Today's Top Stories

  • BIR destroys seized cigarettes, machines worth billions of pesos

    BIR destroys seized cigarettes, machines worth billions of pesos

    CAGAYAN de Oro City--The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has vowed to go after those involved in the illegal manufacturing of tobacco products and other consumer goods as cigarette-making machines and various counterfeit cigarettes estimated to be worth more than a billion pesos were destroyed Thursday. BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa said the destruction of equipment and cigarettes was a message to those who are engaging in illicit activities that the government will not hesitate to make necessary arrests and confiscations. “We want to send the message to our taxpayers who are not registering with the BIR that they are doing this illicit manufacturing of cigarettes. The government is really bent on running against these illegal activities of people who are manufacturing cigarettes without paying excise tax,” said BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa. He said: “”This is to show the perpetrators that the government is not sleeping on its job to really curb this manufacturing of illegal [cigarettes] because with this we can stop the production and therefore we can collect the right taxes, because we need these taxes for our Build Build Build project.” Guballa said it was the first time that the destruction of the equipment and cigarettes was conducted in Mindanao. During the destruction, the boxes of cigarettes were shredded while the various cigarette-making equipment were smashed using a heavy-duty jackhammer. BIR Strike Team chief Remedios Advincula said the tobacco products were estimated to be worth more than a billion pesos, which would include penalties. The machines’ total worth was pegged at P120 million. BIR regional director for Northern Mindanao Nuzar Balatero said the destroyed products and equipment were confiscated in three separate raids at various locations on May 26, 2018, on the strength of mission orders that allowed bureau operatives to conduct raids. The cigarette factories were located at the Alwana Business Park in Barangay Cugman and in Barangay Poblacion, Villanueva town, Misamis Oriental. “The destruction of these machineries is mandated by law to ensure that these devices can never be used in pursuing illegal manufacturing of cigarettes,” Balatero said. Advincula said various charges for violation of tax law, particularly unlawful possession of fake stamps, were already filed at the Department of Justice against the people behind the production of counterfeit tobacco products. He, however, did not name the respondents only saying that there foreign nationals as well as Filipinos involved.

    August 23, 2019

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  • Marketers urge tech gens to tell their stories

    Marketers urge tech gens to tell their stories

    IN an effort to commercialize the technologies from research and development institutes (RDI), the Technology Application and Promotion Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-TAPI) organized a technology portfolio and mentoring workshop on August 15, 2019 at the Herald Suites Hotel Solana, Makati City. The activity is in collaboration with the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) under the project on market matching of DOST-PCAARD-funded technologies in support to the technology transfer activities of the Department. “The DOST wants your technologies to reach the target users as public goods or through commercialization,” said Mr. Noel A. Catibog, Supervising Science Research Specialist of DOST-PCAARRD, during his welcome remarks. The mentoring workshop secures and finalizes the business model canvas of the technology in view of providing technology generators with the necessary knowledge on efficient marketing techniques and development of technology portfolio. Mr. Ruben Lanot II and Mr. Neal Tieng of Go Negosyo served as resource speakers and mentors who explored the details of market assessment and strategies, and marketing hacks and business model among the technology generators. “No matter how innovative your technologies are, at the end of the day, investors would always want to know your story and the story behind your technologies,” said Lanot. He also emphasized the importance of speaking the language of inventors or adoptors to be able to effectively communicate the benefits and features of the technologies being pitched to them. Ten technologies on agriculture hope to be commercialized at the end of the year when offered to investors namely: impeller rice mill, Chevon products in retort pouch, rice combine harvester, FertiGroe, rice transplanter, dewormer for native chicken, infrared grain dryer, micro algal paste as aqua feeds, rice seeder, and LAMP kit for shrimp pathogens. “I hope that the first batch of technologies become an avenue to open doors and opportunities for more technologies to be commercialized,” said Eilleen S. Fernando, Supervising Science Research Specialist of DOST-TAPI during her closing remarks. (JundRian A. Doringo/DOST)

    August 23, 2019

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  • Convicted murderer, rapist of UP students maybe released soon

    Convicted murderer, rapist of UP students maybe released soon

    MANILA (MDN National News digital, August 21) - Convicted murderer and rapist of 2 UP students, former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez, maybe released from prison, a top official of the Department of Justice said. This, if his good conduct time allowance would pass the computation according to Department of Justic Secretary Menardo Guevarra. He said  “Mayor Sanchez’s good conduct time allowance is being recomputed pursuant to the new law and a recent Supreme Court ruling.” Guevarra said that aside from Sanchez, there are also 10,000 inmates who may also qualify said commutation of sentence, based on Republic Act 10592, the law that increase GCTA given as privilege to inmates who have been changed while inside the prison. The GCTA gives additional time to be deducted from the inmate's sentence as his award for conducting good behavior. “Hindi lang prospective but retroactive ang application so that benefits lahat ng nakakulong na preso kasama si Mayor Sanchez na matagal na ring nakakulong mae entitle doon sa recomputation kaya baka makalabas na sya,” the Justice Secretary pointed out. The DOJ secretary said they are now computing the prisoner's GCTA in close coordination with the Bureau of Corrections. “Libu-libo yan. So marami ang kino-compute na GCTA…So I guess madami ang makaka-labas. Ang tingin namin within the next two months, thousands of persons under detention would be released,” Guevarra claimed. Meanwhile, the mother of the UP student who was raped and murdered in an interview with abs cbn said she was sad upon hearing the news that the rapist and murderer of her daughter would be given a chance by the government. She claimed the justice system in the Philippines is very unfair. "Bakit pa makakalabas ang isang taong convicted of murder and rape? she asked. 

    August 22, 2019

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  • Police kill 2 in shootout; seize P6.8-M shabu in Pasig

    Police kill 2 in shootout; seize P6.8-M shabu in Pasig

    MANILA (National News digital, August 22) - Anti-drug police operatives killed two alleged drug dealer and seized P6.8 Million worth of illegal drugs known as shabu during a drug buy-bust Thursday morning in Pasig City. Police operatives identified the slain drug dealers as Sampuano Rason and Jalal Salamoden and they also seized illegal drugs during the raid. Investigation disclosed that joint operatives of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), together with the members of Pasig City Police office and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency - National Capital Region (PDEA-NCR) conducted a drug buy-bust along Felix Avenue in Barangay Dela Paz around 2 a.m. The suspects reportedly sensed the presence of police operatives during the buy-bust and fired at an undercover agent which also resulted in a brief exchange of gun fires. The drug suspects, Rason and Salamoden died on the spot, the police reported. The joint team recovered from the slain suspects a motorcycle, two guns, ammos, marked money and one kilo of shabu.  General Guillermo Eleazer, NCRPO chief, said the slain suspects belong to a drug syndicated headed by a certain Amim Imam Boratong, who is currently detained at the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP).     

    August 22, 2019

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New Isuzu Dealership Soon to Rise in Tagum

August 12, 2019

Motoring

By: , Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC), the country’s leader in the commercial vehicle segment in the Philippines, is beginning the construction of its new dealership in Tagum, Davao Del Norte in line with the growing demands and expansion efforts of the company.      Tagum is predominantly agricultural, producing various agricultural crops and trees. It is strategically located at the northern portion of Southern Mindanao and lies in the intersection of three major road network system namely the ‘Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway’, the ‘Davao-Mati-Agusan Road’, and the ‘Davao-Bukidnon Road’ that connects the city to other major destinations in the region and for the rest of Mindanao.      As the city serves as a vital economic crossroad not only for the province, but for the entire Davao Region, Isuzu strategically located their new 11, 000 square meter dealership to feature not only its latest Isuzu’s showroom design, but also to showcase 8 light commercial and 2 truck service bays ready to serve the region.      The soon to rise Isuzu dealership in Tagum is strategically located along the road that connects to the three major road network systems, to bridge the way of the customers from major destinations in the region and for the rest of Mindanao.      “The construction of this new dealership demonstrates our dedication and commitment to create tailored transport solutions that make the greatest difference to individuals and businesses in the Philippines,” said Hajime Koso, President of Isuzu Philippines Corporation.      The construction of the dealership is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Moreover, Isuzu aims to continue to offer customers reliable, durable, dependable, and value-for-money vehicles that will give them the edge they need to be successful in their businesses and personal needs.      Isuzu Philippines Corporation currently has 43 dealerships nationwide, offering world-class vehicles, and exceptional after-sales services.

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Isuzu Launches ‘PUV-X’ Program at the 2019 Philippines Bus & Trucks Expo

August 12, 2019

Motoring

By: , At the Philippines Bus & Trucks 2019 expo to be held from July 24 to 26 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City, Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) unveils its vaunted “PUV-X” program that provides the optimum “Isuzu Advantage” for its public utility vehicle (PUV) customers.      IPC’s presentation is a key portion during the 4th Transport Cooperative National Congress, an annual event spearheaded by the National Federation of Transport Cooperatives (NFTC-BKKPPI). Held within the Philippines Bus & Trucks 2019, the Congress gathers inputs from the transportation cooperatives sector to help formulate the needed programs, projects and activities to further update and develop these sectors.      The “PUV-X” Program enumerates Isuzu’s 10-Point Advantage: 1) Isuzu’s proven reliability, durability and efficiency; 2) Experienced Body Builders; 3) Accredited Accessories Suppliers; 4) An unmatched 3 years or 150,000 kms warranty coverage; 5) Nationwide dealership network of 43 outlets and counting; 6) Expert Truck Executives (Truck Elites) to help customers; 7) Nationwide parts availability, competent and trained service technicians, technical assistance from Japanese and Filipino engineers, and Isuzu Service Medic vans for roadside assistance anytime; 8) Drivers and mechanic trainings; 9) Extensive fleet management system, and; 10) All-around customer assistance.      To aid in the discussion, NLR77 Class 2 PUV and NLR85 ref van were displayed at IPC’s booth. Test drives of the Isuzu PUVs used by the Senate Employees Transport Service Cooperative (SETSCO) will be offered during these two days. The SETSCO shuttle will also provide free rides to event participants within the Mall of Asia complex.      The annual PhilBus & Truck Show is recognized by the industry as the number one international bus, truck and commercial vehicle exhibition, a business-to-business trade show that prides itself in delivering top-quality trade buyers and decision makers. By working closely with key trade associations, the expo brings together bus, trucks and commercial vehicle operators, mining and construction companies, leasing and logistics companies, manufacturers, trading, parts and service and repair workshops to see and get updated on the latest range of buses, trucks and commercial vehicles.

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Ertiga Continues to be the Best-seller in Suzuki PH Stable

August 12, 2019

Motoring

By: , Suzuki Philippines Inc. (SPH), the country’s pioneer subcompact car distributor, closes the first half of 2019 on a high note, posting 14 percent sales growth over the same period last year and climbing to the sixth spot in the local automobile industry ranking and fifth place in the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) ranking.      “We started the year on the right foot and strengthened our efforts in Q2 to reach more Filipino customers. Our aggressive and strategic marketing campaigns are key in pushing up our position both in the Philippine automobile industry and CAMPI rankings. These achievements reflect the Filipinos’ growing trust in our brand and the quality Suzuki cars that we provide. We are more driven now more than ever to bring only quality driving experience in every Suzuki ride,” shared SPH Director and General Manager for Automobile Division Keiichi Suzuki.      Committed to giving quality driving experience to every Filipino, SPH continues to assure the market with best-performance vehicles such as the New Ertiga, Swift, Celerio, Dzire and Vitara. These top-selling Suzuki vehicles collectively contributed 77 percent to total H1 2019 sales.      The top-favorite 7-seater family vehicle Ertiga is still the number one best-selling Suzuki vehicle in this year’s lineup with a 34 percent share of sales. The introduction of the new Ertiga Black Interior ramped up sales even further. Its fuel efficiency and spacious interior complement the elegance and modern style, giving the Ertiga a strong edge over its competitors.      Sporting a fiercer look and boasting maximum functionality, the all-new Ertiga combines strength and elegance in a compact body, allowing Filipino families to go on adventures and seize the day in style.       The upgraded 7-seater MPV features a taller nose and a wide and elegant front grille. The lower roof side extends the head room while providing a more stylish side view. The integrated lower grille and fog lamps add a sense of stability and make the car look edgy. Deeper curves on the side and shoulder and character lines were added to reflect robustness and a stronger presence.       The interior of the all-new Ertiga is designed with sophistication and flexibility in mind. The new steering wheel has a flat bottom for better leg clearance while the gauges are painted with metallic chrome for a sleeker look. The seats have a deep curb with the fabric showing a 3D effect.      The all-new Ertiga offers new comfort features to help make traversing Metro Manila traffic more bearable and pass the time away more pleasantly. The improved MPV has larger passenger legroom with the increased tandem distance of the 3rd row seats. For added relaxation, the third row has more headspace while the seats are designed with a reclining and tilt-down mechanism up to 16 degrees.       For better ventilation and convenience, a rear AC was installed to keep the 2nd and 3rd row passenger comfortable. Small storage spaces are also added all around, including a coin holder, ventilated cup holder, improved center console and door pockets, to accommodate more hand-carry items.      The all-new Ertiga comes in a light yet highly rigid body, thanks to Suzuki’s new generation platform, the HEARTECT. The new frame effectively disperses impact energy to improve safety while reducing noise and vibration.      Another notable feature is the Total Effective Control Technology (TECT), which scatters collision energy across the vehicle frame to mitigate damage to the car and passengers.       “All the upgrades on the new Ertiga are designed to give Filipino riders the confidence to enjoy every adventure knowing they and their family are safe and comfortable. Beyond making technological improvements on our vehicles, our goal is to always ensure that our customers have an optimum driving experience,” added Suzuki.      The all-new Ertiga is priced starting with GA at 728,000 PHP, GL MT 848,000, GL AT 888,000 and GLX at 978,000. It comes in 7 colors: Pearl Glorious Brown, Metallic Magma Gray, Pearl Burgundy Red, Prime Cool Black, Metallic Silky Silver, Pearl Radiant Red and Pearl Snow White      Following Ertiga as a top-selling Suzuki vehicle is the hatchback well-loved by millennials. The Suzuki Swift contributed 13 percent to overall sales for the first half of the year.      The Celerio ranks third among Suzuki’s top-selling vehicles with an 11 percent shares of sales. Powered by a three-cylinder 1.0-liter DOHC engine, the hatchback is available with either a five-speed manual transmission or a Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT), making it the first model in its segment to offer CVT. Its compact design surprises with an interior that provides ample space, legroom and storage for stress-free driving.

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FOTON PH inaugurates grander Cagayan de Oro showroom

July 31, 2019

Motoring

By: , Just three weeks after inaugurating its Metro Clark showroom, FOTON Philippines continues its dealership expansion with the opening of a grander and newly-renovated Cagayan De Oro facility.      “As our brand grows, we also want our customers to experience how great FOTON is when they purchase their vehicles and during the after sales processes. We want them to feel FOTON’s welcoming ambiance, and have a hassle-free ownership experience as soon as they enter our dealership,” said FOTON Cagayan De Oro Dealer Principal Roger L. Chiu.      Now situated at a larger and more accessible site along Gusa Highway, the FOTON Cagayan de Oro dealership showcases a two-storey state-of-the-art building on a 2,000 square meter lot.      The showroom is capable of exhibiting 30 vehicles with 10 bays in its service area. It also houses parts and accessories counters and a contemporary customer lounge where clients can sit back and relax while waiting for their vehicles to be serviced.      “The inauguration of FOTON Cagayan de Oro marks yet another milestone in our persistent commitment to establish fruitful and everlasting relationships with our patrons. We continuously strive to reach our customers in different areas around the Philippines, and deliver world-class FOTON products and services by providing an extraordinary customer experience with us,” said FOTON Philippines President Rommel Sytin.      First inaugurated in 2008, FOTON Cagayan de Oro is the first FOTON dealership to be established outside Metro Manila.      “We are truly grateful to FOTON Philippines and United Asia Automotive Group Inc., for its long-term support and encouragement over the past 10 years,” Chiu added.      The introduction of a dependable yet affordable make of passenger cars, commercial trucks, and specialized vehicles for the transportation needs of Cagayan de Oro has clearly contributed to the region's multi-faceted and continuous growth.      “For the past decade, I’m proud to say that FOTON Cagayan de Oro has strongly impacted the region’s trade and commerce, banking, infrastructure development, employment, public services, and, widely, the private sector,” Chiu noted.      Dubbed the “City of Golden Opportunities”, Cagayan de Oro proves has proven its vast potential for business opportunities. Its booming economic expansion as evidenced by high-rise hotels, condominiums, malls, IT/BPO companies, hotels and restaurants, and fast-paced real estate developments, continue to cement its reputation as the gateway to Northern Mindanao.      “Since our brand reached the Philippines, we have been driven by the philosophy of ‘Empowering Businesses’ through our products and services. Our team is geared up to ensure worry-free vehicle buying and owning experience for every customer and unwavering support to our dealer partners as well,” Sytin says with pride.      The company announced that FOTON plans to open 30 dealerships across the country by the end of the year. These outlets will be offering passenger vehicles including vans, pick-up trucks, and Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV); light, medium and  heavy-duty trucks; and heavy machinery—all designed for the increasing demands of various businesses in the region.      Chiu noted, “Our team is here to address FOTON’s commitment through best-in-class purchasing and service offerings at our full-fledged facility. As ambassadors of FOTON, we look forward to representing the premium brand by demonstrating their renowned products and service quality to the people in the region, ensuring the highest level of satisfaction of the valuable customers.”      “We are glad to have intensified our reach in Northern Mindanao, which is a very important aspect of our growth strategy, thus aligning with our approach to offer advanced amenities and quality services through strategically located network set-ups in different parts of the Philippines,” Sytin concluded.      FOTON is known as Asia’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles including passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, heavy-duty trucks and heavy machineries. For inquiries, call (02) 459-2121 or 0999-9999998. You may also visit www.foton.com.ph or www.facebook.com/FOTONPhilippines.

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CEB launches Cebu-Busuanga route 

August 23, 2019

Corporate

By: PR, Fares offered as low as PHP299 The Philippines’ leading airline, Cebu Pacific (PSE: CEB), strengthens its Cebu hub network with the launch of direct flights to Busuanga (Coron). Starting October 27, 2019, CEB’s wholly owned subsidiary, Cebgo, will be flying twice daily between Cebu and Busuanga. The first flight departs Mactan Cebu International Airport at 7:25am, and arrives in Francisco B. Reyes Airport at 9:00am; while its return flight leaves Busuanga at 9:20am and arrives in Cebu at 11:00am. The second flight leaves Cebu at 10:25am, and lands in Busuanga at 12:05pm; while its turnaround flight departs at 12:25pm and arrives at 2:10pm.   “We believe that these twice daily flights will enable residents from Cebu and other parts of Visayas and Mindanao to explore Palawan, without having to make the trip to Metro Manila to catch their flights. With this direct Cebu-Busuanga route, the islands of Coron and Culion are easier to get to. This will also allow locals from the rest of Southern Luzon to easily connect to Cebu and its network of over 20 domestic and six (6) international destinations,” said Alexander Lao, Cebgo President and CEO. CEB is offering seats for as low as PHP299, base fare, from today until August 17, 2019, or until seats last. Travel period is from October 27, 2019 to March 28, 2020.              Aside from Cebu, CEB also operates flights out of six other strategically placed hubs in the Philippines: Manila, Clark, Kalibo, Iloilo, Davao and Cagayan de Oro. The airline’s extensive network covers over 100 routes and 64 destinations, spanning Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and USA. For bookings and inquiries, guests can visit www.cebupacificair.com or call the reservation hotlines (+632)7020-888 or (+6332)230-8888. The latest seat sales can be found on CEB’s official Twitter (@CebuPacificAir) and Facebook pages. Guests may also download the Cebu Pacific official mobile app on the App Store and Google Play.   About Cebu Air Inc. (PSE: CEB) Cebu Air Inc., operating as Cebu Pacific, is the largest carrier in the Philippine air transportation industry, offering its low-cost services to more destinations and routes with higher flight frequency within the Philippines than any other airline. CEB and subsidiary Cebgo fly to 37 domestic and 27 international destinations, with over 100 routes spanning Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and USA. The Cebu Pacific fleet is comprised of 2 Airbus A321NEO, two Airbus A320NEO, 33 Airbus A320, seven (7) Airbus A321CEO, eight (8) Airbus A330, eight (8) ATR 72-500, and 13 ATR 72-600 aircraft. The ATR aircraft are used by Cebgo for inter-island flights where jet operations are not possible. CEB boasts of one of the youngest fleets in the world, with an average fleet age of five (5) years. Cebu Pacific has achieved full compliance with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA)—considered as the accreditation with the highest standards for safety in the airline industry, joining a roster of 429 airlines worldwide that have strictly complied with the most stringent of international standards governing aviation safety.   

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XAVIER CITY: The new ambitious central business hub of Cagayan de Oro

August 7, 2019

Corporate

By: MDN digital - SEO team, CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MDN Mindanao News digital) - The new and ambitious central business hub of Cagayan de Oro initially dubbed as Xavier City by its developer will definitly change the landscape of Divisoria.  Based on the proposal submitted for approval by the Jesuits in Rome, it will be a planned mixed-use development of the current Xavier University campus in the downtown, and it shall be named "Xavier City." A new 6-lane thoroughfare is envisioned by the developer to cut across the Xavier property and it will become an extension of Toribio Chaves Street. It will also exit along Mortola St. The present church inside the XU campus (Immaculate Conception Chapel) will be retained and its surroundings will be made into a green park. On its south side will rise multiple office towers on top of the commercial establishments. The upper section will also composed of condos. The proposed new central business hub (CBD) also retains the university's College of Law that will occupy one of the towers, report said.   Different perspectives are presented below for clearer understanding of this most ambitious project development as proposed by Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI)  

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Cebu Landmasters expands presence in Northern Mindanao with two new residential projects

July 17, 2019

Corporate

By: PR, LEADING VisMin property developer Cebu Landmasters Inc. boosts its presence in underserved Northern Mindanao with the recent launch of two residential projects valued at Php1.26 billion that innovatively meet the needs of mid and economic-income housing clients. Casa Mira Towers CDO is a Php824 million, two-tower condominium development offering 986 units ranging from 20 sqm studios to 36 sqm one-bedroom units in a strategic Barangay Kauswagan location and generous amenities. Projected completion date will be in the fourth quarter of 2022.   The Php437 million Velmiro Uptown CDO offers 396 house-and-lots in a 14-hectare gated subdivision in the rapidly developing Upper Canitoan area of Uptown Cagayan de Oro with 80% open spaces. Velmiro is set for turnover to clients by the fourth quarter of 2021.   CLI chairman and CEO Jose Soberano III disclosed that “we focus our projects in VisMin and serve the diverse needs of the region’s property markets. Cagayan de Oro is the second largest economic driver of Mindanao and Cebu Landmasters is rapidly expanding to serve the evolving real estate market needs in the area.”   CLI’s popular housing brand Casa Mira, for example, has sold close to 6,000 units in four Cebu province locations and another location in Dumaguete City by “offering more to the Filipino family,” according to Soberano. The economic housing project gives clients amenities such as pool, gym, clubhouse and play area, all of which are more closely associated with higher-end residential products. PR   Velmiro likewise exceeds client expectations with its strategic and rapidly developing location in CDO near schools, hospitals and malls and upscale amenities. It offers units designed to maximize space, optimize views, and use natural lighting and ventilation.   Cebu Landmasters has mastery of its VisMin markets and was recently named best developer in the country by PropertyGuru Philippines Property Awards. It now has 58 projects in different stages of development covering residential, office, retail, hotels and a 22-hectare township in Davao City. “We expect to roll out 29 more before the year ends,” declared Soberano who remain bullish about prospects of the VisMin markets. 

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Phoenix Petroleum opens first airside facility in Davao

July 16, 2019

Corporate

By: , Fastest-growing and leading independent oil company in the country Phoenix Petroleum has opened its first airside facility at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City, further streamlining its operations and services for its aviation partners. In a launching ceremony on July 10, 2019, Phoenix Petroleum Chief Operating Officer Henry Albert Fadullon highlighted the company’s continuous improvement to serve the needs of its clientele and contribute to the development of the community. “In line with our campaign for operational excellence, our newly built depot will help us serve better and more efficiently our commercial aviation clients. This project is also our way of reinforcing the booming air transportation and tourism industries, enabling us to better contribute to the overall customer experience of passengers, while fulfilling our corporate goal of becoming an indispensable partner in the journey of everyone whose life we touch,” he said. The new airside facility has a storage tank than can store up to 160,000 liters of Jet A1 fuel, a laboratory testing room for supply quality control, a staging area for trucks and aviation refuellers, and an office space for the employees. At present, the facility is expected to cater to the fuel requirements of Cebu Pacific—the company’s longest and biggest commercial aviation client in Davao airport. Also present during the inauguration were Phoenix Petroleum’s Chairman Domingo Uy, General Manager for Aviation Business Lester Khan, Cebu Pacific’s Vice President Joey Macagga, Fuel Operations Director Edwin Sarte, and Manager Ryan Mendoza, and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines’ Davao Manager Engr. Rex Obcena.

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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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GCash teaches Filipino youth how to be financially responsible

July 24, 2019

Money Matters

By: , “HOW do I start investing? How do I start saving up? When do I know when to get insurance? These are the questions I’m asked,” Mynt Chief Marketing Officer Chris Manguera said the company, which runs GCash, the leading mobile wallet app in the Philippines. With a majority of the country’s youth aiming to be financially responsible, GCash is compelled to innovate and improve their products to address the needs of young users who want to be financially responsible. Manguera said: “The intention is clear. They all have the intention to save, to be financially ready. But in the end the big gap is between intention and action. It’s our responsibility to bridge the gap.” He explained that discussions with GCash users aged 18 to 35––which comprise a third of their 20-million user base––revealed that young Filipinos want products that (1) provide a customized or personalized experience; (2) are proven to be the best in the market; and (3) are convenient to use. “No. 3 is the most important—convenience. This is a daily journey for us, to improve the convenience of our product,” said Manguera. “We have to enable them. How do we give them access to multiple channels?” One way GCash has done so, he said, is to leverage the steady rise of smartphone use in the country. According to Manguera, there were 48 million smartphone users by the end of 2018, and by the end of 2019, roughly 50-60 million Filipinos will have a smartphone. “That transforms everything. A smartphone is access to opportunities. It is access to information. It’s also access to financial services,” Manguera said. “The smartphone is becoming a gateway for many opportunities. That is the opportunity that GCash saw.” Because GCash is a mobile service, the people behind it sought to find out what convinced or discouraged mobile phone users to download the app. What they discovered was that many Filipinos who download mobile apps check the size of the apps first, as their phones many not have enough storage for it. For most smartphone users, an app that takes up 20-40 MB is okay, but it still depends on how many photos are in their phones. “They actually care about their storage. They actually care about how many photos they have to delete to install your app,” Manguera said. Adapting to this reality, GCash decided to use apps already found in most smartphones, like Facebook Messenger, to provide access to GCash’s most popular services: online bills payment, domestic remittances, and the purchase of prepaid load. With its #PwedePala online campaign touting the benefits of FB Messenger-activated GCash accounts, the company saw a 60% growth in new registrations in the first 60 days of the campaign, many of them young users. “Different experiences, different motivations. But at the core of it, they all desire to be financially ready. Whether you’re a breadwinner, a fresh graduate living with your parents or wanting to travel the world, or a working student wanting to earn more, to better manage your resources––at the core of it they just want to be financially responsible,” Manguera said. Since 2015 GCash has been the leading finance app in the Google Play Store. It has received numerous distinctions, such as the Best Mobile Payment App of the Year in 2017 from The Asian Banker and the Best Mobile Payment Service Award from the Telecom Asia Awards in 2018. The Bangko Sentral ng PIlipinas (BSP) has also recognized GCash as its Outstanding Partner for Digital Transformation and Outstanding Partner for Innovative Financial Services for 2019, citing its innovative and responsive digital financial services.

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UnionBank bats for financial inclusion of MSMEs

July 25, 2019

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By: , With the rapid growth of technology in recent years, more and more businesses are slowly digitizing their operations and business models to adapt to the shift in the global marketplace. Here in the Philippines, local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are also making that shift to broaden their network and cater to a bigger and more diverse market. A lot of Filipinos have proven that while this is no easy feat, it is attainable and all it takes is support.      Many MSMEs now thrive locally and they continue to grow by the number every year. UnionBank recently sat down with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to discuss the different challenges that MSMEs are facing and how they can collaborate in bridging the information gap, and ease the business climate to be more financially inclusive.      Pia Roman-Tayag, managing director of the Center for Learning and Inclusion Advocacy (CLIA) of the BSP said that one of the biggest challenges to the growth and development of MSMEs is the limited access to credit. MSMEs are often reluctant to approach banks due to the difficulty – whether real or perceived – to meet bank loan requirements. Banks on the other hand are unable to appropriately gauge the capacity of borrowers due to a lack of formal credit histories and reliable financial statements.      Another factor is MSMEs’ limited knowledge on alternative modes of financing. They mostly rely on their internal funds to finance their investments. A World Bank report also showed that about 81.2% of Philippine enterprises rely mostly on internal funds to finance their investments and only 10.1% use bank financing, which is seen to inherently limit the prospect of growth. Ms. Tayag notes that this is where technology can play a crucial role in bridging the information gap and unlocking the potential of MSME finance.      UnionBank of the Philippines aims to bridge this information gap and provide MSMEs with the appropriate financial products and services they need to scale up their businesses. One of their solutions is UnionBank GlobalLinker (UBGL), an innovative and free online digital platform where entrepreneurs can access financial assistance, connect with other businesses and potential clients, and even create their own free online store.      Through UnionBank GlobalLinker, MSMEs can also save with pre-negotiated deals and offers from the platform’s partner fintech institutions like Taxumo, a tax filing platform that automates the computation, filing, and payment of business taxes; Paynamics for secure e-commerce transactions for merchants and their acquiring banks; Acudeen for invoice financing that helps MSMEs finance their receivables ahead of time; SeedIn, Southeast Asia’s leading business financing platform that connects MSMEs with potential investors for short-term financing and; Esquire Financing which provides tailor-made business loans for additional working capital and business expansion. As of date, the GlobalLinker network consists of 250,000 users worldwide, and 15% of which (or 38,000) are Filipino MSMEs.      UnionBank has also made it easier for business owners to open and maintain their own bank account. This is via the Biz Starter Account, which allows entrepreneurs to open a UnionBank checking account for a minimum deposit of P5,000. A business checking account helps MSMEs gain more credibility with investors, customers and other businesses and keep their accounting records accurate and organized.      Making these products and connections available on UBGL is consistent with UnionBank’s push for digitization as a financial institution. Beyond providing financial products and services, UnionBank wants to help MSMEs address the constraints to their growth, especially their limited access and knowledge on digitization. In the process, they are also enabling a community of businesses to help each other grow and succeed.      “Our goal is to help MSMEs access the resources that would best suit their needs,” UnionBank’s Program Manager and Lead Advocate for UBGL, Mourese Soriano said. “We want the platform’s users to have flexible choices that will address their restraints on capital and other sources of funding.”      MSMEs make up 99.5% of the total establishments in the Philippines, and contribute to 62.9% of employment and 35% of gross value added (GVA) (as reported by the Department of Trade and Industry). With added support for MSMEs from both the public and private sectors, the Philippines can achieve a more inclusive yet globally competitive economy.

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7th Financial Inclusion Steering Committee Meeting

July 25, 2019

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By: , The Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC) held its 7th meeting on 5 July 2019 at the BSP in Manila. The FISC is an important platform that was established in 2016 through Executive Order No. 208 to provide strategic direction, guidance and oversight in the implementation of the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) which was launched in 2015. Now with 17 members, the inter-agency body ensures a coordinated approach to financial inclusion by ensuring policy and program cohesion and promotion of multi-sectoral collaboration.      Chaired by Governor Benjamin Diokno, the 7th FISC Meeting covered updates on priority initiatives the member agencies undertook in support of agriculture value chain financing (AVCF) and digital finance - the two focal themes of the NSFI.        The FISC members recognized the need to promote greater collaboration in government and private sector toward developing and financing agriculture value chains. Strengthening agriculture value chains can improve access of smallholder farmers and small agribusinesses to effective farming technologies and to stable, high value market– thereby improving their productivity, competitiveness, and bankability.  AVCF can therefore catalyze more meaningful and sustainable participation of the banking industry in agriculture financing, benefitting in particular the smallholders.      The FISC members also expressed their commitment to ensure more Filipinos are able to open and regularly use a transaction account so they can fully participate in the gains of an inclusive digital finance ecosystem. During the meeting, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) presented its initiative to facilitate the opening and use of e-money or basic deposit account for the conditional cash transfer program beneficiaries. Other agencies are also exploring opportunities to leverage their policymaking powers to promote use of transaction accounts, particularly by the microentrepreneurs, wage-earners and other vulnerable sectors. Aligned with this thrust, the Department of Finance also reported the ongoing interagency efforts to enable online payment of government fees and taxes which is expected to drive use of transaction accounts and digital payments.

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ZALORA holds groundbreaking of its new mega e-fulfillment center

July 22, 2019

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By: , ZALORA holds groundbreaking of its new mega e-fulfillment center ZALORA, the country’s leading fashion destination partners with Ayala AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation to celebrate the groundbreaking of the biggest efulfilment center in the Philippines dedicated to fashion e-commerce. The e-fulfillment center will have 40,000 square-meters of racking space and a 7.2 million item storage capacity at its final phase, designed to support the company’s growth plan for the next 10 years.      ZALORA Philippines (ZPH), led by its Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Paulo Campos III, joined by ZALORA Group’s CEO, Gunjan Soni, and Ayala AC Infrastructure’s Chief Operations Officer Noel Kintanar facilitated the groundbreaking ceremony for the 3.7-hectare Fashion E-Fulfillment Project in the Daang Hari and Daang Reyna Junction in Muntinlupa City.      The new e-fulfilment centre demonstrates ZALORA’s efforts in maintaining its position as a best in class ecommerce logistics player in the region. The new efulfillment centre will help double ZALORA’s productivity through significant investments on automation, test-bedding new technologies and software and improving business processes to drive productivity following the best practices of Global Fashion Group Fulfillment Centers around the world.      “We are thrilled to be able to break ground on our new state-of-the-art E-Fulfillment Center which will be the home of ZALORA in the Philippines for the next decade!” says Paulo Campos III. “This new facility will further strengthen ZALORA’s capabilities and grow its business across the archipelago, housing thousands of fashion brands, and reaching more cities and towns in the Philippines, solidifying our commitment to provide Filipino consumers the best online shopping experience possible.”      The new facility will also be the new home of ZALORA as it houses 5,000 sqm of office space for its Customer Service and e-Production teams and is expected to provide at least 1,000 job opportunities for the surrounding Muntinlupa-Cavite communities.      The ZALORA E-Fulfillment Center project is scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of 2020.

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Have A Rainy Day Staycation with Savoy Hotel’s Rainy Day Promo

July 19, 2019

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By: , The BER months are nearing and Savoy Hotel is welcoming the drizzling season with a rainy day promo perfect for families and individuals who plan to go on a staycation in Newport City. From July 15 to September 30, guests who book at Savoy Hotel can enjoy rates as low as Php5,500 per night at an essential room with a complimentary breakfast for two.       Guests will also get a complimentary cup of hot chocolate and cookie at Savoy’s premier coworking space, The Squares, to remedy the cold season. The Squares is located in several guest floors of the hotel and is a convenient coworking space for guests who want to do business transactions and productive collaborations regardless of the lazy weather.      The rainy season is also the perfect time to appreciate and enjoy indoor activities in Newport City such as shows and performances from a roster of talented artists. As a special treat, guests availing this promo are entitled to a 20% discount on selected Resorts World Manila entertainment.       Savoy Hotel’s proximity to the airport makes it an ideal respite for tourists and business travellers alike. Enjoy world class amenities of Resorts World Manila all while conveniently being a stone’s throw away from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3.

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