BDO, one of Asia’s Icons on Corporate Governance

April 5, 2019

Corporate Governance Asia awarded BDO with the Asia’s Icon on Corporate Governance for the 14th time. The icon award recognizes the best of the best in corporate governance (CG) in Asia for setting the benchmark of what CG should be.      The country’s largest bank also took home the Asia’s Outstanding Company on Corporate Governance Award for its consistently high CG standing, while BDO Chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson and President & CEO Nestor V. Tan were co-awarded with the Asian Corporate Director Recognition Award for their exemplary leadership.      “Corporate governance is now deeply embedded in Asia, which in many ways, serves as an attractive proposition for investors to park their capital in this region,” said Corporate Governance Asia Founder and Publisher Aldrin Monsod. “Corporations here have adopted and continue to adapt to the best international practices that have made Asia an important investment destination for global fund managers.”      For Tan, CG is valuable in maintaining a healthy, financially-sound, and well-managed bank. “It is a key driver towards our sustainable growth and long-term value creation,” he said.      BDO’s CG practice is recognized as one of the best in the Philippines. With a high score on the ASEAN CG Scorecard, the bank is one of the Top 50 ASEAN Publicly-Listed Companies in Corporate Governance.      Having an award-winning CG practice bodes favorably among foreign investors. BDO has received an over subscription in its capital market offerings, one of the clear indications that it is a good credit risk as an issuer.      “We are always looking out for our clients. To serve them in the best possible way, we constantly evolve our CG practices to support the requirements of the changing business landscape, comply with new regulations, and align with international best practices,” added Tan.      Corporate Governance Asia publishes news and analysis on CG issues, boardroom practices, and shareholder activism. Now on its 14th year, its Best of Asia Awards celebrates the success of companies that adhere to the highest CG standards. Awardees have integrated effective Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices across their business. They are also awarded for the quality of their management, their business model, growth prospects, financial performance, and relative position in their industries. “Part of getting recognized entails the responsibiliy to maintain our performance and if possible, exceed it. We welcome this challenge in keeping with our We Find Ways service philosophy, knowing that our clients stand to benefit further from our improvements,” concluded Sy-Coson.

Plant-inspired buildings to rise on Victoria Plaza

April 4, 2019

DAVAO City––A mix of “iconic” medium- and high-rise buildings inspired by some exotic and endemic plants of Mindanao will rise within the 9.6-hectare property of the Victoria Plaza mall complex, an official of a Hong Kong-based design company said. Walter V. Melicor, chief financial officer of the Elements Habitare, told reporters in an interview during the formal takeover ceremony Wednesday held inside Victoria Plaza’s Cinema 5, which currently houses the Harvest House City Church, that the development would have five phases. The Lim family, which operates the homegrown New City Commercial Corporation (NCCC), took over the mall management on Wednesday after announcing its acquisition on March 12, at an undisclosed amount. Melicor said the first two phases would have a five-star hotel, a condominium and serviced apartments; a twin-tower in phase 3; NCCC headquarters in phase 4; and a four-story mall in phase 5. The designs of the most iconic components of the 9.6-ha development, such as the twin-tower, NCCC corporate building and mall took inspiration from the exotic plants of Mindanao, he said. He added the design of the twin tower would be inspired by the pitcher plant, a carnivorous plant found in Mt. Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental province and other forests of Mindanao, the corporate building by the exotic mangosteen fruit, and the mall by the petals of the waling-waling plant endemic to the island. Melicor’s team designed some of the world’s iconic buildings, among them Marina Bay Sands of Singapore, Galaxy Macau, a casino resort in Macau, and Okada Manila, a luxury hotel casino in the Philippines. Melicor said the Lim family would decide if it wants to retain the old structure of the mall, but added the current conceptual design might require a total demolition of the old structure to give way to a new one. He said the current structure might not support the proposed expansion of the mall. “We are moving forward to the future. The sentimentality will always be there, in the place but not in the building. I think the building — we have to enhance and make it iconic building at par with the world,” he said. But NCCC president Sharlene A. Lim assured the old mall building would be retained but it would have a facelift. She said the company plans to proceed with a phase-by-phase development of the old Victoria Plaza Mall as it did for its NCCC Mall in Maa before a massive fire destroyed it on December 23, 2017. The fire incident killed the mall’s key custodian and 37 call center agents of Survey Sampling International. Lim added the company plans to develop the dilapidated cinemas into a family entertainment center, where the restaurants located at the periphery of the mall’s parking space will be relocated. The mall tenants, including ukay-ukay vedors, would be provided a space, she said. She said NCCC Department Store and Supermarket would eventually take over the department store and supermarket of the Victoria Plaza. She said the Victoria Plaza has over 300 tenants at present. Inaugurated on March 16, 1993,  the Davao Sunrise Investment & Development Corporation of the Limso family previously managed the Victoria Plaza, a premier mall of the Dabawenyos in the 1990’s. On the start of the development, Lim added her family plans to “get this running sooner.” She said NCCC welcomes players to invest in the mixed-use development. “A lot of people are interested in coming in and sort of doing this vision to life. Starting today, we can start talking to people about it openly kasi nga before medyo hush-hush kami,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)  

Cebu Pacific commences new Manila-Marinduque route

April 3, 2019

01 April 2019 - The Philippines’ largest carrier, Cebu Pacific (PSE: CEB), today launches a direct flight to its newest domestic destination, Marinduque. CEB is proud to be the only airline operating flights in and out of the Marinduque Airport through its subsidiary Cebgo.      The flights will be operated thrice weekly, every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, out of the NAIA Terminal 4 (Manila Domestic Terminal) in Manila.      “Being the only carrier flying to and from Marinduque, we are very happy to enable the opening of more resorts, other businesses and other opportunities—prospering growth of the province. Now, more tourists will be able to fly direct to Marinduque to see and experience the island for themselves. At the same time, it will also be easier for residents to fly to Manila and travel to any onward destination, be it domestic or international, through CEB’s seamlessly connected network,” said Atty. JR Mantaring, Vice President for Corporate Affairs of Cebu Pacific.      Marinduque is well-known for the Moriones Festival held annually during Holy Week. Aside from this, pristine white sand beaches and islands also surround the province, leaving tons more beauty waiting to be discovered.      “The Department of Tourism will always be supportive of the development of the access to Marinduque. Establishing connectivity is very important for us to continue our goal of making sure we place Marinduque, and the rest of MIMAROPA, on tourists’ bucketlists,” said Mr. Danilo Intong, Regional Director of Region IV-B.   “We are positive that these direct flights will pave the way for our beloved province to be seen and discovered as a world-class eco-tourism destination. We look forward to continue working with Cebu Pacific and other stakeholders as we strive for progress in Marinduque,” said Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Jay Velasco.      Marinduque is the 37th domestic destination of Cebu Pacific. Aside from Marinduque, CEB also operates flights to other up-and-coming tourist destinations such as Tablas, Masbate, Siargao and Camiguin.

Italpinas Dev’t breaks ground Città Bella

March 27, 2019

THE second phase of eco-friendly apartments of Primavera City develop by Italpinas Development Corporation broke ground Monday (March 25). Dubbed as Citta’ Bella, Primavera City Phase 2 is 11 levels high just like her twin Citta Verde (Primavera City Phase 1) and eventual triplet Citta Grande (Primavera City Phase 3). All three mixed-rise developments will feature residential, commercial and office spaces to top at the roofdeck with a function hall featuring a stunning view of Macajalar Bay to the north and the Bukidnon mountains to the south. The rooftop of all three buildings will be installed with photovoltaic panels, making the entire premises an eco-friendly one. In particular, Citta Bella will offer 291 housing units in three types: studio, one-bedroom and penthouse. According to Italpinas Development Corporation vice-president for brand management Clara Elizaga, there will be six penthouse units at the 11th level of the edifice. The rest of the residential units will be spread out from the fourth to 11th levels. Elizaga said that the first level is reserved for 17 units of commercial space while 36 office units are allocated at the second to third levels. The second building in Primavera City located along P.N. Roa Ave., upper Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City has a total of 106 parking spaces in two basement levels. The construction of the second phase is expected to complete in September 2021 with occupancy to start in early 2022. The whole Primavera City project, which will include a high-rise tower to be called Citta Alta, will finish in 2026. Primavera City development sits in a spacious 55,000 square-meter property in a very prime location in uptown Cagayan de Oro, Northern Mindanao’s premier new growth area. Italpinas Development Corporation pioneers eco-friendly realty projects in this part of the country. “Choosing to live in a green building is not just a lifestyle but a choice to live in comfort and well-being,” IDC chairman and CEO Romolo Nati pointed out. “Sustainability must be a way of thinking and living – a mindset.”

English learning platform eyes 100K teachers for Chinese kids

March 23, 2019

DAVAO CITY -- An online English learning platform serving Chinese children is seeking to hire 100,000 home-based online teachers in the Philippines in the next five years.      Jennifer Que, country head of 51Talk, said English as a Foreign Language (EFL) is a new industry where Filipinos are qualified and have been the preferred teachers because they speak the language in a neutral accent.      She said Filipinos are also tech-savvy, naturally happy, and have a good grasp of both the Western and Chinese cultures.      She said that in the last two years 51Talk grew by 62 percent. For now, 51Talk has 18,000 home-based Filipino teachers, some 2,000 of whom are based in Davao City.      An online teacher can earn as much as PHP80,000 depending on the tenure. The more bookings mean more earnings and more rewards, Que said.      “If you do well, the student will book you again and even recommend you to friends,” Que said during the press conference at the Waterfront Insular Hotel on Thursday.      51Talk, which is listed in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as the first Chinese online platform and the leading online English platform in the People’s Republic in China, has been in the Philippines since 2011.      Que said 51Talk is gearing towards professionalizing the industry, adding that 51Talk prefers applicants with education-related courses, friendly, hospitable, and with maternal disposition “because they deal with children.”      She said classes start from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. because it is the time when children go online.      “Student traffic happens in the evening and weekends,” Que said, adding 51Talk also offers training for the teachers as part of their development. (PNA)

IDC wins International Property Awards for the 3rd time

March 22, 2019

Miramonti Green Residences added laurels to publicly listed sustainable developer Italpinas Development Corporation (IDCTM) as it won the prestigious International Property Awards for Asia Pacific sealing its place as elite Award Winner for Best Mixed-Use Development in the Philippines 2019-2020.       “International Property Awards is a highly acclaimed award in the worldwide property industry. Winning International Property Awards for the third consecutive time, and on all the properties we developed is a recognition of our design excellence as a sustainable developer”  said Romolo Nati, chairman and CEO of IDCTM.      IDCTM earned the prestigious recognition, which is considered as a mark of excellence for property professionals, for its soon-to-rise project Miramonti Green Residences, a mixed-use eco-friendly development, set against the dramatic backdrop of majestic Mt. Makiling in Sto. Tomas Batangas.       Inspired by its view (Miramonti in Italian means “look at the mountain”), the project is yet another example of the brand of design-driven sustainable architecture that Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC) is bringing into the country’s emerging cities. Located in the south of Metro Manila, Sto. Tomas is part of the Philippines’ new beltway of economic growth along the expressways connecting the capital region with Batangas Port making the CALABARZON area one of the most dynamic trade zones in the country.         Easily accessible from South Luzon Expressway and adjacent to the Light Industry and Science Park III, Miramonti Green Residences is soon to become a prime landmark in Sto.Tomas, Batangas. Sto. Tomas is an expanding residential and commercial community located in the scenic Mt. Makiling area in southern Luzon, a fresh urban setting away from the chaotic metropolitan environment.        The Miramonti Green Residences project will consist of three 21-storey towers and will be developed in two phases. The first phase, comprises one tower sitting atop a podium structure, will occupy a 2,057-square meter area. It will offer 352 residential units, 18 commercial units, and 89 parking units alongside amenities, such as fitness center, swimming pool, playground, among others.      The design of Miramonti Green Residences integrates green strategies and systems that aim to reduce overall energy consumption in all towers resulting in long-term energy consumption savings. One of its key features is the use of passive cooling technology such as shadow and sunlight control, wind cooling and shape performance. The project will also harness solar energy from photovoltaic panels to be installed on the roof of the towers.       “The citation in the Best Mixed-Use Development category within the International Property Awards-Asia Pacific 2019-2020 is an honor but receiving this prestigious recognition for the third time is really a big accomplishment”, pointed out Architect Romolo Valentino Nati, chairman and CEO of IDCTM .“The success of IDC’s first two projects, Primavera Residences and Primavera City, both located in Cagayan de Oro, has been an inspiration to us. Further reinforcing our green advocacy, our latest project Miramonti Green Residences is a milestone and another example of the brand of design-driven sustainable architecture that Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC), is introducing to the country’s emerging cities” added Arch.Nati.       Our passion in bringing the design-driven sustainable architecture in emerging cities has always been the driving force of IDCTM. Winning the prestigious International Property Awards for Asia Pacific in all three of our developments reinvigorates not only our passion but also our commitment to bring relevant sustainable developments in the country, said IDCTM President, Atty Jose D. Leviste III.      IDCTM will be honoured at the Asia Pacific Property Awards in the Marriot Marquis Queen’s Park, Bangkok next 14th -15th May, together with the best property professionals across the Asia Pacific regions, to be recognised in the Best Mixed-Use Development category.


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