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3rd PH Sports Tourism Awards Nominations now open

April 11, 2019

Nominations for the 3rd Philippine Sports Tourism Awards are now open to all sports and tourism related associations, event organizers, companies and local government units that have excelled in supporting, organizing and managing sports events to attract visitors to their destinations. The prestigious awards will from this year be given annually to the various categories in the private and government sectors for domestic or international events. Introduced by Selrahco Management, a marketing and promotions company focusing on destination and sports marketing, the PSTA is a spin-off of the Sports Tourism Forum which was formed in 2004. PSTA is now managed by Selrahco-Primetime. Previous honorees include Sunrise Events, Inc (2015-2017) as private event organizers, Dumaguete City (2017) and Municipality of Lubao, Pampanga (2017) as government event organizers; Tabuelan 111(2015) and Visit Davao Summer Festival (2017) as domestic event of the year; Ironman 70.3 Cebu (2015) and Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship (2017) as event of the year;  Philippine Inter-Island Sailing Federation (2015) and Philippine Football Federation (2017) as national sports association of the year; Province of Cebu (2015) and Cebu Pacific Air (2017) for destination marketing; Resorts World Manila Masters (2015) and Century Tuna Ironman (2017) for event sponsorship of the year; Fat Boy 10s Rugby (2015) and Fundlife International (2017) were named charity events of the year, Philippine Airlines was was named 2017 airline of the year while Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa romped away with the hotel of the year 2017 award. The prestigious award of destination of the year was won by Clark Freezone in 2015 and Subic Bay in 2017.   Nominations for events held only in 2018 will be considered. The categories are: Destination of the Year, Organizer of the Year (LGU), Organizer of the Year (Private), Event of the Year (Domestic), Event of the Year (International), Destination Marketing of the Year, NSA of the Year, Hotel of the Year, Event Sponsorship of the Year, Airline of the Year, Charity Event of the Year Four new categories are added for this year - Tour Operator of the Year, Sports Venue of the Year, Sports MICE event of the Year, and Media Coverage of Year. Deadline for nominations will be on June 30, 2019. Nomination forms are available online in the PSTA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ThePSTAwards/  There is no fee in nominating an entry. Only shortlisted nominations will be announced. For more information, call Mr Gabe Tomboc  at +639064067051   or email gabe.selrahco@gmail.com

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P15-Billion Windfall for Gencos with Mindanao WESM

April 11, 2019

The extension of the Philippine WESM into Mindanao can be done legally and becomes technically possible only upon completion of the Visayas-Mindanao HVDC Interconnection. According to a paper submitted last year by the Mindanao Coalition of Power Consumers, an isolated WESM in Mindanao or anywhere else in the Philippines is not mandated by the EPIRA, although neither is it explicitly prohibited by the EPIRA. “So the Department of Energy (DoE) is probably thinking of going ahead with the establishment of an isolated Mindanao WESM, because it is good for the generating companies in Mindanao, and there is no legal prohibition against an isolated WESM in Mindanao,” said Engr. David A. Tauli, MCPC President. “But even if the DOE can legally establish an isolated WESM in Mindanao, they still have to tell the public now, and tell the legal courts when the issue is brought to the courts, what are the economic benefits of a Mindanao WESM,” Tauli added. The MCPC said advocates of a Mindanao WESM have failed to establish the economic benefits that would accrue to the people of Mindanao as a result of its operation. The extension of the Philippine WESM into Mindanao can be done legally and becomes technically possible only upon completion of the Visayas-Mindanao HVDC Interconnection. According to a paper submitted last year by the Mindanao Coalition of Power Consumers, an isolated WESM in Mindanao or anywhere else in the Philippines is not mandated by the EPIRA, although neither is it explicitly prohibited by the EPIRA. “So the Department of Energy (DoE) is probably thinking of going ahead with the establishment of an isolated Mindanao WESM, because it is good for the generating companies in Mindanao, and there is no legal prohibition against an isolated WESM in Mindanao,” said Engr. David A. Tauli, MCPC President. “But even if the DOE can legally establish an isolated WESM in Mindanao, they still have to tell the public now, and tell the legal courts when the issue is brought to the courts, what are the economic benefits of a Mindanao WESM,” Tauli added. The MCPC said advocates of a Mindanao WESM have failed to establish the economic benefits that would accrue to the people of Mindanao as a result of its operation.   Average Annual Rate of Electricity in Mindanao The MCPC said the average rate being paid by consumers for bulk generation in Mindanao today, without a WESM, is around P4.20 per kilowatt-hour. When a WESM is established in Mindanao, the price of bulk generation during peak loads, assuming that there is adequate capacity of generating plants available, will be P7.00/ kWh. In times of power capacity shortage, which will occur during periods of droughts or when major power plants are undergoing repair or maintenance, the price in the WESM will go up to at least P20 /kWh, assuming that the dominant generating companies do not abuse their market power.   WESM Windfall for Gencos Based on these assumptions, the MCPC calculates the operation of a WESM in Mindanao at this time would result in a windfall profit of at least P15- billion annually. These are the economic impacts of the WESM in the short run, two or three years into the future. In the long run, a WESM in Mindanao will be disastrous for everyone, including the generating companies. Investors will not come to Mindanao because of the high prices of electricity, consumers will reduce their usage of electricity, and the more expensive power plants will have to shut down because they will no longer be needed.   High power rates stunt growth Despite the windfall profits accruing to the remaining gencos, the industry would earn fewer revenues due to the reduction in consumption and the negative effects of the high electricity rates on growth. In the long run, this would force power intensive industries which originally located to Mindanao because of its lower power rates to locate elsewhere.   With Mindanao WESM A Mindanao WESM would increase power rates in the island because of its pricing mechanism which would be the same for Mindanao as the pricing mechanism being implemented now in the Philippine WESM. In a Mindanao WESM, the price for all generation, during normal periods when there is adequate generation, will be the highest bid price of the generators that are dispatched. The last generator dispatched during peak load hours will be a diesel-fueled power plant, with a price of 7.00 pesos per kWh. This will be the price of the generation of all power plants dispatched during peak hours. During hours of intermediate load, the price will be the price of the last diesel-fueled power plant dispatched, which will probably be around P6.00/kWh, lower than diesel-fueled power plants used for peak loads. And during the hours in which only baseload power plants are operating, the price will probably be around P5.00/kWh, the price of the most expensive coal plant that is dispatched. Thus, with a WESM there will be an inevitable increase in the prices of bulk generation, even if there will be no exercise of market power by the dominant generating companies generating companies in Mindanao. The average rate of electricity sold in the WESM over an entire year will be around P5.60/kWh.   Without WESM Under the economic dispatch of generating plants being implemented by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in Mindanao at present, the rates for bulk generation are the rates for the bilateral contracts between distribution utility companies and generating companies. This would be an average of around P4.20/kWh, after normalizing the rates for the FDC coal plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental and the Mt. Apo geothermal power plant. The current rates of these power plants are abnormal, but the rates should be normalized in 2017 after legal actions by consumers against the exorbitant rates of the 100-MW Mt. Apo geothermal power plant and the FDC 405-MW coal plant.   Conclusion The only change that will result from the imposition of a WESM in Mindanao would be the replacement of the present pricing of bulk generation obtained through bilateral contracting with pricing determined by the WESM. Even without abuse of market power by the half-dozen dominant generating companies in Mindanao, the average rate for bulk generation will rise from P4.20/kWh without the WESM, to at least 5.60/kWh, a 33 percent increase that would subsequently passed on to consumers. This would result in a windfall profit of approximately P15-billion annually to be paid by consumers with practically no investment on the part of the gencos and the same level of service to consumers, all thanks to the mere transfer of the present bilateral contracting scheme to the WESM market and pricing mechanism. The MCPC said the average rate being paid by consumers for bulk generation in Mindanao today, without a WESM, is around P4.20 per kilowatt-hour. When a WESM is established in Mindanao, the price of bulk generation during peak loads, assuming that there is adequate capacity of generating plants available, will be P7.00/ kWh. In times of power capacity shortage, which will occur during periods of droughts or when major power plants are undergoing repair or maintenance, the price in the WESM will go up to at least P20 /kWh, assuming that the dominant generating companies do not abuse their market power.   WESM Windfall for Gencos Based on these assumptions, the MCPC calculates the operation of a WESM in Mindanao at this time would result in a windfall profit of at least P15- billion annually. These are the economic impacts of the WESM in the short run, two or three years into the future. In the long run, a WESM in Mindanao will be disastrous for everyone, including the generating companies. Investors will not come to Mindanao because of the high prices of electricity, consumers will reduce their usage of electricity, and the more expensive power plants will have to shut down because they will no longer be needed. High power rates stunt growth Despite the windfall profits accruing to the remaining gencos, the industry would earn fewer revenues due to the reduction in consumption and the negative effects of the high electricity rates on growth. In the long run, this would force power intensive industries which originally located to Mindanao because of its lower power rates to locate elsewhere.   With Mindanao WESM A Mindanao WESM would increase power rates in the island because of its pricing mechanism which would be the same for Mindanao as the pricing mechanism being implemented now in the Philippine WESM. In a Mindanao WESM, the price for all generation, during normal periods when there is adequate generation, will be the highest bid price of the generators that are dispatched. The last generator dispatched during peak load hours will be a diesel-fueled power plant, with a price of 7.00 pesos per kWh. This will be the price of the generation of all power plants dispatched during peak hours. During hours of intermediate load, the price will be the price of the last diesel-fueled power plant dispatched, which will probably be around P6.00/kWh, lower than diesel-fueled power plants used for peak loads. And during the hours in which only baseload power plants are operating, the price will probably be around P5.00/kWh, the price of the most expensive coal plant that is dispatched. Thus, with a WESM there will be an inevitable increase in the prices of bulk generation, even if there will be no exercise of market power by the dominant generating companies generating companies in Mindanao. The average rate of electricity sold in the WESM over an entire year will be around P5.60/kWh.   Without WESM Under the economic dispatch of generating plants being implemented by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in Mindanao at present, the rates for bulk generation are the rates for the bilateral contracts between distribution utility companies and generating companies. This would be an average of around P4.20/kWh, after normalizing the rates for the FDC coal plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental and the Mt. Apo geothermal power plant. The current rates of these power plants are abnormal, but the rates should be normalized in 2017 after legal actions by consumers against the exorbitant rates of the 100-MW Mt. Apo geothermal power plant and the FDC 405-MW coal plant.   Conclusion The only change that will result from the imposition of a WESM in Mindanao would be the replacement of the present pricing of bulk generation obtained through bilateral contracting with pricing determined by the WESM. Even without abuse of market power by the half-dozen dominant generating companies in Mindanao, the average rate for bulk generation will rise from P4.20/kWh without the WESM, to at least 5.60/kWh, a 33 percent increase that would subsequently passed on to consumers. This would result in a windfall profit of approximately P15-billion annually to be paid by consumers with practically no investment on the part of the gencos and the same level of service to consumers, all thanks to the mere transfer of the present bilateral contracting scheme to the WESM market and pricing mechanism.

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Bong Go’s rise and how other HNP bets are faring

April 8, 2019

A little over two months before the May 2019 elections, 10 out of the 14 probable winners of the senatorial race are Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) candidates – a virtual domination of administration allies.      Just outside the winning circle, other HNP candidates battle with opposition bets for the last slots.      Rappler takes a look at Pulse Asia’s 6 pre-election surveys to get a sense of where HNP bets stand as of now, and assess who are assured of victory, who are lagging behind, and who have erratic numbers.      •    Former presidential aide Bong Go was on a steep upward trajectory, with the number of voters supporting him increasing 10-fold in a year      Since the campaign began, only President Rodrigo Duterte’s top 3 candidates saw significant improvements in their ratings.

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Cops seize 3 sacks of marijuana

April 4, 2019

ILIGAN City--Police authorities recovered sacks of marijuana plants in Barangay Lumbatan Manacab in Buadipuso Buntong, Lanao del Sur last Sunday (March 31). The police managed to recover the three sacks of marijuana plants weighing 30 kilograms from the area from a tipster. Police Captain Jemar Delos Santos, information officer of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PRO-BARMM), said the plants were already uprooted and sacked when the police arrived in the area. “Sila na ang nagbunot ng marijuana plants… sa bundok daw po nakatanim sa malawak na taniman,” Delos Santos said. Delos Santos said there are leads on the identity of the owners of the marijuana plantation and is now under investigation. Police Brigadier General Graciano Mijares, regional director of PRO-BARMM, said the confiscated marijuana plants were brought to Buadipuso Buntong Municipal Police Station for proper disposition.

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U.S. trains Philippine Supreme Court and Court of Appeals justices on cybercrime

April 4, 2019

MANILA — The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, through the U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ) Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training (OPDAT), coordinated with the Supreme Court Sub-Committee on Commercial Courts (SCC) to train nine Supreme Court justices and more than 30 Court of Appeals justices on cybercrime on March 25, 2019.  The Supreme Court is in the process of implementing the new Rule on Cybercrime Warrants (RCW), which facilitates the detection, investigation, and prosecution of cybercrime offenses.  This training supported the implementation of the RCW and addressed new issues posed by emerging computer-facilitated crimes, including digital security and privacy risks.  This is part of an OPDAT partnership with the Philippines to build government capacity to effectively fight cyber-enabled crimes.  At the training, Ovie Carroll, U.S. DOJ Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) Cybercrime Laboratory Director, and Daniel Ogden, CCIPS Senior Digital Investigative Analyst, discussed the nuances and evidentiary value of computer data in comparison to traditional evidence, as well as the security risks and benefits inherent in digital devices.  They also shared techniques for gathering, preserving, and analyzing digital evidence.  Their presentation provided the justices with practical insights to help them apply and enhance the RCW.  Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin explained, “The speed of technological development creates blind spots in matters of personal security and privacy.  The briefing on digital security was truly informative and invaluable for us in the Judiciary."  Court of Appeals Presiding Judge Ramon Barza, who attended the session for appellate justices, said, “The talk gave a refreshing view on the impact of cyber technology on gathering evidence and building up cases, especially for the prosecution.”  The U.S. Embassy, through OPDAT, is working with Philippine partners to enhance justice sector capabilities via trainings for judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and government agencies on combatting transnational crimes.  OPDAT also helped develop instructional videos and a new cybercrime course for criminology schools nationwide.  OPDAT will conduct cybercrime training for northern Luzon judges from April 4 to 5 in Baguio City.

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RTWPB-X board members' capacity-building on wages and productivity

April 1, 2019

Atty. Alvin B. Curada, Director II of the Policy and Research Service of the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), joined the March 8, 2019 Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board – Region X Board Meeting and gave updates on wages and productivity policies to the Board that include topics on NWPC Resolution No. 1 series of 2017 providing that the minimum wage of family drivers shall now be the minimum wage prescribed for private establishments and Revised Operational Guidelines on the Adoption of Part-Fixed, Part Performance-Based Compensation Scheme in the Public Bus Transport Industry. Also discussed was the 2019 Productivity Olympics, a biennial national competition for best productivity improvement programs (PIPs) of micro, small, and medium enterprises.

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