have been scientifically pursuing the possibilities of amino acids in supporting the healthy lives of people all around the world. We aim for future growth and continuous contribution to greater wellness by creating value through sustainable and innovative solutions for communities and society. The Ajinomoto Group has offices in 35 countries and regions, and sells products in more than 130 countries and regions. In fiscal 2018, sales were 1.1274 trillion yen(10.1 billion U.S. dollars). To learn more, visit www.ajinomoto.com.

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