Today's Top Stories

  • PowerSource Group bolsters Iligan’s growth

    PowerSource Group bolsters Iligan’s growth

    ILIGAN CITY - Iligan’s biggest investment project in years is now operating its thermal hybrid power plant in Barangay Kiwalan assuring the Industrial City of the South’s continuous electricity supply.      In a press conference called during the recently concluded 28th Mindanao Business Conference held at the MSU-IIT gym in Iligan City, officers of the Power Source Philippines Energy Inc. (PPEI), a subsidiary of the PowerSource Group, announced it completed the construction of its P3 billion (B) hybrid power plant, in July of last year.       PSPI has set up PowerSource Philippines Energy Inc. (PPEI) as a special purpose vehicle for the project. Its Board of Investments (BOI) filing listed an initial investment of P2.3 billion in 2015 and construction of the power plant commenced in February 2016.      “Through a joint effort with the local government unit, other energy companies, and the local community, we want to help protect and bolster Iligan’s energy future so that homes have light, businesses can function, and important healthcare services continue to operate worry-free,” said  Ricardo G. Lazatin, President of PowerSource Group, PPEI’s mother company.      “This plant is unique in the sense that it is an embedded plant within Iligan,” said PPEI Executive Director Michael Dennis D. Rayala. “So basically, if anything happens say a massive blackout in Mindanao, PPEI and other embedded plants in Iligan can power the city independently. So there is assurance and security of power in such situations.”      The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) granted PSPI a certificate of compliance (COC) last February 6, 2019 to operate its 25-megawatt (MW) circulating fluidized bed (CFB) thermal hybrid plant and two units of 3.20 MW blackstart diesel engine generator sets located in Brgy. Kiwalan, Iligan City, Lanao del Norte. The plant utilizes a mix of 70% coal and 30% biomass.      Rayala said PPEI signed a 25-year power supply agreement (PSA) with the local distribution utility Iligan Light & Power, Inc. (ILPI) for 12MW baseload power and 8MW baseload power with Republic Cement Iligan Inc.  Investments & Promotions Code      Lazatin credits Iligan city for crafting an attractive local investment code which was a major factor in its decision to invest in the area.      “PowerSource is highly appreciative of Iligan’s Investment and Promotions Code, which makes the city an ideal location for new business ventures,” Lazatin said. Corporate Citizenship      Lazatin added the PowerSource Group is going beyond merely providing energy to the city and is also focusing on how the company can make a meaningful impact on the community.      Foremost, PPEI made the decision to transfer its headquarters from Makati to its newfound home in Iligan on March 20, 2019 to show its long term commitment to the development of the city.      “PPEI) our subsidiary that operates the embedded thermal hybrid plant in Iligan has moved its head office from Makati to Iligan because we’d like to really support the community and generate additional revenues and taxes for the city. Most importantly, this move is an insurance and a security for power supply in Iligan,” Lazatin stressed.      Lazatin added that PPEI has complied with an extensive list of regulatory requirements in the development and construction of the plant, so by promoting good corporate governance, PPEI can help the city attract more investors to Iligan.      PowerSource Group is currently drawing up plans to work with schools starting with the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) to create a cadetship program for young engineers and students that will aid their skills development. This will eventually help turn Iligan into the Philippine center of excellence for energy engineering, or what Lazatin calls Energyneering.      Aside from creating jobs at the plant, PPEI has donated a fire truck and ambulance worth P4-million to the Iligan LGU last June 24 which was assigned to its host barangay in Kiwalan.      “Right now, we want to focus on finding potential partnerships and building good relationships with Mindanaoan communities,” said Lazatin. “Aside from generating revenue for the local government, we’re hoping our presence encourages others to consider Iligan as a viable investment opportunity.”      Additional opportunities that PowerSource Group is currently exploring include, among others, initiatives that will support the environment and restore natural resources through agro-forestry and water distribution.      “PowerSource Group considers itself as a long-term partner in the economic growth of Iligan and the rest of Mindanao. We are here for the long haul in helping promote the brighter future of Mindanao,” Lazatin concluded.

    September 18, 2019

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  • MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: 28th Mindanao Business Conference Executive Report

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: 28th Mindanao Business Conference Executive Report

    ILIGAN City – The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed its satisfaction with the results of the recently concluded 28th Mindanao Business Conference held in this City of Majestic Waterfalls last September 12-14, 2019.      Over 700 delegates from business, policy makers and stakeholders from government and private sector attended the three day conference organized by the PCCI and hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation of Iligan, Inc. (CCIFII) at the MSU-IIT gym in Barangay Tibanga, this city.      A major milestone of the conference is the immediate response from President Duterte’s Cabinet Secretary Karlo B. Nograles on the policy resolutions submitted by PCCI Mindanao. “We believe that the best evidence of government’s commitment to follow through on Mindanao development efforts are the Administration’s response to the 2018 MinBizCon Resolutions submitted to the President last year,” Nograles said.      “We are encouraged by the fact that many of the priorities and plans of the Administration are aligned with your concerns, and you have our assurance that the concerns you have raised are factored in the government’s ongoing programs and projects in the region,” he added.      In response to the six policy agenda put forward by the PCCI to the Office of the President, Nograles, who represented President Rodrigo R. Duterte, committed to prioritize in the 2020 National Expenditure Program (NEP or Budget) the following major infrastructure projects and programs:      ·    Upgrading the airport capabilities in Pagadian, Ozamiz, Tandag, Surigao, Camiguin and the expansion of the  Laguindingan Airport;      ·    Roads Leveraging Linkages for Industry and a Trade (ROLL-IT) proposals from all regions in Mindanao;      ·    Rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi Hydro Power plants;      ·    Rehabilitation programs for Marawi City (livelihood, telecommunications, and other social services); and ·Packages of services and assistance for the implementation of Executive Order 70 - the Whole of Nation Approach to address peace and development in Mindanao. Target groups are geographically isolated and disadvantage areas, communities whose poverty incidence is more than 30% and conflict areas in Mindanao.      “As we reach the halfway mark of the Administration, our focus is now ensuring that the programs and projects that we promised at the start of this term are being executed, if not yet completed, and will make a lasting impact on our countrymen via the many projects in Mindanao, “ Nograles said. Upgrading Mindanao Airports      The night rating of the Pagadian, Ozamiz, Surigao (and Siargao), Camiguin airports are expected to be completed by 2019 to 2021. The Laguindingan Airport Original Proponent Proposal is undergoing NEDA vetting and is expected to be approved soon.       For the 2020 budget, the DOTr proposed funding for the aviation sector amounting to P 865 million for the development of airports and the upgrading of airport facilities. Of this, P100 million is allocated for the development of Laguindingan Airport. Based on the latest inspection, the November 2019 completion target for the initial 400-meter repair of the Surigao airport runway is expected to be met and the full 700-meters by February 2020. ROLL-IT Project      Mindanao’s road network is being now developed by the DPWH with funds amounting to P126.86 billion. The Mindanao Road Development Network Program, covering 2,600.67 kilometers, connects the Zamboanga Peninsula, Southern Mindanao, Central Mindanao and Caraga Regions. For 2020, the proposed budget for ROLL IT alone is P10.2 billion. The DOTr also proposed for FY 2020 the inclusion of P97 million for the Mindanao Railway Project.      “Also requested in this resolution is the conduct of consultations on policy-making. For this, we have the Regional Dialogues (Dagyaw), currently being conducted nationwide. Dagyaw 2019: Open Government and Participatory Governance Regional Dialogues encourage participation among government agencies, the public, and other stakeholders. As a platform for engagement and convergence, each regional dialogue focuses on area-specific topics to address the issues and problems encountered in each locality,” Nograles noted.             Agus-Pulangi Rehab      The Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Plant rehab was among the projects lined up for China financing after the President obtained US$9 billion official development assistance (ODA) during his visit to Beijing in October 2016. Funding for this was firmed up as part of the “second basket” of projects in September 2017, and according to the NEDA, the rehabilitation of the plant is scheduled for 2020, to be completed by 2022 Rehabilitation of Marawi City      “On fast tracking the Economic Recovery of Marawi City, we cannot agree with you more that acceleration for livelihood-related interventions, supplementary support such as financing and new and better opportunities for MSMEs and in parallel, continuing capacitation of those affected to be able to take up and sustain these activities, are paramount to the rehabilitation of the city as well as to establish business resiliency,” Nograles said.      Corollary to this, however, is ensuring the security and the public’s safety so that dividends from current recovery programs will not be wasted, he added.       The reconstruction and rehabilitation of 18.97 kilometers of roads in Marawi City is now ongoing. Funding from both local and foreign sources have enabled the Duterte Administration to fast track the extensive planning and preparations required for the P67.99 billion reconstruction and rehabilitation program for Marawi within just a year after government troops liberated the city.      Displaced families continue to be transferred to transitory shelters built through the efforts of Task Force BangonMarawi, and have been able to avail of livelihood projects and skills training programs undertaken by different implementing agencies, development partners, CSOs and NGOs.      “As we build on these efforts that continue to this day, we in government welcome the new recommendations from the MinBizCon for 2019. From the initial briefing papers provided to us, there are new projects and priorities being recommended, and we welcome your input,” Nograles noted. Executive Order 70 - the Whole of Nation Approach      While underscoring the media’s role in conveying to the public this government’s policy, the EO is now paving the way for better formulation of programs by the Regional Peace and Order Councils (RPOC) hand in hand with that of the Regional Development Councils (RDC).      The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has also launched its own initiatives that utilize this approach to address the root causes of insurgency, internal disturbances, and armed conflict.      The Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev) initiative of the Regional Development Council-Region 10 (RDC-10) and the Regional Peace and Order Council-Region 10 (RPOC-10) is the first such mechanism to pioneer this approach. Emerging Investment Destination      “In the coming years, we can expect increased investments since most of the committed investments and projects committed in the early part of the Administration are now past feasibility stage and are, in fact, already being implemented,” Nograles said.      The Board of Investments (BOI) reports registered investments in Mindanao increased by 420% from P18.2 billion in April 2018 to P94.7 billion in April this year.      The bulk of these investments in Mindanao are in the Caraga region (P 57.87 billion); Northern Mindanao (P31.97 billion); Davao Region (P2.7 billion); and Soccsksargen (P2.1 billion pesos). These registered new investments are expected to generate at least 7,000 new jobs.

    September 18, 2019

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  • ITALPINAS CEO, ARCH. ROMOLO NATI SPEAKS AT THE REAL ESTATE EXPO MANILA 2019

    ITALPINAS CEO, ARCH. ROMOLO NATI SPEAKS AT THE REAL ESTATE EXPO MANILA 2019

    MANILA- Italpinas Development Corporation Chairman and CEO Architect Romolo V. Nati spoke at the Real Estate Expo Manila 2019, an international event and influential platform escalating business networking with the top executives. The year’s theme, “Strengthening the Foundation through Innovation in the Real Estate Industry”.      REEM 2019 is an international sought-after event where the regional and international investors, developers, investment promotion authorities and real estate professionals converge to discuss growth drivers in the real estate investment and development on emerging markets globally. Arch. Nati, a devout advocate of sustainability, talked about  “Green Buildings in Emerging Cities in the Philippines”, sharing the strategies and architectural technologies which are among the means of the successful accomplishments of Italpinas Development Corporation, a “design-driven developer of sustainable properties focused on emerging cities in the Philippines”.      As an expert in green architecture, he emphasized the advantages of promoting sustainable buildings in secondary and tertiary cities explaining that aside from reducing overall impact to the environment and to human health. “Green buildings are the key for property developers to achieve sustainable urban development in an environmentally friendly manner. Such structures are defined as environmentally responsible and resource-efficient over their full life cycles and proven to be cost effective with reduced energy requirements,” expressed Nati.      Italpinas Development Corporation was officially listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on December 7 2015, only six years after its establishment. As a multi-awarded green developer, IDC’s breakthrough project, the mixed-use two tower building, Primavera Residences in uptown Cagayan de Oro, has gained international and national accolades. These include the Best-Development Mixed-use Development in the Philippines, awarded by the International Property Awards-Asia Pacific and the First Completed Building in East Asia to be certified by EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiency).        This honor was given by the prestigious IFC World Bank Group, the innovator of EDGE software and certification program which was launched a few years back and currently used mostly by building designers and property developers who want their buildings to withstand various climate stresses for a long period of time and command greater value in the market.      Current IDC’s green projects, Primavera City, in uptown Cagayan de Oro, and the latest high-rise eco-friendly Miramonti Green Residences in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, have been awarded as Best-Development Mixed-use Development in the Philippines, by the International Property Awards-Asia Pacific, a highly acclaimed award in the worldwide property industry. Among the numerous attendees that participate at the event, a large group of Real Estate Management’s students from Emilio Aguinaldo College (Cavite) led by Professor Engineer Erna Ladia who actively interacted with Arch. Nati in the Q and A session, following his presentation.

    September 18, 2019

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  • Holcim to help UN Habitat, TESDA in Marawi rebuild project

    Holcim to help UN Habitat, TESDA in Marawi rebuild project

    Leading cement maker Holcim Philippines, Inc. will support a project by the United Nations Human Settlement Program (UN Habitat) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to build new homes for 1,500 families displaced by the conflict in Marawi.       Holcim Vice President for Communications Cara Ramirez shared during the 7th Annual Asia-Pacific Housing Forum organized by Habitat for HumanityPhilippines on July 31 that the company is set to fund masonry training for 300 beneficiaries.      UN Habitat will be responsible for recruiting the beneficiaries from among the residents of identified resettlement sites and coordinating logistics for the project. The TESDA, through its Regional Training Center inIliganCity, will administer the masonry course and certify as skilled workers those who pass.      Ramirez said the partnership with UN Habitat and TESDA is in line with the company’s corporate citizenship campaign, Holcim Helps, which tailors capacity-building support based on the needs of beneficiaries so programs are more sustainable and have a lasting positive impact.      “Holcim Helps focuses our efforts on education, livelihood, and infrastructure programs, which are designed in collaboration with our communities so we can identify the programs that are relevant to them and answers their needs,” she added.       Ramirez shared that Holcim Philippines had extended similar support to communities displaced by a natural calamity such as survivors of Typhoon Pablo in Compostella Valley in 2012 or vulnerable to one as the case of people living near the company’s Davao plant.       The support for masonry trainings were implemented through Holcim’s flagship Galing Mason program, which equips beneficiaries with skills that allow them to contribute to the rebuilding of their homes and provides them options for livelihood.       Ramirez shared these as part of her talk on the company’s efforts to contribute to addressing the deficit of quality shelters in the country.       She noted aside from providing quality cement to ensure the durability and quality of shelters being built, Holcim Philippines has also developed new products for specific applications that contribute to improving quality and reducing cost of construction.      “For example, local developers have grown to embrace masonry cement, which is better for finishing applications and more affordable than general purpose cement. While cement only accounts for roughly 10% of building costs, the savings from using the right cement can still help developers manage costs while also delivering quality shelters for their customers,” she said.      A biennial conference organized by Habitat for Humanity Philippines, the Asia-Pacific Housing Forumgathers both public and private stakeholders engaged in finding solutions for inadequate shelter issues and promoting affordable housing as a driver of economic growth. For this year’s forum, the newly formed Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development wasthe content partner.

    September 16, 2019

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ITALPINAS CEO, ARCH. ROMOLO NATI SPEAKS AT THE REAL ESTATE EXPO MANILA 2019

September 18, 2019

Corporate

By: , MANILA- Italpinas Development Corporation Chairman and CEO Architect Romolo V. Nati spoke at the Real Estate Expo Manila 2019, an international event and influential platform escalating business networking with the top executives. The year’s theme, “Strengthening the Foundation through Innovation in the Real Estate Industry”.      REEM 2019 is an international sought-after event where the regional and international investors, developers, investment promotion authorities and real estate professionals converge to discuss growth drivers in the real estate investment and development on emerging markets globally. Arch. Nati, a devout advocate of sustainability, talked about  “Green Buildings in Emerging Cities in the Philippines”, sharing the strategies and architectural technologies which are among the means of the successful accomplishments of Italpinas Development Corporation, a “design-driven developer of sustainable properties focused on emerging cities in the Philippines”.      As an expert in green architecture, he emphasized the advantages of promoting sustainable buildings in secondary and tertiary cities explaining that aside from reducing overall impact to the environment and to human health. “Green buildings are the key for property developers to achieve sustainable urban development in an environmentally friendly manner. Such structures are defined as environmentally responsible and resource-efficient over their full life cycles and proven to be cost effective with reduced energy requirements,” expressed Nati.      Italpinas Development Corporation was officially listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on December 7 2015, only six years after its establishment. As a multi-awarded green developer, IDC’s breakthrough project, the mixed-use two tower building, Primavera Residences in uptown Cagayan de Oro, has gained international and national accolades. These include the Best-Development Mixed-use Development in the Philippines, awarded by the International Property Awards-Asia Pacific and the First Completed Building in East Asia to be certified by EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiency).        This honor was given by the prestigious IFC World Bank Group, the innovator of EDGE software and certification program which was launched a few years back and currently used mostly by building designers and property developers who want their buildings to withstand various climate stresses for a long period of time and command greater value in the market.      Current IDC’s green projects, Primavera City, in uptown Cagayan de Oro, and the latest high-rise eco-friendly Miramonti Green Residences in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, have been awarded as Best-Development Mixed-use Development in the Philippines, by the International Property Awards-Asia Pacific, a highly acclaimed award in the worldwide property industry. Among the numerous attendees that participate at the event, a large group of Real Estate Management’s students from Emilio Aguinaldo College (Cavite) led by Professor Engineer Erna Ladia who actively interacted with Arch. Nati in the Q and A session, following his presentation.

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Holcim to help UN Habitat, TESDA in Marawi rebuild project

September 16, 2019

Corporate

By: , Leading cement maker Holcim Philippines, Inc. will support a project by the United Nations Human Settlement Program (UN Habitat) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to build new homes for 1,500 families displaced by the conflict in Marawi.       Holcim Vice President for Communications Cara Ramirez shared during the 7th Annual Asia-Pacific Housing Forum organized by Habitat for HumanityPhilippines on July 31 that the company is set to fund masonry training for 300 beneficiaries.      UN Habitat will be responsible for recruiting the beneficiaries from among the residents of identified resettlement sites and coordinating logistics for the project. The TESDA, through its Regional Training Center inIliganCity, will administer the masonry course and certify as skilled workers those who pass.      Ramirez said the partnership with UN Habitat and TESDA is in line with the company’s corporate citizenship campaign, Holcim Helps, which tailors capacity-building support based on the needs of beneficiaries so programs are more sustainable and have a lasting positive impact.      “Holcim Helps focuses our efforts on education, livelihood, and infrastructure programs, which are designed in collaboration with our communities so we can identify the programs that are relevant to them and answers their needs,” she added.       Ramirez shared that Holcim Philippines had extended similar support to communities displaced by a natural calamity such as survivors of Typhoon Pablo in Compostella Valley in 2012 or vulnerable to one as the case of people living near the company’s Davao plant.       The support for masonry trainings were implemented through Holcim’s flagship Galing Mason program, which equips beneficiaries with skills that allow them to contribute to the rebuilding of their homes and provides them options for livelihood.       Ramirez shared these as part of her talk on the company’s efforts to contribute to addressing the deficit of quality shelters in the country.       She noted aside from providing quality cement to ensure the durability and quality of shelters being built, Holcim Philippines has also developed new products for specific applications that contribute to improving quality and reducing cost of construction.      “For example, local developers have grown to embrace masonry cement, which is better for finishing applications and more affordable than general purpose cement. While cement only accounts for roughly 10% of building costs, the savings from using the right cement can still help developers manage costs while also delivering quality shelters for their customers,” she said.      A biennial conference organized by Habitat for Humanity Philippines, the Asia-Pacific Housing Forumgathers both public and private stakeholders engaged in finding solutions for inadequate shelter issues and promoting affordable housing as a driver of economic growth. For this year’s forum, the newly formed Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development wasthe content partner.

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AirAsia PHL names new chairman

September 4, 2019

Corporate

By: , ORGANIZATIONAL changes continue for Philippines AirAsia, Inc. as the budget carrier announced over the weekend the appointment of corporate lawyer Joseph Omar A. Castillo as the new chairman of the board.      “We’re delighted to welcome Atty. Castillo as Chairman of the Board during this period of exciting growth for AirAsia,” AirAsia Group Executive Chairman Datuk Kamarudin said in a statement.      “Atty. Castillo brings a wealth of experience and strategic vision to the airline business, and we are confident that the company will continue to thrive under his leadership,” he added.      Mr. Castillo is replacing Marianne B. Hontiveros who held the post since 2014. Ms. Hontiveros was also chief executive officer and part owner of AirAsia Philippines.      The appointment of Mr. Castillo took effect yesterday. He joined the AirAsia Philippines board of directors earlier this year, and previously worked at private law firm Puyat, Jacinto & Santos (PJS) Law, where he led its transport and business process outsourcing practices and focused on labor relations, contract support, immigration and corporate fraud.      Prior to joining PJS Law, Mr. Castillo was part of Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz (ACCRA) Law Offices and the Baker McKenzie law firm. He was also vice-president for Downstream Operations of the PNOC-Exploration Corp. from 2011 to 2013.      He earned his law degree from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1997 and his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the same university in 1993.      AirAsia Philippines also appointed a new chief executive officer, Ricardo “Ricky” P. Isla, replacing Dexter M. Comendador. Mr. Comendador was appointed chief operating officer.      Last June, the carrier likewise announced a change in ownership with the transfer of majority shares to businessman Michael L. Romero’s F&S Holdings, Inc., which now owns 44.4% of AirAsia Philippines.      Ms. Hontiveros and Zest-O Corp. Founder Alfredo M. Yao sold each of their 15.7% shares in the airline to F&S Holdings, leaving the remaining owners Antonio “Tony Boy” Conjuangco with 15.7% shares and Malaysia AirAsia International Ltd. with 39.9%.      AirAsia Philippines posted a profit of P593.07 million in the second quarter, surging 777% from last year due to a growth in passenger volume and ancillary revenues. It is aiming to swing to profit by yearend with a revenue target of P30 billion.      The budget carrier is also planning to launch an initial public offering before the end of the year.

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DoubleDragon on track to have 100 malls by 2021

September 4, 2019

Corporate

By: , DOUBLEDRAGON Properties Corp. said it is on track to have 100 malls under its portfolio by 2021, as it moves to secure all lots for the projects within the year.      “We’re still on target to have 100 malls by 2021…We have almost secured all lots, hopefully by end of this year, we’ll secure them,” DoubleDragon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edgar J. Sia II told reporters after the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Pasay on Friday.      Mr. Sia noted that only the construction of the malls will be completed by then, with operations to start soon after since they may experience delays with tenants.      The listed property developer is set to end the year with 51 malls, from its current network of 39.      “We’ll end this year with 51. So we’ll have to open 12 more. We build the same thing all the time, so it’s faster,” Mr. Sia said.      DoubleDragon’s mall business carries the CityMall brand, which is primarily located in second and third tier cities in the provinces. This aims to meet the demand for malls in provincial areas, while also avoiding competition from more mature players in key cities in the country.      CityMall is 66% owned by DoubleDragon. The remaining 34% is owned by Sy-led SM Investments Corp., which by itself is the country’s largest mall operator with 72 malls in the country and seven in China.      The company is counting on its commercial mall business to help boost recurring revenues by 2021, alongside its three other segments namely office leasing, industrial warehouses, and hotels.      It aims to have 1.2 million square meters (sq.m.)of leasable space across the four segments by 2020, around double its current 603,000 sq.m. This further supports its goal of hitting P10.8 billion in recurring revenues by 2021, after which the company will start declaring cash dividends worth about 30% of their net income to shareholders      This year alone, Mr. Sia said they expect to generate P4 billion in recurring revenues, and is seen to rise to P5.4 billion by 2020.      With more than one million sq.m. of leasable area under its portfolio by next year, the company is also eyeing to place its assets under a real estate investment trust (REIT) once regulators come out with the final rules.      “In the meantime, we’re just building more and maturing out leasable space. If the rules get delayed, the effect of that is we will just be able to raise higher amounts. But as soon as it’s ready, and it looks okay, we will go,” Mr. Sia said.      The company earlier said it wants to raise up to P15 billion from a REIT offering in early 2020, while its entire portfolio could potentially raise up to P59.4 billion      DoubleDragon’s net income attributable to the parent jumped 104% to P1.52 billion in the first half of 2019, after gross revenues surged 54% to P5.59 billion.

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Land Bank to expand banking services in remotest provinces

September 4, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , THE Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) will expand the coverage of its banking services by setting up additional satellite centers and deployment of mobile tellers in remotest and depressed provinces nationwide.      In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, LBP First Vice President for Strategic Planning Elcid Pangilinan said the bank has approved in principle the opening of over 250 banking outlets in an effort to strengthen and improve the financial infusion for un-banked areas.      The bank has targeted to complete the project in the next five years aimed at improving the urgent need for financial infusion in areas not being reached by the LBP.      Pangilinan explained the deployment of mobile tellers was in line with bank’s objective of educating people, specifically the farmers and fisherfolk in far-flung provinces, to appreciate the value of the bank.      He noted that majority of those in the farm and fisheries sector have not been exposed or introduced in rightful way of depositing and withdrawing their hard-earned money.      Citing the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas report, Pangilinan said there are about 533 unbanked provinces and municipalities and "it is our aim to reach out to these places and serve the people."      Of the approved over 250 places deprived of the banking services, the LBP branches will be set up in the northern part of Luzon, Visayas in its eastern part, and in western part of Mindanao.      While he did not divulge the amount which the bank will infuse in the two projects, Pangilinan assured that it has sufficient money to carry out its commitment, noting that LBP has been named as top four in terms of assets and deposits.      Pangilinan was one of the official representatives to the two-day meet on Reducing Disaster Risks Towards a Resilient Agricultural Sector hosted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Studies (SEARCA) here from Aug. 29 to 30, 2019. (Lulu R. Principe/PNA)

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Diokno vows another rate slash for 2019

August 30, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said yesterday there will be another 25 basis points (bps) cut in the benchmark policy rates by the end of the year, completing a 75 bps interest rates reduction for 2019.      Diokno said he could not say as yet which would come first, the policy rate cut or the reduction in banks’ reserve requirement ratio (RRR). He reiterated that both actions are “live issues” and could come at any time.      “There’s another 25 bps (before the end of the year),” Diokno told a forum organized by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines on Tuesday. He cited the global monetary easing actions and continued benign inflation as factors for the impending cut.      Diokno said they will again reduce the RRR this year, on top of the 200 bps RRR cut they implemented in tranches in May, June and July. He however said that it may not be as much as another 200 bps cut, equivalent to P190 billion in fresh liquidity.      “We have another RRR cut this year but maybe not 200 bps (it could be) 150 bps,” said Diokno. When asked if like before, the policy cut will happen prior the RRR cut, he said – “we don’t know yet (because) it’s a live issue. It could be before the late September (Monetary Board) policy meeting. It could be after … we will just look at the data.”      The Monetary Board’s next monetary policy meeting is September 26. It will have two more after, on November 26 and December 12, for a total of eight policy meetings for 2019.      “As we are all aware, the specter of slowing global economic growth looms larger than ever on the horizon as protectionist policies and geopolitical tensions continue to dominate the global growth narrative,” Diokno told forum participants. “Greater global economic uncertainty may lead to higher risk aversion as international investors turn to safe-haven assets, resulting in volatility in our domestic financial markets. When this happens, this could have adverse consequences on our price and financial stability objectives, and ultimately on the country’s growth momentum.”      Since global growth risks may “further escalate” because of the US-China trade conflict, Diokno said that in response, “central banks around the world, including the Philippines, have responded by easing their respective policy rates to stimulate their domestic economies. In fact, some central banks have surprised the markets by reducing their rates by more than what was expected. This indicates that the global monetary policy easing cycle could gather momentum and last longer and deeper than previously anticipated.”      The BSP policy rate was reduced by 25 bps last May 9 and by another 25 bps last August 8 for a total of 50 bps. During its last policy meeting, the BSP further slashed its inflation forecast for 2019 to 2.6 percent from 2.7 percent, while the 2020 and 2021 estimate was 2.9 percent, still within the two-four percent government inflation target.      Diokno has said that third quarter inflation average will drop below two percent due to base effects. He is also hoping that the last quarter’s inflation average could be “much lower” than what their flow charts show because of lower global oil prices      Inflation rate averaged at 3.8 percent in the first quarter 2019 before falling to three percent in the second quarter. With the latest July inflation of 2.4 percent, the year-to-date inflation averaged at 3.3 percent.      Diokno said the decision to reduce interest rates last May 9 came from its assessment that price pressures have continued to ease and that inflation expectations have also moderated further.      The main factors that contributed to the BSP’s benign inflation outlook and the revision of the forecasts came from the continuing relaxation of food price pressures.      Last year, the BSP raised interest rates by 175 bps to curb high inflation at the time, because of higher oil and rice prices. Inflation peaked at 6.7 percent in September and October.

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BSP cuts TDF offering for next week

August 30, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will offer lower volume during the term deposit facility (TDF) auction on August 28.      In an advisory, the central bank said a total of P80 billion will be offered next week, lower than the P100 billion this week.      Specifically, the seven- and 14-day facilities will be offered for P20 billion each, while the 28-day offering is P40 billion.      During the auction on Thursday, a day late due to the holiday last Wednesday, the six-day facility was offered for P40 billion but was undersubscribed at P35.82 billion.      Banks also offered low bids for the 13-day facility after they submitted tenders amounting to PP26.055 billion against the P30 billion offering.      On the other hand, there was strong demand for the 27-day TDF after bids reached P41.119 billion, higher than the P30 billion offer.      BSP Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila Jr. attributed this week’s auction results to “appetite for longer-tenored term deposits.”      “At the same time, the results of the auction indicated the banks' preference to hold on to their cash in view of the long weekend and month-end liquidity requirements,” he said.      Dakila, however, noted that the total tenders received across all TDF tenors at about P103 billion were in line with the BSP's liquidity forecast for the week. (PNA)

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SSS benefit, pension disbursements up

August 23, 2019

Banking & Finance

By: , THE SOCIAL Security System (SSS) has released benefits and pensions worth P95.71 billion in the first six months to its 3.19 million members, with the bulk going to retirement funds.      In a statement on Tuesday, the state pension fund said it disbursed P55.7 billion worth of retirement benefits to 1.57 million pensioners from January to June, 8.6% higher than the P51.28 billion released in the same period last year.      Payouts for death claims by one million beneficiaries saw an increase of 4.8% to P28.63 billion in the first half from P27.32 billion a year ago.      Disbursements for disability and funeral benefits in the January-June period respectively totalled P3.59 billion, up 7.8% year-on-year, and P2.14 billion, up 9.7%, and went to 208,863 recipients.      Sickness benefits also climbed 14.9% to P1.51 billion in the first semester from the P1.32 billion logged in the same period last year, and went to 235,000 members.      SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said in the statement that the growth in beneficiaries and claims may be attributed to the implementation of the Republic Act (RA) 11220 Expanded Maternity Leave Law in May and RA 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018 signed into law last February.      RA 11220 increased the paid maternity leave to 105 days from 60 days, with an additional 15 days for solo mothers.      Meanwhile, RA 11199 adjusted SSS’ contribution rate to 12% from 11% and the monthly salary credits of its members to a minimum of P2,000 and P20,000 maximum.      “In the first half of 2019 alone, the number of beneficiaries and claims have already posted significant growth since the implementation of new laws and policies of the administration,” Ms. Ignacio said.      Meanwhile, total revenues of the state pension fund increased to P115.53 billion in the first half, up 20.9% from last year’s P95.55 billion, SSS said in the statement.      Broken down, contribution collections and investments and other income stood at P99.08 billion and P16.45 billion, respectively, in the first half, which SSS said climbed due to the higher contribution rate and monthly salary credit.      “Further, our investment and other income bounced back this period driven by strong and favorable market conditions,” Ms. Ignacio added.      SSS’ assets stood at P542.27 billion at end-June, 6% higher than the P511.47 billion booked in the comparable year-ago period.      “With our strong financial performance this semester, we are hoping to further strengthen the fund and ensure the continued service and providing for more and more members in the future until perpetuity,” Ms. Ignacio said.

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DOLE-X accredits 166 PhilJobNet private companies; boosts net job search

August 5, 2019

Economy

By: , CAGAYAN de Oro City--The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-X) through its Cagayan de Oro City Field Office (CDO FO) accredited 166 companies in the private sector during the first half of the year under the PhilJobnet - the official job-search portal of the government.      This move will boost increased job vacancies through net search.      DOLE-X CDO FO Chief Ebba B. Acosta said the realization is in collaboration with various establishments’ human resource development agenda and provision of platforms that would promote effective matching of the available jobs with the right people.       Acosta said the FO made sure that partner companies registered under the Department’s Rule 1020 or the Registration of Establishment shall also join the PhilJobNet. Likewise, the same rule was applied to companies joining the DOLE’s job facilitation program or the Job Fair.      Registration at PhilJobNet is free for both job seekers and employers.  In order for an employer to be accredited, they only need to submit/upload their BIR Registration Certificate (2303), SEC/DTI Registration Certificate, POEA License (for Overseas Recruitment Agency), DOLE License (for Local Recruitment Agency and Department Order No. 174 for Contractors/Subcontractors).      As an accredited establishment, they are free to upload at least ten job posts monthly; top banner for every job post; office location map; report pages; and synced interview calendar.        Premium services like unlimited job posting; email information and SMS/text blast to all registered job seekers; resume search; and priority jobs;  company name display at the topmost page are available for a fee.        PhilJobNet is an internet-based job and applicant matching system which aims to fast track jobseekers’ search job and employers for manpower requirements.  It provides job seekers with a listing of job vacancies posted by accredited government and private employers as well as by local and overseas manpower recruitment.      For mobile services, PhilJobnet application is available at Google Play Store for free. (DOLE10/PIA10)

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PPA inaugurates PH Biggest Port Terminal Bldg in CDO Today

July 15, 2019

Economy

By: Mike Baños, “The construction of this brand new building will greatly strengthen the region as the global gateway to Mindanao. Once we inaugurate this on July 15, we are opening Cagayan De Oro to the nation and to the rest of the world as we pursue progress for our seaports,” said PPA General Manager Jay Santiago in a statement. Santiago said the new P 276.705 million facility would boost opportunities for economic growth and tourism, not only in the city or in the province of Misamis Oriental, but for the entire Northern Mindanao. Through the expansion project, the new PTB can now accommodate up to 3,000 sea passengers daily, triple its previous passenger capacity of 1,000. The only port in the country managed and operated by the Philippine Ports Authority with such a facility, the 18,150.50 sq.m. Passenger Terminal Complex houses three (3) major structures: the 2-Storey Passenger Terminal Building, the ground floor of which has a 1,176 passenger seating-capacity and the second floor of which has a 1,221 passenger-seating capacity; Waiting Area for arriving passengers; and the Security Checkpoint Facility 1 for embarking passengers. The Complex also has a queuing area for Taxis/PUVs; a designated area for ticketing outlets; covered walkways; open spaces for parking with carbon sink areas containing mature trees and some plants. The Passenger Terminal Building contains facilities and GAD amenities for the safety, security, comfort and convenience of the passengers including Security Checkpoint 2 with X- Ray scanner for luggage/baggage, body scanner, CCTVs; Security Office; Office for PTC Personnel; Ballistics and Ammunitions Office; Passenger Boarding Stations; Collector’s Booth; Public Assistance and “Malasakit” Help Desks; Offices for passenger-related agencies such as Tourism, Quarantine, City Tourist Police and Coast Guard; waiting areas; a designated green area with plant boxes; and storage room for equipment and housekeeping, among others. GAD amenities include Play Area for children; Child Care Station for breastfeeding and diaper changing; Ecumenical Prayer Rooms; Special Boarding Lane for Senior Citizens, PWDS, Pregnant Women and Women travelling with children below 2 years old; drinking fountains; separate toilet facilities for PWDs, Female and Male; a Medical Urgent Care Need Room; and Concessionaires Area for food stalls, coffee shops and pasalubong centers, among others. Relatedly, PPA Administrative Order No. 04-2019 which takes effect today, July 15, 2019 grants Exemption from Payment of Passenger Terminal Fee to Embarking Passengers in all PPA Ports, particularly Students, Senior Citizens, Persons with Disability and Selected Uniformed Personnel ie. AFP, PNP and the PCG in active service. PPA have remained steadfast in giving “malasakit” and service to the Filipino people as it celebrated its 45 th Founding Anniversary on July 11, 2019 with the theme “Apatnapu’t limang taon na Malasakit at Serbisyo”. PPA GM Santiago explained that “Malasakit at Serbisyo” will be the mantra of PPA in the next 365 days with the end goal of providing “malasakit” to the Filipino people through improved port services and towards a comfortable travel experience. Besides the new PTB, the PPA will also be inaugurating its new port in Opol, Misamis Oriental and the 6-lane electronic multi-gate system. Together with the ongoing extension of wharf and expansion back- up area, these three projects are part of the Port Management Office for Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro program to beef up its operational capability under its 7 Pillars of Development infrastructure program. Developed in consultation with the Philippine Liners Shipping Association (PLSA), the long- term program is geared towards sustaining the Northern Mindanao’s growth over the following decades. Metro Cagayan de Oro is envisioned to become the Philippines 4 th Metropolitan Center by 2025 along with Manila, Cebu and Davao, based on the National Spatial Strategy proposed network of settlements under the 2017-2025 edition of the Philippine Development Plan, As a Metropolitan Center, Cagayan de Oro would serve as a center of commercial, financial, and administrative activities and a primary international gateway. Beyond the immediate port area, the Port Management Office-Misamis Oriental-Cagayan de Oro will also alleviate road congestion in its entry/exit points through the Opol port zone delineation and development project to address congestion in the West coast highways by handling all incoming cargo from the Western Misamis Oriental and Iligan City. “The development and construction of Opol Port will decongest Cagayan de Oro Port with the diversion of tramping vessels to Luyong Bonbon, Opol, Misamis Oriental, thereby relieving the arterial roads to the port of the truck traffic and the port itself of these types of vessels” said Engr. Samuel Claro P. Fontanilla, PMO MisOr CDO engineering services division manager.   “As part of the seven pillars program to transform the Port of Cagayan de Oro into a purely containerized port, the Port of Opol will serve as the alternate port for domestic tramping vessels to ease berth congestion at the Port of Cagayan de Oro to bring it up to UNCTAD standard,” he added. The P264-million Opol port project will reduce standby time, shifting of vessels and optimize berth utilization at the CDO Port. Relatedly, the 6-Lane, ISPS compliant Electronic Gate Complex through Gate 3 leading to Arcadia Valenzuela Avenue in Lapasan will relieve traffic congestion at Gate No. 2 by providing 6 lane electronic controlled access to port users and eliminate long queues at the entry point. This facility will be fully equipped with CCTV cameras, weigh bridges for cargoes, electronic gates, payment booths. The Electronic Permit System (EPS) and Electronic Payment System (ePayment) will be eventually embedded and complemented by the LTO’s Motor Vehicle Recognition System through the use of the RFID. (as part of system (RFID). Expected to grace the inauguration of the three key facilities is DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade. The DOTr Chief Executive commended the PPA for its efforts in completing the massive port project for the people of Cagayan de Oro. “I am thankful to GM Jay Santiago, and to the men and women of PPA, for realizing the dream of building the biggest Passenger Terminal Building in the country. This is a huge step towards giving the people of Cagayan de Oro a comfortable life through enhanced connectivity, a legacy promised by President Rodrigo Duterte,”Tugade said. “Moreover, it will strengthen the region as the global gateway to Mindanao and gives much impact on our tourism industry where we are able to showcase and afford to both local and foreign tourists the comfort, convenience, accessibility of home, safety and security they deserved in their travel experience,” said Engr. Isidro V. Butaslac, Jr., PMO MisorCDO Port Manager. Since Butaslac assumed the stewardship of PPA’s PMO MisOr CDO in November 2014, they have attained significant milestones, foremost among of which was CDO Port’s recognition as one of the APSN Green Port Award System (GPAS) winners for 2018 among candidate ports from 18 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Butaslac received the Certificate of Recognition, ASPN Green Port Badge, and flag banners from the APEC Port Services Network (APSN) during the annual awarding ceremony held 15 November 2018 in Singapore.   Barely a month later, the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) cited the PMO- MOC as a Best Practice for its environmental protection and conservation during the 2018 Government Best Practice Recognition (GBPR). The PPA Head Office endorsed the PMO MOC’s entry dubbed, “Philippine Ports Authority—Port Management Office of Misamis Oriental/Cagayan de Oro (PMO MOC): Fostering a Green Culture for Port Operations and Management,” highlighted its initiatives for environmental protection, conservation, and sustainability through the employment of technology; issuance and compliance with environmental policies and mandates; and inculcating environmental awareness among port stakeholders. Operationally, the PMO has addressed berthing congestion (already over 100% eight years ago) by segregating berths according to type of cargo of the berthing vessel: Berths 1 to 6 for break bulk; 8,9, and 10 for containerized; and bulk liquids, solids at the end 12 & 13 for deep draft vessels. In addition, the port is undertaking dredging to a uniform depth of 13 meters to meet international standards. As a complement to the berthing classification, the PMO has also proposed for consideration as a high-impact project, the provision of a break bulk receiving facility at area “A” to enhance palletizing operations, ensure and improve safe and healthy working conditions for dockworkers and other port users, and preserve or protect perishable cargoes from environmental hazards and exposure to extreme weather. The project is situated about 200 meters from where Mediterranean type vessels carrying cargoes to be palletized are berthed. Trucks will no longer enter the port area so as not to congest its operational yard and port roads. Security, yard congestion, entry of irrelevant personnel, and safety concerns are expected to be attained since cargo trucks will no longer have to enter the port operational area. On top of segregating the berths, the quay which has never been extended during the last six years until 2015 was extended by another 150 meters, to be eventually lengthened up to 700 meters over the next 20 years. Not the least, the PMO replace its lighting system using solar powered LED lighting to significantly reduce power costs and pilferage of power cable wires.

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OCD-10 urges LGUs to be ready for disasters

June 24, 2019

Economy

By: GERRY LEE GORIT, MAMBAJAO, Camiguin – To ensure the safety of residents during earthquakes, the local government units must see to it that they are prepared for any disaster that might occur in their area, the Office of Civil Defense-10 (OCD-10) said. Aside from regular earthquake drills that would remind people how to react in case there is a tremor, OCD-10 regional director Rosauro Arnel Gonzales Jr. said the LGUs must also put in place disaster management mechanism, most especially in the training and deployment of responders and procurement of equipment. He said residents might have already been trained on the basic duck-hold-cover move, but to save lives, the local officials must also be equipped to handle disaster response.“The community might tell us that, ‘we are ready,’ but how secure is the government in responding to disasters, especially if there are people affected or there are casualties?” Gonzales told the participants of the regional level of the National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) held at Mambajao town, Camiguin Thursday afternoon, June 20. “In this drill, we’d like to showcase the various responses of the government, from the local chief executives up to the barangay, and the different agencies who provided the necessary responders,” he said. During the drill, different scenarios resulting from an earthquake were being played out by both actual responders such as the provincial and municipal disaster risk reduction and management personnel, Bureau of Fire Protection firefighters and the Department of Health medical staff to community members acting as displaced residents and victims of tsunami, fire, and collapsed buildings. Mambajao mayor and Camiguin governor-elect Jurdin Jesus Romualdo said he sees the need for an exercise like the NSED to constantly raise the people’s awareness since the island-province, which had its share of volcanic eruptions in the past decades, is prone to floods, landslides, earthquakes, and tsunamis.  The eruptions that caused earthquake and other calamities in Camiguin occurred in 1871 to 1875 and in 1948 to 1951. Romualdo also recalled how in 2001 Typhoon Nanang devastated the province causing a massive landslide in Barangay Hubangon, Mahinog town that left 64 villagers dead and 117 more missing. He said the typhoon isolated the island for about two weeks as government agencies and even the Armed Forces and the National Police responders could not land at Camiguin due to bad weather. “We were on our own and the heavy rains, inclement weather made it difficult for help to come,” he added. He said it was local government’s initiative that the people’s cooperation that Camiguin was able to withstand the calamity that struck them. Romualdo described Typhoon Nanang as “the worst crisis that we had in Camiguin in recent history.” He said Camiguin should be ready for any eventuality at all times, and in fact, the local government has published a handbook on disaster management that will guide the Camiguingnons in the event of calamities. Col. Surki Sereñas, police regional spokesperson who was also one of the NSED evaluators, said the simulation was very organized with responders acting quickly to tend to the affected persons. Based on the OCD-10 data, about 3,000 persons participated in the regional NSED held in this province, many of them students, community members, and local government workers.

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Mindanao’s youth IP leaders vow support for EO 70

June 19, 2019

Economy

By: , YOUNG indigenous peoples (IP) leaders from across Mindanao threw their support behind the implementation of the Duterte Administration’s “Whole-Of-Nation” Approach under Executive Order No. 70 creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC). The more than 200 participants to the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples’ Youth Assembly committed to helping the national government implement the initiative which primarily aims to address the decades-long communist rebellion in the country. “We, the representatives of this assembly, declare our full and unequivocal support to the national government’s Whole-Of-Nation Approach, which is a centerpiece of the Duterte Administration’s Peace and Development Agenda,” the delegates said in a resolution passed on June 15. “We believe that this approach is the best solution to the communist insurgency that has ravaged our communities, and provide us, the youth, the opportunity to work hand in hand with the government to achieve this goal.” They pledged not to be used and abused by the communist insurgents, and will utilize our voices to speak out and convince members of our communities not to support the organization’s distorted ideology,” the resolution added. President Rodrigo Duterte has formed NTF ELCAC to work out a mechanism to help end the decades-old communist insurgency, and institutionalize a “whole-of-nation approach” in attaining an “inclusive and sustainable peace." The Whole-Of-Nation Approach mandates all concerned agencies of government to work in a holistic and integrated manner to deliver much-needed services to underdeveloped, conflict-affected communities. Through its Sectoral Unification, Capacity Building and Empowerment Cluster with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) as a member, the NTF-ELCAC has started to engage various peace stakeholders to jumpstart the process. The approach will utilize localized peace engagements wherein local government units and other community members situated in conflict-affected areas will take the lead in providing solutions to best resolve the nation’s insurgency problem. In the same resolution, the youth leaders also urged President Duterte to declare the full implementation of RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Acts (IPRA) as part of the national government’s policy agenda in his upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA). “Through this declaration, we envision the IPRA’s full implementation to significantly impact on the lives of our indigenous peoples, specifically by allowing us to completely enjoy the four bundle of rights as stated in the IPRA,” the resolution said. According to Dante Tumanding, political officer of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Youth Organization (MIPYO), they can contribute a lot to the Whole-Of-Nation approach. “We are the frontlines and are the first ones affected whenever there is armed conflict in our communities,” Tumanding said. This is the reason, Tumanding said, why the conduct of the peace assembly, organized by OPAPP in collaboration with MIPYO, is both timely and relevant. “We wanted to equip our youth IP leaders across Mindanao with the skills and knowledge they will need to support the implementation of EO 70,” he said. (OPAPRU PR) 

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Toyota and Suzuki Enter into Capital Alliance Agreement

September 9, 2019

Motoring

By: , Toyota Motor Corporation and Suzuki Motor Corporation announced that the two companies entered into an agreement regarding a capital alliance (the “Alliance”) today, in order to establish and promote a long-term partnership between the two companies for promoting collaboration in new fields, including the field of autonomous driving.      The two companies began considering business partnership on October 12, 2016, and since then have continued to consider specific details. On March 20 of this year, the companies announced that they would begin specific considerations in order to engage in joint product development and collaboration in production, in addition to promoting the mutual supply of products, by bringing together Toyota’s strength in electrification technologies and Suzuki’s strength in technologies for compact vehicles.       Separately, the automobile sector is currently experiencing a turning point unprecedented in both scope and scale, not only because of enhanced environmental regulations, but also from new entries from distinct industries and diversified mobility businesses. The two companies intend to achieve sustainable growth, by overcoming new challenges surrounding the automobile sector by building and deepening cooperative relationships in new fields while continuing to be competitors, in addition to strengthening the technologies and products in which each company specializes and their existing business foundations.       Specifically, to take up challenges together in this transitional era, the two companies plan to establish and promote a long-term partnership between the two companies for promoting collaboration in new fields, including the field of autonomous driving.       The execution of the capital alliance agreement is a confirmation and expression of the outcome of sincere and careful discussions between the two companies, and it will serve for building and promoting their future partnership in new fields.      In order to develop and promote a long-term partnership between the two companies, the companies plan to acquire each other’s shares based on the Alliance.       Toyota plans to acquire 24,000,000 shares of common stock in Suzuki (4.94% ownership of the total number of shares issued by Suzuki as of March 31, 2019 (excluding treasury shares) with a total value of JPY 96 billion) by underwriting the disposition of treasury shares by way of third-party allotment conducted by Suzuki.       Likewise, Suzuki plans to acquire, through purchase in the market, shares in Toyota equivalent to JPY 48 billion. These share acquisitions will be implemented after the companies obtain approvals from the foreign competition authorities.      Source: www.globalsuzuki.com

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Toyota Safety Sense: Humans and Machines Working Together for Safer Driving

September 9, 2019

Motoring

By: , According to the World Health Organization Global Status Report, road accident statistics in the Philippines has constantly increased since 2016. A number of accidents have resulted in injuries or deaths, some of which could have been avoided if motorists are taking extra safety measures.      For leading mobility company Toyota, safety features are just as essential to the car as any other advanced functional technologies. That is why it the company is set to actively rollout its proprietary Toyota Safety Sense (TSS).      In addition to the passive safety features which we are already familiar with such as the vehicle’s impact absorbing structure, seatbelts, and number of airbags, TSS incorporates active safety features which identify factors that may cause accidents and aid the driver in eliminating these factors      Some of the features available under TSS are Pre-collision System (PCS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), and Automatic High Beam (AHB).      Pre-collision System (PCS) – detects the possibility of a collision using various sensors and reacts accordingly, also taking into consideration the countermeasures taken by the driver. Upon detection of a possibility of collision, the driver will be warned with beeps and visual warnings. When the possibility of a collision is higher and the driver applies brakes, the brake assist system will apply additional pressure to the brakes as needed. When an even greater possibility of collision is detected and the driver did not apply brakes, automatic brakes will be activated to prevent the collision.      Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) – when driving at cruise control, the vehicle drives at constant preset speed and will adjust within the set cruise speed upon detection of another vehicle in front to maintain appropriate distance.      Lane Departure Alert (LDA) – detects driving lanes and alerts driver when the vehicle departs from its designated lane. This feature operates at a vehicle speed of more than 50km/h, with a road width of more than approximately 3.0m.      Automatic High Beam (AHB) – while the headlight’s high beam setting is in use, the system automatically switches to low beam upon detection of vehicles at a certain distance in front or incoming vehicles on the opposite lane. The system will return to the high beam setting once the vehicle in front is at an appropriate distance or the incoming vehicle has passed.      These features fall under certain classes, with classes and feature variations available in selected new models and variants globally. With safety as Toyota Motor Philippines’ number one priority, select TSS features is available with the all-new Hiace Super Grandia Elite. More models will soon carry TSS’ active safety features that can give Filipino motorists and their families peace of mind, further supporting ever better lives through ever better cars.

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Toyota Unveils the All-New Super Grandia

August 26, 2019

Motoring

By: , Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) completes the Hiace lineup this August with the launch of the All New Super Grandia in three new variants: Elite, Leather, and Fabric.      “The Hiace Super Grandia is a preferred van of companies in various industries, and is quite popular as a family vehicle. It has indeed become a symbol of comfort, convenience, and durability,” says TMP President Satoru Suzuki. “We are excited to bring a higher level of luxury and a delightful ride experience that Filipinos truly deserve with the All New Hiace Super Grandia. We expect this model to further elevate the Hiace which currently has a 54.6% share in its segment, year-to-date as of July.”      Precise chrome accents add elegance to the large front grille which merges with the defined bi-beam LED head lamps. The rear chrome garnish mirrors the front design and is also complemented by the distinctive shape of the LED rear combination lamps. The low center of gravity and wide stance is accentuated by the chrome lining that runs along the side to the bottom of the rear bumper.      The Power-sliding Doors (available for the Elite variant) emanates an inviting entrance to the luxurious cabin. Upon entry, the interior illumination sets a relaxing mood which can be adjusted to the passenger’s preference. Illumination can be set to blue, amber, or white for the Elite variant. Passengers enjoy luxurious personal space with the captain seats that occupy the first and second row. Quilted leather 4-way Power Adjust Captain Seats with Ottoman replace the first rear row for the Super Grandia Elite. For all variants of the Super Grandia, bench type space up seats at the farthest row can accommodate up to 4 more passengers. Rear personal reading lamps provide each passenger a greater sense of personal control and convenience, giving them the option of better visibility in their personal space. Automatic climate control ensures passenger comfort all throughout the drive, with Nano-E™ air purifying technology for the Elite variant.      The fuel-efficient 1GD-FTV 2.8 Diesel A/T engine powers the All New Super Grandia, with 2,755cc displacement, 174 horsepower, intercooler system, and EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation). The McPherson Strut suspension provides excellent handling and stability and a 4-Link Coil Spring rear suspension reduces cabin noise, vibration, and harshness, ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride even on long drives.      The Hiace Super Grandia is equipped with advanced safety features, giving peace of mind and confidence for both the driver and passenger. All Super Grandia variants have Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), Vehicle Stability Control with Brake Assist, Hill Start Assist, Clearance and Back Sonars, Back Monitor, 9 SRS airbags (driver, front passenger, driver knee, front side, and curtain shield), and Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) 3-point seatbelts for the driver and all passengers.      The Super Grandia Elite is the first variant in Toyota Motor Philippines’ official vehicle lineup which features Toyota Safety Sense (TSS). TSS incorporates active safety features which identify factors that may cause accidents and aid the driver in eliminating these factors. Features for this variant include the Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and Automatic High Beam (AHB). The Hiace Super Grandia will be available in Toyota dealerships nationwide from today with SRP starting at P 2,420,000.

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Suzuki Moves Up to 4th Place in PH Automotive Brands Ranking

August 26, 2019

Motoring

By: , Suzuki Philippines Inc., the country’s pioneer subcompact car distributor, marks another first as it starts H2 of 2019 with another milestone. For the month of July, SPH grabs the 4th place among top automotive brands for the month-to-date and climbs to the 5th spot for the year-to-date ranking in the industry, the highest in the history of the brand with a 41% sales growth vs last year.      SPH closed the first half of 2019 on a high note, posting 14 percent sales growth over the same period last year. “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.       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.      Spurred by the back-to-back successes in H1 2019 and with consistent marketing efforts, Suzuki Philippines warms up for a much more exciting initiatives for the remaining months of the year. These include the ongoing series of Auto Festival exhibits at SM City General Santos (September 21-22) and SM City Davao (October 26-27).      The brand will continue delivering on its commitment to provide only good-quality vehicles to provide Filipinos with the best driving experience and bring them closer to the Suzuki way of life.

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